Application Forms: What you need to know

Application forms are often the first introduction to a company for a prospective employee and are a primary source of information for the employer about a candidate. The form should be easy to read and only ask questions that are job related. Application forms that fail to meet legal requirements expose employers to liability claims and penalties for noncompliance. There are a number of strategies an employer can use to ensure that application forms contain the information necessary to easily identify the strongest applicants. Reviewing sample forms, like those found in the Forms section, is helpful when first creating an application form or when looking for ideas about a specific section of a form. When evaluating an existing form, it is helpful to discuss the form with those in the company who use the form in the interviewing and hiring process. These individuals will be able to point out which questions on the form are most helpful, how the format might be reorganized, and whether there are additional questions they would add.
Although employment application forms chiefly provide employers with information about prospective employees, the forms should also provide important information to job applicants, including notices of at-will employment and a statement about penalties for providing false information.
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It is essential that an application form be designed to elicit the information needed to evaluate an applicant's qualifications for the job in question. When evaluating the application form, make sure that the form:
• Provides sufficient space for full and complete responses
• Is accompanied by clear and easy-to-read instructions
• Asks for job-related information

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Application Forms Resources

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