graphic of job application

Should I Ask Job Candidates to Fill Out an Application?

Generally, yes, you should ask candidates to fill out a job application. Initially, it might seem like a waste of time because you already have the person’s resume, but there are two great reasons to ask for an application.

Reason #1: A resume might not tell the whole story

As a small business, you may have a media kit that shows your company in the best light, highlights your greatest achievements, and explains why someone should work with you.

A resume is essentially a job hunter’s media kit. It will show you the candidate’s best side and biggest accomplishments. If someone doesn’t want to share something, they just won’t put it on their resume. Or, you might be looking for a specific piece of information that the applicant didn’t include in their resume. An application can help you fill in any gaps, get a more complete and honest picture of the person, and collect all the information you need.

Read also: What’s in a Marketing Kit?

Reason #2: You want to level the playing field

There are standard resume templates that a lot of people use. But that doesn’t necessarily mean every candidate will share the same information with you on their resume or in their cover letter. For example, someone’s resume might not include any certifications they’ve received.

A job application can help you out with that. It creates a level playing field for all your potential new workers because you’ll have the same information from every person. It will also allow you to review the applicant’s information without regard for formatting or presentation, which can help you come to an impartial decision.

As long as the questions on your job application conform to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines and your state’s regulations, you can ask for things like:

  • full legal name
  • preferred name
  • email address
  • phone number
  • employment history, including dates, titles, supervisors’ names, and contact information
  • reasons for leaving previous jobs
  • an explanation for any gaps in employment
  • education and certifications
  • skills and qualifications
  • references
  • availability
  • hobbies or interests
  • permission to contact their current employer
  • a signature verifying that all the information is true and accurate and permitting you to check

Read also: 7 Employee Handbook Rules and Regulations to Stay Compliant in 2019

To ensure your application complies with state and Federal employment and anti-discrimination laws, consider asking an employment attorney to review it.

After you’ve reviewed applications and narrowed down your list of potential new workers, it’s time to conduct interviews. Learn more about how to effectively interview job candidates.