A job application template should be completed by any prospective employee interested in a job opportunity. This application gives a potential employer the ability to learn more about the prospective employee and find out if they can legally work for the company and if they have the educational and professional experience necessary to do so. It can be a paper form or it can be an online form. An online job application will request the same information as a paper form template.
The employee application form should include sections for different types of information, such as personal data, previous work history, job skills, education, and references. Some even allow the employer to run a basic background check and asks the potential new employee to list any felony acts they’ve been convicted of. The best basic job application is simple enough for the employee to complete without needing guidance, and is easily revised by employers who feel that the sample job application doesn’t meet their needs. However, if the form is revised, employers should be careful to avoid asking for information that is considered discriminatory. Look over your application to ensure you are asking for all the information you need from potential employees.
One of your responsibilities as a business owner is to create an employment application form. You can do this from scratch or by using a form sample. The latter method can save you time. There are plenty of free employment application templates available on the Internet.
First, let’s talk about what exactly an employment application form is. An application provides a comprehensive snapshot of every applicant.
The specific information asked about every applicant includes:
Full legal name
Address (including city, state, and zip code)
Email address (generally optional, but most people have an email address)
Previous position. This section may include the previous or current employer(s), job title, description of duties, when the applicant worked there (even if they currently work there), and sometimes it will ask the wage the applicant was paid in that position.
Education. This can be high school, GED, trade school, college, and even specialized training. Sometimes, specialized training is listed in its own area under a heading such as “Certifications.”
A section for the potential applicant to list whether they’ve been convicted of a felony.
A space for the signature and date of the applicant. Sometimes, there’s a clause just above the signature that promises the information provided by the applicant is truthful and authorizes the potential employer to run a basic background and / or credit check.
It’s important to remember that applications cannot ask for the following information because it’s considered discrimination according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
If they’re age 40 or over
If an applicant has a disability and needs a reasonable accommodation to finish the application, a potential employer must comply (provided that it doesn’t cause the employer to face a significant expense or difficulty).
The hiring process isn’t easy. You have to find the right person who can help you meet the goals you’ve set for your business. Employers put a lot of time, effort, and money into training and retaining employees. A job application form can help human resources screen applicants so that you can interview the ones who may best fit your needs.
You should use a job application form if you want to hire an employee. It doesn’t matter if this person will be hourly, salary, commission, part time, or full time. An application can help you get a good first look at the person who wants to work for your company. You’re able to assess the applicant’s professional and educational background within just a few minutes. It helps you save time.
Full legal name – Include a space for first name, last name, and middle initial. Also, ask if the applicant has gone by any other names or an "A.K.A." or if they have a suffix with their name.
Current address – This should either be the address where the applicant currently resides. If they’re moving to the area, where they will reside at the time their employment would start (if they know).
Mailing address - Specify that they only need to use this space if they receive their mail somewhere other than their home.
Date of birth – You’ll need to verify that the applicant is old enough to work in your region. However, remember that you cannot use someone’s age as a reason to not hire them unless they must be a certain minimum age (such as 18 or 21) to work in the industry. It is not required (and generally frowned upon) to ask for a social security number at this time.
Telephone number(s) - Provide spaces for home, work and cell.
Verification of applicant’s eligibility to work
The start date requested by the applicant
Ordinarily, you should provide spaces for 3-5 entries and request the following pieces of information:
Dates of employment - Be sure that the application instructs applicants to list their most recent job first. This will make life easier for you.
Company name and street address - Don’t be surprised if applicants don’t have an exact street address or if they must look it up during the application process.
Summary of duties - Leave plenty of space for this.
Reason for leaving
Supervisor information - This should include spaces for the supervisor’s name and their contact information. Include spaces for both a phone number and an email address.
The application should also include the following information:
Has the applicant ever convicted of a crime? Leave a space for explanation as well as the jurisdiction (state) and disposal (generally: guilty, not guilty, nolo contendre).
Is the applicant a veteran? Leave a space for duty and specialized training.
Include space for high school, college, business/technical school, and miscellaneous or other specialized training. Be sure that you leave enough room in each category for multiple schools.
Depending on your industry, this can be an open section or include special areas. For example, if you run a security company, you might want to provide spaces for armed forces or police training, special licenses and levels of education. For an administrative job, you might want to specifically ask about clerical skills, such as typing speed, proficiency in programs such as MS Office, or special training such as speed-reading or translation.
Standard procedure is to ask for three references. These references may be personal or professional, but must not be related to the applicant. Encourage the applicant to include a combination of personal and professional references so as to paint a round, solid picture of their personality.
Yes, employers need to use them. It doesn’t matter if the business needs one employee or 100 of them. An application is an important tool to help businesses have a quick way to screen potential applicants to decide who could be the best pick. The purpose of the application is to make the initial review of the applicant’s information a fair process. All applicants fill out the same form. So, it creates a standard (and easy to read) form that displays the education and professional skills of each person.
Additionally, when compared to reviewing a resume or a cover letter, reviewing an application takes less time. All of the necessary information is on one page (sometimes that page is front and back). With a resume, the goal is to keep things on one or two pages, but their format isn’t standard. You could spend time looking for pertinent information. Cover letters can be several pages and take even longer to review.
If you’re getting to the point in business that it’s time to hire help, you need to master the art of creating an application. Creating one is more complex than you might think. As with any document, it comes with its own set of legal consideration. Your application is basically an interaction with a stranger. There are federal laws (and state laws) that govern what can and can’t be asked. So, while you need to get specific information to determine if someone is a good fit, you must take the time to make sure that your application is carefully written.
Keep the following tips in mind (and consult an employment or labor law attorney in your state if you have any questions):
This is the real art in the construction of any legal documents. Their terms dictate the nature of the action they perform.
Include a statement saying your business is an “Equal Opportunity Employer.” This may sound like a no-brainer, and it really should be, but omission of this statement gives disappointed applicants the opportunity to file a complaint against your business.
Make sure that the application states that submission of it does not guarantee employment. Leaving this out could cause a serious problem for your business and force you to hire someone who isn’t a good fit or who isn’t qualified.
Do not use adjectives that could be interpreted as preferential anywhere on the job application template or at point during the hiring process. This means you do not use descriptors that imply or question age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, marital/family status, arrest history, financial status, or disability. Instead, include a line that explicitly states you will not discriminate based on those items.
If your business is a federal contractor, be sure your application complies with OFCCP standards. You will also need to follow these standards for record keeping. You can look those standards up online.
Be sure your application complies with all state and municipal regulations. You can read your local laws related to employment law. However, you might find it easier if you talk with an attorney.
Don’t ask for any information about ethnicity, race, gender, religion, parenting, or marital status. You should also not ask for information about social or political affiliations. Otherwise, it makes your business appear as if it’s looking to discriminate.
Job applications can quickly go wrong. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Some options include:
Hiring a professional to do it for you – Many legal writing firms and freelancers would be more than happy to take your money and create a application that should meet both federal and state standards. While this does cost money, it’s generally less expensive than hiring an attorney.
Create it yourself and get a lawyer to review it – You’ll save money by writing it yourself, but it still costs money. Remember that paying an attorney may seem like an expense, but it’s really an investment into your business.
Use a free job application template – This is often an acceptable solution. You can look for a template for your industry and even one that meets your state's legal requirement. However, you should still review it to make sure that it doesn’t ask for any information that could get you into trouble. Make sure that you choose a reputable site.
A template is only helpful for you if it gets you the information that you need and is organized in such a way that it makes it fast and easy for you to review the qualifications within the document. Your application should be generic enough that it’s easy for your applicants to complete and return to you.
When you get the application back, the first thing you should do is scan it to make sure that it was completed in its entirety. Then, read over the previous employment history and the education sections. Separate out the applications into two piles: one pile should be applications that you want to review, call references, and possibly interview the applicants. The second pile should be applicants who don’t meet your standards.
Next, review the applications from the pile of possibilities. Decide who you’d like to check references on and then interview. Keep the best applications on file even if you choose not to interview or hire them. These can be valuable if you find yourself in a bind and really need to find an employee.
If you’re an applicant, you must understand that the employer probably won’t spend more than 45 seconds looking at the application and cover letter before deciding if they want to talk with you. That’s not much time. It’s important that you complete the application in full so that you make the best impression possible on the potential employer. Here’s a step-by-step guide to filling out an application although you should keep in mind that where the information mentioned in the following steps is located is largely dependent on how the employer organizes their application.
Step 1: Look for an EEOC statement. An EEOC statement tells you that they are an equal opportunity employer and that they do not ask for or use information that could be considered discriminatory. It should also state that they will provide you with a reasonable accommodation if you need help completing the application. If the business doesn’t have a statement of that nature, consider whether that’s really some place that you want to work for.
Step 2: Complete the applicant information. This is usually a section that asks for your full legal name, your physical address, your mailing address (if it’s different from your physical address), city, state, zip code, telephone number (list your best contact number), and your email address.
Step 3: Fill in the space that lists the date that you’re completing the application. This is important. Many businesses keep applications on file for a certain amount of time even if they don’t choose to hire you immediately.
Step 4: Complete the field that asks you which position you’re applying to fill. Don’t leave this blank. If possible, don’t list “any.” Employers may have more than one position open. So, make sure that you complete this section.
Step 5: Answer the questions about when you can start and how you heard about the job opening. If you have a friend or family member who works for the business and they told you about the opening, let the company know. Some businesses have referral programs that pay their employees if they successfully refer a friend or family member that the business ultimately hires.
Step 6: Affirm that you can legally work in the United States. This is usually phrased as a question such as: “Are you a U.S. citizen or legally allowed to work in the United States?” You may also be asked if you can provide documentation such as a birth certificate or naturalization documents.
Step 7: List your job skills or qualifications. This could be anything that pertains to what you’re able to do as professional. For example, rewiring, plumbing, typing 70 WPM, project management skills, management experience, etc.
Step 8: Complete the education and training section. In this area, you’ll list information about where you went to school. This includes high school (even if you didn’t finish; if you didn’t finish and received your GED, make sure you share that information), technical college, undergraduate programs, graduate programs, or other training programs. You should complete this even if you’re still currently in school.
Step 9: List whether you served in the military. This could include which branch, whether you’re currently serving, your discharge date, and how many years you served. There may also be a section on how your military skills could be used by the company. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box to apply your skills.
Step 10: Complete the previous employment section. You’ll need the name of your previous employers, job titles, names of managers, business addresses, telephone numbers, dates of employment, and the reason why you left. You should strive to go back ten years, but if you don’t have ten years of experience, that’s okay. Go back as far as you can. If you don’t have much employment experience, consider listing any volunteer experience you have.
Step 11: Truthfully complete a section that asks for previous felony convictions. Not all applications will have this. However, it’s important that you answer honestly if you see it. Many employers are willing to take a chance on those with a past, but generally only if they’re honest about the situation.
Step 12: Sign and date the application. Make sure that you read the information that may be listed above the signature line. Your signature may give the potential employer permission to run a background check and / or credit check.
Make sure that you have all the information that you need to complete the application. The part that people tend to forget is the information about previous employers. Make sure that you have the names, addresses, job positions, supervisor names, contact numbers, and email addresses of those businesses.
Take your time and write legibly on paper applications. If the potential employer can’t read your writing, they probably won’t pick you for an interview.
Double check your contact information for accuracy. These are the two most common ways employers contact applicants. You should make sure that you have no typos.
Be polite when you ask for an application. Ultimately, employers are thinking about whether you’re someone they want to represent their business. If you’re rude to the person who gives you the application, you probably won’t be interviewed.
Be prepared. Bring two ink pens. Yes, employers generally have pens you can use, but if you’re polite and have your own utensils (and a resume), you’ll make a great impression.
Give references. You should provide both personal and professional references. Professional references can be former or current supervisors or co-workers. Personal references shouldn’t be family members. Instead, seek out friends, neighbors, (if you’re involved in church) your pastor, and anyone you’ve worked with in a volunteer setting.
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