Purpose of the Job Application
Job applications go beyond the resume to help you gather insightful information that will screen candidates before the interview stage. Our Job Application guides your applicants to go into detail about education and employment history, computer skills, contacts and more, so you can make an informed decision.
Reviewing the Application
Once its complete, use the application as a “prescreening” tool, helping you to decide whether an interview is necessary. If so, use it to help you prepare for the interview. Don’t underestimate the value of the information contained in the application; it often can tell you more about the candidate than he or she is likely to reveal in a resume or interview. Look out for these “red flags” as you review:
Make sure the applicant signs and dates the application – a missing signature may imply
that the person has something to hide.
- Scrutinize previous employment, particularly the reasons given for leaving previous employers and the time spent at previous jobs.
- Look for unexplained gaps in employment
- Neatness counts; excessive cross-outs and changes indicate the applicant is disorganized or is making up responses.
- Pay attention to questions left unanswered; for example, an applicant with a criminal history may skip the question about criminal convictions instead of revealing them.
- If applicants do not give enough details about past employers, such as contact information, it could be a sign of trouble.
- Note stability by seeing how long the applicant has been in the area, and look for references the applicant has known for some time.
- Review the job description before you meet the applicant. You should know as much as possible about the requirements of the job and the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the job.
- Review the application and/or resume. Prepare questions for any areas you wish to explore, such as missing information.
- Be ready with job-related questions you will ask each candidate. Get specific with your questioning and probe deeper into the candidate’s initial responses. Ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a mere yes or no.
- DO take notes, but NOT on the application. The application is an official employment record subject to record keeping requirements. Anything jotted on it could be used against you in a dispute.
- Don’t do all the talking and miss the opportunity fur candidates to tell you more about themselves.
- DO be prepared to honestly answer questions about your company’s market strengths, goals, ranking of the position, opportunities for advancement and other relevant areas.
- Don’t make promises, implied or otherwise, you do not intend to or cannot deliver.
- DO avoid “candidate confusion” by taking a few minutes after each interview to mark down specific comments and general impressions to help you remember each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Don’t ask unlawful or improper questions about marital status, national origin, mental or physical disability, religion, age, arrest record or citizenship.
- DO explain the notification process so the applicant understands your general timeline for following up and the method of contact.
- Does the applicant listen and respond directly to your questions?
- Does the applicant relax and build rapport with you?
- Does the applicant handle nonverbal communication, such as eye contact, body posture and tone of voice, well?
- Does the applicant probe for clarification or more information about the job?
- Does the applicant turn potentially negative information into positive information?
- How do you feel after the interview? Are you enthusiastic, tired or impressed?
- Pre-employment tests can give you a more objective view of your candidate. Skills, integrity and personality tests allow you to look for the right job-related qualities. Subject all applicants for the same position to the same types of tests.
- Background checks will help you choose the best person for the job. Be sure to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by notifying and obtaining authorization from applicants before requesting certain types of reports.
- Reference checks can help you test the honesty of the applicant. Due to increasing employee lawsuits, many companies will confirm only information about title, wages and dates of employment. You may ask your applicants to sign a waiver authorizing previous employers to release requested information to your company and relieve your company of liability for using the information.