Why Employers Use an Employment Application

An Employment Application Safeguards the Employer from Charges of Discrimination

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Smart employers use an employment application that is filled out by every candidate for a particular job. Employers world wide use the employment application to gather consistent data about prospective employees. While the format for resumes and cover letters changes from person-to-person, the employment application collects consistent information in a uniform format from every applicant.

The employment application provides a regular format with the same questions that must be answered by each person who applies for your open position.

This allows employers to compare applicant credentials that are listed in the same order on a form, impartially. The employer is able to compare credentials without regard for formatting, presentation, exaggeration, and hyperbole.

Use an Online Employment Application

Online employment application systems are used by a large percentage of employers. In addition to the factual data that a written application collects, an online employment application allows the employer to pre-screen and pre-qualify applicants.

The applicant tracking system allows employers to search employment applications for specific keywords, degrees, employment history, and other specifics to identify candidates who are qualified for the open position.

Why Use an Employment Application for All Applicants

These are the reasons why employers need to use an employment application for all job candidates. Employers want to:

  • Consistently gather the same data in the same format from each prospective employee. With an employment application, employers gain standardization of information requested.
  • Gather information about the applicant's credentials that candidates would not usually include in a resume or cover letter. Examples include reasons why the applicant left the employ of a prior employer, felony or misdemeanor crime convictions, and names and contact information for immediate supervisors.
  • Obtain the applicant's signature attesting that all statements on the employment application are true. If you allow the applicant to state: see resumeĀ (which I don't advise that you do), the statement should also say resume.
  • Obtain the applicant's signature enabling the potential employer to check the veracity of all data provided on the employment application including employment history, education history, degrees earned, and so forth. Fraudulent claims and information on application materials, including fake degrees, exaggerated job descriptions, fake dates of employment, and other falsehoods are increasing.

    Employers need to verify all data provided by the candidate to ensure that you are hiring the qualified employee you expect. Potential employees who lie on application materials are not people who have the integrity and values you seek in employees.
  • Get the applicant's signature to attest that he or she has read and understands certain policies and procedures of the employer that are spelled out on the employment application. These frequently include the fact that the employer is an at will employer, that the employer is an equal opportunity, non-discriminating employer, and any other facts that the employer wants the applicant to read and understand on the employment application.

    When applicable, this includes information about the employer's policy that the applicant must pass a drug test prior to hire.

Review Your Employment Application With an Attorney

Make certain that your employment application complies with employment law in your state. Various aspects of information requested on employment applications are not acceptable in some states, especially California.

Ask an attorney to periodically review your complete employment application giving special attention to areas such as criminal history, credit reporting, any aspect of job capability related to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and length of time the application is active.

Following Receipt of the Employment Application

Courteous employers who seek a reputation as an employer of choice, send an application acknowledgement letter. The next step an applicant should expect, from an employer of choice, is either an applicant rejection letter or a request for an interview or phone screen.


Susan Heathfield makes every effort to offer accurate, common-sense, ethical Human Resources management, employer, workplace advice both on this website, and linked to from this website, but she is not an attorney, and the content on the site, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality, and is not to be construed as legal advice.

The site has a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country, so the site cannot be definitive on all of them for your workplace. When in doubt, always seek legal counsel or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. The information on this site is for guidance, ideas, and assistance only.

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