How Do I Write An Employee Application?

The digital age has transformed recruiting. From a branded careers site where applicants can search and apply for jobs to quick-as-a-click reporting that lets you see what works and what doesn’t, data-driven recruiting beats the old paper-pushing days of yore. But don’t toss your job application form in the recycling box just yet.

Far from being obsolete, the reliable questionnaire is still a heavy hitter in your recruitment toolbox. But if job seekers still need a pen to apply to your company, it’s time to write your employee application form for the Web.

The Basic Job Application Form

A simple job application form performs a straightforward role in your hiring process: gather enough relevant information to determine if the applicant should move forward in the next step of the recruitment process. A Web-based application form achieves this crucial task far more efficiently than a paper application as well as a number of other functions.

An online employment application form will transfer candidate information into an applicant tracking system (ATS). Capturing data through the application means your hiring team will spend less time typing and later correcting errors. It also means you can find and sort candidates easily using a search box. Later, you can file your EEOC reporting with just a few clicks rather than thumbing through file folders and creating a lengthy Excel spreadsheet.

An online employee application form is also more convenient for your applicants. When they find your job ad online, they can click over to your careers website and immediately fill out an application. You’ll benefit from a larger talent pool when your application process is user-friendly.

An applicant tracking system will allow you to create an online application form that can be customized for unique positions throughout your company. You’ll be able to ask applicants questions that are specific to their desired role or the location where they’ll work. If you simply make a PDF job application form from your current paper version, you won’t be able to tailor your questions to the applicant or sort through the resulting data.


Mobile Recruiting Guide

An Effective Job Application Form

A web-based employee application form is more effective than a paper, or even a downloadable PDF, version. Pairing your online job application form with an applicant tracking system will help you search through numerous applications to find the best candidate more quickly. But how can you write an employee application form in a way that encourages the best job seekers to complete it?

Consider the candidate experience during the application process. A slow or frustrating recruiting process can be a turn off for quality applicants who understand their worth. Take your application for a test run to experience your recruiting process from the candidate’s perspective.

A short, simple application form is almost always preferable to a long series of questions. Aim for an application that takes about 15 minutes to complete and has fewer than 20 questions. If you find that you need more information to narrow your choices, invite qualified candidates to complete a second, short employee application form.

Every iteration of your employment application template should be reviewed for potential legal issues. Not only will new legislation affect the legality of your employee application form, but so will recent case law. For instance, questions about education aren’t illegal, but a recent discrimination case may have been successful if the application unintentionally excluded a protected group.

Job Application Formatting Tips

Candidates are more likely to complete your questionnaire when you stick to a simple job application form format. The web page should tell the applicant at the beginning how long the application process will take. Use check boxes and drop down menus for questions with yes/no or predictable answers. If your employee application form has more than one page, include a page counter that lets the candidate know how many pages are left.

A job application formatted for mobile use will simplify the process for most of your candidates. Hourly workers, especially, are more likely to rely on their smartphones. But, professions with the lowest mobile job search rates—math and computer jobs—still see nearly half of candidates using smartphones to find their next job. Creating a simple job application form in a mobile-friendly format will increase the number of applications you receive from these candidates.

Creating even a simple job application form formatted for mobile use is a daunting task for IT departments in many small to medium-sized businesses. Fortunately, the best applicant tracking systems can take care of the numerous coding and capability issues that arise when creating an application for both Android and iOS. Applicant tracking software can offer a mobile-friendly employee application form that works with the most popular job boards and social media sites.

Drawbacks of Employment Application Form PDF

Quality candidates will skip your job application form if they need a pen to fill it out. Even if your employment application form is online, candidates will drop off if it’s too long or not mobile-friendly. But when you create an online employment application that’s easy to complete while still capturing the important information you need, you’ll benefit from an improved application to hire ratio.

Perhaps you thought a mobile-friendly, online employment application was out of reach for your business. In fact, an ATS that caters to your company’s unique needs will create your online employment application and give you the tools you need to mine the data for your best candidates. With your application form online, your business will be able to compete for the best talent.

If you’re thinking about ditching the pens and setting up an online employee application form, give us a call. We’d be happy to answer your questions and help you figure out if an online job application is right for you.

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

Job Applications and Sensitive Information

When an HR team is seeking the golden candidate for a vacant position that desperately needs to be filled, it is important that the employment application contains all the necessary items. These items will determine if the applicant is initially a good fit for the organization and should progress to next stages of the hiring process. Depending on the job and the organization, there are many key questions to answer and crucial information to collect from the applicant. Learning about the applicant’s skills, education background, ability to travel or relocate, general job schedule availability…those are all key, non-invasive questions that can help Human Resources decide whether to pursue an applicant further.

A Question You May Not Need

One question that is asked occasionally is, “Can a Social Security Number (SSN) be asked on a job application?”  ExactHire does not provide legal counsel, so any questions regarding SSN collection need to be directed to your company’s legal team, but the answer is technically, yes, a SSN can be collected on an employment application; however, it is highly recommended NOT to ask an applicant for this highly sensitive piece of personal information on the applicant’s initial application for multiple reasons…

  • SSNs are typically collected from an applicant in order to conduct a background check, which tends to be when an offer of employment is extended to an applicant.
  • SSNs may also be collected as part of the employee onboarding process, when applicants have formally become new employees.
  • In general, applicants understand that submitting an employment application does not indicate a promise or offer of employment, so there is greater hesitation by the applicants to complete an application for employment that initially asks for SSNs and/or DOBs. This results in a lower application completion rate for a company.
  • Applicants tend to have heightened fears of identity theft and general privacy concerns since they do not know the number of company employees who will be reviewing their submitted application with the SSN and/or DOB information readily accessible.

Assessing Your Needs

According to SHRM, there is no law that prohibits an employer from asking DOB; however, how the employer uses that information must be in accordance with the The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  In an extremely rare occasion, due to the nature of the position where there is a legal need for it, such as with driver and commercial transportation related job positions, SSNs might need to be collected at the time of application.  (Please consult your company’s legal team to determine your company’s eligibility for this.)  If so, some applicant tracking systems like HireCentric can support multiple applications so that you can have a position-specific employment application for use in special, rare cases where you might need to collect unique information such as SSNs.

If you feel there is a need to collect SSNs on the job application for purposes of background checking , answer this question:  Will you be conducting background checks on every applicant?  If not, it is highly recommended that you not collect the SSN from all applicants, as that puts a heightened responsibility on you and your team to limit access to the large volumes of applicants’ SSNs. Typically, the background check disclosure/consent is completed by the applicant once a job offer is made, so the company can then collect sensitive information (i.e. SSN) for a limited number of applicants. ExactHire offers the opportunity to integrate background checks within HireCentric ATS, so please let us know if you want to explore the benefits of this integration.

HireCentric Security Features

While HireCentric job applications are completed on a secure site, if your company decides to collect SSNs from every applicant, internally as a company, you and your executive leadership team will need to devise a thorough method of ensuring individuals who should not view SSNs do not see SSNs. This will help protect you and your company from potential legal action resulting from any improper use of the applicants’ personal information.

Even if you do not include a question about SSNs, nor plan on ever including a question of the sort, HireCentric offers the ability to make certain Standard Questions viewable to HireCentric Administrators only as a means to ensure sensitive questions have limited viewing access.  In the employment application’s Applicant Statement / Disclosure section, providing a thorough explanation of why SSN and/or DOB is collected in reference to particular legislation is strongly encouraged as a way to help explain to the applicant why this sensitive, personal information is being asked in the initial phase of job application without a pending job offer.

Building a Secure, Legal Hiring Process

In the HR world, legal adherence is a top priority.  You and your company’s legal team can create the internal process to recruit and retain talent that is best for your organization. For your employment needs, ExactHire offers a variety of options to help you and your team implement that internal process you construct and a support team that is ready and willing to help guide you with those solutions in your employment processes. For more information about any of our employment solutions or questions about HireCentric, please contact