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Employment Application Form

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An employment application form is an online form or document that businesses use to gather data from those interested in applying for the position available. It allows employers to gather consistent details from all applicants, streamlining the selection process. The form typically includes sections for personal information, educational background, work experience, skills, and qualifications. This blog deals with the particulars that should be avoided from an employer’s perspective while creating an employment application form.

Essential Elements of an Employment Application Form

  • Personal Information: This section collects basic details such as the applicant’s full name, contact information, address, and possibly their social security number or other identification numbers.
  • Employment History: The applicant must provide a detailed account of all their past employment experience, including job titles, employer names, and responsibilities which will help the employer in his background check.
  • Educational Background: Here, the applicants are typically asked to provide information about their educational qualifications, including schools attended, degrees earned, majors or fields of study, and any relevant certifications or training completed.
  • Skills and Qualifications: The applicants need to mention the skills and qualifications that will help them apply for the job. It may include language proficiency and specialized training. Technical skills, etc.
  • References: Many application forms have a section where the applicant must list professional references who can testify to their character, work ethic, and abilities. Typically, references include contact information and the nature of the applicant’s relationship with them.
  • Additional Information: This part allows the applicant to mention details they believe would help move their application further, such as relevant achievements, awards, publications, or volunteer work.
  • Consent and Signature: At the end of the form, there is usually a section for the applicants to acknowledge that the information they provided is accurate and grant permission for the employer to verify the details and conduct background searches.

Questions to Avoid in an Employment Application Form

While it may not be apparent that the employment application form is discriminatory, many employers make similar errors in their questionnaires. Aspects that should be avoided are as follows:

  • Date of Birth or Graduation: Inquiring about an applicant's date of birth or graduation date, which can expose their age, may lead them to believe that they are considering their age in the hiring decision. Ask if the candidate fulfills the minimum age requirement for the post instead if one is specified by federal or state law. Ask about the applicant's graduation status and educational background to determine if they have a diploma or degree.
  • Military Discharge Inquiry: While one can inquire about a candidate's military experience to gauge their training and experience, inquiries into their discharge, like "What type of discharge did you receive?" could reveal medical conditions protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. One could also face charges under state anti-discrimination laws concerning military discharge.
  • Previous Sick Leaves: Avoid asking about the amount of sick leave the applicant has taken. Discrimination against someone exercising their rights under the ADA and the FMLA is prohibited. Requesting professional references can provide insights into the applicant's work ethic without infringing on their medical history.
  • Race Inquiry: Any questions in the application about an applicant's race, color, or national origin should be strictly prohibited. While one may need to track race among the staff for affirmative action or reporting purposes, it should not be part of the employment application form. Instead, use a separate form and clarify to the applicant that participation is voluntary.
  • Marital or Parental Status: In 26 states, marital status is protected, and in 4 states, there are protections for parental or pregnancy status. If the operations fall within these states, refrain from asking whether an applicant is married, has children, or is pregnant. A common mistake is requesting an applicant's maiden name or providing options for Miss, Mrs., and Ms.
  • Criminal Background: 14 states have enacted "ban-the-box" laws to prevent automatic exclusion from job chances based on criminal records. It forbids employers from asking candidates about their criminal history, as having a criminal record should not hinder a person from redeeming themselves and leading a decent life with a paying job.
  • Salary History Ban: Nineteen states prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant's previous salary history to promote pay equity. Many state and municipal governments have put legislation restricting or outright preventing employers from requesting a candidate's pay history during the hiring process. The rationale behind these laws is that an applicant's previous pay may reflect discriminatory practices, potentially resulting in lower wages in their new position. It has been implemented considering the existing gender pay gaps, especially for female candidates stereotyped as soft negotiators.
  • Disability: A candidate is legally not required to disclose any question about their disability as it’ll be a blatant violation of their disability rights. It can lead to discrimination between equally qualified candidates based on one’s disability and the attached stigma that comes with it. The candidate should always choose whether to disclose their ailments; if they do, the employer must provide an option for any specific assistance.
  • Social Media Password: Employers may ask for social media passwords depending on where you are and the relevant laws and regulations in your workplace. Some locations may allow employers to request your social media passwords as a requirement for employment, while in other places, such practices may be illegal. Furthermore, it's essential to consider the privacy implications of sharing your social media passwords and explore alternative methods to address your employer's concerns.
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Key Terms for Employment Application Forms

  • Personal information: This is part of an employment application form where candidates must mention personal information, including their complete name, phone number, address, and social security number.
  • Education History: This term refers to the form section where applicants provide information about their educational background, including the schools they attended, degrees earned, majors, or areas of study.
  • Work Experience: They often include information such as the names of their past employers, their work titles, the dates of employment, and an explanation of their duties and successes in each position.
  • Skills and Qualifications: This refers to the section where applicants highlight the relevant skills and qualifications that make them suitable for the desired position. Applicants may list technical skills, language proficiency, certifications, or specific expertise that align with the job requirements.
  • Additional Information: This term refers to a section on the form where applicants can provide any additional relevant information that may support their application. It can include additional skills or qualifications not covered in other sections, explanations for employment gaps, or any other pertinent details that could strengthen their candidacy.

Final Thoughts on Employment Application Forms

The employment application form allows for consistency and efficiency in reviewing applicants. It ensures that all candidates provide the necessary details, such as personal information, education history, work experience, and references. This uniformity makes comparing and assessing applicants based on standardized criteria easier. Employers need to be aware of potential pitfalls in the application form, such as questions that may unintentionally lead to discrimination or violate legal requirements.

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ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


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