I’m going to guess that when a job seeker shows interest in your office, you reach for the same employment application you used last year and the year before that and the year before that. Maybe one of your peers gave you a copy of the one they use in their office, never taking a close look at the actual questions. Maybe you downloaded a boilerplate application online–one that isn’t specific to any profession. When was the last time you took inventory and had your hiring processes and job applications reviewed and updated? With 2018 right around the corner, now’s the time to begin thinking about working on some of your processes and making sure your documents are updated. Below are a few tips that address common errors we’ve found on employment forms to help get you started.
1. Do not have the background check acknowledgment on the employment application. It should be a separate document all to itself.
2. Do not ask for a photograph. Photographs are acquired after applicant accepts offer of employment. If you ask for it with the application, it could be seen as weighting the applicants looks as a qualification for the job.
3. Do not ask for graduation dates in the education section. Particularly if the graduation date has no bearing on the qualifications for the position. It is appropriate to ask questions regarding the experience of the applicant if it is relevant to a job qualification.
4. Do not ask about citizenship. There is a separate form to use for that, a government I9 Form, which the applicant fills out only after they accept your offer. You can however ask if an applicant is legally qualified to work in the United States. You can find the the government I9 Form here: https://www.uscis.gov/system/files_force/files/form/i-9-paper-version.pdf
5. Do not leave out a non-discrimination statement. You want to be sure to inform all applicants that the company is an equal opportunity employer.
Be familiar with federal laws and the laws of your state. They will regulate and guide you in this process. You will know what questions to avoid asking an applicant that elicit information that cannot be considered in making a hiring decision.
You can view the laws here: https://www.dol.gov/general/aboutdol/majorlaws