The Society of Human Resources Management recently published an article, “Top 10 Mistakes Employers Make in Job Applications.” I decided to add three more to the list, based on my experience. Most employers nationwide, are still using a job application, handwritten or during the online application process. As leaders, we need to be aware of the potential issues of not updating employment applications or using a generic employment application. As laws continue to evolve, so too should our employment application processes.
Below are the 13 common job application mistakes:
- “Including any disability-related or medical questions
- Not including an at-will disclaimer
- Not including a nondiscrimination statement
- Requesting graduation dates in the education section
- Asking about arrests and convictions, without appropriate disclaimers
- Putting a background check acknowledgement on the employment application (I see this too often)
- Not including language telling applicants how to request a reasonable accommodation
- Asking for a photograph
- Asking about marital or familial status
- Asking about citizenship”[i]
- Not including a signature section to verify that the applicant is acknowledging the information is true and accurate. Remember a resume or CV is not the same thing as an employment application.
- Including a section for a social security number, on either the paper application or by not allowing a person to continue through the applicant tracking system. Do we really need a social security number? “An employment application should request only information directly related to an applicant’s ability to perform a specific job… general practice, employers should request SSN information only when absolutely necessary.”[ii] If you do not need it, don’t ask for it.
- Using generic employment applications. “Well I found this on the internet, it should be okay.” Ensure that someone reviews the application or helps you develop a new one prior to using it during the hiring process. Just because it is found on the internet does not make it legal and valid.
Employment applications are an important piece to the recruitment and retention process for all organizations. Asking irrelevant questions on the application can be a potential liability. As the laws continue to evolve, we need to ensure our employment application, both paper and electronic are legally compliant and efficient for job applicants. If you have questions about your application, ask for assistance. Do not assume that the first Google search will provide a legal job application. Remember laws vary; federally, state-wide and city specific. These laws will impact what can and cannot be asked on the employment application.
– Matthew Burr, HR Consultant
“Short Name, Proven Results”