Small business owners may think an employment application form is outdated or just another pile of paperwork. However, the employment application form is a classic way to screen potential new employees who enter your business, such as if you own a cafe, a restaurant, or a clothing store. A good employment application form allows people to apply for the job and creates a pipeline of candidates for that day when you need someone ASAP.
Once the applications start rolling in, keeping them organized can be a challenge. Make sure that you follow-up with promising candidates in a timely manner by using an applicant tracking system such as FreshTeam. This software will allow you to easily collaborate with your hiring managers, build a candidate database, and see at a glance the information that may lead to your next hire. The basic version is completely free–click here to try it out:
Free Employment Application Template
Here is our free Employment Application Template. This is a good starting point but may need to be adapted for your business. Below the template, we elaborate on what questions you can/ should ask and why, as well as if your business needs an employment application.
Legal Name: __________________________ Preferred Name: _____________________
Phone Number: ________________________ Email Address: ______________________
Position Applying For: _______________________________________________________
Why do you want this position? What makes you qualified for this role? ____________
In your past experience, what was your favorite job & why?
If this is your first job, what has been your favorite class in school & why?
Describe yourself in 5 words.
If we would like to interview you, what are the best days/ times for you?
Please attach your full resume to this application.
If we are interested, we will be in touch via email within 72 hours to schedule an interview.
By signing the below, I confirm that the information provided on this application and my resume are accurate and truthful to the best of my knowledge.
Signature: ______________________________________ Date:__________________
What to Include and What to Avoid in an Employment Application Form
|Green Light - Include This||Red Light - Avoid This||Why Avoid?|
|Full Legal Name||Marital Status, Salutations||Title VII / sexism & gender|
|Email Address||Physical or Mailing Address||Title VII / financial status|
|Phone Number||Social Security Number or Tax Status||Privacy / data security|
|Preferred Name||Race, Gender, and Age||Title VII|
|Military Service - Skill set acquired, dates of service||Military Service - discharge reasons||Title VII, HIPAA|
|Years of Related Experience||Date of Birth||Title VII, ADEA|
|Degrees Achieved & From What Institution, Specialties/Majors||Graduation Dates||Title VII, ADEA|
|Eligibility to work in the USA||Citizenship and Visa Status||Title VII|
|Job History & Skills Acquired||Reasons for Termination from a Previous Job||Title VII, HIPPA, legal issues like libel|
21 Good Questions to Ask on an Employment App
The main thing to keep in mind when creating an employment application form is to ask targeted questions that will help you to get a keen understanding of the value a candidate has to offer your company.
The employment application form questions below will help you to identify traits such as communication skills, thoughtfulness, motives, and the candidate’s ability to work collaboratively. Stick to questions about performance, experience and behavior.
Pro Tip: 5 questions is usually plenty from the below.
While you don’t want to scare away applicants or make your application form unduly long, you do want to pick about 5 questions from the below to include. Including these questions lets you see the applicant’s written communication skills, thoughtfulness in responses, and ability to complete something quickly yet thoroughly.
Think about it – if an applicant isn’t willing to provide 5 short answers on an application, do you think he or she will make a good employee? Probably not!
Here are 21 questions you could ask on your form, feel free to modify!
- What position are you applying for and why?
- What about our company is most exciting to you?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- How many hours can you work weekly/ what shifts are you available?
- Are you able to commute to our location in a reasonable amount of time?
- What were your best accomplishments in your last role?
- Describe a time when you had to make a tough choice. What did you have to choose between and why did you choose it?
- Provide an example of a time you worked collaboratively with a team.
- Provide a detailed example of a time you demonstrated leadership.
- Describe your relationship with your last immediate supervisor.
- What would your most recent supervisor have to say about you?
- Why did you move on, or why are you looking to move on, from your most recent position?
- Describe your ideal manager.
- Describe yourself in five words.
- What accomplishment are you most proud of in your personal or professional life?
- Provide a short list of your personal strengths. They do not have to be job-related.
- Provide a list of your top 3 weaknesses.
- Provide a one or two-sentence glimpse of your primary career goal.
- If money were no object, what would you do as your career?
- Describe a time when you “took one for the team”.
- What was your favorite job in your past and why?
What Not to Ask & Why
On an application form, you want to avoid 3 types of questions that can cause legal headaches and that waste time.
- Questions about protected characteristics, like race, gender, religion, etc.
You should avoid these questions because they relate to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and its amendments, which affect all employers with more than 15 employees. Questions like this can reveal if someone is a member of protected class.
- Questions around confidential information, like medical conditions, Social Security numbers, tax status, etc.
Questions around confidential information like this can be asked either after hiring, or, if necessary, as a condition of the offer letter (like passing a background check or credit check).
- Questions that won’t help you determine if an applicant is a good fit for the job (which wastes the applicant’s time and your time).
Avoid unnecessary questions by having a team member or the manager of the team read the application. Does everything matter to the role? Is anything extraneous?
Why Have An Employment Application Form At All?
After reading all of this, you might be wondering if you even need an application form for your small business. Here are some guidelines to consider:
- If you have walk in applications or walk in clientele, then, YES, you probably need an application form. For example, restaurants, clothing stores, cafes, daycares, and other brick & mortar businesses usually have people pounding down their doors to see if they are hiring.
- If you are primarily online or in an industry where clients do not walk into your office, you probably do NOT need an application form. You most likely will instead use job descriptions and job postings, which you can read about here, where candidates will submit resumes with cover letters over email or via a web system.
Depending on your type of business, the job application can be a way to not just find great talent that matches what you need, but also serves to create an on-demand pipeline if someone resigns, walks out, or is fired. You then have a list of emails and phone numbers to call, eliminating panic!
Store the applications in a simple way – rejected, hired, and currently in the pipeline (in order of date). Three folders is all you need! But why keep all that paper when you can organize applicants digitally in an applicant tracking system like FreshTeam? FreshTeam is an incredibly user-friendly candidate management system that can save you time when deciding who to hire. Manage applicants for one job for free!
Now that you have your employment application form, you should consider posting a job ad on a free job board to attract talent. Try Indeed.com for the best results; they also give you $50 free to boost your post.