Employment Application & Hiring Process
Employment Application Forms
How to Handle Employment Applications & the Hiring Process
Whether you're an entrepreneur or a human resources manager in charge of the employment policy at your company, you'll need to take the issue of the hiring process and employee screening very seriously. Not only is it important to approve an application for employment for the jobs you wish to fill, you must do so within the boundaries of labor law. Civil lawsuits have led many employers to take every precaution to avoid impropriety in their hiring procedures, including within the employment application. Employment application template examples can help you stay on the right side of the law. Here are some of the other things you'll need to take into account when handling the job application process.
If you are advertising for an open position, you've already encountered your first potential hiring process pitfall. Companies have found themselves in hot water by putting verbiage in their advertisements or their application for employment that is not acceptably inclusive. Be careful to avoid gendered language in either your advertisements or your employment applications. Nothing within labor law states that you must use the phrase "equal opportunity employer" or "equal employment opportunity" in your ad, but it can go a long way towards squashing accusations of discrimination. If you choose to include a drug test, make it known early and note it in the employee handbook. You may decline a job offer based on the results of the drug test, but not an individual's history of drug use.
Application for Employment
An employment application shouldn't ask certain questions to avoid violating employment discrimination law. Questions about certain issues like age, religion, race, sex, nationality, medical history, physical characteristics, or other personal information can violate Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines. There are certain exceptions when the question is related to job qualifications. A job application may ask about age to ensure a job applicant is 18 or older, and physical characteristics and handicaps may be asked about when related to job requirements. For example, when employment opportunities involve heavy lifting, asking about disabilities that prevent lifting weight over a certain amount would be permissible on an employment application.
Some other lines of inquiry on a job application that can lead to problems include the following:
- The employment application template should not ask questions about union membership. Such questions may violate labor laws preventing discrimination based on union membership status.
- Questions regarding garnishment and home ownership have been found discriminatory since minorities own fewer homes and have higher levels of garnishment than non-minorities.
- Questions about citizenship may violate anti-discrimination sections of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Questions about citizenship should be used on an I-9 form instead.
- The EEOC has found that questions about arrests or convictions records are improperly discriminatory against minorities unless the employment opportunity involves a "security sensitive" job position.
Reams have been written for job seekers to help them improve their interviewing skills, but what about you, the one offering the employment opportunities? It is just as important that you hone your own skills. Keep in mind that you will be disappointing several candidates when going through the job application process. Some of these candidates will be looking for anything they can blame their failure on. Don't give them any obvious reasons to complain to human resources. If you adhere closely to a set interview pattern, repeating the same questions for each candidate, you'll be much less likely to run into trouble with employment law. If you question one candidate on their credit history, make sure you ask every candidate about their credit history.
Avoiding a Lawsuit
If a disgruntled employee or an angry job candidate decides to sue you for discrimination, there's not much you can do to stop them. However, you can certainly make sure your employment policy hasn't given them any ammunition. As an employer, you are able to choose who works for you based on four major criteria: dependability, skill, experience, and performance. Once you stray from these criteria, you can run afoul of employment law, even within your employment application. Employment application template experts advise owners to familiarize themselves with state and federal laws governing discrimination. Do not base hiring decisions on anything that can get your company in trouble. If you choose to conduct a background check, limit yourself to only the pertinent information. A background check can be a powerful tool, but it's easy to overstep your boundaries. Particularly avoid offering or declining employment opportunities based on age, race, sex, religion, or a physical disability, and keep your employee handbook free of any such references.