Choosing and carefully designing the right job application process can save employers a lot of time.
The application process has become a very quick, easy process where candidates can apply for jobs anywhere, anytime, from their smartphone or tablet. Potentially high volumes of applicants means establishing the most efficient way of managing applications as a matter of priority – starting from whether you request CVs or completed application forms.
Application form or CV?
Both have their advantages. Although using application forms prolongs the process, they can be tailored to your organisation and the role to be filled, addressing questions you want answered. However, you may gain a better idea of personality and cultural fit from a CV, where applicants have the opportunity to sell themselves in their own terms.
Well-designed application forms also weed out serial, non-serious applicants because it takes more time and effort to complete a form than send a CV, and applicants can be asked to sign a declaration about the accuracy and truthfulness of submitted information. This can also make it clear that any discrepancies may result in dismissal. Which may sound draconian, but research by OneShift in 2014 found that 56% of employers had received less than truthful CVs. Common lies included fudging dates, skills, salary and academic results.
Requesting CVs may seem an inexpensive option, particularly for smaller employers with low levels of recruitment. CVs allow candidates to provide extra information that might not be covered in an application form. But no two CV layouts or formats are the same, which makes sifting slower. Also remember that candidates are CV-savvy, with access to online templates, and won’t mention areas they would rather avoid.
Other benefits of application forms:
Information is presented in a standardised way.
Information can be requested about specific skills, qualifications and experience.
Permission can be sought to hold data, in compliance with the Fair Work Act.
Questions can be asked about convictions not treated as spent under the Spent Convictions Act 1988.
Applicants can be asked to complete a separate monitoring form to enable monitoring progress against the employer’s equal opportunities policy.
Applicants can be asked if they need any special arrangements for the interview.
Information can be provided about when references will be taken up.
Blind CVs are a pioneering new approach that can equally be applied to application forms. They involve not showing, or hiding, certain information from recruiters – particularly educational background – to counter potential bias and encourage a more diverse range of applicants.
In the United Kingdom, prompted by concerns that top positions in politics, law and the media were increasingly dominated by Oxbridge alumni, law firm Clifford Chance pioneered a ‘CV blind’ policy in which information about the universities candidates attended were withheld to interviewers. The firm now attracts a third more non-Oxbridge applicants, with graduate trainees coming from 41 different universities.
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