Recruiting & Interviewing

The application process

You must make it clear in your advert, or your brief to the agency, how you want candidates to apply. Two key methods of getting information about applicants are:

  • Providing an application form – designed by the employer or bought from a stationery supplier.
  • Requesting a CV with a covering letter or email – a brief account of the person’s education, qualifications and previous work experience.

Advantages of application forms

  • You can decide exactly what information you need to know.
  • It is easy to compare the skills and experience of different applicants.
  • You can re-use the form for future vacancies.

Disadvantages of application forms

  • They are time-consuming and can be tricky to design as they must be easy to fill in and have clear instructions.
  • You pay the cost of producing and sending them out to applicants.
  • A form can put some applicants off.

What to include in an application form:

  • name and address of organisation
  • job applied for
  • name, address, telephone numbers and email address of candidate
  • educational and professional qualifications
  • work experience
  • other relevant information and skills, eg languages, clean driving licence
  • names and addresses of referees

Be careful to avoid possible discriminatory questions, eg asking them to indicate if they have childcare responsibilities. See the guide: prevent discrimination and value diversity .

You may wish to ask for additional information eg leisure interests.

Advantages of requesting CVs

  • No need to produce and send out a form to every applicant.
  • You can tell something about candidates’ abilities by the way they present their CV.
  • A covering letter can give you a hint of their suitability for the job.

Disadvantages of requesting CVs

  • It is much more difficult to compare the skills and experience of different candidates compared to a standard application form.
  • Gaps in education or work can more easily be hidden.
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