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Job applications

Using application forms in recruitment can be particularly effective if forms are carefully planned and designed in accordance with the requirements of the particular job.
A well-structured application form will also help an employer to extract relevant information from applicants in order to assess their suitability. Employers can compare the information provided against the person specification and job description to assess objectively whether the individual is suited to the job.
Adopting a standardised process of recruitment enables applicants to compete on equal terms with each other. However, the employer may need to consider making reasonable adjustments in the application process to facilitate equality of opportunity for disadvantaged groups.

Key points

  • A standardised application process helps employers to assess objectively an applicant’s ability to do the job.
  • Application forms and online-only processes can disadvantage some disabled candidates (as can a requirement to submit handwritten forms or use only forms) and employers should be prepared to modify their standard processes.
  • Reasonable adjustments may be required in the application process to ensure fairness and equality.
  • Application forms have a number of advantages over CVs.
  • Employers may reduce the risk of discrimination if they treat personal information separately from the rest of the application and restrict access to that information.
  • It will usually be unlawful to ask health-related questions about an applicant at the application stage.
  • Shortlisting processes and decisions must be based on objective criteria that are related to the job.
  • Monitoring equality in the recruitment process can help to address issues of inequality.