Application Forms and the Application Process
Do not accept speculative applications for employment
Do not accept applications that are simply casual or speculative requests for employment. Only accept and consider job applications that are made in response to planned and open recruitment competitions for clearly defined posts for which job descriptions and personnel specifications exist.
Prepare structured application forms for use in all recruitment exercises. Explain
You should make, or be prepared to make, the forms available in a range of different formats as a reasonable adjustment to satisfy the needs of disabled applicants where appropriate. For example, you might make forms available in different font sizes or in Braille or audio formats.
It is good practice to draft a range of application forms that are each “tailored” for particular posts and which contain questions which are relevant to and necessary for assessing the selection criteria established for the respective posts.
Review your standard application forms ocasionally and update them to take account of any changes that you periodically might make to job descriptions and personnel specifications.
Do not include “monitoring” questions on the application form
Omit from application forms questions relating to religious belief; political opinion; race or ethnicity; nationality; marital, civil partnership or family status; sexual orientation. Explain
An exception to this recommendation might arise where you may lawfully be able to apply a genuine occupational requirement criterion in order to recruit a job-holder who has a particular attribute or status.
Omit questions relating to age, date of birth and national insurance number, unless these are relevant to objectively justifiable job selection criteria.
When collecting information for equal opportunities monitoring purposes, use a separate monitoring questionnaire for which a separate envelope, marked ‘confidential’ has been be provided for responses.
Equal Opportunities Monitoring forms should never be provided to the members of the selection panel.Information relating to disability and reasonable adjustments
Always remember that you may be under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for job applicants who have disabilities. Explain
You may be under a duty to change how you normally do certain things in order to accommodate the needs of a disabled job applicant. The purpose is to remove disadvantages that a disabled person may be under that non-disabled persons are not. This may include making changes to your job selection criteria, your interview arrangements, the physical features of your premises. This duty to make reasonable adjustments is imposed by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
For example, an applicant might suggest certain arrangements which will help him to attend a job interview. Such a question is also likely to help you to implement any positive action programmes for disabled persons that you are taking, such as a “guaranteed interview scheme”.
Information relating to health or medical history
Do not place questions about job applicants’ health or medical history in the application form.
You may seek and consider such information in appropriate circumstances.
Provide application packs
It is good practice to provide application packs which include the following:
- the structured application form;
- a clear statement of the closing date for applications;
- the contact details of named individuals who will provide reasonable adjustments to applicants who may require them;
- copies of the relevant job description and personnel specification;
- a separate equal opportunities monitoring form.
Keep the “application period”; i.e. the period from the publication of the advertisement to the closing date for submitting applications, open for a reasonable length of time.
What is “reasonable” will depend on the particular circumstances of each exercise, but it is good practice to plan recruitment exercises so that the “application period” will be around 3 weeks long. Such a period will usually meet the needs of both the applicants and the employer.