Advertising a job and interviewing candidates

Job application process: CVs and application forms


Employers have two main options for inviting applications to job vacancies:

  • providing a job application form for applicants to complete and return to you
  • asking applicants to send a copy of their CV (Curriculum Vitae) and a covering letter explaining why they are suitable for the job

Advantages of application forms for recruitment

  • You can ask for the exact information you need to know on the job applicant.
  • It is easy to compare the skills and experience of different applicants.
  • You can use the same form for future vacancies.

Disadvantages of application forms for recruitment

  • They are time-consuming and can be challenging to design.
  • There may be costs involved in producing and sending them out to applicants. However most employers will put their application forms online making them available for candidates to download and fill in.
  • Lengthy application forms can be off-putting for potential candidates.

Information to request on a job application form

  • Job applied for.
  • Name, address, telephone numbers and email address.
  • Qualifications.
  • Work experience.
  • Relevant skills or experience.
  • Names and addresses of referees.
  • If the applicant has a criminal record.
  • If the applicant has the right to work in the UK.

Download a sample job application form (DOC, 18K).

You must avoid asking discriminatory questions. See how to prevent discrimination and value diversity. Equality Commission guidance on the application process.

Monitoring forms

Registered employers in Northern Ireland with more than ten full-time employees have a legal duty to monitor the composition of their workforce and of those applying to fill vacancies. Download a sample monitoring questionnaire for job applicants (DOC, 20K).

Read Equality Commission guidance on recruitment advertising.

Advantages of requesting CVs

  • There is no need to produce and send out a job application form to every applicant.
  • You may be able to get an idea of candidates' personality and characteristics by the way they present their CV.
  • A covering letter can give you a good idea of their suitability for the job.
  • It saves you time and there are no costs involved for you.
  • Some applicants may see an application form as a barrier to applying for a job so requesting a CV may open you up to a larger pool of candidates.

Disadvantages of requesting CVs

  • It is harder to compare the skills and experience of different candidates.
  • You may not get a true sense of whether a candidate is suitable for the job and skills required to perform their role.
  • Gaps in education or work can be hidden more easily by the job applicant.
  • You may end up appointing an unsuitable candidate for the job.