When it comes to job applications, it's important not to make the process too long and complex.

In order to attract new people, you need to ensure the application process is as simple as possible for both your HR/recruitment managers and for candidates.

Today it’s possible, even easy, to set up applications that are quick, easy, and can be accessed from anywhere. Candidates can apply for jobs anytime from their smartphone or tablet.

This kind of investment often leads to great engagement rates from candidates, as well as the potential to take a high volume of applications. 

Your in-house process should also include establishing the most efficient way of managing applications as a matter of priority – starting from whether you request CVs or completed application forms.

should you request an application form or a CV?

Both types of application processes have their advantages and their disadvantages. Although using application forms prolongs the process, they can be tailored to your organisation and the role to be filled, addressing questions you want to be answered. 

However, you may gain a better idea of personality and cultural fit from a CV where applicants have the opportunity to sell themselves on their own terms. You may also attract more applications when you request CVs and cover letters, as applicants are more likely to apply if they can just send their CV – opening the role up to passive candidates as well as jobseekers.

On the other hand, well-designed application forms also weed out serial, non-serious applicants – an application form takes more time and effort to complete a form than a CV application – and means 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: it may sound draconian but 2014 research by OneShift found that more than 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, that allows 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 and comparing the quality of the candidate much slower.

Remember too that candidates are CV-savvy, with access to online templates, and will not mention areas they would rather avoid.

other benefits of application forms are:

  • information is presented in a standardised way
  • information can be requested about specific skills, qualifications and experience
  • you can ask direct questions about convictions not treated as spent under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 
  • you can ask applicants to complete a separate monitoring form to enable you to monitor progress against your equal opportunities policy
  • you can ask them whether they need any special arrangements for the interview

implementing a blind CV policy

One approach is the use of “blind CVs”, which can equally be applied to application forms: not showing or hiding certain information (e.g. university attended or candidate’s name) from recruiters in order to both counter potential bias –, particularly toward educational background – and encourage a more diverse range of applicants.

‘Blind CV’ policies can increase diversity

In the UK, prompted by concerns that top positions in politics, law and the media are increasingly dominated by Oxbridge (the elite Oxford or Cambridge universities) alumni, top law firm Clifford Chance pioneered a “CV blind” policy, where information about the universities candidates attended was withheld from interviewers.

The firm now attracts third more non-Oxbridge applicants, with graduate trainees coming from 41 different universities.

In New Zealand, blind CVs are used to reduce gender or ethnicity bias. Some companies are requesting that candidates leave out their names so that the reviewers won’t fall into a subconscious trap and show bias against a certain group.

This practice helps promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and allows companies to get the best possible talent, no matter where they come from or what their gender is.

find a suitable candidate

register a vacancy

request a callback

get in touch