Having just been through a round of internal recruitment at work, I stopped and thought about the varying levels of presentation and content quality that had been provided on the application forms that were received for the roles that we were recruiting for. Given the differences that had been observed, I wondered if some of those that had applied really understood the purpose of an application form. In true modern day style, I thought I’d Google “purpose, application form” and see what came up. The top two search results were quite interesting;

The first from WikiAnswers, gave a very straightforward answer and I quote “a job application helps the manager decide what people he should give an interview to”

The second from the University of Bradford Career Development Services was a little more structured and read

Application forms are written to enable you to illustrate that you have the appropriate skills, personal qualities, experience and the potential to be successful

University of Bradford Career Development Services, Application_forms_booklet.pdf, available at http://www.careers.brad.ac.uk/student/jobhunting/PDFs/Application_forms_booklet.pdf

Both of these hit the mark, the first is really straightforward and demonstrates the purpose of an application to the recruiting manager. The recruiting manager will by reviewing the applications made select those candidates that they believe are best equipped for the role and invite them to interview. The second is more candidate biased and clearly communicates the need for the candidate to demonstrate through their application why they believe they would be good for the job. These might seem to be common sense statements (an assumption and we know what can happen when we assume) , but I would suggest based on the quality of some of the applications that I have seen that this is not well understood or common sense.

At the most basic level, for you as a candidate, the purpose of any application form is to get you in front of the recruiting manager to be interviewed. If it achieves that it has served its purpose. Watch out for my next post where I will give some insight into the good and bad examples that I have seen and how you can learn from these.