Q: I recently applied for a senior-level engineering role. Before I met with the hiring manager, the receptionist asked me to complete an employment application. I have not completed one in many years. Usually I just share a copy of my resume. Is this a new trend?
A: Resumes are helpful in understanding a candidate’s background, skill set and work history. A resume can also give an interviewer some perspective on the candidate’s organizational skills, writing skills and attention to detail. I view resumes as an advertisement for a candidate. The candidate is allowed to decide upon the content, the layout, the paper and even the font of the resume.
The employment application requires all candidates to provide the same information so it is easier to compare candidates. It also asks some questions which probably will not be addressed on the resume. As an example, an employment application may ask the reason for leaving for each job in a candidate’s work history. Usually a candidate would not provide this information on a resume.
Perhaps more importantly is the “fine print” on the bottom of an employment application. There is often language at the bottom of the employment applications which says that as a candidate, you have provided information that is truthful and complete. An example will help illustrate my point. If you were a candidate and were fired from a job in 2009, you may not include that on your resume. However, you must include that in the employment application. If you don’t fully disclose your background on an employment application, you could be terminated if this misinformation is ever discovered during your employment with the company, regardless of when it is discovered.
Finally, make sure that your resume, your employment application and your LinkedIn profile are all similar. Any glaring differences can be a concern.