What information can I ask for on an application form?

What information can I ask for on an application form?


When advertising for a vacancy within your business, you’re naturally going to want to gather as much information as possible about your applicants; you need to know who’s applying so you can make an informed choice. However, there are some topics you have to avoid by law to prevent discrimination. Read on to find out what you can and can’t ask job applicants on their application forms.

Firstly, you need to know who your applicant is, so you can ask for a name, address and contact details. It’s also important to know whether a potential candidate is qualified for the role you’re advertising before you start interviewing them, therefore asking for things such as work, and education history is a standard fixture on most job applications. Some roles require specific applicants to have specific qualifications and training, such as a forklift truck driving license or a degree in a relevant area, so some job applications will ask for these as well.

However, there are some types of information you can’t ask applicants to provide, as they may cause bias in the recruitment process, either consciously or unconsciously. The government has published a list of ‘protected characteristics’ that employers cannot ask about in the recruitment process by law. These are as follows:

  • Age
  • Being or becoming a transsexual person
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy or being on maternity leave
  • Disability
  • Race, including skin colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • Religious beliefs or lack thereof
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

Under no circumstances may recruiters ask for this information in the recruitment process. Recruiters are also restricted from asking whether or not an applicant has or is planning to have children. In some cases, recruiters may ask about health or disability, but only if the requirements of the role can’t be met with reasonable adjustments or if they need to know if an applicant needs help to take part in an interview.

For more information on the recruitment and application process, or to book a Free Review, call on 0844 8797286.

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Northern Accountants

Sarah and the team at Quest have provided us HR support since January 2013.

Quest Consulting Services provided us with a comprehensive employment structure with contacts and a handbook and have been on hand to help me deal with the occasional issue I have faced with team members through their telephone support service.

As our personal Consultant, Sarah provides a quality, professional and complete service which is great value for money.

Northern Accountants

Off Limits Corporate Events

Sarah has transformed our HR and has introduced systems that have taken lots of hassle away from staffing issues within our company.

We have worked with Sarah and her team for 5 years and in this time our business has grown considerably. With telephone support available for all our Managers as they need it plus Sarah and her team proactively keeping us updated on changes in legislation we are reassured that we are in safe hands.

The HR software that Quest implemented also helps us keep on top of the routine aspects of HR such as holiday bookings, recording absence, holding personnel records which then allows Sarah and her team easy access to give us relevant advice.

Our Managers have also benefited from workshops run by Sarah to help develop their skills on handling issues such as disciplinary, appraisals, recruitment etc….

The support of Quest is invaluable and provides a much more cost effective solution than employing a HR Manager in house.

Off Limits Corporate Events

10 Associates

Why would anybody NOT have Sarah working 'alongside' their business?

I've known Sarah for many years and she's always been there for me and the business when her wealth of knowledge has been called upon.

We have used Sarah and her team to handle our contracts, handbook and Health & Safety and they are readily available on the telephone when needed or on site at our premises.

Highly recommended.

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