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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