What Is An Application Blank?
(All references at end of article.)
If you’ve ever gone through the hiring process as an applicant, you would at some stage been prompted to answer a set of predetermined questions. This part of the application is known as the application blank, which companies use to evaluate applicants before committing to interviewing them.
The role of the application blank in selection process is to narrow down the list of applicants to a smaller group of people that have the general qualities or skills that an employer would deem favorable for an applicant in that role.
What Information Does the Application Blank Require?
An application blank is used to collect background information from you; usually information related to education, certifications, references, professional experiences, salary information or any other criteria that the organization deems important.
Weighted Application Blanks
In some cases, organizations use weighted applicant blanks (WABs). A WAB would have scores assigned to different responses to questions based on pre-defined criteria. An employer may assign scores to expected responses to each question, and then score the applicant on the overall total for all responses on the application blank.
The WAB can be distinguished from traditional application forms in three important ways:
- The questions on a WAB are developed based on how relevant the company considers these factors for an employee in the job being advertised;
- Statistics and science drives what employers consider ‘best responses’. History shows them that people with certain qualities tended to perform better in some roles, and companies use that information to evaluate current applicants; and
- Weights or scores are assigned to each applicant response, which are summed up giving the company a quantitative basis on which to evaluate applicants.
Why Do Companies Use Them In Their Current Form?
You may ask why the company doesn’t specify these requirements outright in the job requirements. The reasons can be any one or a combination of the below factors:
a) The company is not sure how many people are going to apply for this position;
b) The questions that make up an application blank are not all hard and fast requirements for the job, but help the company arrive at a measure of overall suitability of the applicant to the job;
c) The answers to questions on an application blank are usually not just ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but could be used for information like ethnicity, which has no right or wrong answer.
Popularity of Application Blanks
Owing to application blanks being used in some form in almost every hiring process except the most informal ones (which would require an interview, in the least), they are very popular. Next to the personal interview, application blanks would be the second most popular tool used by employers to evaluate candidates in the hiring process.
- South African Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice by Ben Swanepoel, Marius Van Wyk, Barney Erasmus
- Careers: An Organisational Perspective by Andries Magiel Gert Schreuder, Melinde Coetzee