There are a great deal of questions you can ask in an application form. Ideally these should be tailor made to suit each role within an organisation and should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they comply with legal requirements. A one size fits all approach does not work in this case and it is best to take the time to create a form that allows you to gain a very good understanding of the applicant before the face to face interview.
Important topics to cover:
- Legal entitlement to work in New Zealand
- Medical conditions
- Criminal convictions
- Referees and authorisation to contact (see declaration and authorisation section below-this is very important under The Privacy Act)
- Previous employment
- Credit checking
- If they or a family member have ever or are currently working for your company
- If the applicant is unsuitable for this role do they allow you to keep their CV in case they are suitable for a role in the future
- Misrepresentation of information
Please be mindful of the wording of the above topics as there are certain topics which need care when being asked.
This is also a good way to remind the interviewer that relevant documents such as working VISA’s, qualifications and references have been sighted and photocopied before the applicant leaves. A checklist at the bottom of the form is the best way to do this.
Declaration and Authorisation area
One of the most important parts of the application form is the declaration and authorisation area at the bottom (I always recommend for it to be at the bottom on a separate page so the applicant can sign it off last once they have filled out the entire form).
Employers must ask permission from an applicant before approaching a former employer for a reference. The safest way to do this is to have it signed off with their permission at interview stage, informing them that if the interviewing and testing process goes well their referee will be contacted. You cannot contact anyone that is not listed on the form and if you do and the applicant was to find out you are in breach of the Privacy Act.
The form will include an area for the applicants to sign, acknowledging that they have provided all information relevant to the role and have not withheld any significant information. The other area to include is the signing area for the applicant who authorises you to contact the stated referees and, where it is a requirement of the role, to conduct relevant security checking to ascertain whether the applicant has criminal convictions.