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Employment Applications Are For Everyone

Employment Applications Are For Everyone

Sharlyn Lauby | HR Bartender

June 24, 2010

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about anti-harassment training and mentioned the time that I read about one of my employees in the newspaper — specifically their alleged inappropriate conduct. There’s another piece of that story I wanted to share with you because I learned a very valuable lesson with the situation.

Everyone needs to complete an employment application. Everyone. No exceptions.

You see, the employee I read about in the newspaper hadn’t completed an employment application. Only submitted a resume. He was a friend and former colleague of a member of the leadership team. You know how this goes …. senior level manager wants to hire a former employee from a past employer. They know the person so the manager comes to human resources and says they know the person, great guy, no need to fill out an application, yada yada yada.

And because HR is constantly being accused of creating unnecessary paperwork, I figured I was being a team player and just took the resume. Wrong-o.

Now, if I had an application, would that have changed whether or not we hired the person … who knows? What I do know is, if he had completed an application, I might have at least known about the situation before reading about it in the newspaper.

Having no application, both the senior manager and I were in the dark. That just delivered a gut punch like you wouldn’t believe.

You’re probably wondering about the outcome of this situation. Well, the senior manger met the employee in the parking lot and came to my office. (Note: if your manager ever meets you in the parking lot and says “let’s go to the director of human resources’ office”, this is not a good sign.) I asked the employee one question — “Have you seen today’s newspaper?” He immediately resigned.

The outcome could have been very different. But I learned an important lesson — employment applications are for everyone. It’s not beneath someone to complete an application. It doesn’t change a person’s title or responsibilities. Employment applications contain different information than is usually found on a resume.

Having employees complete employment applications is necessary. Do yourself a favor and don’t cut corners on this one.

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