Employer Resources

Why you should never request this information too early in the recruitment process

When you’re trying to hire the best talent for your company, it’s key that you provide an application process that is as quick and as easy as possible. Candidates are increasingly turning away from organizations that require long or unwieldy procedures to submit resumes. In fact, according to the 2019 MRINetwork Recruitment Trends Study, about 31 percent of candidates said they’re frustrated when a job application requests too much unnecessary information upfront.

To help avoid this situation, consider the following tips for reducing the information you request from candidates right away: 

1. Avoid asking for references too early

As part of your hiring efforts, you will likely ask applicants for references who can discuss in-depth exactly how the new hire will bring value to your organization. However, it can be extremely annoying for candidates if a reference check is requested too early in the process. You are essentially asking them to provide a list of contacts that they may want to adjust, after getting further into the interview process. Serious candidates will want to provide you with references that they have prepped, and who can truly discuss their work experience and style as it pertains to the role for which they are being considered. Ultimately there is no reason to ask for this information on an application; all it does is lengthen the time for the candidate to submit their resume. Wait to ask for references until the final stages of the hiring process, so you don’t give applicants one more reason to get frustrated with your application.

2. Try not to request social security information until it’s absolutely necessary

Another piece of information to hold off on asking is a social security number. While this information is valuable for background checks and necessary for onboarding new hires, it’s quite invasive for an online application. Candidates may feel the information requested has little purpose and may be concerned about this information remaining secure before employment becomes a viable reality. 

Therefore, as is the case when asking for references, you should avoid requesting a candidate’s social security number until as late in the process as possible. 

3. Don’t request contact information from former employers too soon

A final piece of information to leave off applications is the contact info for former employers. This information isn’t necessary to evaluate whether candidates have the skills or experience that the job requires. It’s also likely this information may be harder for applicants to locate, the further back you go into their work history. They may have to research the information to make sure it’s up to date, which is another reason not to ask for this unless it’s clear that you are close to making an offer.

In summary, keep the initial application short and sweet. Get to know candidates gradually before requesting information that’s deeply personal or overly invasive, to avoid turning off future employees who could add tremendous value to your company.

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