‘Hi. I thought I’d share the good news with you. I handed in my application for the job at lunchtime, and just had a call that they would like to see me for an interview on
Thursday. So fingers crossed. This might be the one !! Thanks.
Couldn’t have done it without you.’
NS (Fleet Administrator, aspiring Admin Manager – using our application form service)
EAFs (Employer Application Forms) are increasingly being used to assist the recruitment process, particularly in certain sectors.
The forms can be several pages long and extremely comprehensive – designed to extract as much key information as possible, in a format that makes for ease of direct candidate comparison.
There is no merit in filling in a form half heartedly and we recommend that you give serious consideration to your motivations for applying to a certain job and then give the process your dedicated time and commitment.
To help you avoid being eliminated in the first sift, we have outlined some general advice (gleaned from a variety of industry sources) along with some typical questions you might expect and the skills to bear in mind when you are answering them.
Please get in touch for further advice and assistance.
- Before you begin completing a form, do a little self analysis and jot down key aspects of your life, achievements and skills
- Read the form fully so you know what is expected and can draw on a different life/work experience for each section
- Draft all of your answers first (especially for written applications), perfect, then transfer to the final copy
- Never substitute or attach a CV stating “please see attached CV” – this will definitely ruin your chance of an interview
- Follow instructions to the letter – sounds obvious but we’ve been told it’s often the first sift criteria as not doing so indicates a lack of ability to follow simple instructions or focus on attention to detail. e.g. ‘use black ink’, ‘write in block capitals’, ‘write in no more than 300 words’. Try to answer questions that are in parts systematically, so that you don’t leave anything out
- As you answer each question ask yourself what information they are trying to obtain – some forms will guide you very closely others will not. Use the skills list we have below
- For on-line forms bear in mind that the content may be scanned, so include as many key words relevant to the job/industry as you can
- Once complete, have a break and go back to the form to double check it. As with a CV or letter ensure that the grammar and spelling are perfect. (Those employers who actively encourage applications from overseas candidates may make allowances with this – but you should still have a friend, colleague or professional company check it for you.)
- Draft a brief covering letter to accompany the form and use this as an additional opportunity to highlight anything that would increase your chances of success with the application
- Keep a copy of the completed form and job advert for future reference and to refresh your memory prior to interview!
Finally – go the extra mile – think what your competitors would do. Many people are put off by the hard work that it takes to complete an application form, so hang on in there and make the most of this knowledge. Always volunteer a little more than required and in the section where you can add any additional supporting information – do! We are advised that this is also a sifting criteria. The section is there for a reason. Use it to express your enthusiasm for the role, convey knowledge of the company and the reasons why they should choose you! Many candidates won’t.
They want to know what?……..
- Why have you chosen this particular role / company / industry?
- What relevant strengths / skills / abilities would you bring to this role / company?
- What are you looking for in your career / what stimulates / motivates you?
- Describe a challenging situation that you have faced, how you dealt with it and what you learnt from it
- What are your main activities and interests, what do you contribute and what do you gain from them?
- Describe your most outstanding non-academic achievement, highlighting how you overcame any barriers to meet your objective
- Describe a time where you have had to overcome differences / influence a group of people in order to achieve a target – explain the task, actions you took and why plus the resulting outcome and what you learnt
- Describe a situation or piece of work that illustrates your technical knowledge and how it was applied in a practical context (technical professions)
- Describe an innovative change that you have initiated and how you implemented it
- Tell us about an activity or task you have had to plan, how did you go about organising things and what was the outcome?
- Please use this space to provide any additional information that you have not been able to highlight elsewhere in support of your application
I’ll show them……..
In general all employers are looking for the following types of key (‘transferable’ or ‘core’) skills. Bear this in mind when writing your answers and demonstrate that you have them in abundance.
- Effective all round communication
- Ability to negotiate and persuade
- Team working
- Decision making
- Problem solving
- Attention to detail
- Drive and enthusiasm
- Cope with pressure
- Planning and organising
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Commercial / business awareness
- Time management – able to prioritise
- Willingness to learn
- IT literacy (general level of proficiency)