No, you are not required to have candidates complete a formal job application. However, there are 3 great benefits to using a job application.

In the small business world of less paperwork and less formalities, small business owners may opt out of using formal job applications. Instead of job applications, just resumes and cover letters are used to evaluate job candidates. Sure, there is nothing wrong with doing that.

The job application can add an extra step and surface many questions for small businesses. Avoiding the use of a job application may just seem easier than dealing with it. But there are 3 reasons why you should consider using a job application.

  1. Requires needed information that may be left out of a resume

Resumes come in all shapes and sizes, with some more detailed than others. Important information such as job details, education, and special skills sometimes are not included in a resume. This is because some use their resume as a very quick list of past experience, or they exclude information because they are trying to keep it to 1 page.

Using a job application solicits answers to specific questions needed to do the job.

  1. Keeps information uniform

Resumes are formatted differently and evaluations can get confusing when searching through each resume.

To compare candidates with ease, a job application requires the same information to be placed in a specific area for each candidate. This makes it much easier to lay applications side by side to compare.

  1. Requires a signature to verify all information is correct and not misrepresented.

Perhaps the most important reason on this list!

Having a formal statement at the end of a job application with a required signature holds the candidate accountable for any misrepresentation on the application. It also grants permission to verify information listed (if statement is included).


Although using a job application is not required by law and may seem like an extra formality, there are clear benefits to using one. For more information about creating a job application and questions to avoid, check out 11 Questions To Delete Right Now From Your Job Application.

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