Often times when I interview for a job I provide a resume and am often asked to fill out an application for employment wherein I pretty much transcribe my resume. Sometimes this only happens after I've been given an informal offer.

My question is... why? Why isn't the resume sufficient?

  • As long as they are not making you reproduce more than 50% of the resume, its okay. Otherwise, their hiring forms suck. Just complete the formality and get it over with. When you get the job, change their IT systems with better interfaces and such (if you are a web developer). – Erran Morad Aug 2 '14 at 18:46
  • @BoratSagdiyev If you are asked to do that, but if you come on board and want to change stuff around that's not assigned to you then you'd be pretty annoying to work with – Brandin Aug 2 '14 at 18:55

They just want to spare their time and effort and have you (rather than HR staff) enter all your data into their database. Also, you are (hopefully) more motivated to check your input and make sure that it is error-free than the HR staff.

  • Half the time I'm filling forms out on paper. As such, HR has to transcribe it, regardless. – neubert Aug 2 '14 at 21:18
  • Basically its laziness on the part of HR – Pepone Aug 3 '14 at 17:33

Another point is that the application would standardize where everything is. Resumes are rarely standardized in the same way as different applicants my use different formats. By having a physical page that re-arranges the data to be standard, this may make it easier to compare applicants and know where to focus on the interview possibly as someone with more work experience may get questions about how things were handled in past jobs that may not be the case if someone is applying for the first adult job.

  1. You can format your resume any way you want. By making you fill in your info in THEIR format, they hope to bring out inconsistencies and information that you are not volunteering in your resume. For example, none of the references you give matches your boss's name, they might want to know why.

  2. The application includes you having to provide your reason for leaving each position. That's info that you might be reluctant to give.

  3. The application includes a request to explain any and all gaps in your employment history - that's something that your resume would not cover.

  4. The application, unlike the resume, is a LEGAL document, where:

    • you attest that everything you wrote in the application is true, to the best of your knowledge.

    • you give your prospective employer permission to sick the Pinkertons aka private detectives on you to investigate your background including your criminal history.

    • You also give your prospective employer the right to check with the college registrars that you attended the schools you claimed you did.

The resume, in comparison, is nothing but an unsworn statement.


Employment applications can ask for a variety of things of interest to the company that wouldn't be on a resume. These can include the following:

  • Your desired salary
  • How you found out about the position
  • If you have any friends or relatives at the company
  • If you have ever worked at the company before
  • If you have ever been fired before
  • Your citizenship or resident status
  • The date you can start working
  • If you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor
  • Your high school and college GPA
  • Information about previous employers including address, phone number, your salary, the name of your manager, and reason for leaving
  • Names of references, their phone numbers, and their relationship to you

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