Job applications play a crucial role in the hiring process, providing employers with essential information about candidates’ qualifications and employment history. However, it is vital for employers to be aware of and comply with hiring laws and regulations when designing and using job applications.

This article highlights the importance of staying compliant with hiring laws and offers insights into common pitfalls that employers should avoid.

To learn more about how Asure’s HR services can keep you compliant with federal, state, and local hiring laws, click here.

The Compliance Challenge

Surprisingly, a significant number of job applications used by employers today are non-compliant with hiring laws. Mary Simmons, VP of HR Consulting at Asure estimates that 90% of job postings she sees are non-compliant. These applications often contain questions that infringe upon candidates’ rights or are considered discriminatory.

It is essential for employers to understand the legal restrictions and requirements governing job applications in their jurisdiction to avoid legal repercussions and maintain fairness in the hiring process.

Key Compliance Considerations

To ensure compliance with hiring laws, employers should pay attention to the following aspects when creating and using job applications:

Salary History

In many states and regions, it is illegal to inquire about a candidate’s salary history during the application process. Asking for such information can perpetuate pay inequities and biases. Employers should refrain from including questions about previous salaries to comply with these regulations.

Social Security Numbers

Requesting Social Security numbers on job applications is generally discouraged and may even be prohibited in certain jurisdictions. Collecting this sensitive information at the application stage poses privacy and identity theft risks.

Employers should exercise caution and avoid requesting Social Security numbers unless there are specific legal or regulatory exceptions applicable to their situation.

Consult Professionals

Employment laws can be complex and vary across jurisdictions. To ensure compliance, it is advisable for employers to consult with HR professionals, employment attorneys, or trusted experts in their region. These professionals can provide guidance on local regulations and help tailor job applications to meet legal requirements.

Discrimination and Bias

Job applications should be designed in a way that eliminates any potential for discrimination or bias. Avoid asking questions that could reveal an applicant’s race, gender, religion, marital status, or other protected characteristics. Instead, focus on gathering information relevant to the job requirements and qualifications.

Promoting Compliance and Fairness

Creating compliant job applications is only the first step. Employers must also ensure that these applications are used consistently and fairly throughout the hiring process.

Here are some additional tips to promote compliance and fairness:

Training and Awareness

Educate hiring managers and recruiters about relevant hiring laws, regulations, and best practices. Provide training sessions to familiarize them with compliant application design and usage.

Regular Review and Updates

Job applications should be periodically reviewed to ensure alignment with evolving laws and regulations. Stay informed about any changes in local, state, or federal employment legislation and update your applications accordingly.

Document Retention

Establish appropriate document retention policies to protect applicants’ privacy and maintain compliance with data protection regulations. Safely store and dispose of job applications in a secure manner once their purpose is fulfilled.


Job applications serve as a crucial tool in the hiring process, providing employers with valuable information about candidates’ qualifications and work history. However, it is essential for employers to be vigilant about compliance with hiring laws and regulations when creating and using job applications.

By avoiding prohibited inquiries, seeking professional guidance, and promoting fairness throughout the process, employers can ensure compliance, protect applicants’ rights, and foster a more inclusive and equitable hiring environment.

To learn more about how Asure’s HR services can keep you compliant with federal, state, and local hiring laws, click here.

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