The Use of Application Forms

The Use of Application Forms

The Use of Application Forms

One of the problems of engaging salesmen as the result of a newspaper advertisement is the amount of management time taken up in screening applicants. Very few of those who apply are likely to possess exactly the qualifications and degree of experience which one is seeking. Furthermore, it is a sad fact that the ability to write a good letter is not a quality possessed by many good salesmen. It may prove unwise to dismiss a man seeking a sales position purely on the strength of his letter. Equally, a good letter-writer does not necessarily possess the personality to mke a good salesman. On the other hand, to interview every applicant is to set oneself a formidable task. If you only allow thirty minutes per interview, you are still unlikely to be able to see more than ten to fifteen men in a day. Thus, a response to your advertisement of fifty or sixty letters-which may not be unusual-can entail a full week's interviewing. Some method of screening, prior to the interview stage, is therefore essential. This can best be achieved by sending, to each applicant, an Application Form for completion and return.

A suitable form of application should seek information under the following headings:

Applicant's name and address

Telephone Number

Personal Details Date of birth

Place of birth

Marital status

Number, age and sex of children (if any).

Medical History

Education Name and location of educational establishments attended with approximate starting and finishing dates.

Educational Details of passes at '0' and 'A' levels, of Attainments Honours Degrees, Institutional Diplomas, etc., obtained.

Sales/Product Details of any sales and/or product training

Training received, where received and approximate dates.

Foreign Languages Details of whether fluent in reading, writing

Spoken or speech.

Employment Record Details of companies; Locations; Nature of

business; Position held; Duties performed;

Date of joining; Date of leaving; Salary;

Reason for leaving.

together with certain specific questions, such as:

Why are you making this application?

Would you be prepared to move from your present locality? What salary are you seeking?

The use of an application form of this nature has a number of advantages. It sets out clearly the applicant's qualifications and experience prior to the interview. Unsuitable personnel need not be interviewed and the comparatively high cost of an executive's time is thereby saved. Furthermore, should there be any features in the man's history which require clarification, these are highlighted and can be discussed during the interview. The main disadvantage in the use of an application form is that it creates delay. If one is seeking to attract applicants with good experience and selling skill it must be recognized that competition will exist for their services. While one is engaged in sending out application forms, waiting for their return and scrutinizing the replies, there is the risk that the best man will have been snapped up by another company. However, where more than, say, twenty or thirty applications are received, some weeding-out must occur if the company's management are to avoid a great waste of valuable time in abortive interviewing.

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