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Interview and Complete the Paperwork

Clipboard with application on itRegardless of the type of job, there is some common information that you will need to provide to most potential employers.

Common Information on Job Applications 

Some information you likely will need to provide on a typical job application includes:

  • Personal contact information (name, address, phone number, email address, work eligibility)
  • Education (schools attended, major, degrees or certificates earned, graduation date)
  • Position information (specific position you are applying for, days/hours available to work, date you can start work)
  • Employment information (names, addresses, phone numbers of previous employers, names of previous supervisors, dates of employment, reasons for leaving)
  • References of at least three people. Ask potential references before you give out their contact information. Once you get their permission, you will need your references’ professional names, job titles, work addresses and work phone numbers. 

What Can Employers Ask?

In an interview, the employer is trying to find out as much as possible about you in a short time to see if you are a good fit. But there are some things an employer simply cannot ask. It’s tricky because a prospective employer can (and can’t) ask for several types of information depending on the state where you live. This table outlines some common “can ask” and “can’t ask” types of questions. 

  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
  • How much are you currently making?
  • Can I run a credit check?
  • Have you served in the U.S. armed forces?
  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Any questions about age, race, gender or sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity and religion.
  • Are you married? Does your spouse work?
  • Do you have children? Are you pregnant or do you plan to have children?
  • Have you served in the military of other countries?
  • Have you collected workers’ compensation in the past?

As a rule of thumb, if the question doesn’t seem to apply to your requirements for the job, you probably are not required to answer it. If you’re uncomfortable or unsure, you can tell the interviewer that you would rather not answer or will get back to them later.

What Should You Ask a Potential Employer?

Question bubblesOf course, you will want to answer the interviewer’s questions about your qualifications, but you also want to appear interested in the job and the potential employer. Use these guidelines for asking questions of the interviewer:

  • What can you tell me about the company’s culture and values? How do you think my qualifications will fit in? 
  • What kind of mentoring exists in the company? Would I qualify to have a mentor if I were hired?
  • Will I be part of a team for collaborative work? How will my work be assessed within that team?
  • What would be the most important thing I can contribute in a short time frame? What would you see me doing within six months or a year? 
  • Is there anything about my qualifications that concerns you about my ability to succeed in this job?

Employer Credit Checks

Interviewing is hard enough, but what if a potential employer asks to run a credit check? Although several states have restricted or prohibited the use of credit information in the applicant screening process, the current Fair Credit Reporting Act does allow an employer to run a credit check if you have given permission.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Employers use credit checks to identify job candidates who may be financially vulnerable – especially when the job entails handling financial or secure information.
  • You must give your written permission for an employer to check your credit history.
  • An employer credit check does not reveal your credit score, age, year of birth or account numbers. It does list sources and types of credit.
  • Credit checks can be part of the background information employers gather to weigh job applicants against each other. Because they have to pay to run a check, most employers will only ask for such a check if they are considering making an offer. It may pay to check your own credit report before a potential employer does.

Assessing Job Offers

When assessing job offers, it is helpful to list the pros and cons of each job. Fill out a Job Comparison Worksheet for each job you are considering. If you find yourself in the fortunate position of deciding between two or more job offers, don’t forget to compare benefits packages. It could mean the difference between having an OK job and scoring a dream job.

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