Creating your own church job application form could be very time consuming. I’m going to make that process faster and easier for you right now:
Even if you get resumes from job applicants, you should have every one of them complete and sign a church job application form. Consistency is important. So is clear communication of a few key items:
Be Sure to Include
As a responsible employer, you want to be sure that every applicant understands a few things, and you want to be able to prove you told them. Here are a few things you should (or may legally need to) include just above their signature:
- A statement that your church is an equal opportunity employer (you could base it on the EEOC poster)
- A notice that your church is an at-will employer and a job offer is not a contract
- An authorization to check references and run background check(s)
- …followed by a statement that a criminal conviction will not necessarily disqualify an applicant
- Something about falsification of facts being grounds for disqualification or termination
Don’t Ever Include
There are types of questions that are discriminatory (yes, illegal) that should never appear on your church job application form:
- Any question that unintentionally or otherwise requires the person to reveal their age:
- high school graduation date
- but you can ask if they’re at least 18 years of age because of child labor law restrictions
- Any requirement or question that would force them to reveal any other protected classification, such as race, national origin, disability, or gender:
- send us a picture
- are you married? or, what is your maiden name?
- are you a US citizen?
- questions about languages spoken unless it’s a job requirement
- Questions about their education level or degrees unless you’ve listed a certain level of education as a job requirement in the job description
There are 2 protected issues mentioned in the EEOC.gov list that are worth mentioning in the special case of your being a church: religion and gender identity/sexual orientation. This is complicated, as churches may want to discriminate on these 2 based on religious conviction. I’m no lawyer, so my best advice is run specific questions past your church insurance company, your tribe/denomination, and/or a lawyer.
Free Sample Church Job Application Forms
Here are sites where you can download sample church job application forms that generally meet the requirements listed above:
- Church Employment Application [GuideOne Insurance]
- Church Employment Application #2 [FreeChurchForms.com]
- or you can often download job applications from your favorite megachurch’s website
Please be cautious! I found plenty of samples out there on the interwebs that clearly violated at least one of the above no-no’s. So download and learn from others, but ultimately you’re responsible for what goes on your church job application form. Better to create your own at some point; why not now?
In the future you may want an online version of your church job application form. But at this stage of your new church it’s probably easier to create one that can be printed. Go get ’em!
This is part 2 of a 7-part series on Church HR Forms & Systems
Here’s the short list of websites that I found that spoke in plain language about the issues above:
- Time to Update Your Employment Application [LexisNexis]
- What Questions are Illegal in a Job Application? [FreeAdvice Legal]
- 8 Things Employers Aren’t Allowed to Ask You [Investopedia]
- What Commonly Asked Questions should not be on an Employment Application? [Society for Human Resource Management]
- 5 Questions that are Illegal to Ask on a Job Application [Human Resources MBA]