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Even small businesses may benefit from employment applications

If you're like most entrepreneurs, you don't like the rigid structure and tedious paperwork that tends to define the work experience at larger companies. That may be one reason why you decided to start your own business. Being your own boss can feel very freeing.

Unfortunately, you cannot entirely escape the need for paperwork; nor should you eschew every practice that seems "bureaucratic." Some procedures may seem like formalities, but they often serve a larger purpose - even for small businesses.

As just one example, consider the employment application. If you are just beginning to hire employees (and don't intend to hire very many), it may seem silly to draw up a formal application. But having an employment application in place as part of a defined hiring process can often help you hire better candidates, lay out expectations and can provide legal cover if your hiring practices are ever questioned or challenged by regulators.

Let's address the last point first. Your business is small now, but it may not always stay that way. As such, you may someday find yourself facing questions from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Colorado Civil Rights Division. Being able to document hiring practices and employee interactions can go a long way toward resolving any disputes and showing that your business is abiding by the law.

But employment applications can serve more immediate purposes than just legal compliance. A well-written application can:

  • Help you filter out job candidates quickly so that you don't have to interview every applicant
  • Help prepare you for interviews by having each candidate's important information in just one or two documents
  • Help you send a message to job seekers that you take your business seriously and want them to do the same
  • Help you inform potential employees about the history of your business and your plans for its future

Like all documents related to your business (especially those with legal implications), your employment application should be carefully drafted and reviewed, preferably with the help of an outside party. Please consider working with an experienced business law attorney for help with employment applications, contracts and any other important documents your company may need.

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