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This Model Policies and Forms for Illinois Employers is offered to you for free. Find state specific laws and regulations below.

Job descriptions and applications — Illinois Templates

When hiring employees, employers should be careful not to misrepresent the nature and responsibilities of the job. Job descriptions are a helpful way to ensure that an employer has a clear idea of the position it is trying to fill, thereby increasing the likelihood that an employer will hire an employee who can successfully perform the relevant job.

Job descriptions

The first step an employer should take before beginning the employment application and hiring process is writing a comprehensive job description for the position needing to be filled. This will allow the employer to pinpoint the exact qualifications required for the position and will assist greatly in the hiring process.

Once a job description has been prepared, an employer can begin the process of advertising the available position and screening qualified applicants. The content of job descriptions should be carefully considered and specifically tailored for each position, as this can assist with issues that may arise under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and other applicable laws.

Check list for preparation of job descriptions

  • Job title and department - Identify the job title and department of the position that requires filling.
  • FLSA status - Identify whether the employee will be exempt or non-exempt under the FLSA.
  • Reporting relationship - Identify the job title of the person to whom the employee will be reporting and the job title(s) and the number of people who will reporting to the employee.
  • Location - Identify where the job will be performed; any travel should be clearly delineated.
  • Principal purpose or objective - Short statement as to why the job exists.
  • Essential functions - Identify the key tasks or responsibilities of the position that make a substantial contribution to the job and organization.
  • Physical demands - Identify any physical demands and/or requirements required by the position (for example: heavy lifting, climbing, kneeling, walking, standing, hearing and eyesight).
  • Skills - Identify technical skills that are required for the position.
  • Experience - Determine the work experience, training and/or level of education necessary for the position.
  • Special working conditions - Identify particular working conditions that are important to the position (for example: travel, hours of work).


Once a job description has been prepared, an employer can begin the process of advertising the available position and screening qualified applicants. The first step in the candidate screening process is the employment application. It is important that the application only request information pertinent to the job at hand, and avoid any questions that could lead to an unlawful discrimination claim. For example, employers are advised not to request any information that would provide the employer with the age of the applicant, such as the applicant’s birth date or graduation dates pertaining to any education institutions the applicant may have attended. If such information is provided, it could lead to claims of age discrimination by the applicant if he or she was not chosen for the position. Similarly, employers are advised not to request any information regarding an employee's religion, mental or physical disabilities, race, or national origin.

On January 1, 2015, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act took effect in Illinois. This Act prohibits private employers with 15 or more employees from asking about or considering an applicant's criminal history until the employer has:

  1. determined that the applicant is qualified for the job
  1. notified the applicant of his or her selection for an interview, or has made a conditional job offer to the applicant without conducting an interview.

Employers should also be sure that all information obtained about an applicant during the interview process should remain confidential, and should only be shared with persons on a need-to-know basis. Similarly, all medical information obtained regarding an applicant must be kept confidential, and must be maintained in a separate file.

The Illinois Equal Pay Act was amended in 2019 to prohibit employers and employment agencies from asking about prior wage, salary, benefits or other compensation history during the application process. All such questions have been removed from the sample applications provided, and employers should be careful not to add such questions when customizing any of the options provided for use. Significant penalties up to $10,000 may be assessed for violating this Act.

By clicking the Files tab at the top of this Topic you can find four sample application that’s can be downloaded and customized to meet your needs. Some questions may not be necessary for all employers and there may be other specific job-related questions that may be applicable.