Most organisations have a standard application form of some kind, and although a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of application forms in general has no place in this book, two points need to be made before we consider the skills required in assessing such forms to short-list candidates for data processing appointments. The first is that practice in using one particular type of form is invaluable in assessing a number of written applications: a standard form has the great merit of ensuring that all applicants are viewed from certain specific points, and practice in matching the form to a candidate usually leads to an ability to make a fairly realistic judgment from forms of those who may have something to offer. Many people can make out a pretty good case for themselves in an initial letter by omitting unattractive facts and applying liberal dressing to more palatable ones, while others seem unable to present themselves adequately in a letter and the hard facts of the application form do this for them. It should be an infallible rule, therefore, that candidates must complete a standard application form even if, as indicated in the last chapter, they are sometimes asked to bring the form with them to an interview. In other words, the application form, properly used, is a basis for establishing certain facts which may be important both during and after the interview–it is not merely a means of achieving an interview. For the same reason, even those candidates who have already completed forms (for example for recruitment agencies) should be asked to fill in the standard application form of the organisation: it is always easier to interpret a form you are used to, and the organisation’s standard form may well request some information not contained in the agency’s form.