Are Cover Letters Hindering Your Hiring Process?

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Yes. Absolutely. Ditch the cover letter!

That’s the message from Josh Ridgeway, Director of MSP Delivery at Kavaliro, a national staffing agency that employs IT professionals, management and administrative staff.

“I am a huge fan of completely deleting cover letters from the hiring process,” says Ridgeway.

Simply put, cover letters bog down that hiring process.

“As a recruiter, I tell candidates not to worry about them or even bring them before meeting with me,” says Ridgeway. “There really is no reason to put together a cover letter, because almost all recruiters and potential employers care more about the resume and actually speaking to the candidate to see if they are a fit.”

Ridgeway takes it a step further, saying cover letters are a complete waste of time.

“As recruiters, we speak to a candidate over the phone, in person or even via video to get a feel for their personality and true intentions,” says Ridgeway. “Often, after we speak to the candidate, the cover letter becomes completely irrelevant because we have already learned everything we need to know simply by viewing their resume and speaking to them ourselves.”

Recruiters need to find creative ways beyond the cover letter to learn about candidates. For example, if you are a recruiter hiring in marketing or IT, it’s best to ask for or review a portfolio of work.

“That portfolio will mean more than any cover letter possibly could,” says Ridgeway.

If you are hiring a mobile app or game developer, ask for an interactive resume. Or perhaps create a test or fun game that requires the applicant to highlight their skill sets in a production environment.

“I have seen HTML5/Flash video resume sites and interactive games sites that actually make it fun to go through an entire resume,” says Ridgeway.

Recruiters should look beyond the stale, mundane cover letter.

“My advice to companies that still relay on cover letters is simple – stop,” says Ridgeway. “This is a new age as technology is completely reinventing the job market and how candidates seek out work, and how companies find talent. You need to adapt along with the generations you are looking to hire.”

Nicole Cox, Chief Recruitment Officer at Decision Toolbox says if a company still relies on cover letters, she would ask them to consider why?
“There are better ways to get to the information they are trying to gather,” says Cox.
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