It is standard practice to ask candidates to send a cover letter alongside a CV when applying for a role. Fair enough, the CV is their standard document so the cover letter should be more personal and explain why they are suitable for this specific position.
However, there are some flaws in this argument, the main ones of which are:
– A good candidate will tailor their CV based on the job they are applying for. This shouldn’t simply be the case of having one size fits all. I know of many candidates who have upto 10 versions of their CV depending on the position itself.
– The cover letter itself has become standardised, so that it is copied and pasted but otherwise unaltered for each application.
– If for more junior candidates, a CV is quite basic, then what use is a Cover letter anyway? Of course, the candidate should show desire for the role and be able to explain this. If not, why apply in the first place.
So, what is the solution? Many companies now have a more robust approach, whereby they expect candidates to answer questions online. This can be a good idea and ensures that people are taking it seriously. However, this can sometimes be too time consuming and expensive for some roles.
Perhaps just answering a simple few questions via email or as an attachment would be a good idea. There are some pertinent examples of this, which don’t involve standard interview questions and are generally more specific.
Or maybe, employers need to be more dynamic. Maybe asking candidates to send in only relevant parts of their CV or asking them to answer role play questions in advance will determine how suitable they are.
Sure, any of these will reduce the numbers that apply but quality over quantity is always the aim.
What do you think? Please do let me know!
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