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  • Rachel Doyle

Making applications easy - for recruitment success

A simple application process is best

Don’t give candidates an extensive document to complete on your website. If your recruitment software can’t populate a candidate’s information from their CV then you are losing out on potential hires. Even asking for covering letters can put off candidates at the moment. Candidates are under pressure and sometimes they won’t apply for a job if the job spec is too long, because they haven’t got time to spend trying to work out what the job on offer is about. Then there is a wide range of disparity in interviews at the moment, some are sticking with a simple two stage interview process which moves straight to offer while others demand a more extensive interview range, with a full competency based interview with HR and a presentation stage on a topic of their potential employers choosing. Factor in time it takes to hear back from application to starting interview processes. Candidates are busy arranging their interview diary from applications they sent mid February. If they are keen enough on the brand and company, they are willing to wait but that is only for a few.

High quality candidates are in demand

Great quality candidates are in high demand at the moment, there is a talent shortage in certain sectors due to current businesses having worked hard to retain their talent and being successful at it as well as top talent being snatched up very quickly by competitors with big salary raises and great benefits. Candidates are in high demand right now and there are numerous open opportunities that they can apply to, particularly in certain sectors.

This is how candidates perceive the request for a covering letter

When you ask a candidate to spend more than a proportionate amount of effort into the application process, particularly when others are quite happy to accept a CV, then you might want to think about why you are asking for that covering letter. A candidate isn’t going to take too kindly to, as they view it, doing your job for you - identifying why they fit the role, if they have already taken time to ensure that their CV covers off this in great detail already. They are also brow beaten from previous covering letter submissions where they know that their covering letter clearly hasn’t been read.

Why do you need them to complete their education and experience into your database?

Candidates aren't going to take too kindly to having to complete their work experience on your website application form, particularly if they have spent time ensuring that their CV is up to date and relevant to your role on offer. Even if they only need to copy and paste their experience from their CV, it is still time spent that they don’t want to be spending doing! Similarly, if your software pulls in the information from their CV and populates your database but you want them to then review what is in the form, they aren’t going to be too happy with this request either. Take a look at what the drop off rate is from your application processes and see whether there is a trend. It might be time to consider a better way of pre-screening.

What is the covering letter for?

Ask yourself why you need the covering letter. We understand that CVs come in all shapes and sizes, some have images, designs and graphics on them now, thanks to certain universities recommending this as an application style. Others are more traditional 2 or 3 page documents. It can take time to review and understand a candidate’s experience. However, if a candidate is serious about applying to your business, they will have spent time looking at the job description and should have spent a bit of time updating their CV to identify how they match the open role.

If you are asking for covering letters as a way to demonstrate how keen they are to join your business, remember that there are a lot of jobs out there at the moment and candidates are in demand, so the fact that they have applied to your business demonstrates that they are interested in your business and the advertised opportunity.

Asking for a covering letter because that is the way it has always done, can also be damaging to your recruitment. Demanding a covering letter can tell a candidate a lot about your business. It might say to them that you are keen on asking them to do unnecessary tasks in their day to day work, just because it has always been done this way.

If you aren’t asking for a covering letter but are expecting one any way - well quite simply, you won’t get one, unless you clearly state you need it. Candidates are under time pressure and are trying to focus on the various recruitment stages they are at. If they are still applying for roles, then they are interested in interviewing with your business for your opportunity but they don’t have a lot of time to spare to write individual covering letters for each one, if they don’t need to and they have already tailored their application to the role.

However, if you are asking for a covering letter because you are keen to see how the candidate fits the job specification and that you need this detailed in a separate document, it seems like you need more support with your recruitment.

Partner with a specialist recruitment business like Auxeris.

Experienced recruiters are adept at identifying how candidates meet the requirements of a job, they will also look to identify how a candidate matches your cultural fit, as well as the role specification. We’ll carry out the advertising and candidate search for your role and will find you the best fit candidates in our prescreening of the market. Find out how we can support you with your recruitment today.

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