It’s 2021 – Time To Stop Asking For Old Fashioned Resumes And Cover Letters

Standardize your applications and speed up your screening to find the best fit candidates faster

Carly Chalmers

The most time-consuming and tedious part of the hiring process is looking over applicant’s resumes and cover letters. Sifting through unnecessary information can be frustrating. Plus, it’s trickier to compare different candidates when they’re not always supplying the same information.

Luckily, there’s an easier way of doing things. With an applicant tracking system (ATS), there’s usually no need for a cover letter. Instead, you send candidates multiple-choice questions through the ATS, ensuring you get all the information you need. This creates a more straightforward, efficient hiring process.

Want to learn more about applicant tracking systems? Read: What is an ATS?

Request only the information you need

If your hiring process contains old-fashioned resumes and cover letters, you’re essentially leaving it up to the applicants to decide what information they supply. That means filtering through applications to find the details you consider relevant. Knowing if a candidate is even qualified for the position can be a time-consuming task of reading through several pages for each candidate. Plus, there’s no easy and reliable way to directly compare multiple applicants.

Even with an ATS that ‘reads’ cover letters, the formatting and semantics can present limitations regarding how much information they can extract.

Using an ATS like HigherMe means you’re in control of the information you receive. By asking specific questions on the job application, you’re removing irrelevant details while making sure you have all the necessary data. The candidate’s answers are then added to their profile within the applicant tracking system, making it easy for you to access them and compare them with others.

Standardized formatting

Another massive time-saver in the hiring process is standardizing the applicant’s data, especially if you’re receiving a high volume of applications. Being in control of what your applicants submit and having it all in one place means you’ll know where to find every last detail. You won’t need to skim cover letters or search through various resume formats to see the info you’re after.

With so many different formats available, every applicant will choose what they think will give them the best chance of landing a job. And they’re probably not going to correlate with each other, or for that matter – with what you need. So you’ll end up with a mish-mash of different applications instead of ones that are coherent and easy to read.

Compare apples with apples

With every applicant having the same questions and multiple choice answers, it’s much easier to make direct comparisons between them. Perhaps availability is a top priority for you – then you can make that a mandatory question in your job ad, and automatically disqualify candidates who don’t fit your scheduling needs. By doing so, you can see which applicants are available at the times you need.

Better still, the information is accessible on the dashboard, so you can quickly view it at a glance. And you can even filter down to show only those applicants that qualify in a matter of seconds. Compare that to going through stacks of applications to weigh up candidates against each other – a job that can take hours.

With HigherMe, you can also use availability, qualifications, and much more to provide each applicant with a FitScore. This score lets you sort applicants from most to least qualified, based on factors you’ve defined and added to your ATS.

Video cover letters tell you so much more than text ever can

With HigherMe’s ATS, users have the ability to receive video cover letters with an application. And in today’s digital world, it’s increasingly common to choose video over words, or at least a combination of the two.

Sure, a written cover letter can also offer insight into who an applicant is, but it’s limited. Also, there’s no guarantee that they wrote it themselves. That’s why a video cover letter is an excellent feature to take advantage of within an ATS.

Although a video doesn’t necessarily help with scoring, sorting, or filtering applicants, it can be a great way to understand better and compare your shortlisted candidates. You can be specific about how long a video should be and what details it should include which helps keep everything standardized.

Receiving video cover letters also means that you won’t have to deal with the task of reading through a whole bunch of documents. It saves you time while making your job more enjoyable.

By far the main advantage of receiving cover letters in video format is that you get to see a bit of the applicant’s style and personality. That glimpse into who they are is a lot harder to get from a written cover letter. And finding people that fit into your company’s culture and environment is a massive part of the hiring decision. Seeing how they handle themselves on video can help you identify who’s particularly suited to your team.