Monday, July 19, 2010

Once upon a time...

Last week Suldog posted about cover letters.
Oh, wait! He reposted. I just hadn't seen that post before. I hadn't seen it because it was five years old and five years ago I didn't know what a blog was let alone know how to spell B-L-O-G. That's neither here or there because this is about cover letters.
No, it's more about cover letter abuse. I know something about that because I used to be part of the hiring process.
I was a gatekeeper, the second person a job seeker met during the process.
The first person they met was a JAE [just another employee].
The rule was that no matter what the circumstances, the first person a job seeker encountered was to tell them that they should come back at 2pm the next day. Unless it was Saturday or Sunday, then they were to return on Tuesday at 10am. That was it. We left it up to the job seeker to determine what else was necessary. The really sincere ones asked who they should ask to see and if they needed to bring anything with them. Those who asked were told to bring a resume and a cover letter.
I should mention here that we probably had at least one person a day asking for an employment application. If you are going to collect unemployment insurance, you have to actively seek employment... if you get my drift.
The return tomorrow policy eliminated a lot of wasted time. About two-thirds never came back. Those who did actually at least started the process. They were divided into three categories:
Ones who were still clueless and had no information other than to come back. They were told to bring in a resume and cover letter on Thursday at 10am;
Ones who knew who to see, but had no other information. They were also told to bring in a resume and cover letter;
Ones who knew who to see and brought a resume and a cover letter.
Just imagine how many candidates were eliminated before anyone had to read anything?
It was fairly easy to tell who was seriously seeking employment. By seeing that the cover letter was job specific, we could tell how serious. That's when they were told they'd have to take a drug test.
If they passed, they got a job application.


  1. Pretty good way to winnow the field quickly. Thanks for the mention!

  2. Another trick is to say, "We have an opening on the graveyard shift. Can you start tonight?"

  3. A very effective way to eliminate the less serious job seekers. Sounds like you had a well-oiled machine going there.
    "I love it when a plan comes together", Hannibal would say.


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