It's a digital world and, as a result, many candidates have forgotten all of their analog/1.0 skills. Case in point - we are searching for an HR Coordinator to handle a good bit of the transactional load for our department, and I'd estimate that less than 15% of the 150-200 candidates who applied took the time to provide a cover letter when they submitted their resume.
Here's a better stat. We interviewed six finalists from the pack of 200 applicants, and by my count, 4 provided a cover letter, one had a connection and called when applying, and one provided no cover letter. Is it possible only the best candidates provide cover letters? Or when we see a cover letter for a position requiring soft skills that naturally helps the candidate get to the next step?
I'd like to think so...
Others agree with the trend, and how it's easier than ever to differentiate yourself from the crowd as a result. From Dennis Smith at The Fordyce Letter:
"Honestly, it’s intriguing. And really, I’m just curious…since when did “the experts” stop telling candidates to send thank you notes? Sure, I say that jokingly, because, even though I’ve only been at this for 12 years, it’s pretty much been like that since I joined the recruiting ranks. The Career Coaches instruct the job-seekers to follow-up with a well-written thank-you card, and, once-in-a-blue-moon somebody will walk the road less traveled and do something that blows me away.
In this case, the candidate followed up with an email within an hour of the interview, saying that she’d be delivering an appropriate thank-you. Sure enough, the next day she stops in the office with the likes of a thank-you card that, honestly, is likely the most well-written and appropriate card I’ve ever received.
Here's a ray of hope from our search and the six candidates in question. 2-3 days after live interviews, 4 of the 6 candidates provided an email thank you note.
One provided a written note as well, although it wasn't hand delivered.
We'll see who gets the job...