APPLICATION WITHOUT COVER LETTER – IS THAT POSSIBLE?
CLASSIC PURPOSE OF COVER LETTERS FOR JOB APPLICATIONS
Are applications possible without a cover letter? To answer this question, one should put oneself in the shoes of the applicant and the recruiting company. In the conventional sense, cover letters are used by companies to ascertain the applicant’s motivation. If the applicant is motivated to take up a new position and can express him/herself well in writing, the recruiter has a very good first clue regarding the invitation to an initial interview. So far, so good!
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF APPLICATIONS WITH AND WITHOUT COVER LETTER
MANDATORY COVER LETTERS:
STUMBLING BLOCKS IN THE RECRUITING PROCESS
What happens if the case described above does not occur? What are the consequences for companies and candidates? The following scenarios are conceivable:
- The applicant is suitable and willing to change, but does not manage to clearly express his/her motivation in the cover letter – or submits an application without a cover letter. He/she is therefore not considered further in the selection process.
- The applicant feels addressed by a job offer and would be a very good fit for the advertised position. However, the person has no concrete ambitions to change jobs. Due to a mandatory cover letter, the hurdle for an application seems too high, so the potential candidate refrains from applying.
OPTIONAL COVER LETTERS:
CHALLENGES IN THE SELECTION PROCESS
What are the consequences of applying without a cover letter ? Objections from recruiters who have so far successfully recruited with obligatory cover letters are understandable:
- If the applicants are free to decide whether they want to attach a letter of motivation, the selection process may become more complex. By removing the hurdle, a higher number of applications can be expected.
- In the first step, the applicants are evaluated mainly on the basis of their CVs and thus – on paper – initially on a more superficial level. In order to check the motivation of the candidates, the number of initial interviews is often increased as a result. By dispensing with an obligatory cover letter, an additional effort is to be expected here.
In both cases, the compulsion to provide a cover letter or the resulting relevance in the selection of applicants means that there is no further exchange between the candidate and the company despite suitability. This inevitably reduces the pool of relevant applicants.
OUR RECOMMENDATION FOR COMPANIES
How companies should behave with regard to the requirement of a mandatory cover letter must be decided on a case-by-case basis. If a company is searching for new, suitable employees in the “war of talents”, it should be made as easy and convenient as possible for potential candidates to submit an application. Additional expenses in the selection process are to be “gratefully” accepted at this point. If these cannot be handled internally, companies can also call on external recruiting support.
However, if the company is in the fortunate position of receiving a large number of applications from suitable candidates, the requirement of a motivation letter can be a useful instrument to regulate the flood of applicants.
In our experience, there are currently hardly any companies that are embarrassed by having to reduce the number of applications they receive. At HR factory, we also like to go the extra mile for the right talent and are happy to get to know our applicants and their motivation and suitability in an interview. That’s why we have been using a streamlined application process since 2018 – without a mandatory cover letter.
OUR RECOMMENDATION FOR APPLICANTS
If a company allows it, the application can be sent without a cover letter without a guilty conscience. A sensibly structured CV that succinctly describes all important career stages is – with or without a cover letter – the most important factor for further consideration in the selection process anyway. Good cover letters can positively underline the application documents, but are only a “nice-to-have” in open application processes.