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As many education recruiters can attest, letters of recommendation are a critical component to screening applicants. The letters help round out the applicant’s profile by providing insight into what the candidate is like as an education professional from the perspective of someone who has worked closely with the individual during his/her career. Letters of recommendation are so important that they have become mandatory in many district hiring processes, but recruiters can’t always differentiate a good letter of recommendation from a bad one. RIVS did a little digging and research to provide district recruiters with the following tips to help identify a good letter of recommendation when screening applicants.

3 Ways to Identify a Good Recommendation Letter When Screening Applicants:

Read Between the Lines

It’s important to note who is writing the letter of recommendation and if the recommendation is genuine. “You can see when a candidate is getting faint praise because there’s a kind of code to these letters. I look for the phrase: ‘I highly recommend’ for my candidates,” one education recruiter says. Powerful recommendations are ones written by superintendents, principals and other education professionals who focuses on the candidate’s strengths and can provide concrete examples on how the candidate utilized their skills. For example, “John Doe’s greatest strength is his ability to communicate and connect with his students. I know firsthand that many of his former students still keep in touch with him regarding their success and progress in college.” Screening applicants through examples of how they worked with their previous coworkers can indicate how they can impact your district

Attention to Detail

Recruiters can get a better understanding of just how bad candidates want a position by the amount of detail in their letter of recommendation. Candidates should have prepped the individual writing their letter of recommendation with the job description, why they want the position, and information about the school. Knowing that candidates have the option to do this, recruiters should look for letters of recommendation that are personalized to the school rather than a general letter of recommendation. For example, a personalized letter of recommendation may explain how the recommended candidate would be an important asset to the district in alignment to the school’s mission or how the candidate and school share the same core educational values. Screening applicants based on how organized they are in prepping the individual writing their letter of recommendations can show how eager they are to get the job.

Relevant Experience

Screening applicants through a good recommendation letter should leave recruiters with a clear picture of the candidate’s accomplishments, potential, and character based off of their past experiences. “A good letter should allow committees to project how a candidate would perform in their district,” one education recruiter says. The letter of recommendation should have enough information that the recruiter can assess the candidate’s traits that would help the district grow and enhance student success.

As a key element to many district hiring processes, letters of recommendation can either make or break a candidate’s status in the hiring process. To take some of the pressure off of recommendation letters, many districts are screening applicants with digital interviews as an additional methodology to gain insight into who candidate are as education professionals. Digital interviews help district recruiters access candidates’ key communication and social skills that help qualify candidates’ cultural fit into the district. Letters of recommendation along with digital interviews help recruiters guarantee that they are hiring the best individuals for their district.

Interested in learning how RIVS Digital Interviews can streamline your recruitment process? Request a free demo here.

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Image used under the creative commons by Christian Bucad

Originally posted at http://edublog.rivs.com/2015/09/how-education-recruiters-can-identify-a-good-recommendation-letter/

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