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Why Don’t Employers Ask for Letters of Recommendation?

To me, there are good reasons why employers don’t want to read a letter of recommendation. However, I offer a suggestion for how you could create one that could be a very powerful advocate on your behalf.


Why don’t employers ask for a letter of recommendation? Good question, generally asked by a less experienced person rather than a more experienced person. Usually, it is asked by a recent grad or someone new to their career.

Let me answer the question directly. If you are handed a letter of recommendation by someone, how would you know if it was truthful? Seriously, how would you know? Why couldn’t this be the candidate’s best friend writing up a letter and pretending to be a former employer or former coworker?

The answer is there is no way to prove it truthful and it is easy to prove fraud. After all employers can simply go to LinkedIn, do Google searches, see things and where they intersect and decide for themselves whether to pay attention to the “reference.”

Letters of recommendation have the potential for fraud and, thus, seemed valueless to employers. You can offer them, if you like, and may even say, “Sure, I will be happy to have one” and never look at it again. They may take a quick glance at it in the interview I know from my own experience that when I receive one email to me, I don’t care.

After all, what is this person going to say? That the person was awful? Will they ever say it was the worst hire they ever made? No because this is a letter of recommendation and, by definition the person who is being represented is being recommended. Why read it? What’s special about it?

However, if you gave a video of someone and it was real, it was someone who could be substantiated as a former manager or co-worker (preferably the former manager), that’s different.
That’s similar to what Internet marketers do when they have video testimonials from people on their website talking about the successes people have had using their products and/or services.

So, in general, visible letter of recommendation is a waste of time. Having a resume that provides a hyperlink to a video testimonial has a possibility of having a good effect on your candidacy. Even then, if someone goes to their LinkedIn profile and see corroboration that the two of you might have worked with the same company in roles where you work with have intersected, if the testimonial is not the same usual pablum but would have someone saying something like, “my name is Jeff and I worked with (fill in the blank) and let me tell you what it was like working with them,” that can be a powerful marketing tool on your behalf.

Video is different in how it affects someone than reading something. That’s why I can work to your advantage

Do you really think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

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