Is Letter of Recommendation Still The Best Possible Approach in 2023?

Letter of Recommendation


Letters of Recommendation or Reference letters are a very critical component of the hiring or admission process for the next job or higher education as they provide information about yourself in the form of feedback from professional acquaintances with whom you work daily on your hard skills and soft skills that were used in the recent past.

Traditional resumes and profiles used in various online portals like Linkedin, Monster, Indeed, and others share very little information about professional feedback from others, which is the reason letters of recommendation are critical. Another reason is to validate some elements of your resume, like years of experience, responsibilities, skills used, people managed, and others.


The challenge with letters of recommendation and references is the following.

  • The level of detail and the knowledge the person writing the recommendations possesses on your skills
  • How many letters of recommendation can you get? Knowledge and availability of the people who can write letters of recommendation is always a challenge.
  • Presentation or format is often challenging, as most professionals are not good writers, which often acts as a barrier to getting a good letter of recommendation.

Due to the above challenges, most organizations ask for at least 3 recommendations. In real life, however, candidates hand-pick 3 people who can strongly vouch for their credentials to give a recommendation. A small sample of 3 people out of your professional ecosystem, usually around 20, is not a good representation.

In addition, most letters of recommendation give many details on activities performed in the last month or two, while some critical and key activities performed six months before get missed out due to memory loss. Human memory tends to fade as time passes, which can hurt you if you have done some critical activity that may have been more than 6 months ago and aligned with the job responsibilities of the future job.

Is it the best solution? The answer is no. However, that is the best we have today. The possible alternatives are described in the next section.


The two alternatives to the traditional approach of soliciting the people giving reference and getting a letter of reference from them are the following.

  1. URL-based form sent directly to the person giving a letter of recommendation
  2. Credibility platform like getCREDIBLE automates most of the task and maintains confidentiality

URL based form

Some organizations have started to use URL-based forms that they send directly to the person willing to give letters of recommendation or reference to prevent manipulation that can happen when the candidate forwards them.

In addition to reducing the possibility of manipulation, the organization asking for letters of recommendation can also include some prompt questions to make the recommendation more useful and relevant. Some examples of prompt questions are;

  • Describe the strongest technical skill of the candidate
  • How would you describe the candidate's soft skills, like communication and leadership?
  • How are the candidate's management skills, and how many people did he manage in the last year?

This URL-based form approach is better than a traditional letter of recommendation. It can still be manipulated by the candidate by coaching or soliciting the person writing the letter of recommendation in a particular way, depending on the relationship he or she has with the person writing the recommendation.

getCREDIBLE platform

getCREDBILE platform is a new SaaS product in the market designed to address the credibility needs of professionals and students looking to land their first job. By establishing credibility, it helps the professional community in the following ways.

  • Reduces the risk of hiring for hiring managers and recruiters
  • Professional skills and credibility are enhanced, increasing the probability of succeeding in the job search.
  • Year-round capture of feedback ensures that no details are lost and is a good representation of the professional's hard and soft skills.

You may wonder that the above will cost a lot of time and money. The answer is the platform is free to use, and you have to spend less than 1 hour per month to establish and build credibility.

Professionals looking to build credibility or digital letters of recommendation can complete them in 3 simple steps.

  1. Post your milestone of the activities you completed monthly using a simple sentence.
  2. As a reviewer, you can post feedback on the milestones you have received from your colleagues again using a simple English sentence.
  3. Once the ML engine calculates the ratings, update your Slate (digital profile) to reflect the changes.

Behind the scenes, the getCREDIBLE platform uses AI and ML algorithms to process the milestones and feedback to provide you with ratings and help you design an interactive digital resume called Slate. Once you have Slate, it will replace the need for a traditional resume and letters of recommendation as all that information is integrated and available in Slate.

Value of Letter of Recommendation

In addition to some tactical benefits mentioned in the previous section, there are some very important strategic benefits for every career professional, which are the following

  1. Faster career growth within your organization
  2. Increase the probability of landing your new dream job

Faster career growth within your organization

Most organizations have an annual appraisal cycle with limited data collection and reviews of an employee's performance. In these circumstances, the activity you performed in the last month takes the highest weightage than all other activities performed in the previous 11 months combined. In addition, the emotional situations also take a higher weightage, putting a risk on career growth if any of the above two does not work in your favor. 

Even if these two work in your favor, having detailed data on the performance and feedback from your entire professional ecosystem puts you in a significantly stronger position for the appraisal meeting with your manager.

Increase the probability of landing your new dream job.

Job seekers often stretch the boundaries in their resume by increasing their experience, the team size they manage, or some other qualitative aspects of their job. This happens because there is no external feedback on a traditional resume and makes the recruiter or hiring manager look at a resume with a grain of salt, hurting your chances in the job market. This breaks the chances of a genuine candidate with good credentials.

getCREDIBLE's Slate includes feedback from all stakeholders in your professional ecosystem, which is significantly better than a traditional letter of recommendation and provides continuous feedback compared to one-time feedback in a recommendation letter. This feature of Slate increases your probability several fold to position you as an authentic job seeker with the highest levels of credibility, which is what every hiring manager is looking for.

Feature comparison of the three options

We have discussed the three options so far. The table below compares the three to help you pick the right option and move up the career ladder.

Feature Comparison of the Three Options

The table above will help you to choose the right format for letters of recommendation to aid your career growth. 

Good luck!