Have people used Interfolio for document delivery, particularly for letter writers? I assume the letter writer uploads and the applicant can then send that letter (or perhaps different versions) to different schools. How does it work and what have your experiences been like - from both applicants and search committees. Have there been any problems with submissions? I know many schools request applications be sent to an email address while other schools require more formal submissions through web portals.
Date: 20 Aug 2014 13:07
Number of posts: 15
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Interfolio rocks. It is a time saver since everything is uploaded and you can assemble and deliver in like 30 seconds. The best thing is for the letter writers. I ask my letter writers only once for their letter - then I can use them whenever I want to. So no pestering them, and also they won't have to know the schools to which I apply (which is oddly liberating!).
Downside is that the writers just give one generic letter. I guess you could have them personalize and just have a bunch of uploads, but it would be a pain for all parties involved. But that would be up to you and your writers.
I never had any problems with delivery. It is a bit tricky with schools that have their own app system, because you end up having to patch in an email address from Interfolio, but I did it a bunch of times and it worked out fine.
I guess its pricey but I don't care really. I'm glad that it is pay-as-use service rather than subscription.
I loved Interfolio as it gave me the control over my applications. While I used it primarily for only one of my recommenders, in the future I'll use Interfolio exclusively as a store-house for all of my letters. Instead of my having to keep-up with recommenders and be sure that my letters were complete and sent on-time, I could just have Interfolio take care of things all with minimal hassle and reasonable cost.
As Anony mentioned, the fact that recommenders merely upload a single generic letter is a downside, but there are ways around this. If you're engaged in a massive academic job search, for example, you could instruct recommenders to draft two letters - one for research oriented and another for teaching oriented positions. Otherwise, the lack of specificity in the letters doesn't matter much. I say that having done well with my job search and having been on search committees (we care about what's in the letter, not about whether it's specific to our institution as we all know that recommenders don't have time to draft a bunch of separate, individual, tailored letters).
Also, I've not used Interfolio for letters uploaded to a college/university app system. But, since you're paying for the service I'm sure that the Interfolio customer support can help with this.
I used interfolio in the past when specific jobs asked for it. I am really resonating with the points above, though. DocJ can you elaborate on how you use interfolio when it's a job that isn't requiring its use? I assume this means that someone schools/programs can access the letters you have stored but in a way that prevents you from looking at the letters yourself?
When you request that Interfolio sends your application documents you have the option of having it sent via email or snail-mail. You are correct, you cannot and do not see the actual recommendation letters. Interfolio, as a dossier service, verifies the letter confidentiality.
Thanks for the info! I think I'll try it next time I venture onto the market.
Just curious, what do you do for jobs where the uploader is supposed to upload their letters to a university HR site? Do you ask them to do that, or do you have interfolio just email the letters to the search chair/contact? Or can interfolio handle this some other way?
Sorry for all of the questions!
Has anyone had issues with letters being diverted into junk folders?
Considering search committee members have so many letters to read as it is, I could see it as highly likely that they are not going to contact you and say "hey, you're missing a letter (or two or three)". It would surely reflect negatively on the on the application even if it's because some reason out of the applicants control.
@ InfoTechno - I'd contact Interfolio directly for information about how likely it is for a letter sent through them to end-up in a junk mail folder.
As a candidate, you can protect against this by noting a P.S. in your cover letter that your confidential recommendation letters will be sent via Interfolio and that if the search committee/committee chair does not receive them to please alert you so that you can rectify the matter. Or, to avoid risking the committee thinking "yeah right - make US do the work?" - just note that the letter may be automatically diverted to a "junk mail" / spam folder depending on the email client.
What are the standards for submitting letters? Should they be confidential or not? I've seen/approved most of my letters and it would just be easier for me to submit them with my application rather than pretend that I don't know what they say - this is commonly done with grant applications. Those of you on a search committee and kind enough to comment, what is the protocol for submitting letters? Would it be viewed negatively to have the candidate submit letters and have applicants done this in the past? It seems like a lot of work to use Interfolio (and costly) when I could just as easily submit the same signed letter on a letterhead. Thoughts/experiences appreciated.