BACKGROUND: The Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors (CORD) Standardized Letter of Recommendation (SLOR) has become the primary tool used by emergency medicine (EM) faculty to evaluate residency candidates. A survey was created to describe the training, beliefs, and usage patterns of SLOR writers. METHODS: The SLOR Task Force created the survey, which was circulated to the CORD listserv in 2012. RESULTS: Forty-six percent of CORD members (320 of 695) completed the survey. Of the respondents, 39% (125 of 320) had fewer than 5 years of experience writing SLOR letters. Most were aware of published guidelines, and most reported they learned how to write a SLOR on their own (67.4%, 182 of 270). Sixty-eight percent (176 of 258) admitted to not following the instructions for certain questions. Self-reported grade inflation occurred "rarely" 36% (97 of 269) of the time and not at all 40% (107 of 269) of the time. CONCLUSIONS: The CORD SLOR has become the primary tool used by EM faculty to evaluate candidates applying for residency in EM. The SLOR has been in use in the EM community for 16 years. However, our study has identified some problems with its use. Those issues may be overcome with a revised format for the SLOR and with faculty training in the writing and use of this document.