jason@DontHireMe.com – does it matter?

Here is a great question that I want to weigh in on. Lot’s of experts have talked about how e-mail addresses can impact the possibility of getting weeded out. But most of them talk about your name – such as “johndoe@email.com” vs. “joejobseeker@email.com” vs. “bighotdaddy@email.com”. This question addresses the other part of the e-mail address… read on…

Question: “I use AOL.com as my Internet provider, and I use it for the e-mail that I send to companies. I use Juno as my permanent address. I heard from someone that a lot of the [prospective employers] have these auto sorters to weed out resumes. I heard at one of the networking meetings that some of these companies weed out some e-mail applications because they have one of the free servers like Juno and Hotmail and the like. Have you ever heard of such a thing? That I why I stayed with AOL. Is there any truth to any of this?”

Jason’s answer (I’d love to hear what others think about this – I know I’ll get responses to my e-mail address):

Great question – but nothing new. Check out this blog post from 3 years ago addressing this issue.

I’m more inclined to think this is an urban legend – although I don’ t put anything past hiring managers or HR. They are dumb enough to send us a sterile automated reply and never ever follow-up with us, even when the position is filled – and think that we’ll think highly of their company. Why wouldn’t they be dumb enough to judge the worthiness of a job candidate based on their e-mail address without looking at other criteria? Gosh, I hope it is an urban legend!

But I, as a former IT manager and somewhat experienced on the internet, do judge people by their e-mail addresses (or – the domains they send e-mail from). You only get a split second to make a first impression, right?  Like the guy that wears white socks with dress pants, or a bow-tie?  Nothing “wrong” with that, but definitely sends a message. 

In fact, when I was a hiring manager I would look at the e-mail addy’s and have preconceived thoughts. Here is a sampling of stereotypes that I harbored. Note that I come from a technical background, so some of these comments might not apply to your field.

your_name@gmail.com – most techies or “up to speed, hip folks” have a gmail account. It is cool, modern, etc. And you have to have an invitation to get one, so almost somewhat exclusive. I honestly don’t know about the tools that all the other providers offer, but gmail is full of cool tools and functionality – and a ton of storage!
your_name@juno.com – probably someone that has been online for a long time, but hasn’t changed – there have been lots of new advancements and this dude is probably still on dial-up – why hasn’t he gone to comcast or something broadband?

your_name@aol.com – gives me a bad feeling – I associate this with people that are somewhat early adopters but can’t change to another system – even though there is way better stuff out there. My old boss has an AOL account and for the life of me, could not get rid of it – so I associate this with old, non-flexible, etc. Oh by the way, haven’t you read about AOL as company? Dumb decisions – etc. I’m not impressed, and don’t know any techie that uses AOL for e-mail.

your_name@hotmail.com – no comment either way – not bad because you probably us Instant Messaging to chat (which is way better than Google Talk) – you are not outdated, have probably been online for a while… but I wonder why you aren’t using Gmail? I don’t care for the interface with hotmail, so I’m guessing you aren’t too demanding on your e-mail management.
your_name@(your personal domain.com) – lots of folks have their own domain – like Jason@Alba.com (that really isn’t mine – I wish!) – which shows that you are smart enough to know that you can have your own e-mail, figure out how/where to host it, etc. It doesn’t mean you are a techie but it does mean you are serious about e-mail as a communication medium. And you understand the idea of getting a personal brand. Just make sure that if you use that e-mail address, your homepage doesn’t suck – because people will go check it out.

your_name@mac.com – I’m not a mac user although I almost bought one recently. My judgement on anyone that sends me an e-mail from a mac account is that they are intelligent, likely graphically or video inclined, a sharp cookie, creative, etc. This person is okay to go against the grain to get the best technology for them. From what I hear, once you go mac you don’t go back 😉

How about your_name@your_current_employer.com? Um. Duh. Don’t even think of it. Job searching on your bosses time is one thing – maybe it is okay where you work. But once you get canned, or laid off or whatever, they aren’t going to let you access the old work account! Get your own, personal, permanent e-mail address!

This is just my take. You hear that a hiring manager takes just a few seconds to review a resume – one thing I happen to glance at is the e-mail addy – just because it is right at the top. I’m sure some experts will slam my assumptions while others will agree. My advice to anyone is to get a Gmail account, or your own personal domain. Always have an acceptable handle (the part to the left of the “@” symbol). In the end I have a really hard time believing that it really matters.

Chime in 🙂

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