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Would you hire someone with a “cute” e-mail address?



Gathering 50 top regional chief HR and senior business leaders at a three-day business retreat forum, the exclusive HR Innovation Leaders' Summit will happen from September 9-11. Get involved.

Have you ever looked at a resume and cringed at the sight of an informal e-mail address? If yes, you are not alone, according to new research from VU University, Amsterdam

Researchers Marlies van Toorenburg, Janneke Oostrom, and Thomas Polletmost found recruiters would not hire someone with a “cute” e-mail address, or one with underscores.

The researchers defined an informal e-mail address as one that does not refer to the owner’s name but rather refers to a social, personality, or mood aspect of the owner.

This included e-mail addresses such as “Luv u” or “XOXO” (slang used by teenagers and students).

“The initial screening of applicants’ resumes can lead to strong first impressions regarding their employability,” the report stated.

“Recruiters should be aware of the inferences they make based on relatively basic resume characteristics, since these inferences might not always be correct.”

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To test how an informal email address affected hiring perceptions, researchers created  six different resumes with email addresses ranging from “luv_u_sanne@hotmail.com” to “sannejong@hotmail.com”.

By adding in various spelling errors and using different typefaces, they were able to compare the extent to which email addresses affected impressions of the candidate.

The researchers found that the effects of an informal e-mail address on the recruiters’ perception of a candidate were as strong as that of spelling errors in the resume. Additionally, both factors had a bigger impact on recruiters as compared to typeface.

The report explained the informal email addresses may have caused people to appear less honest and humble, and they therefore lowered their impressions of the candidate due to this association with narcissism.

“Informal e-mail addresses convey additional information in a social setting about one’s personal interests, personality, and/or identity. Their use might therefore have adverse effects when applying for a job,” the report stated.

Image: Shutterstock



Gathering 50 top regional chief HR and senior business leaders at a three-day business retreat forum, the exclusive HR Innovation Leaders' Summit will happen from September 9-11. Get involved.

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