An Uncool Email Address Just Might Cost You Money

These days, the job market isn’t exactly robust and thriving as it might have been in years past. Sure, things were especially tough a year or two ago, but it’s clear we’re still in a down cycle these days. The consequence of this is that employers can be picky when evaluating prospective job candidates – particularly in the resume screening phase.

A recent post on Couple Money about resume mistakes included a link to an interesting article in Daily Worth on how having an old email address could impair your chances to land a job.  In this case, old refers to uncool.  Examples that were given of such email addresses were those of Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL.

Yes, if you have a personal email account with one of these domains, you may not be seen as being tech-savvy or with the times by some people. That’s the implication!  One person was noted as saying that applicants with such email addresses are given “demerits”, and another person indicated that people with those domains are “immediately eliminated”.

Now, I would have to think that it wouldn’t matter to most companies if you have an email address with one of those domains. However, clearly there are some employers who do seem to care. Perhaps it depends on the industry in which the company is operating, or the culture of  the company. Either way, what type of personal email address you have does matter to some people.

My instant conclusion on this specific matter was that having an “uncool” email address can cost you money!

At first blush, that seems far fetched as a general statement, and a bit extreme. However, while it probably won’t hurt you in most cases, it probably doesn’t help either.  Therefore, why not get a more “socially acceptable” email address domain – like Gmail?

When interviewing and competing against other qualified candidates, the best person doesn’t always get the job. That’s reality. Also, there are innumerable subjective assessments that people make about candidates, and many personal biases can come into play too. It’s just the way it is.

The same goes for other aspects of the job hunting.  How we dress, what we say, how we format our resume, how we shake hands….all are example of things that, unless glaring, don’t really indicate who is the most qualified person for the job.  Somebody could be really smart, tenacious, and have great people skills – yet not get a job due to a seemingly extraneous factor.

Weird, isn’t it? It just seems so inefficient!

That’s the reality of competing for a job these days, so fair or not, it’s best to be aware of such unwritten requirements and go into it by putting yourself in position to succeed.  It impacts your finances!

My Questions for You:

What do you think about the premise that an uncool email address can disqualify a candidate?

Have you seen or heard of people getting passed over for a job opportunity due to something seemingly inane?

Comments

  1. says

    I remember reading that article from the DailyWorth a few weeks ago and saying to myself, “getting disqualified for a job interview because of your email address domain is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.” I seriously doubt more than a handful of people use this as a criteria for weeding out job candidates.

    However, because there are a few idiots who do, you might as well try to portray yourself in the best light. It’s not that difficult to set up a Gmail account.

    When it comes to interviewing, I try to prepare for the pickiest interviewer. For instance, many people think the little things don’t matter like the quality of the resume paper you use or sending a thank you email to the interviewer after the interview. It’s possible such things don’t matter in every instance, but who’d hold a little extra effort against you?

    • Squirrelers says

      Shawanda – it’s crazy, I would agree. It should make zero difference, and it probably doesn’t to most people. Of course, it does to some – so it makes sense to take the safe route here. I never thought of this until reading the article, but it’s good to know.

  2. says

    I’d be a little taken aback if a candidate my age or younger had something other than a gmail or custom domain email account. It would be like saying find me on myspace instead of facebook or google+. I had to set up a Yahoo email account for a project I was working on recently and it was awful! Ads between folder labels, service went out twice in as many days, animated ads all over the place. Who puts up with that crap? If you’re still using Yahoo email, based on my experience, I’d question your ability to find the best product for my company since you’re using a terrible one for your primary form of communication with me when there is a better alternative.

    • Squirrelers says

      No Debt MBA – interesting…that’s strong feedback that some older email domains are not peceived well.

    • says

      Wow–really? I have my hotmail account for personal and then one for business use. I didn’t realize it was seen as “old”. What are the newer, ‘hip’ ones? Oh yeah…and I am 28. Although I am certainly an old 28:)

      • says

        Personally, I would give you a pass on hotmail…that’s not the worst of it. Yahoo, I’d raise my eyebrows a bit and wonder why. But an aol email would instantly let me know that you’re stuck in the past. Just get a gmail account and be done with it.

  3. Leeora says

    I once saw my boss throw away a resume without reading it because the person had written at the top “Resume of……..” My boss said, “This insults my intelligence. I know this is a resume”. Too bad, the person may have been the best person for the job.DVT

    • Squirrelers says

      Leeora – this is a good example of how seemingly inane things can make a difference. Actually, I’d be critical of someone stating “Resume of…” as well. That would be two big strikes against the candidate right away, and I know that some folks might not agree. But, this would tell me something about the candidate. Maybe the email addresses fit in that category as well for some others?

  4. says

    I’ve heard that it’s best not to have a ‘fun’ sounding e-mail address and that it should be professional, but I haven’t heard that it was bad to have a particular domain. I’ve used Yahoo as my personal address for years so it would be hard not to use that. But I might consider it.

    As far as No Debt’s concerns, I use Firefox with an Ad Blocker plugin so I never see any of the ads that Yahoo presents.

    • Squirrelers says

      Money Beagle – that’s a good workaround you have to avoid the ads. I agree with you on the ‘fun’ sounding email adresses. Best to be simple.

  5. says

    I personally have this prejudice myself. If I look at the people who do still use those domains, they are either tech phobic or AARP members.

    I regret setting up my gmail account the way I did though. If I do it again, I’ll do it differently. I have my first name.last name73@gmail.com. Well, 73 was the year I was born and I picked that because it was easy to remember and the regular combo of first name.last name was already taken. I think it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how old I am and I wouldn’t want someone making assumptions about my resume/experience based on my age.

    • Squirrelers says

      First Gen – we’re about the same age it appears (you’re right, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out age based on the ’73’!). Interesting how you view those folks with such domains as being out of touch with technology or advanced in years. Clearly, we’re getting a few comments here that lend more credence to the article discussed above.

  6. says

    I think it depends what kind of position you’re interviewing for, and where that position is at. More important is not to have the FIRST part of your email address be something dumb…

    • Squirrelers says

      Jacke – I totally agree, it’s more important that the first part of the email address be something sensible

  7. says

    It is somewhat difficult for me to believe that this would be a criteria, but I suppose that an industry that is more technologically based might have some bias toward newer email addresses and against older ones. I do like to keep up with the latest tech although I am not a first adopter. Hopefully, I will remain relevant throughout the years.

    • Squirrelers says

      cashflowmantra – it could be companies or industries, and could also be individuals too. Someone may be at a non-techologically based company, yet still have such prejudices against certain email domains. I know, it seems far fetched….but apparently this is a perception that some people do have!

  8. says

    I wouldn’t disqualify a candidate unless it was something like ‘mybossisanidiot@hotmail’. However, I do somewhat ‘look down’ on the hotmail address. Just makes me suspect a spammer I guess…

    • Squirrelers says

      Everyday Tips – seems like you’re aligned with my view (and it appears Jackie too, based on her comment above) that the first part of the email address is more important

  9. says

    Over the years, candidates were rejected for less! When I received a resume, I would make a decision in less than 10-15 seconds. When I interviewed a candidate, I made a decision about him/her in the first 15 seconds. Based purely how they greeted me, how they were dressed, groomed and little details. Yes, a weird email address can be one of the details to knock them out.

    • Squirrelers says

      krantcents – this is the bigger point of this post, you got it. It’s often the little things – that sometimes seem trivial to many – that can trip up a job candidate. It’s good to pay attention to such things, since whether we like it or not, they actually can in some cases directly influence who gets a job.

  10. says

    It is unfair, but more than likely you will be judged. I’ll also add, clean up your social profile before attending interviews. What you post on FB will matter affect your chances for a job.

    • Squirrelers says

      MoneyCone – good point on cleaning up one’s online social profile. Best to expect that it will be scrutinized to the extent it can be.

  11. says

    I guess it might matter, depending on the company you’re applying for. however, my personal email is a hotmail address- has been for 15 years. I don’t see myself changing it. However, if you see an email address here, you’ll notice that it’s gmail- that’s what I use for all my blogging and writing work.
    When I was applying for analyst jobs, no one, not even the emerging tech companies I interviewed with seemed to care what domain I used for my email, as long as I understood what other technology was out there.
    As a hiring manager, I don’t pay attention to the domain name at all (I might if it were custom and stupid), but I do pay attention to the first part.******* at gmail is going to be just as big a turnoff as ******* at hotmail. For professional purposes, I think its important to have a mostly professional email address.

    • Squirrelers says

      shanenoah – it’s hard to change personal email that one’s been using for so long, I can appreciate that. Good to know that this posed no issue for you when interviewing!

  12. says

    I know a case of a candidate that met all the criteria, was absolutely the best fit for the position. Yet, there was a minor slip-up during one interview and minor curse word was uttered (stars with “a” and ends with “ole”) during the interview. Most of those on the interview team attributed to cultural differences, but one was offended enough to nix the application. Since the hire decision was to be based on unanimous consent, the candidate was failed.

    • Squirrelers says

      101 Centavos – foul language in an interview is generally not a good idea! Not surprised that the candidate didn’t make it through.

  13. says

    I don’t know about the domain, but as an office manager I pre-screened candidates and I rejected people WITHOUT email addresses. One of the job requirements was internet proficiency, and we had a pre-interview “test” for candidates (for secretarial/clerk positions). One question was “what internet browser do you prefer” and you wouldn’t believe how many people told me they spent a lot of time online and were practically professional internet users but couldn’t answer that question and didn’t have an email address.

    Unrelated, but I also rejected several people who showed up in flip flops. (Yes, to a job interview.)

    • Squirrelers says

      Milehimama – that’s something else! Hard to imagine people not having email addresses yet trying to apply for a job requiring internet proficiency. Also, wearing flip flops to an interview is not a good idea….unless the job is at a beach snack bar or something like that:)

  14. says

    Squirrelers- I have to admit, I’ve eliminated candidates for old or unprofessional email addresses. By unprofessional I mean something without your name (e.g. cookielover@gmail). I say this because when you’re looking at a large number of applicants, you need to employ a lot of little tricks to narrow down the list.

    It only takes a second to make yourself look professional and be taken seriously. If a candidate doesn’t take all these steps to make themselves look good, I take it as a smaller indicator of what they’ll do when they work for me.

    • Squirrelers says

      Geoff – that’s the thing, with so many candidates applying for jobs these days, it only helps to look at things that are controllable, and make sure that you’re not giving the hiring manager (or HR screener) an easy excuse to toss out your resume or application.

  15. alysa@impulsesave.com says

    This is a very interesting article, because it only seems to reinforce the idea that we need to be so careful in all our online activities, for even something as simple as which email address you choose to use. People are used to the idea of being careful with Facebook and Twitter, but now even the email address matters! In addition to what Milehimama wrote, I recently read that which browser one chooses to use is an indicator of how tech-savvy someone is (sorry Internet Explorer! You’re on the bottom with that one). But as Geoff wrote, if you want to be taken seriously for that job, then you’ve got to “brand” yourself accordingly.

    • Squirrelers says

      Alysa – have to agree with you. If people want to be taken seriously for a job, we have to market ourselves accordingly. Even further, in general, it’s probably best to do what we can to put the odds in our favor with easy decisions such as email domains to be used. You know, the responses to this post have been quite interesting to me. It seems like there’s something to this article. At first, I thought the notion might be somewhat far fetched, but some of the responses here really indicate how seemingly little things can make a difference.

  16. says

    I wouldn’t disqualify an applicant based on the email address, but I do admit that I am a little prejudiced against aol or hotmail address. With so much technology improvement, if you are not using a gmail or your own domain, I assume that you have never looked for the latest/best product for your needs. How can I expect you to make the best decision for much more than a simple email? I guess I shouldn’t be like that…

    • Squirrelers says

      Suba – the cold shoulder that aol or hotmail addresses seem to be getting is interesting! Good point on judgements people might make on one’s decision making. Interesting comments all around here!

  17. says

    Wow! I’ve heard of most of those reasons for not getting the job, but now email domains is added to the list. Again, this reminds me of – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. All goes back to networking…..

    • Squirrelers says

      mbhunter – I just emailed a friend yesterday who has an AOL address. He’s a few years older than me…I felt like teasing him in a good natured way and forwarding this post but decided not to:)

  18. says

    I work in a tech. company and would hesitate to hire someone with an AOL address! Yahoo is okay still. AOL is just way out of date. If you’re still using it, you’re probably not up to date on the latest technologies.

    • Squirrelers says

      retirebyforty – AOL tends to be getting hit hard by readers that are commenting here! You guys are making things clear:)

  19. Pansy Carrillo says

    however, my personal email is a hotmail address- has been for 15 years. It is unfair, but more than likely you will be judged. MoneyCone – good point on cleaning up one’s online social profile.

  20. says

    Wow! I use my Gmail address with firstnamemiddleinitiallastname and my yahoo address firstnamelastname on my resume. I have never used my hotmail address though. However, I did use my hotmail address which is something cute before but than I realize that I should use something professional so I started using my Yahoo. I would definitely say that after @whatever doesn’t matter as much as something before @whatever. I have used my yahoo address of firstnamelastname everytime and I have always got the best job. I am a Physical Therapist by the way. I also have my own domain but I like to stick with yahoo or gmail.

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