I was reviewing a candidate’s resume recently. There were quite a few good keywords on it, but the projects were not too impressive, and the type of companies he was employed at did not match the company I was recruiting for. So, I was on a fence.
I took another look at the resume header and noticed the candidate’s email address. It was an AOL address. That, I must admit, made it easier for me to decide to reject him.
Is it fair to judge a candidate based on his or her email address? I am not entirely sure, but here are my thoughts:
We are in the Silicon Valley, and I am hiring engineers for startups. Therefore, I am interested in candidates who are keeping up with current technologies and innovations - at least in the software industry. Using an old AOL account, while understandable as many contacts may be stored there, does not characterise an innovator. Same goes for HotMail addresses or ISP domains.
It is OK to have AOL or HotMail email address for private correspondences, but if you do use them, you need to create a new email account for your job search if you do not want to appear old-fashioned.
Other email address blunders to avoid: goofy, cute, or risqué account names, using your date of birth as part of the name, having a shared email account with your spouse, and, of course, using your current work email for job search purposes!
See more on mail addresses (with some fun examples) here (a quote: “AOL is particularly bad, because AOL originally marketed itself as a safe way for non-web-savvy users to experience the big bad web, in their own safe little AOL community”).
And still more: