Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What Your Email Address Says About You

I owe this post to the folks at recruiting blogs.com who are the inspiration for it. Their recent commentary on this subject lead me to reevaluate my thoughts on email addresses.  This is the result.

Everyone has a personal brand.  Your brand is your name.  It should be used in your email address, especially if you are job hunting.

Our email addresses are so much a part of us that we don't even think about them and we totally take them for granted.  But if you want to be taken seriously as a professional, then your email address has to be professional.

Many people established email addresses years ago before we knew what emails would become.  In those days I received lots of emails with cutsie names on them. You know,  Happyface@yahoo.com. In those days, mine was PSGumby..  I still occasionally see emails with these kinds of addresses.  They are wrong for professional use.

The first problem is that cutsie names do not identify you as an adult.  They are precious. They are clever, but they are not serious.  And they may communicate that the people who use these kinds of email addresses are not serious executives.  The second problem is that they do not identify you at all.  I get notes all the time from candidates who assume that I know who they are when they sign their email, “Bob”.  They have strange and cute email addresses and then sign their first name only.  If they do not use their full name as part of their email address, I cannot tell who they are.  (A few years ago, I had a string of Kiersten’s.  I actually had five people by that name interviewing during one month.  Two of them used email that did not have their full name;  it drove me crazy and I had to email back and ask them which one they were.)

I get a fair number of emails from husband and wife combinations.  You know, PaulAmye@.  Sometimes I can figure out who the candidate is, but often not.  Imagine if you were a hiring manager and you get a thank you note with that as an identifier, especially if you have interviewed two people with the same first name.

Here is a brief list of  dos and don'ts for email addresses:

Use your FULL name - Your full name identifies you.  And, unless you have your own identifiable web site (I am paul@gumbinnercompany.com), you cannot just use your first name and initials.

Not your name – Some candidates actually use other names.  I have never understood why Bob Jones should use Peter Brown as an alias.  (One candidate told me he did this to avoid spam.  Huh?  Ridiculous!) If they think that I can remember who it is, that person is very egocentric.   

Cutsie name – Ilovebaseball@ is unacceptable, unidentifiable and unprofessional.  Your college nickname, a description (e.g. longlegs@), sports names and crude names don’t belong on a professional submission.

Spouse Combo – Covered above.  Email addresses are free.  Get your own if you are job hunting.  And      remember that maybe, the client company does not wish to communicate with both you and your spouse.

Unidentifiable Numbers or Initials – Do you really expect a reader to know who you are? e.g. lpm2@  - I might remember this during the immediacy of interviewing, but I certainly won't remember it three weeks later. This also applies to your first name with last name initials e.g. PaulG83@.  When I see this I cannot possibly remember or know who it is.

Office email – You should have a personal email address if you are job hunting and not use your office,    even if you own the company.  It is just unprofessional.

Your email is your personal brand.  It should contain your full name.  If you have a common name, like Ed Jones, make it identifiable to you Ed.Jonesadguy@ or something similar.

Remember, your email has to make you look serious as an executive.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Way To Use A Recruiter

The other week I placed an executive I have known for twelve years.  It was the first time I had ever sent him out.  He pointed that out to me during the interview process and I explained to him what I am writing here.

People evaluate recruiters on the wrong criteria.  I know that everyone has a list of people they call.  That list gets passed around from one friend to another with either verbal or written commentary.  “This one did a great job for me and sent me on a bunch of interviews.”  “ That one was not helpful and didn’t send me anywhere.”  This isn’t the correct way to evaluate a headhunter.  

Recruiting is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. 


The pieces have to fit precisely.  Because a recruiter doesn’t send you out does not mean that he or she doesn’t like you. It could simply mean that they don’t have jobs that match your interests, credentials or you are not a candidate who matches their client’s needs.  In the case of the 12 year person I mentioned in the first paragraph, I always liked the candidate but had never, in all those years, had the correct job for him.  Simple as that.  

I saw a commentary from a recruiter a couple of weeks ago which I thought was apropos to this one.  She wrote that there are lots of people who believe they can do a job (and they probably can), but do they actually have the background, personality or skills for that job?  That is a great distinction between wanting a job and getting a job.  Effective recruiters have to make those distinctions.

Recruiters are paid to find square pegs for square holes.  When a recruiter knows a client well, there is room for some creativity.  I wrote about calling a client an asking them to see someone who does not fully match the job specs a couple of weeks ago.  There are some recruiters who simply play the percentages and send candidates who do not match their job specs and very occasionally those people get hired because of some reason which might not have been spelled out in the original job specs to the recruiter.  But that only happens, at best, 5-10% of the time.  That is not how I treat my candidates or clients – why send someone who you are sure will either be rejected or not ultimately get the job?  

What the candidate who I just placed did over the past twelve years was the perfect use of me as a recruiter.  He stayed in touch, always told me about each new job, assignment, account, promotion, salary increase and the like which he received.  That information enabled me to determine exactly when I had the right job for him.

When the puzzle pieces fell into place I knew he would be the right person for the job I placed him in.  I did not send anyone else.
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