Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hiding Behind Email

Over the past few weeks, I've had some interesting conversations with people about the rapidly decaying manners of our society--a phenomenon that impacts companies and individuals as well. Once again, I am talking about people who hide behind emails when delivering bad news.

Not surprisingly, a growing complaint among job hunters is getting rejected via email. While it would be wonderful if job hunters received some indication that their resumes were received and didn't drop into an abyss, I know it isn't practical for companies to formally acknowledge every applicant. Nor is it necessary considering that a huge percentage, thanks to the Internet, probably don't even remember applying. It's truly unfortunate that great, qualified applicants frequently get lost in the sea of unqualified applicants who are under the misguided impression that job hunting is a numbers game.

The problem, as I see it, happens after the interviewing process. It is amazing how many companies think it is appropriate to email a rejection to people who have invested time and energy going through formal, face-to-face interviews. Ideally, this news should be communicated by phone and, I shouldn't have to say this, by an actual living, breathing human. At the very least, the company should send a formal letter on company letterhead. But an email? Come on. That is the ultimate in lazy and inconsiderate behavior. Have we become so gutless as a society that we can't even deliver bad news by phone anymore? These are the wimps who make the rest of the human resource professionals look bad.

Any company that sends rejections via email needs to rethink this policy because it leaves a seriously negative and unprofessional impression. Is that really the way these companies want the world to view them?

While were are still on the subject, here's one more thought on the inappropriate use of email by individuals:

I had a disturbing conversation the other day with a friend who decided to stop dating a guy she had been seeing for several months. As she talked it over with her female friends, she was shocked how many of them encouraged her to break up via email. She was so disappointed in her friends, it actually made her wonder if she had as much in common with them as she thought. In any case, it clearly illustrates how quickly rude behavior has become the norm. It also made me wonder if any of these women had ever had a guy break up with them via email or text. My female friends who have had that experience didn't like it all. But maybe when you are hell-bent on taking the easy way out, you don't think about things like that.