I’ve read so many comments from job seekers recently about how they sent an email – often more than once – to a potential employer or HR person and never gotten a response. So, they assumed that the employer was not interested in them. BAD ASSUMPTION!
2 Reasons Why You Can’t Trust Email:
Many things may have gotten in the way of someone reading and responding to your follow-up email, including your thank you notes:
1. Email is not a 100% reliable communications method!
Incoming messages can be blocked by a spam filter so they are never received.
Spam filters just drop suspected spam messages down into that giant electronic wastebasket, without sending any notice to the suspected spammer. Over 90% of email sent in 2009 was spam, according to Symantec, and it hasn’t gotten better since then.
Certain words in the subject or the body of an email can cause a spam filter to reject the message, and so can use of all caps and exclamation marks (like “REMINDER!”). If possible, using those words, all caps, and exclamations marks should be avoided. See HubSpot’s “Ultimate List of Email SPAM Trigger Words” for a recent list of the trouble makers.
There can be technical problems somewhere in your email system.
When an email server is down or not functioning properly, messages may not go out, and error messages indicating that the email messages haven’t gone out might not be sent (or received) either.
The email address may have a typo in it.
Typos can occur when the email address is typed into the message header from a business card or interview notes. Perhaps the address is spelled wrong in the notes, or the job seeker creates the typo by typing too quickly. Regardless of the reason, a typo anywhere in the email address will usually send it into a giant electronic wastebasket. Sometimes the email system rejects the message, sending it back, and the typo is discovered. But not always.
2. Email is not a 100% effective communications method!
Sometimes the message gets through, but is not read.
The subject of the message must NOT look like spam and must also encourage someone to click on it to read it. So a message with a subject like “Hello!” “Thank you,” or even “Following Up” often aren’t effective.
Make sure that the message subject is relevant and interesting so that it will be opened. Provide more concrete details that a spammer wouldn’t use. ”Following up on the 2/27 Mary Jane Smith interview” or “Following up on the 2/27 Admin Assistant interview” are more apt to be read than just “Following up.”
Sometimes the message gets through, but is not effective.
Job seekers often assume that the person receiving the message will instantly remember who they are and why they would be getting in touch. So they send a very general message that doesn’t get a response and doesn’t leave a good impression. It’s much better if the message is clear about the job the job seeker wants. Be sure that messages include:
- Your name and contact information, in addition to your email address.
- The job title and requisition number (internal tracking) of the job.
- Dates, times, and names of people who interviewed you – if this is a follow-up to an interview or series of interviews.
Sometimes the message makes a bad impression.
If the message is full of misspellings, bad grammar, and/or typos, it can disqualify a job seeker for any position that requires competency at written communications. So, if spelling, grammar, and typing are weaknesses, take extra care and – if possible – have someone with better skills review the message before hitting the send button, even if the job doesn’t require those skills. Look as sharp as possible.
Sometimes the message has “attitude.”
Job seekers can be hostile or rude in an email message – or give the impression of being hostile. If there was interest in that job seeker, a bad attitude will instantly kill the interest. No one wants to hire someone who might be a major disruption to the organization or damage morale.
So, smart job seekers keep messages business-like and professional. Particularly in a lengthy job search, it’s easy to assume the employer is “playing games” with the job seeker, but that very rarely happens in real life. Best to assume good faith until proven (!) otherwise.
And, of course, sometimes the email isn’t answered because the response is “no thanks, we’re not interested in hiring you for this job.”
But don’t let lack of an email response give you the impression of a “no thanks” that didn’t really happen. Reach out by phone, at least once, to see if the interest is there or not. Follow the other advice on WorkCoachCafe about not calling every week!