Did you see the recently released groundbreaking study revealing that job candidates with Gmail addresses go on to become high-performers? This group also boasts lower turnover, higher productivity, and higher engagement than people with Hotmail and Yahoo emails. Most importantly, stay away from losers with AOL addresses — 83 percent of them ultimately fail to meet their managers’ expectations.
Did you read this study?
I didn’t think so. Because it doesn’t exist. Yet you’d never know it based on the prejudice that persists against candidates who dare not conform to superficial email snobbery.
Not long ago, I read a tweet by someone who insisted that if recruiters sent him candidates with AOL addresses, he would reject them outright. A Google search will confirm that he’s not alone. (Yahoo and AOL searches should also convince you.) An AOL address supposedly indicates that:
- You’re still living in 1997. (Like that’s a bad thing? I still get down to Barbie Girl in da club.)
- You lack tech savvy. (Nevermind that it takes extra ability to navigate less intuitive interfaces of older email systems.)
- You hate change. (Who doesn’t!)
In short, it’s not your email that’s outdated. It’s you.
Here’s the deal: If one of your company’s job qualifications revolves around whether applicants hear “You’ve Got Mail!” then you’ve got some nerve: Don’t complain about a skills shortage. Don’t whine about a struggle to find talent.
If you are a recruiter or hiring manager who sneers at candidates with AOL and similar addresses, then you are a betrayal to your profession and to your organization.
You also might be breaking the law.
As the graph below shows, the older you are, the likelier you are to use a legacy email provider.
Therefore, if the candidates you are screening out because of their email addresses also skew over 40 years old, then you might be guilty of disparate impact under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
But don’t take my word for it. Take Kate Bischoff‘s. An employment attorney at tHRive Law & Consulting, Kate explains, “Everything before the @ should be scrutinized when it comes to hiring decisions. Everything after the @ could set you up for concern.”
Really though, it shouldn’t take Kate or Uncle Sam or me to tell you not to make employment decisions based on email addresses. Email elitism is just plain stupid.