Texting lingo blowing many young candidates’ job chances

July 30, 2008

An increasing number of young job hunters communicate too casually about career opportunities, writing e-mails riddled with text-messaging shorthand and decorative symbols, hiring managers say. As The Wall Street Journal reports, other college students and recent graduates are sending hasty and poorly thought-out messages to and from mobile devices, or using social-networking sites to try and befriend interviewers. Such faux pas suggest immaturity and questionable judgment, and can instantly kill a job candidate’s chances, recruiters say.

“That e-mail just ruined it for me,” the paper quotes Tory Johnson, president of the small New York-based recruiting firm Women For Hire, Inc., as saying about a thank-you note she received from an otherwise-qualified college student she had interviewed for an intern position. The note was laced with words like “hiya” and “thanx,” and contained three exclamation points and a smiley-face emoticon.

The trend of brief, informal communications may reflect a cultural divide between younger and older workers, the Journal reports. For workers in their 20s accustomed to online and cell-phone messaging, the abbreviated lingua franca is “just natural for them,” the paper quotes author David Holtzman as saying. “They don’t realize that it’s perceived to be disrespectful.”

But hiring managers at New York accounting firm KPMG aren’t amused by the smiley faces, hearts and other icons that appear in about one of every 10 thank-you e-mails they receive from young job candidates. “It’s not professional,” the Journal quotes Blane Ruschak, the firm’s national director of university relations and recruiting, as saying. Seeing the icons makes KPMG’s hiring managers wonder whether the applicant would continue to use such informal communication in the workplace. — Compiled by Greg Beaubien for Tactics and The Strategist Online


Elisabeth Handler says:

As 30-year PR veteran with an abiding love of correct and elegant language, I cry out for us to stand firm and defy the slide into neologisms and text-talk, and teach these whippersnappers some respect for English. As someone approaching the twilight of my career, I'm pretty sure the battle will be lost by attrition.

July 30, 2008

Jim Graham says:

I have as much respect for grammar and punctuation as most English teachers. The simple fact is that the Millennials bring a skill set and facility for technology, connectedness, and social networking that most professionals should value. Before discarding a candidate based on the unfortunate circumstance that no mentor, parent, or adult figure had the personal responsibility to tell him or her to adhere to professional standards is simply a poor reflection on my generation (the generation of Millennials' parents, teachers, and hourly labor managers). So, perhaps we should all be summarily fired. Did Tory or Blane try to remedy the responsibility lapse of our generation, or did they just tear off in a shrieking tizzy to the WSJ? Too bad I cannot get ahold of the fine candidates they kick to the curb. I could always use some innovative and open-minded wizards - and that's what I find most Millennials to be, under a veneer of inappropriate dress, piercing, tattoos, and casual language. I reckon Elisabeth is right - attrition will get us old goats, and life will collectively continue, and Millennials will be there as our caregivers for as long as our lives individually continue.

July 30, 2008

Nick Stevens says:

I'm a Millennial, but I save text lingo for texting and instant messaging. With texting, shortcuts are justified because its difficult to type on a cell phone. In the case of instant messaging, the goal is instant communication so shortcuts are necessary. Wall posts, forum posts, emails, etc. should not be immediate. They require thought. Taking time to review grammar and content proves that you want to communicate intelligently. Intelligent ideas can get lost in texting lingo. I took an online class this summer and I got very frustrated with texting lingo and poor grammar in the forum posts. It is ridiculous that students allow their ideas to be lost in ambiguity because they don't take the time to review their posts. That said, I agree with the first post. The battle may be lost through attrition.

July 31, 2008

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