Discussion has recently risen about the impact having a Hotmail email address has when it comes applying for jobs. The idea is that employers are more likely to doubt your ability if you use one, due to the assumption that the outdated email address shows a lack of technological knowledge. It’s interesting to consider that the internet has existed for long enough that using outdated features of it can cause social stigma: much like wearing older fashion trends or using a phone that isn’t a smartphone.
There are varying opinions about this, but the majority of employers seem to believe that it doesn’t have the impact that some claim. Chris J. Collins, a professor of human resource management at Cornell University argues that it’s a bad practice from a statistics perspective.
“We know from 60 years of research on selection that that’s a bad use of data because the data that you’re using, the email address, tells you nothing about the candidate’s skills, experience or base of knowledge. You could have just deselected someone who was actually a great fit for the job based on an erroneous assumption.”, says Collins.
Erik Byrnjolfsson, the director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy has a different perspective. “Ignoring people who use older technology doesn’t strike me as a particularly effective way to screen people but if someone is truly overwhelmed with applications, perhaps even noisy and often inaccurate signals like that can reduce the information overload a bit.” Byrnjolfsoon concedes that basing an application purely on an email address is foolish, but he also says that because employers are swamped with tons of applications, one doesn’t have to stretch their imagination that hard to envision how showing a sign that you’re aren’t particularly tech savvy might rub an employer the wrong way.
Regardless if having a Hotmail email address effects employment, the concept of outdated internet tropes it is a thought provoking subject. While vintage physical technology and media have carried social stigma in some circles for years now, such as owning a Blackberry or CD player, the notion of outdated digital media is one that is a lot more new and going to continue to grow as time goes on.