Worst Follow-Up Email of All Time?

Published: Oct 16, 2013

Article image

Ready to feel great about your professional etiquette? Then read this follow up letter from University of Wisconsin student to a recruiter he met at a networking event. And keep in mind, he's seeking employment:

"Subject: Question


We talked a couple weeks back at the UW-Milwaukee accounting night. (I was the one looking for equity research positions and had a zit on my lip that could have passed for a cold sore. Lol. Whew. It was not. You're probably like, "uh.. What?" Maybe that helps you recall, maybe not. Not completely important, I suppose.

Anyways, if you have a chance here is my question: (background first) I interviewed with BDO and Baker Tilly today, two firms that seem like good places to work, I believe they don't kill you like a big 4. Tomorrow I have an interview with Deloitte :O somewhere I thought I've always wanted to work. Obviously I don't have an offer so this is all hypothetical thinking, but if I get the job, the reality of the situation is that I'm getting old. 25. I know you can't force love and I know it just comes when you're not looking, but would working for a big four completely squash any possibilities for potential relationships if one came along? Is working for a big four a potential career - love trade off? I mean, I like money(as do most females) but love is...great :) What are your thoughts?



Sent from my iPhone"

In the interest of learning (so that the viral humiliation is not for naught), here are 8 very simple "DO NOT EVER DO THIS" lessons from this letter:

1. Casual sexism

Noting that "females" love money is decidedly un-PC. And one has to question whether the writer would have used emoticons if he were addressing a man.

2. Emoticons

Never appropriate in a business email, regardless of whether it was sent from your iPhone.

3. Bringing up things you would probably not want anyone to remember

Like a zit. Or a cold sore. Or anything else you don't want a business contact to immediately picture. Because they'll be picturing it. Right now.

4. Mentioning other interviews

Unless you get an offer, don't do this. And even if you do, tread very carefully. It can read arrogant and tactless—not qualities most hiring managers actively seek out.

5. Telling a potential employer that you love money

Probably not great to cite this and nothing else as motivation for working at a particular company—a gentle suggestion.

6. Asking for relationship advice

At best, this is unprofessional and beside the point. At worst, it can come across as sexual harassment. Just don't go there.

7. Noting a desire not to be "killed" with work

We'd advise against noting your aversion to working hard when asking for employment, just, as a general practice.

8. Seeming to hit on a business acquaintance

Winky faces fall into the flirting category, whether flirtation is your intention or not. Same goes for bringing up your love life in a business context. Just don't. Ever.

--Cathy Vandewater, Vault.com

Read more:
Wall Streeters Are Passing Around This Awful Email A Wisconsin Student Sent To A Recruiter (Business Insider)
Get Your Interviewer to Like You: 9 Hacks
Reading Munro and Murakami Improves Interviewing Skills Says Study