Seriously tacky business: using email to deliver bad news

Posted on December 16, 2006. Filed under: Blog--All categories, Management development |

A friend of mine has entered the job search and is doing extremely well in representing herself to companies. One company invited her to interview and even had her back for a second interview.

My friend has followed up–appropriately–with thank-you notes after each interview. Her communication with the prospective employer has been via phone and in-person contacts. She’s been a bit anxious while waiting to hear the results of her interviews.

Can you believe the company sent her an EMAIL telling her they’d hired someone else? That is seriously tacky.

I know email is the trend in business communication these days. I often use it myself to communicate with my clients and prospective clients. However, when it comes to delivering bad news—using email to do it is just down right tacky.

In my book, 5 Critical Communication Vehicles, I explain at length why I think email is over used and over rated. In a nutshell, email is the cheap-and-easy alternative. It is NOT the best alternative.

This company could have made a much better impression on my friend had they given her the courtesy of a phone call … or even a politely written letter. As I said to my friend, if they deliver that kind of news in an email she wouldn’t have wanted to work for them anyway. They don’t understand the importance of the relationship to the success of their business. Ugh.


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