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Your email address

Dilber says there are two email-related issues that job hunters should be aware of.

“The first is using some sort of vintage, old-school account like AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo instead of something like Gmail,” she says.

“I don’t personally hold those things against people — and I’ve hired people with those email addresses — but I have heard recruiters talk about how it signals that someone isn’t using modern, up-to-date technology, and therefore, it just raises a flag for them.”

While you may not want to get rid of your classic — Tr0yB0lton4Eva@hotmail.com — email for nostalgia’s sake, Dilber says it’s wise to get a fresh, professional Gmail account to apply for jobs.

She also advises you use your full name in your email address.

“If [your email is] something inappropriate or unprofessional, it’s actually going to raise a lot of concerns,” she says. She adds that even if your email isn’t going to embarrass you, it could cause a problem if it’s something other than an iteration of your full name. This could make it harder for someone to contact you for an interview if they cannot type your name into their email client and have you pop up.

These alleged email red flags raised the hackles of TikTok users. Many replied to Dilber asking what makes AOL or Yahoo outdated. She replied: “Lol, I don’t even know.”

One user said it “sounds like age discrimination,” while another said: “They'll pry my Yahoo email from my cold, dead hands.”

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Your location

When assessing job applicants, some recruiters will look at your home location, Google how long your commute is, and use that to determine if they’ll bring you in for an interview, according to Dilber.

“Their thinking here is that if you have a really long commute, you may be more likely to miss work, be late to work, request to work remote, those sorts of things,” she explains. “And so, they may want to prioritize candidates that are closer.”

Dilber recommends that you only include a general metro area as your location in your job application, not your home address.

“In my opinion, your commute is your decision,” she says. “I wouldn’t personally give them that information and let them hold it against you.”

This tip was called “spot on” by Shanaeya Williams, who commented on the clip saying: “A recruiter told me I was qualified, but was concerned about my 30 min commute, so they didn't offer me the position.”

Your social media

If you’ve ever done a mad scramble to delete old photos and embarrassing statuses on Facebook before a big job interview, you’re not alone.

This is a tip you’ve probably heard before: Consider cleaning up your social media and getting rid of any NSFW (not safe for work) content.

Employers are definitely screening candidates’ presence online, “because they want to see if there’s any sort of risk to bringing that person on board,” Dilber says .

“I would personally keep your social media locked down and make sure to keep pretty neutral if you’re going through an interview process and want to maximize your chances,” she says, adding that it’s “smart” to not use your full or real name on social media.

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Your references

In a similar vein, Dilber says that anything that’s happened in the workplace in the past is fair game for a future employer to dig into.

This is especially true for people applying for more senior positions, where back-channel references — where they talk to people in your network to find out more about you — are really common, according to the recruiter.

If you want to make sure that no one at your current employer finds out that you’re interviewing, you’ll need to make that really clear to the company that is considering your application, Dilber adds. Otherwise, you need to be aware that they could be contacted with questions about you.

This again triggered comments from fellow TikTok users.

One person said, “I’ve had online applications ask for references and they check them before calling me. So now I leave them blank until I talk with someone,” to which Dilber replied: “I do the same (leave blank!)”

So these three basic things — your dated email address, your home address, and your digital presence — could all work against you when applying for a job.

One TikTok user commented that these nitpicky complaints just seem like ways to eliminate people from a pool of candidates, without actually considering their skill.

“Sounds like discrimination to me,” one person wrote in the comments.

Dilber replied: “I just tell y'all what I see people discussing in these recruiter boards.”


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About the Author

Bethan Moorcraft

Bethan Moorcraft


Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.

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