Driftwood Group

Hands UP! Now, Step Away from the Keyboard…


This week I received an email from a disgruntled candidate. When I say disgruntled, I mean ANGRY! And when I say candidate, I mean someone else’s candidate – I’d never communicated in any way with this person.

This person had decided to get in touch regarding a role we were working on – at the executive level – and they had obviously been through the wringer with some other agency, or words to that effect, because they were completely fed up.

So there I am reading through my emails first thing in the morning and their friendly missive pops onto my screen. Remember, I have never, ever dealt with this candidate, until this email.

Short and sweet, replete with grammatical errors (caused no doubt by blinding rage), not only does this message poke fun at our company name, and our efforts on this role, but belittles my client (or whoever they think my client is) and tries to convince me the whole exercise is one of pointless futility.

Problem 1 – Don’t fill anyone’s inbox with your rage and frustration – trust me, no good will come of this.

Problem 2 – Don’t present yourself negatively in the very first instance – no good will come of this either.

Problem 3 – If you’re going to communicate in this way, S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G is in fact, quite important.

Problem 4 – Grammar makes the sentence go round – learn it!

Irrespective of the situation, or any prior mishandling this particular candidate received, they have now left me of singular mind – I think I might not put you forward to my client, thanks.

So what was the point of the email in the first place?


I once worked with a senior executive team. These people all sat in individual offices down one long corridor at one end of a large building. They were variously qualified and with significant experience, some might even say gifted.

Every morning, after a brief nod to each other, they would enter their little worlds and proceed to do their days’ work. When it came time to communicate with one another about tasks at hand, project updates and so on, rather than stand up and walk next door (not more than 10 feet away) – these people would send emails back and forth.

And on it went.

The emails stacked up, the projects fell over, the execs got stressed, people misconstrued certain messages – things got out of hand, if you know what I mean.

Let alone all the CAPITAL LETTERS!

Caps Lock should have a timer so it turns itself off before you blow a gasket.

I’ve never seen such miscommunication.

And then I read that email earlier this week, with the capital letters and the rage and the bad grammar, and I realised it’s all basically the same thing.


What happened to talking to each other?

Nearly every single person on Earth has a mobile phone, yet it seems to me the actual number of voice calls is dropping.

Companies live and die by the email server – the world stops when it’s down.

People quit their job/relationship/restaurant booking by text message.


Now, I should point out the angry email I received actually came to me via that candidates’ smart phone. In other words, charged with my email address and phone number, they got their T-E-L-E-P-H-O-N-E out and then wrote me a letter with it.

Why not just throw a typewriter through my office window? You wanted my attention didn’t you…


How about a phone call, a conversation, some face-time (even the Apple version if you must)?

If you’re angry and upset, or if you simply want to clear something up – I can assure you it’s easier to sort out on the phone or ideally, face-to-face.

So before you tap-tap-tap away your honour, dignity and sanity in equal measure (and that of your colleagues) try and remember;

the Voice is mightier than the Keyboard.



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Alex Kelly

Alex Kelly

Alex is a Director at Driftwood Group | Occasional Recruiter | Amateur Wordsmith | Career Interventionist