There’s more to a person’s name than you may realise so here’s why starting off an invite to interview letter with ‘Dear Candidate/Applicant’ could put candidates off accepting yours.

People have a psychological connection to their name – even if they don’t particularly like it. Names are intricately linked with a person’s identity, which contributes to their self-perception and self-esteem. Addressing someone by their first name acknowledges them as an individual and affirms their worth.

Reading ‘Dear Candidate/Applicant’ suggests detachment and indifference, as if they’re not so much a person as a commodity. It implies:

“This invite could be for anybody”.

It’s a bit like offering them a handshake without making eye-contact.

If a candidate feels like they’re just seen as a commodity then the sense of human-to-human connection between you is lost. Without connection, how much enthusiasm is there, from their perspective, to attend an interview?

Conversely, when a person’s first name is used, this triggers their brain to register that someone is paying attention to and validating them as an individual. Therefore, instead of a candidate feeling like the invite could be for ‘anybody’, it will feel like:

“They’ve used my first name, they see me, this is for me”

The first impression you create influences a candidate’s view of you and your organisation. A negative impression could be a dealbreaker, especially if you’re appealing to candidates in high demand.

To prevent inadvertently discouraging potential stellar candidates from attending your interview, it’s important to recognise how minor changes, such as addressing them by their first name, can shift a neutral response to a favorable one.

To end with a quote:

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Dale carnegie, Author of ‘How to win friends & influence people’

Samantha Lynne
I help small business owners to optimise team engagement, improve retention and make right-first-time hires for the long-term.