People tease me about the number of emoticons, doge gifs, and exclamation points I use in my email, but I refuse to give up on anything that might help me convey the feelings behind my words — and to avoid being misinterpreted.
It’s happened to all of us, when we’ve rushed to reply, or we were thinking ‘funny’ when they were thinking “snarky”, or when we didn’t even imagine how the words might sound out loud in some other voice than our own and
We’ve offended somebody without even trying.
And when the emails are flying during the matching process, when people are nervous and writing in their non-native language, or across a cultural gap?
The chance of misconstruing someone’s intent in an email is even higher.
NBHostMom is experiencing this dilemma as she aims to interpret the meaning behind a reply that felt terse, but may simply be succinct. Or not. She can’t tell.
Dear AuPairMom —
We’re currently in the dilemma of deciding between two au pair candidates. I shared my dilemma on the open thread and got some great advice! I sent off a “challenge email” to both candidates.
One candidate opened his response email with these two sentence, after which he went on to very politely answer all questions asked. If he had omitted these two sentences, I would have been impressed. The offending words:
“these are a lot of questions to answer and I am a little irritated because we’ve already talked about most of the questions. Please let me emphasize that I would love to be your au pair and for me there are no questions left.”
My first (and probably final) reaction is to disqualify him as a candidate for us. I read the response as immature and shows a lack of understanding that this is in fact a job he’s interviewing for (a very important job involving my children).
However, I’m left wondering how much of those two offending sentences are a cultural communication style (very direct/blunt!) vs. a lack of maturity.
I’d love some further insight as to the allowances others make for the communication styles and English language limitations during the matching process. I feel if I let the above mentioned candidate slide with these two sentences I’d be ignoring a big red-flag. But, am I wrong?
How much leeway is reasonable, to make room for cultural differences?
Image: “Golden Lion” by Evan Leeson