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After many tough technical interviews with a giant tech company, I was finally contacted by the HR department to let me know that I passed all of them and they wanted to schedule an interview to discuss about salaries etc.

We talked for about an hour, and after that we start exchanging some e-mails regarding bonuses etc, usual stuff. However, in almost all of our e-mail correspondence, this HR person keeps greeting me with

"Hello dear," or "Hi dear,"

and then the message follows.

I wonder if this is simply because the person forgets to type my name in the template they probably have or what? I have to say that I feel somewhat uncomfortable with this and I would never expect that from such a giant company.

Did this happen to anyone before, and how shall I handle it? I think I will simply ignore it and reply as I always have: Dear [name of the person].

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    I believe the standard address is "Dear [name]", but it's possible especially non-native speakers/writers may have gotten it slightly off. If you've already decided it's fine to leave it as is and reply with your standard address, what exactly is the problem you're trying to solve? – Brandin Apr 10 '18 at 14:23
  • @Brandin I wonder if this is a kind of red flag, or simply something that I should ignore. I doubt they would hire an HR person in such a company that does not know how to handle this trivial issues. – PsySp Apr 10 '18 at 14:24
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    What would you hope to gain by correcting HR? – paparazzo Apr 10 '18 at 14:39
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    In some regions of the US (particularly in the South), it's quite common to address people as "dear" or "sweetheart." It's meant to be friendly and probably not something to be alarmed about. – AffableAmbler Apr 10 '18 at 15:52
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    Have you considered just asking them to call you by your name? – Rory Alsop Apr 10 '18 at 22:38
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Did this happen to anyone before, and how shall I handle it? I think I will simply ignore it and reply as I always have: Dear [name of the person].

I wouldn't read into this too much. This is probably just a quirk of this one person at the company, and my guess would be that English isn't their first language. Either that or they are an elderly grandmother who addresses everyone younger than her as "dear".

Your response, to ignore it and address the HR person appropriately, is correct and you should continue as you have been.

  • This HR person is younger than me and knows my name as this was mentioned by this HR member multiple times during our 1-hour long interview. Anyway you are probably right, I just wonder how come such a huge company let people behave in this easy-to-misinterpret way – PsySp Apr 10 '18 at 14:28
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    @PsySp I've worked for some HUGE companies and I can't say I've ever heard a real discussion (I.e., beyond an induction or something) around e-mail greetings and sign offs. Realistically, the answer is because nobody has complained or cared enough to bring it up with them - as a prospective candidate, I'd suggest you're not in a position to do so either.... I do agree it's odd, but people tend to be. – Dan Apr 10 '18 at 14:57
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This may be a cultural thing or perhaps a personal quirk of the HR person. I have found that (US) Southern women tend to be more "endearing" in any exchange, including "dear," "sweetie," or even "handsome" when addressing a male. I've heard them refer to other women as "lovely" in ways such as, "Lovely, did you see...".

This may be a way for the HR person to appear to be "on your side" by using terms of endearment rather than bland, non-personal communication.

In a way, my manner of reaction would be based on my gender and theirs. A female HR (maybe with a Southern accent) addressing me as a male: I'd probably not be concerned. A male HR addressing me as a female, possible red flag and at least mentioning to them.

They are HR; they should know how not to offend.

  • For what is worth, I am a male, she is a female and she/the company is located in Paris-France. Her English is otherwise excellent to the point that I think she might be native speaker (not a slight hint of french accent). Anyway I agree it is probably a quirk, but since this never happened to me I thought to ask about if it is a red flag etc – PsySp Apr 10 '18 at 17:49
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It is a little awkward but I know that this happens all the time. I have worked with a few managers who would address their team mates as dear even in their day to day conversations and over the time it started sounding very awkward. We all have names for a reason.

Then, there are people who tend to get extremely close by using dear, irrespective of whether it is a formal or an informal occasion. May be the HR is trying to do the same.

I would say, ignore it. Not everyone follows email etiquette.

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You're not the only one who would be discomforted by such a greeting. As Joe W mentioned in the comments, if it were a mix-up with an email template, it would probably instead have just said "Hello " or "Hello [FullName]".

If it is happening multiple times, a simple firm but respectful response would not come off as provocative. Something like "Would it possible to keep things professional and avoid addressing me as 'dear'?"

  • I don't think they're being unprofessional if it is an error with the template. Ex "Hello [Name]" but perhaps they started it with "Dear Tom" and it took the first word only. Telling them they're unprofessional is a bad way to start. – Dan Apr 10 '18 at 18:34

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