This question may seem a bit over-anxious, but want to make sure that I'm as polite and correct as possible. I've been communicating by email with an HR about my hiring and relocation process. The HR has a first and a second name (as far as I understand), as well as last name. At first I referred to HR by her first name, but then she clearly signed her email with her second name. The HR is located in Norway.

Is it appropriate to politely ask how HR prefers to be addressed by name, or should I just start addressing her by her second name instead? Both situations appear somewhat uncertain, but I think it is better to clarify such things as early as possible.

  • 6
    It is appropriate to clarify with anyone you deal with what they would prefer to be called.
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 28, 2022 at 18:33
  • 1
    You should worry about more important things? Oct 28, 2022 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


It never hurts to ask just to have clarity.

But keep in mind that if they are signing their emails with a specific name, it is very likely that they would prefer to be addressed by that name.

  • or they have a basic signature in their email.
    – Tiger Guy
    Oct 28, 2022 at 14:52
  • 11
    @TigerGuy if it's their second name, it was almost certainly intentional.
    – Esther
    Oct 28, 2022 at 17:06
  • There is a strong cultural standpoint in this. For example, in India, calling someone by their last name is seen as weird. In EU and US, it is the norm. I usually ask first on what should I call you. Its not late to clarify now. Oct 31, 2022 at 3:15
  • @AnishSheela In this case, if I understand OP correctly, the HR person is using her second (middle) name not the last name. Something like "Anne Marie Smith" going by "Marie". In my experience this is not particularly unusual. Oct 31, 2022 at 5:14
  • @GeoffreyBrent Yes. Its better to casually clarify, rather than wondering whether it is appropriate. Oct 31, 2022 at 6:03

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