should you use return receipts on emails to hiring managers?

A reader writes:

After reading the column about hiring salespeople, I wondered about one aspect of email — return receipts.

I don’t generally ask for a return receipt, but I had one boss who liked them. One HR manager I had used them on the policy-related emails. I’ve also dealt with a lot of academics who seem to request return receipts automatically, perhaps because they want to know if students have gotten the message (or not).

How do hiring managers feel about email follow-ups and thank yous that request a return receipt? Do they want to show they’ve read an email even if they don’t respond? Are they willing to deal with one return receipt on a follow-up, but don’t want to see one on a thank you after an interview? Or are receipt requests from applicants just verboten in the hiring process?

I wouldn’t use return receipts in the hiring process (or ever, really). They’re vaguely rude and demanding — they imply that you don’t trust the person to follow up with you appropriately, and that you’re looking for “proof” that the message was received and read. Alternately, they can also come across as a little desperate — like you need to know the instant I read your email because you’re doing nothing but focusing on this job.

Plus, while some people have their mail programs set up to send receipts automatically when requested, not everyone does — and for people who don’t, you’d be requiring them to manually okay the sending of the receipt, and that’s annoying.

Also, return receipts can be wrong. For instance, I have my email set up to automatically move any incoming emails that contain resumes into a special folder. Because they’re being instantly moved out of my in-box, some mail programs will send receipt-requesting senders a message that I deleted their email. I didn’t; it was just instantly moved somewhere else. But then I get emails saying, “I got an email saying you deleted my email within seconds of receiving it.” I then have to respond to that, which is annoying … and it also leaves me thinking, “Why the hell are you monitoring how I handle my mail, and — even weirder — confronting me about it?”

Trust that your emails are being received and don’t insist on proof.

{ 79 comments… read them below }

  1. Craig*

    Return receipts are meant as proof that your email was received correctly. I don’t see how anyone would find them rude; if so, why is it a feature on every single email service offered?

    Things happen, spelling mistakes on addresses, emails get sent to the wrong account, the email provider times out, the software crashes during transmission, etc etc. I don’t want to miss out on a job just because my resume got lost due to a software/email problem.

    A return receipt is a simple click of the mouse. If you are annoyed by having to click OK one time, something is definitely wrong with your mindset. That one click gives reassurance to the applicant that his/her resume was accepted without problem.

    1. KellyK*

      It’s not one time, though. It’s potentially one time for every single email you receive. I find it annoying enough when a couple people I work with request return receipts for every email. Someone who’s in charge of hiring might get a hundred emails about a single position. Multiply that by several positions, then add in questions about the ad, emails scheduling interviews, and thank-yous for interviews, in addition to coworkers using them, and it can be a *huge* annoyance.

      In a perfect world, everyone would have return receipts set up to send automatically, and people would only request return receipts for major things where they need documentation that the email was received. But in reality, they’re overused and I think the risk of irritating someone is too high.

    2. fposte*

      1) I will click *not* to send the receipt and 2) I will start with a jaundiced opinion of that applicant. So not only don’t you get what you want, you’ve hurt your application. Is that what you want?

      And in general–please don’t assume that because technology allows you to do something that it isn’t rude. That’s spammer logic.

      1. Jamie*

        This – I also click to not send, unless it’s for an audit in which case it’s creating an e trail.

        Auditing is the only time I use them.

        1. Kelly O*

          Same here. I never send them unless it’s a situation that needs an audit trail.

          Just because you can does not mean you should. That’s a general life rule, not just a technology-related one.

          1. Laura L*

            Just out of curiosity, what do you (and others do) when you ask for a receipt, but the person’s email is set to never respond? I’ve tried allowing receipts, but that gets annoying quickly, so I’ve just sent Outlook to not respond ever.

            (This is for my work email. As far as I know, gmail doesn’t respond to these and I don’t use Outlook to manage it.)

      2. Sarah G*

        Love the last sentence — “spammer logic.”
        I’d never even heard of return receipt emails until reading of them on AAM a couple months ago. Seems to me it’s best to think of it as you would certified return-receipt snail mail. You’d only send something by USPS return receipt if it was a very special situation where you truly require proof that it was received.
        As for spelling mistakes in email addresses, if you can’t get the address right when sending a resume or other important email, well…

    3. RF*

      That you don’t get one does not mean that I read that mail. Most often at work, I read mails in Outlook and there I read them in the preview. If I still need to do something with that e-mail, it stays in the “unread” state and only gets set to read (ans sorted into a subfolder) when whatever needed to be done on my part is done.

    4. Mike*

      >I don’t see how anyone would find them rude; if so, why is it a feature on every single email service offered?

      Actually, it isn’t a feature. Gmail and Google Apps mail both silently ignore read receipts.

      A bounce message is going to let you know that an email wasn’t delivered and very few hosts will have them disabled (since to do it you have to accept the email and then black hole it).

      IMO read receipts are now along the lines of setting the email priority: An outdated feature that shouldn’t be used.

    5. Natalie*

      “I don’t see how anyone would find them rude; if so, why is it a feature on every single email service offered?”

      And yet typing in all caps is generally considered rude, despite the presence of a caps lock key.

      I really tried to type this comment in all caps, but I just couldn’t click Submit.

    6. Mike C.*

      Because maybe your email just isn’t important enough for me to spent my time dealing with it.

      I had one guy who would spam me like this, and I started playing a game: I would return the receipt of every other email. I hope it threw him for a loop.

      1. Joe*

        I can understand why an individual of such upstanding maturity as yourself is in a position of authority over anything.

    7. Victoria Nonprofit*

      Frankly, I think it’s rude for a sender (any sender) to think they have any right to monitor or determine how I manage my email.

    8. DonM*

      if that’s your concern – that your email/resume actually ARRIVED successfully – then just use a Delivery Receipt. Then you know if it was received at the other end or not. There’s no need to know if it was actually READ, and the recipient doesn’t see that a Delivery Receipt was used. You get the best of both worlds, so to speak.

  2. corporaterecruiter*

    A funny thing happened on the way to a resume being reviewed from my inbox. Some genius invented an ATS. Unless the company you are applying to is VERY small (less than 25 people or perhaps 50 in a very small town, usually) the company has an ATS with an online application process. That process allows recruiters, HR folks and hiring managers to track the progress of a resume through the hiring process and file appropriate reports with appropriate agencies (EEO being the main one). When I receive an email with a resume from someone who has never applied to a position, it automatically goes into a file to be manually uploaded into the system. You really don’t want to know what the backlog on that file is – because they never actually applied, and therefore are not considered candidates for our purposes.

    Occasionally I’ll search that file, but usually I get plenty of applicants (and I view EVERY SINGLE RESUME that comes into the system – its my job!) or I have networked to find people I want to recruit to a position. Therefore that emailed resume goes into the dreaded black hole – where, if the person had actually applied via our process – the recruiter and the hiring manager would have viewed that resume, and made a judgement as to qualifications, and that person would get the response they were looking for (an auto email that the application was received – and a disposition on their candidacy)

    So – the moral of this story? Find out the process the company uses, and USE IT. Don’t send “do you have a position for me?” emails with resumes if you have never applied for an actual position by using the online process with that company. It makes work for recruiters, HR pros and hiring managers – and making work for the people you want to work with is never a good idea.

    As to the ever present argument “but there may be off the books positions available…” – i’ve only seen a position created TWICE in my career. Once for a very talented engineer with very specific skills and education, and once for a digital role. TWICE… in over 15 years. Those are not good odds.

    As to the “return receipt” – see the story I just told… if you apply via the process, you get a response. Automatically. Its programmed into every ATS – and if you don’t get an acknowledgement of any kind… do you really want to work for that company?

    1. K*

      I work at a place in a big city with more than 25 employees that takes resumes by e-mail. I don’t think it’s that rare.

      1. Jamie*

        Yes – big city SMB (but way more than 25 employees) and we don’t use them either.

        I prefer resume/cover letter via email – if it ain’t broke… :)

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        But it’s clearly not universally true — lots of organizations don’t. (And I’d bet money that small businesses there definitely don’t; when you’re thinking of “every company,” you’re probably thinking of only the ones you know, which by definition for most people isn’t going to be all of them!)

    2. HR Gorilla*

      Chiming in re: small/mid-size businesses and use of an ATS: I work in HR for a 1,300-employee company that was founded 22 years ago, and we still don’t have an ATS. We’re implementing one next year. The company I worked for before this was about 800 employees before they implemented an ATS.

    3. Kelly O*

      ATS systems can also be cumbersome, difficult to navigate, and leave potential employees wondering if they sent something into a black hole. I am certainly not advocating for sending a read receipt request, but I also am curious how a potential employee is supposed to know your own set of rules, especially since so many recruiters seem to have their own personal criteria for things.

      It is also frustrating to use your awesome, wonderful, snow on Christmas morning ATS, get the response, and never hear a blessed thing back. Ever. Many people think of them as black holes for a reason, and it is why job-seekers try to find ways around it.

      We’re told to make a human connection. So how do I make a human connection if I’m not allowed to send an email to a human?

      By the way, you may review EVERY SINGLE RESUME, but please rest assured, from my own personal experience you are probably in the minority. Not to sound overly jaded, but for those of us who have been literally looking for over a year for something better, it is eternally frustrating to watch people climb on high horses, assuming all recruiters follow their own rules.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I know this is frustrating, but sometimes the answer is … you can’t.

        I think you’re completely in the right, though, to point out that recruiters/employers should understand why candidates are frustrated and concerned. And a good ATS will send out an automatic confirmation that your materials were received — but they’re not all good, and it’s useful to acknowledge that.

        1. Anonymous*


          I can see how ATS systems can work for really large companies. I worked for a large subsidiary of a very large national paper and we used it for our recruitment. For a company with 20 k employees, it makes sense. For a small company of 200 people, not so much.

          Also in my own job searches, I don’t believe I ever was actually contacted by a position I submitted through the larger ATS systems–Taleo and Kenexa Brassring.

    4. jesicka309*

      But the thing is, not every role is advertised.
      At my own company, theer are departments which strictly use the online application system, and other departments who never advertise as they have so many people clamouring for jobs (think publicity, marketing, internships etc.). Anyone who views our website would think that the standard way to apply is through the system….when in reality, only sales and traffic do it this way. So there’s a whole wealth of unlisted jobs that could be out there for the applicant and they would never know, because they were following what they perceived as the correct procedure.
      It makes it a bitch to do internal transfers if the jobs are unlisted, but there you have it.
      Not to mention positions that are created for the perfect applicants. The screening system could automatically be blackholing people who would be perfect for your company, but you don’t have a role for them…but you could, if you knew they were interested.
      The screening system is shortsighted, and ignores the realities of companies, candidates and hiring.

  3. RF*

    “Plus, while some people have their mail programs set up to send receipts automatically when requested, not everyone does”

    Or others, like me, have them set up so they never send a receipts. I find asking for them to be annoying and it’s nobody’s business when I read an e-mail, so even if someone asks for one, they’ll never get one from me.

    1. Tax Nerd*


      If you need proof that I read your email, wait for my response. And don’t assume that because I read your email now, I am going to respond this very second.

      Read receipts are for the needy and those trying to play “gotcha”. These groups of people don’t deserve the accomodation of them monitoring my email for me.

  4. Karyn*

    The ONLY time I ever use read receipts is for vendors I’m trying to fire. For instance, we are in the process of trying to fire our IT people, for various bad service reasons. I sent an email to the head of the servicing department, as well as to our account manager, stating that as of X date, we would be terminating our services with them, and I wanted to make sure they were aware of this since there is a 30-day notice period required by our contract. I asked that they follow up with me to confirm that they received our termination notice and that there wouldn’t be any issues, but never got a reply. Two weeks later, I sent another email and THIS time requested a read receipt, because I want to cover my arse legally. But this is only after I sent an initial email and never got a reply as requested. Sometimes it’s the kick in the pants they need, because two minutes later I got a reply from the head of the department.

    I would never send an initial receipt request, and certainly not to a potential employer, because, as Alison said, it implies you don’t trust the recipient. If I send a read receipt request, it’s because I don’t trust you. Much like how I send my tax returns with return receipts – because I don’t trust the IRS. :)

    1. Wilton Businessman*

      There are certainly times when you WANT to send a return receipt. Job searching is not one of them.

      1. Karyn*

        Unfortunately, even sending a registered letter doesn’t always have the desired effect. I have no way of knowing that the receptionist who signed for it actually gave it to the person it was intended for, etc. At least with an email, I have a copy of it, and I can make sure it gets to who it’s intended to get to.

        1. Adam V*

          If the company’s so dysfunctional that the receptionist isn’t giving letters to the proper recipient, all the more reason to let them go. :)

  5. Ellie H.*

    My band director in high school used return receipts on the (two or three a year) emails he sent all the kids in the band with crucial performance info and he’d needle any of us who hadn’t read it in class until we opened the email. So, I find it an appropriate use with high school kids, but otherwise agree with others!

  6. KayDay*

    Logically, I can see the reason for requesting a read receipt when sending in an application, but since it’s not normally done, being the one person to do it would (as Wilton says) make you seem really high maintenance. And you would definitely seem really high maintenance and rude if you did that for all of your correspondance, such as thank you notes and such–read receipts should be reserved only for very important and deadline-driven emails.

    1. JT*

      What is the reason for sending a return receipt? That is to say, if you don’t receive the receipt, will it cause you to take any specific action?

      1. KarenT*

        That’s what I don’t get either. All it tells you is that I read your email but haven’t responded. How does that help you? (Not that that could ever happen as I never say yes to sending a read receipt).

      2. KayDay*

        In normal business (I’ve never used one when applying; I was just saying I understood the logic) I would call or try to find an alternate email. To me, the purpose of read receipts is to make sure really important things are received by the deadline, so I would do whatever I could reasonably do to make sure it gets there. (I rarely use them, however.) The last time I used one was to send in a grant proposal.

        1. JT*

          Your use of return receipts for grant proposals is closely analogous to the job applicants using it. The document is very important to you, their is no particular reason to think the email address is wrong, and the recipient is probably getting dozens or hundreds of messages on the same topic.

  7. JLL*

    I hate read receipts. They’re annoying- if i read it, I read it. If I didn’t get a chance to see it, I just didn’t. We’re all professionals here- if i don’t follow up with you in a timely fashion, THEN ask me about it like a normal person.

  8. Lexy*

    I’m an auditor and I only occasionally use read receipts.

    I figure if I don’t need them in the course of my job, which requires getting documentation from people who have better shit to do than talk to me, you certainly don’t need one in the hiring process.

    If I got an email that requested a return receipt from a candidate (in my position this would likely be an entry level college applicant, so it’s unlikely) I wouldn’t think they were being rude, but I would decline to send the receipt because, as was mentioned, you don’t actually have a right to know when I’ve read your email. I probably wouldn’t have a bad association with the person because I’d forget as soon as I hit decline that they even asked, but it wouldn’t make me think anything GOOD about them either.

    Don’t use read receipts in the recruiting process.

    Maybe don’t use them in general, and certainly don’t use them by default.

  9. EM*

    “They’re vaguely rude and demanding — they imply that you don’t trust the person to follow up with you appropriately, and that you’re looking for “proof” that the message was received and read. ”

    THIS! I have one client who sends them with every single email she sends out, even ones that say things like, “Okay, got it. Thanks.” I was starting to get incensed every time I checked that box, so I changed my email settings. Read receipts also strike me as controlling, and they make me want to be contrarian and send a sarcastic email saying, “I know you think I read the email because you got a read receipt, but I just checked the box and didn’t read the email!!!!” But that would be immature of me.

    1. Mike*

      Likely she setup her client to request them automatically and wasn’t doing it manually on every email.

      This is one reason I’m glad I use a system that just ignores them without me ever seeing it.

      1. EM*

        Yeah, I’m sure it happens automatically and isn’t something she does manually every time she sends an email. She still has to wade through the read receipts, so she definitely knows she’s sending them out. I work with others at her company, and they don’t all send read receipts, so it’s something she went out of her way to set up herself.

    2. KarenT*

      Read receipts also strike me as controlling, and they make me want to be contrarian

      This. I’m generally an easy going, laid-back person but something about read receipts gets me going. There are genuine uses– my lawyer sends them with contracts and HR with policy changes and I get both of those things because you actually do need to confirm receipt but I feel strongly that most people have no business knowing when I read emails. Plus, it’s not even accurate since I use Outlook preview feature.

      1. Rana*

        Yes. I tend to feel this way about people who mark their emails as VERY URGENT too.

        If I want someone to respond to me after reading my email, I’ll put a line in the email itself to that effect. If it’s really, really important, I’ll follow up with another email a few days later or – better yet – a phone call (or, heck, just call first!). But, honestly, a read-receipt only means the email got there, which is something you can also figure out by the lack of an out-of-office notice or bounce message. It says nothing about whether the person getting the email is actually doing anything about it. Unless the particular recipient has a reputation of having an overly aggressive spam filter, there’s no point to it.

        I’m also reminded of that old poster that says “Failure to plan on your part does not mean an emergency on mine” or such.

  10. Craig*

    The HR assistant in my office recently discovered that around 5 or 6 emails a week from potential applicants end up in her junk email folder. They were legitimate applicants with normal email addresses. That means those resumes went unread and my company lost potential skilled employees.

    I would hate to lose a job simply because my resume didn’t end up in an employer’s inbox.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      So what will you do if you don’t receive a read-receipt after requesting one? Will you contact the company and explain that you didn’t receive one and so are checking on your application? This is going to really annoy people who deliberately have their email set not to send read-receipts or who manually selected “no” in response to your request to receive one, and it’s going to make you look really high-maintenance.

      (Or are you going to be one of the people I described in the post, who demand to know why I deleted their email when I didn’t? Believe me, they don’t come across well.)

      Yes, your email might get lost. It’s extremely rare, but it could happen. There are no guarantees in job searching that everything will go smoothly or perfectly; some small portion of the time, it won’t. That’s not a reason to shoot yourself in the foot by annoying hiring managers.

      1. Craig*

        I would traditionally resend my resume after two weeks of originally sending it with a note saying I was an original applicant wondering if the job was still open.

        But this means that I was not on the pile of original applicants and thus could be an afterthought, especially if they already made a list of potential hires.

        1. fposte*

          How does a return receipt solve that problem? Do you mean you’d resend immediately if you didn’t get a return receipt? And what about if you didn’t get a return receipt with that? I fear you’re ending up prioritizing acknowledgment over hiring.

          1. -X-*

            If the original email went into a junk folder, sending a similar email with the same attachment will probably go into the junk folder again.

            1. fposte*

              ‘Zactly. I understand the impulse behind doing this, but I don’t see it as solving the problem that people want it to.

    2. fposte*

      Sure, but you’ve missed the middle step–what are you going to do if you don’t get a return receipt? Are you going to email them to ask why they didn’t click on it? Are you going to resend your materials until you get a return receipt?

      (I also think that your HR assistant is a little late on the “check the junk folders” thing–if you’re in a position where you routinely receive important but unsolicited emails, checking the junk folders should be a regular task.)

  11. anon in tejas*

    there is a reason to use read receipts in the real world (i.e. important information via email that needs to be read, policy changes, important dates, etc.) But in your job search is not one. It may be important and top priority for you, but it likely is not for your potential employer. I think that it sends a message that you are demanding being listened to at that particular moment to sent a receipt, and you need that employer’s attention NOW. –> not good messages to send with your behavior.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes! It’s like applicants who send emails with the priority level set to “!!!” It might be their top priority, but do they really want to communicate that they think it should be mine? It baffles me.

      1. Rana*

        I hate those things. If it’s that urgent, you should probably be calling me, not emailing me. And if you don’t have my phone number, it can’t be that urgent on my end.

  12. SarahJ*

    This conflates “read receipt” and “delivery confirmation.” Read receipts are annoying at best, invasive at worst. Delivery confirmation is fine; the recipient never sees it.

    1. fposte*

      I didn’t even know that some clients offer silent delivery confirmation; mine doesn’t. I think the problem isn’t that they’re being conflated, it’s that people just plain don’t know about (or don’t have) delivery confirmation. Spreading the word would be great!

    2. Coelura*

      The problem with delivery confirmation is that it only means it hit th company server. If the person is a telecommuter, the delivery confirmation is sent when the email hits the inbox not when the telecommuter receives it. If I don’t log into the server for a few days, the sender is busy thinking that I at least GOT the email when in reality, I haven’t gotten it yet.

      And I have my email set to automatically NOT send read receipts. I find them rude and an oblique suggestion that I’m not trustworthy.

  13. Joanne*

    I know I’m just beating a dead horse here, but I just wanted to add that I agree! My old boss would request a read receipt for every email she sent out, even forwards from other staff about an awesome new website they found. I suppose she had it set up to automatically do it, but it just felt like we were being micromanaged / treated like children. Ugh. Amazing how a little thing like that can generate so many strong feelings.

  14. cm13*

    I worked in HR for quite some time, and I never returned the read receipts on resumes. The resumes were sent to a generic email address that sent automatically to my personal email. I did not want the applicants to see my name when I received their resume, especially since my last name is rather unique in our area. Some applicants would stop me on the street, stop my family members, look me up in the phone book, try to friend me on Facebook, see my name on a credit card when checking out at a store… As much as I tried to hide my name, sometimes a careless receptionist would blurt it out or transfer a call directly.

    I received 1000’s of applications. When I finished work, I did not want to talk about them.

    So go ahead and keep sending your nasty letters “why didn’t you read my resume?” to the generic email and I will continue to ignore them. I don’t want you to be your Facebook friend, I don’t want you to stop my mother in a bar, I hated it when you people would stand outside my office building waiting for me to come out at the end of the day… I don’t even have the authority to hire you. Send me your resume then leave me alone.

  15. Another English Major*

    I use them when emailing a new contact and/or about deadline sensitive info. A lot of our contacts are out of date and if it’s someone I’ve never communicated before, I want to make sure they still work for that company.

  16. Anonymous*

    While I agree with the fact that one shouldn’t use return receipts when job searching, I feel I must comment on the attitude of some people in HR and hiring, commenting on here. There’s no need for the condescending words you use. For instance the “Urgent..pfft. delete” I understand your irritation, but are you actually going to discard an applicant because of that? The arrogance baffles me. I’d like to see how you would feel if the situation was reversed. That person probably has rent due the next week and while I agree they’re being tactless, you should have some sympathy and consideration even if they’re not a suitable candidate for the job. I’ not saying hire them or give them special treatment, just don’t think you’re BETTER than them because you have a job (which includes having the fate of 1000s of job applicants in your hands) and they don’t. Before anyone lashes out against me, I’m in HR myself and I can see why people dislike managers and recruiters when I read some of the comments on here.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s not about being better than someone because you have a job and they don’t. It’s about being taken aback by how some people approach a business conversation. And yes, I really would reject a candidate for sending me an initial resume marked “urgent,” because it speaks to how that person operates, how they relate to others, and what they do/don’t understand about how business works — all of which are important things in the people you hire. That’s not arrogance; that’s using good judgment in hiring.*

      If someone is struggling to pay rent, I sympathize — that’s an awful situation to be in. But lots of people are in difficult situations and remain professional and demonstrate good boundaries; it’s not realistic or sensible to expect an employer to overlook unprofessional behavior in something as important as hiring.

      * I will also say that I’ve NEVER seen a good candidate do something like that. The candidates who do things like that aren’t strong ones to begin with.

      1. Anonymous*

        Hi Alison, just wanted to say that my comments weren’t directed towards you. Also, there are some applicants who are clueless about job search etiquette as we all know, but that doesn’t mean they won’t learn from their mistakes and become better candidates in the future. I just think some people seem to have forgotten about the time when they were naive, and didn’t have the experience on the resume that they have now. I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of being rejected, so a little humility is in order for a lot of people over here. That being said, I 100% agree that a good candidate would not resort to such measures and that return receipts, and annoying follow up calls are uncalled for to say the least. I just think that we should all remember that things aren’t always easy, and we’ve all had lessons taught to us the hard way.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think it’s tricky to get the tone on this stuff right sometimes — lots of it legitimately is exasperating/frustrating/even funny (like the guy who sent a framed photo of himself to his interviewer). I think it’s okay to recognize all those characteristics in this stuff, as long as we also don’t lose sight of the fact that these are real people with real struggles. People aren’t going to give that caveat every time we’re talking about the exasperating/frustrating/funny side, but I think most of us are still sensitive to it, often deeply so. I hope that makes sense!

  17. Emily*

    Ugh, please, let’s all do everything we can to discourage use of read receipts. I use a filter to manage responses to newsletters we send out offering samples (the newsletters include a request form to fill out, but inevitably, some recipients miss that and reply to the email). This allows me to efficiently handle these responses in batches while efficiently conducting other business in my main inbox. From time to time, I’ll get an angry email from someone who sent one reply and saw that it was “deleted,” resent the same reply and saw that it, too, was “deleted,” and then writes a tirade about customer respect and spam email and whether we deserve to have their business or not. I’m at a loss every time. I really resent writing those “apology” notes! My boss has suggested rearranging my email filters so that newsletter responses stay in my primary inbox and everything else gets filtered into another folder, but it doesn’t make sense to me to twist the process inside out and potentially reduce my productivity for the comfort of a few high-maintenance clients with email control issues!

  18. Editor*

    When I asked this question, I wondered if anyone would actually use read receipts on application emails. I don’t, but it seemed to me that someone might think to do so, and perhaps would need some guidance.

    I’ve also had some bad experiences with receipts. I’ve gotten blistering emails and phone calls from one particular person after I deleted her email “unread,” and I was put in an awkward spot because she started by calling my boss to complain. I use a preview pane, and of course that isn’t a piece of information that the read receipt conveys.

    In addition, I don’t particularly care for people who mark emails “urgent.” The ones I got with that flag were mostly from PR people, wanting a mention in the publication where I worked. Really urgent emails usually have a subject line that conveys the importance.

    But thanks for all the feedback and venting.

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