Thursday, May 9, 2024

Why blind copying recipients in emails is a good idea

Recently, I received an invitation to a Zoom meeting/interview, (for a volunteer board position).  It made me feel good, knowing that I had at least got a change for the interview.  Nice, I made the first cut, but then my security senses start seeing some issues that concerned me.

Here are the issues that concerned me with the invite:

  1. The invite to the Zoom meeting was sent to everyone in one email, and all applications were in the main address to field.  The applicants were not blind copied, which now shows each person who else has put their hand up for this position.

    1. It should have been blind copied to each of the applicants, so that they don’t know the email addresses of the other applicants. When you are sending an email to a non-team bunch of people, you should always blind copy to protect each individuals' privacy. This is also an HR level confidentiality issue of providing email addresses to others that may not have it, and they now know who their competition is. 

  1. The interview was going to be a single Zoom call and each person had 15 minutes for their interview before the next person was to sign-in.

    1. It would have been a better idea that each interview was done via a separate Zoom invite/meeting, so there was complete isolation from each individual.

    2. 15 minutes is not a lot of time to answer questions about a position, given there was no job description ever provided. Sure, a Treasurer position you can figure out the basics of the position but is there a term, and of course a lot of the other things. What is really required of this Treasurer role?

    3. What was stopping the rest of the individuals that are being interviewed to sign on early so they could watch the other person getting interviewed?

The basic courtesy when you are sending an email to a bunch of people that do not know the involvement of each other is to blind copy them instead of putting each of their email addresses in the to field. Also, if you are going to be interviewing different people, I would recommend that there be three different invites sent out to three different Zoom meetings. It might mean a bit more work for the individuals doing the interviewing, but at least then each person has their own meeting and not part of another person’s interview.

Blind copying people in emails is always a good idea when you don’t want each person to know who else has been included, and it is also a good security measure so that email addresses cannot be shared with others or possibly compromised if another person’s email account is compromised. So, next time you are wanting to talk to a group of people that probably don’t know each other or their involvement, I would blind copy everyone to ensure that privacy and security is part of the communication.

PS: the outcome of this was that one person immediately pulled because they thought they would be the only one, and then I pulled after drafting this and then letting the organization know my concerns about how things were handled.

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