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When I'm writing an email to a candidate, I want to include the candidate's name ("Dear Fred, Please come work for us! ...") I have to believe this increases response rate (you could check this historically of course).

However because StackOverflow retains the last message I sent to the candidate, when I go on from Fred to Mary, the message still says "Dear Fred". It's embarassing when I then forget to update the name, click [Send], and my message gives the wrong candidate name (I'm sure this decreases response rate).

I'd just like a simple check when I click [Send] that tells me if the candidate's name doesn't appear anywhere in the email, and suggests that I put it in. Even better, the message could just automatically include "Dear X" without me ever having to type it.

Edit: Sarcastic (and entertaining) comments below notwithstanding, I don't want fake personalisation of messages. In fact, the way SO works now encourages me to spam exactly the same message to every candidate, without any personalisation at all. For those who haven't seen it, you get your last sent message already filled in as a prompt when you view a candidate's profile, and it's just a single click to send that message again word-for-word - so if I wanted to be robotic, I'd just draft a message that could apply to anyone and send that every time. Instead, I want to personalise the message in various ways, but definitely not forget to personalise the name, which looks really dumb to everybody.

share|improve this question
You'd like to give it a personal touch without actually having to give it a personal touch? – mmyers Mar 2 '10 at 20:26
That's like having a nice, soft and sympathetic ROBOT. – Pavel Shved Mar 2 '10 at 20:40
I do further personalise the message to the candidate. It's just very embarrassing to use the wrong name, and very easy to do. – Douglas Squirrel Mar 3 '10 at 8:01
+1 for the edit – juan Mar 3 '10 at 14:50
Aha, now I see where you're coming from. +1 from me too. – mmyers Mar 3 '10 at 16:38

This sounds like a great opportunity for a Greasemonkey script. Not because it would be all that difficult for the SO Team to add to the site, but because there's so much more you could do with it!

I mean, why stop with personalized names? If you wanna give folks the impression that you actually looked at their profiles, scanned their SOFU posts, read their CVs... then what you really want is some good ol' Word-style mail-merge!

Cast your gaze upon this:

Dear {{Name}},

My name is {{RepName}} and I represent the HR department of {{Company}}, where we're currently looking for {{CandidateAdjectives}} candidates to fill a position in our {{DeptName}} group. This exciting position offers a chance to work with cutting-edge technologies such as {{NonCOBOLRequirements}} as well as established tools like {{COBOL}}. We noticed that you've done some work with {{RequirementsCandidateTagIntersection}}, and feel that you could be an excellent addition to our {{DeptMood}} team!

If working in a {{DeptPace}}-paced environment with {{DeptMood}} co-workers sounds like fun, please tell us why you think this job would be right for you!

{{RepName}}, {{RepTitle}}

Keep in mind, as a client-side script you'd be able to manipulate not only the templates but the variables themselves, thus creating an endless stream of fresh, dynamic messages to draw in potential candidates.

Like the idea, but don't have the time or expertise to write such a script yourself? Never fear, SO is full of out-of-work Greasemonkey experts - just find one on SOC and hire them for the job!


share|improve this answer
Why hire them?, I give 20 mins tops until someone does it – juan Mar 2 '10 at 20:50
About time you showed up. Where have you been all day? – mmyers Mar 2 '10 at 20:53
@mmyers: me? Working. I do that sometimes... – Shog9 Mar 2 '10 at 20:54
@Shog9: {{WittyComeback}} – mmyers Mar 2 '10 at 21:06
@mmyers - {{BackhandedCompliment}} – Adam Davis Mar 2 '10 at 21:41
@Pollyanna: {{ConfusedLook}} -- What is that supposed to mean? Yours in {{PositiveAdjective}} {{PositiveQuality}}, {{UserName}} – mmyers Mar 2 '10 at 22:15
Have thought of a script, though that just solves the problem for me. If StackOverflow is going to present your message again for you to reuse (which may be what you're really objecting to in your pretend mail-merge script - yes, sarcasm noted and enjoyed) then they should help everyone avoid the kind of silly mistake I make regularly. Editing original question to clarify. – Douglas Squirrel Mar 3 '10 at 8:07

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