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answerjill's avatar

Writing thank-you notes after academic job interviews?

Asked by answerjill (5693 points ) May 9th, 2013

Do you think it is a good idea to write a thank-you note or email to the selection committee after an on-campus interview? I always imagined that it was the right thing to do, but one professor in my department said that it actually bothers her a lot when job candidates do this.
Please note: This question is specifically focused on academic job interviews.

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8 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I think that professor is the exception.

bookish1's avatar

(O)_(O) I am not far along enough in the academic game to be confronted with such questions, but I found that professor’s response very surprising. Did she explain why it bothers her to receive thank-you notes from candidates? Is it the tone in which they write that can be bothersome, or is it the fact that they wrote at all?

Academia is full of very strange people. This might be an idiosyncrasy of hers. Let’s see what some of our professorial jellies have to say.

answerjill's avatar

[Note: Yes, this particular prof is a pretty negative person.]

bookish1's avatar

Oh, a bitter tenured professor on a search committee? The world needs more of those!~

keobooks's avatar

I found academic positions at universities to be the worst interviewers. I remember applying for this bachelor’s degree level job at a university library and I thought it was ridiculous. I was interviewed privately with SIX different people. I think a roundtable would have been more efficient.

They asked all of the “trick” questions that I was told most employers were told to avoid asking because they only tell you if the candidate knows the trick to the question. For instance, when someone asks you what you bring to the table that the other candidates don’t have, you HAVE to say first “Because I don’t know the other candidates, it’s difficult for me to assume, however here are my strongest traits.. (then you give your spiel)” If you just give your spiel without saying the first part, you fail the question.

I wasn’t allowed to ask many questions and felt more like I was taking a ridiculous exam that I didn’t have time to study for.

Professors make lousy interviewers.

Bellatrix's avatar

It may be a cultural thing. I’m in Australia. I have never written a thank you note after an interview and I’ve never received one. I don’t think it would impress me. If you didn’t make a strong enough impression in the interview, the letter wouldn’t help. Plus who would you send the letter to? There were six people on my last interview panel.

flo's avatar

I associate thank you notes for social semi social invitations. This is competition, so you don’t want to seem to have no/not enough confidence in your ability to get the job without doing anything that the others are/may not be doing.

flo's avatar

Correcting myself: : …that the others aren’t/may not be doing.

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