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dalepetrie's avatar

What is the collective opinion on thank you notes for job interviews?

Asked by dalepetrie (17913 points ) October 20th, 2009

I had a GREAT job interview today, and I know I should send a thank you note, but I’m curious if these have mostly moved to email, or to typed and mailed, or if they should still be handwritten, and if they should be handwritten, should they be on a card, or just on notebook paper? I have email addresses for 2 of the 3 people with whom I met, but I should have time to snail mail something as well as I don’t expect a decision on 2nd interview to be made until next week. I applied to this position on line, and set up the interviews over the phone if that matters.

The company is an older, family run company, but they embrace technology, in fact part of what this person will do will be to help with implementing new Enterprise/Accounting software. I met with the GM, the Owner, and the implementation consultant/interim Controller, for the Controller position. Part of what gives me a heads up is being modern and tech savvy, so I don’t want to come off too low tech, but then again, I don’t want to come off as too impersonal if that’s still the standard expectation.

I’ve been out of work since early February 2009, so I really don’t want to do anything to mess this one up, so any suggestions on what form it should take, what specifically I should say in the letter, etc. would be greatly appreciated and considered.

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24 Answers

HGl3ee's avatar

I personally think a simple “Thank-You” card with a hand written note :D It’s more personal and means you took the time to pick-out the card and carefully handwrite the message. Being memorable is huge after a job interview and just firing off an email because it’s “what everyone else is doing” won’t help that ;)

Good luck and I hope you get the job!! Let us know if you do! – LB

judochop's avatar

They are super cheesy but that is what works in the corporate world.

Capt_Bloth's avatar

I would send a card to the office, because you only have 2 of the 3 addresses. As @ElleBee said, it is more personal, and you want to include everyone that you met with.

Jobes32's avatar

Make it short sweet and to the point – I think it is thoughtful!

nikipedia's avatar

If I put myself in the shoes of the person doing the hiring…I’m not sure how I would feel about a hand-written note. It strikes me as a little antiquated/overkill. I would love an email, though.

Unfortunately I have a feeling there’s a lot of variation in individual preferences. Do you get the sense these are hand-written note people or email people?

Either way, good luck, and hopefully the thank you note won’t even matter because they’re so excited to hire you.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Maybe its because im from a different part of the world and we have different customs. but i would never send any employer a letter thanking them for the interview.

i have worked at burger king, as a dish washer, as an apprentace plumber, a construction site worker, a sales man, a store manager, a regional manager, an apprenace enginner, an engineer and a designer. so its not like its just something that does not happen in the jobs i work at. but thats beside the point.

the main thing is, i would see sending one as a symbol of weekness. and i suspect it would leave me vulnerable to being messed around by them. and as an employer, i would see recieving one as boot licking and needy.

i’m not saying you should not send them one, just make sure its the proper thing to do. all i am saying is this is the first time i have ever heard of such a notion. and i do spend a lot of time online and watch a fair share of american tv and what not. so its not like im totally disconected from other ways of doing things.

Judi's avatar

When ever I get a thank-you not it almost insures a second interview, unless it is obviously a sort of form letter. A little creativity (not to much) and some reference to the interview is great. One to two short paragraphs.

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m not adverse to not sending 3 cards, only the 2 for the owner and GM, because the 3rd person is basically a contractor, and really only joined us for about 15 minutes of a 2 hour interview to kind of give me a birds eye view of the position. I didn’t really get the impression one way or another if they were handwritten note vs. email kind of people, and to be honest, a lot of jobs, even ones I’ve gotten either I’ve sent an email or at times I was hired so quickly there wasn’t even time for that. I once hired a person and I thought it was somewhat quaint when she sent a handwritten note (this was in 2000), but I would have hired her anyway if I hadn’t gotten a note. In the US, it’s customary to send a thank you note, it’s interesting that other cultures don’t subscribe to this protocol, but I have yet to encounter a job search resource which said not to send one, and a lot do say a handwritten note is great. What I’m concerned about is how likely is it that the owner will look at this and feel that I’m too connected to the past to be the wave of the future. I got the impression that this company thrives on input, listening to people and making considered, thoughtful and ethical decisions, so I’m not too concerned that they’d be “unreasonable”. I’m just kind of looking at the pros and cons.

Pros of sending an email would be 1) quicker delivery time, 2) showing that I’m up on current protocol, 3) not having to be concerned that my handwriting would be judged too harshly. Cons are 1) it’s less personal, 2) it’s less memorable and 3) it may be seen as a sign that I’m not as enthusiastic as I really am.

What I do know is this….the GM and the owner are both older, I’d say in their 50s, and the company is 100 years old, and very closely held by one family. That to me screams “handwritten thank you note”, I would seem to think that they both have received handwritten notes on many occasions, and may actually be seen as something along the lines of someone actually still having the proper etiquette, and might stand out as a rarity in our society making me all the more desirable as a candidate. On the other hand, it was described to me that this system is from 1986, and they have a LOT of holes in it, and need it to respond to more real time needs, particularly in an industry where they work with a fresh commodity (flowers), and they struggle with having the kind of real time data that would make it easier for them to make important decisions and manage volatility (like shipping prices). So, they’re looking to a person with a background like mine (I’ve been in charge of multiple Accounting departments and have implemented a software package for one employer) to come in, help with modernization of the systems and creation of good internal controls to streamline the processes to make things flow more smoothly, and to get better, more accurate, and more timely data. So, the only hesitation I have about hand writing a note is going to be if they’re likely to have not seen a handwritten note in over a decade and might think, “what, doesn’t this guy have a computer?” when they see it.

I’m heavily leaning to a couple small cards, one to the owner and one to the GM, thanking them for taking time to meet with me, stating that I was greatly impressed with their organization, and that I’m quite eager to hear back from them, and to welcome them to contact me if they have any additional questions, something along those lines. In the card to the GM I will probably ask her to extend thanks to their associate/interim Controller.

So, thoughts?

whatthefluther's avatar

@dalepetrie….Make them shorter than your post, above. You have to keep it short or it is no longer a thank you card. Good luck on the job, Dale….sounds like a good fit. See ya….Gary/wtf

Cupcake's avatar

I think your rationale for a handwritten card is a good one.

FYI note about thank yous after an interview: I recently got an email from someone I interviewed and was so impressed with her clear communication and level of professionalism I forwarded it to my boss to let him know my positive impression about her. Easy and quick electronic forwards are perhaps another benefit of email.

CMaz's avatar

Send them out the min. you get home. Do a follow up call in a few days.

You do not want them to forget about you.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Absolutely send a thank you note, and reiterate your interest.

SuperMouse's avatar

I have been told more than once that I was the only interviewee who actually sent a thank you note. Send it, it will set you apart from the other applicants. They will notice that you took the time to hand write a note to them.

augustlan's avatar

Why not send a handwritten card and an email? Not identical, obviously. Make the email more of a follow up question, or a thought you had about the company.

dalepetrie's avatar

Update, they asked me to email references, so I did send those with a short note of thanks, basically something along the lines of, “As promised I am writing to send you my reference list, and to thank you for taking the opportunity to meet with me earlier today…”

I could leave it go at that, but I think I’ll end up doing what @augustlan suggests and STILL follow up w/ a couple ty cards.

augustlan's avatar

Perfect!

whatthefluther's avatar

@dalepetrie….It worked out that you got “best of both worlds.” Mail the handwritten cards so they’ll receive it no later than Friday. They will server as a reminder just prior to the weekend as well as before the next interview cut, next week. Good luck and please keep us posted.
See ya….Gary/wtf
PS: If you did not already do so, please feel free to use me as a reference (if you do not think it would be awkward telling them you know a pegasus that goes by the name “wtf”).

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

uneeded and corny.

how many bosses really have a thank you note as a dealbreaker? they’re busy people, reading some cookie cutter thank you note about some guy they probably don’t even remember interviewing doesn’t do anything except waste their time.

sakura's avatar

Here in the UK I have never known a thank you card being sent after an interview!

I usually thank the person at the time of the interview and ask for feedback if I didn’t get the job so I know what to do better next time!

Mmm made me think though I had a really good interview, I didn’t ge tthe job, but it’s the first interview ever, I was made to feel relaxed and comfortable with really good constuctive comments from the Head, I think I may drop her a thank you note after reading this thread!

RedPowerLady's avatar

I have always thought about it but never done so myself.

I have been on the hiring end and I don’t recall receiving any either. I agree that it would be a bit odd to receive one. Although having said that I don’t think it would affect the hiring process either way.

It is good manners though.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know. I’m not big on sentimental gestures that reek of sucking up. I would much prefer an email that summarized our discussion and maybe added any relevant points that you maybe missed during the interview.

I would hate handwriting, because I wouldn’t be able to read it. I would hate a card because—I don’t know—I don’t like smarmy cards.

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, they went out yesterday, so I’m hoping it does no harm, sound like the collective opinion is whether necessary or not, probably won’t be a dealbreaker…I’d hate for my making the effort to be courteous to be the deciding factor against me, that would be ironic and after this long unemployed, downright tragic.

sakura's avatar

After reading this post I have decided to send a thank you letter to someone who didn’t give me the job, but gave me heaps of advice and pointers, so much so I got the next job I went for!! YIPPEEE I’m employed again!

kruger_d's avatar

Congratulations!

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