Social Question

Jadey's avatar

Should you write a "thank you" letter to an employer following an interview?

Asked by Jadey (475points) December 28th, 2009

I don’t do them (and it has never stopped me from getting the job). I find the whole idea of it a bit false, a bit of a suck-up, a bit “I really want you to think I am a nice polite person, please hire me”. If I were hiring, it would turn me off.

Some people say they are a must though; that they work; or say as employers they really do appreciate them. What would be your preference?

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34 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

More important than a thank you card would be persistent follow up, imho. I’ve never used a thank you letter either…

Gossamer's avatar

A thank you card is a bit too personal for a job interview a follow up phone call or stopping in would be more professional

A_Beaverhausen's avatar

uhhh, if you want the job,

CMaz's avatar

…a “thank you” letter to an employer following an interview is a Golden Rule.

When Thank You Letters hit my desk, their resume (job application) goes to the top of the pile.

I was hired once, it literally took a year to get the job.
When they finally flew me in for a face to face interview.

They showed me my thank you letter. It had the same date as the day I showed up for my face to face interview. It was a year to the day that I sent it.

It left an impression.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I think a phone call is more meaningful than a random thank you card.. but you heard it here first… some employers like that kinda stuff. I guess it really all depends on the employer.. a few phone calls and you’ll know which type he/she is. wink .

Jadey's avatar

@ChazMaz that’s a good story to prove the opposite! I had never even heard of writing a thank you letter until I began interacting with Americans on the internet! Through all the careers classes in school and uni it had never been mentioned to be an option, never mind a Golden Rule! We were told to phone them though. If I move to the US, I will make sure to remember your answer!! =)

Jeruba's avatar

They have become customary, especially in certain professions. They are no more a suck-up than the whole interview process itself, in which you are trying to present yourself not just as an appealing candidate but as the most appealing candidate for the job. A discerning interviewer can detect insincerity.

The thank-you letter (not a card) is a courteous acknowledgment of the interviewer’s attention to you in the interview. It is also an opportunity to mention anything you might have forgotten to say and a chance to underscore your main message (if true), namely, your enthusiasm for the position and your willingness to accept an offer.

I would not make a phone call. That puts the person on the spot and feels like pressure. The last thing you want to do is annoy the hiring manager.

CMaz's avatar

Here in the the States, (speaking for myself) I do not like phone calls.
You want to call. Wait a week or so after you dropped off a resume, or were interviewed. And, do not call again. I.E. You are now forgotten.

But a letter thanking me for my time along with your job application in my folder. I will remember you. It might not help, but it does not hurt.

A letter is less intrusive and shows your ability to keep it up. Making the effort to show a true drive and desire for the position.
If I have two candidates narrowed down for the position. Both are qualified and snappy dressers. If one did not send me a Letter. He/she is not in a good position with me.

lfino's avatar

I recently received a thank you card from one of several people I interviewed. I would have hired her without the card, but it did impress me that she sent it. It’s the only time I’ve received a thank you card from someone I was interviewing. I do not want someone to call me. Someone else in that same pool of people I was interviewing left three voicemails and two emails asking if I had made a decision. I wouldn’t have hired her even if she had not emailed or called, but she sealed it for me. HR emailed her back and told her that a decision had not been made, and that’s when she sent another email and made another call to me.

tedibear's avatar

I have sent a thank you letter after every job interview for every job I’ve ever wanted. (Sometimes you interview and you know it’s not going to be a good fit.) I’ve had 3 HR people tell me, as we were filling out new hire paperwork, that they were impressed that I sent the letter. I don’t know if the letters tipped the balance, but I am fairly certain they didn’t hurt.

EmpressPixie's avatar

A thank you note never hurts. Some hiring managers use it to help filter the applicants. Often, by the time they get to interviews, everyone who comes in is qualified. Some will be obvious fits, some will be obviously poor fits, but many will forget to send a note. And so the field is narrowed considerably and the selection is easier to make.

If a note never hurts, and there are managers who do that, then you should always send a note. It can’t hurt and it could help.

And yes, there are managers who do that—I’ve talked to a few.

drClaw's avatar

I would feel it out. After an interview you should have an ok understanding of said companies environment. Do they seem conventional, unconventional, super laid back, traditional, etc? I say this because at my company (laid back/unconventional) writing a thank you letter is overkill and in some instances I’ve seen candidates get passed because of it.

Just be wary, if the interviewer isn’t used to getting thank you letters then writing one has a chance of being off-putting and could make you seem like a suck-up. On the flip if they come across as traditional or your interviewer is older, then a thank you letter could help or at least won’t hurt.

marinelife's avatar

As a person who spent many years hiring people, I can say that thank you notes are not a waste of time.

When you interview a bunch of people (which everyone does these days) they tend to run together in your mind. When a thank you note comes that mentions something that occurred in the interview, it brings that candidate to mind.

It is definitely not false or a suck-up!

Cruiser's avatar

Yes! The thank you letter shows interest, and attention to detail. Others will be doing it and if there were close decisions to be made the letter could tip the scale in your favor.

TLRobinson's avatar

No, no, no….as a recruiter, I can tell you, we are looking at resumes/applications all day; your interview will get you the job, NOT the thank you card/letter. When I get them, I read them and throw them away. This as well as cover letters, are antiquated. Just my humble opinion.

LindaRuth's avatar

Yes, absolutely.

drClaw's avatar

@Marina & @Cruiser So even if it is the type of company where a thank you letter could be negatively misconstrued your advice is to write one anyway?

If that is what you mean then I vehemently disagree. It used to be that there was etiquette that people followed in applying for jobs whether it be in a factory or as an executive. Today’s world has countless types of companies private or public and these companies are not just looking at credentials, but they are looking at how you will fit in/add to their companies atmosphere. If you take a blanket approach you will most definitely hurt your chances some of the time. If you are smart and read the company and choose not only whether a letter is necessary, but what the tone of each letter written should be then you will be much more successful than those who choose the blanket approach.

Nothing in life is black and white, why would this be?

Cruiser's avatar

@drClaw I can’t imagine a courteous thank you letter ever being construed negatively unless of course they said please don’t send letters. I agree with you that there is a wide variety of corporate styles so your homework on the company to see if they are super formal or family oriented. I do the recruiting, hiring and firing at my company and a simple letter would be a nice touch plus a chance to see if the candidate is foolish enough to mail a typo.

CMaz's avatar

“So even if it is the type of company where a thank you letter could be negatively misconstrued”

I would need an example. Never heard of it.

drClaw's avatar

@ChazMaz I already gave one. I work in web design/marketing and have worked for companies where being 35 was old. In young atmospheres like this where everything is super laid back it isn’t uncommon to to find that they feel anything more than a follow up email is completely obnoxious. I am not saying that it is right or wrong, but it should be acknowledged, especially since these companies are fun to work for.

Cruiser's avatar

@drClaw then send them a box of kazoos and a case of Pop Rocks! Write “thanks for your time” in a Sharpie and You’ll get the job for sure!! ;

answerjill's avatar

Yes. I usually send it via “snail mail,” although I sometimes use email if it is a more casual kind of job.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Cruiser—I’d hire them for sure!—lol!

StupidGirl's avatar

Hell no, don’t crawl.

possum's avatar

“Don’t crawl?”
You probably don’t write thank you notes for non-routine gifts or meaningful social invitations either. It’s called manners and it goes a long way in this world.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I never really thought about it, Jadey. There seems to be a cultural difference either side of “the pond”. I may be interviewing in New Zealand, I wonder what the ettiquette is there? I’ve heard that in many ways Kiwis are more British than the British. I’m definitely not the “suck-up” type. So far in my life the employers have come to me, not vice-versa. This will be the first time in my life that I’ve actually asked for a job as opposed to having unsolicited offers sent to me.

Shemarq's avatar

You should always write a thank you letter or even an email. You want to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you and reiterate why you want the job and why you would be a good fit for the position.

thriftymaid's avatar

It’s another opportunity to let the employer see your communication (written) skills.

CMaz's avatar

@Cruiser has got that right. And, I have seen people do that sort of thing.
It all comes down to knowing the company you are applying to.

I find that a sad statement when businesses are loosing sight of how to observe potential employees through their actions. Instead relying on reaching in a bag and pulling out a name.

JesusWasAJewbot's avatar

I dont do the thank you letter thing really, mostly follow up calls and thank them then for their time.

StupidGirl's avatar

@possum don’t confuse business with love.
Also for social crap—no I don’t, unless me very very likey. Not because “it’s polite”.

VS's avatar

I wrote a very brief thank you for the interview and I think I would be a good fit for the job letter immediately following my interview. I got the job and have been a very good fit. My boss knows how much I love my job and told me once years ago that I was the only person who had ever thanked him for an interview. Suck up? Maybe, but it got me the job and nine years later, I still am fond of my job and my boss (most days).

GabrielsLamb's avatar

I overheard an office manager once telling another employee that they thought the thank you note was “Creepy” as a concept.

So I don’t know?

I have no idea how individual that thought is as a rule?

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