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Sending a thank you email after an interview

  1. Nov 14, 2015 #1


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    I have been interviewing interns for our spring internship program and one of the candidates recently sent me an email basically reiterating what he considers his strengths, thanking me for the time to interview him, and letting me know that he appreciated the opportunity.

    Now, I know people say that after an interview it's in good taste to send a thank you letter, so I understand that aspect of it. However, I never had one sway my decision. For this particular case, my team decided that he wouldn't be a good fit for us, so we already told HR to move to our 2nd tier list.

    So my question is this. For anyone that has experience hiring people, have you ever been swayed by a thank you letter? Do you see any value in receiving one?
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  3. Nov 14, 2015 #2
    I've been on a lot of hiring committees. I don't think I've gotten too many thank you letters. I suppose it would depend on what was in the thank you letters. However, I am in the habit of sending them, and I get job offers for about 80% of the jobs I interview for, so I would recommend sending them.

    Usually, I do more than just reiterate my strengths and say thanks. After an interview, I almost always remember a question or two that I wish I had answered differently or something I wish I had said. I use the follow-up thank you letter to make one or two brief points that I wish I had made in the interview. Is that the difference between getting a job or not? I don't know, but it is solid professionalism either way, and even if I would get the job offer anyway, solid professionalism doesn't hurt, likely helps build good working relationships, and may hasten the first promotion or raise.
  4. Nov 14, 2015 #3


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    I don't know that a thank-you note ever swayed the decision of a hiring committee I've been on, but I can easily imagine a scenario where it would. I've been on hiring committees where the margin separating candidates has been razor-thin. They have equal qualifications, they interviewed well, they seem like good fits with the existing teams, and the references all come back stellar. In such situations, it's little things than can make the difference in the choice. A well-written thank-you could make the difference in such a situation.

    Further, a thank-you letter can keep the dialogue open with a potential employer. It will help people to remember you if a better fit comes up. It can let them know that you're open to hearing about other opportunities. It can help you follow up on questions that you feel you may not have answered to the best of your ability.

    I would also add that not everything has to be done just to sway the decision of a hiring committee though. Saying thank-you after an interview is just good manners, and like holding a door for someone who's arms are full, or saying please and thank-you when you ask for something, should be done without any expectation of reward.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2015
  5. Nov 14, 2015 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    Good conduct is its own reward. It may work out that this helps you out down the road, but that's not why to do it.
  6. Nov 14, 2015 #5


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    Having been on the other end but not at your end, I generally knew when I was going to be given a job and any thank-you notes likely had little or no effect. Job offers generally happened before two days passed, and MAILING the letter of gratitude and the administrators receiving and reading them took longer than saying "yes" to the job offer. Still, not a bad thing because the employers/administrators may have other positions, or they may have been just checking YOU through the interview process for any open positions which were uncertain.
  7. Nov 16, 2015 #6
    I have never been swayed in a hiring decision, by a thank you letter, but I also don't think that is the purpose of a thank you. The primary value is in being polite and professional, and for this reason I am in favor of the practice.
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