Thank you note after job interview

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  • #1
Is it really common practice to send a thank you email after a job interview? At all of my interviews I have concluded by thanking the interviewer for their time etc., but never sent a thank you email. To me, it seems redundant, pushy, and smarmy. Or is this common practice? What would you think if you were hiring? (In general, not necessarily looking for advice w.r.t. a particular industry)
 
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  • #2
hutchphd
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I think it depends upon the interview, but a short thank you could hardly be considered ill-mannered. If it really is perfunctory be sure to title it as a "short thank you" to aid the person in question when looking at his inbox.
If you had good chemistry recapitulate something amusing about the interview that you appreciated. Or even some small additional tidbit you feel useful. Almost everyone likes recognition, and a sincere and well-crafted note fills the bill. There is an art to "business friendships" as with any other kind (and sometimes they can morph). I am fundamentally a shy person and understand your aversion, but I believe you are incorrect about this.
 
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  • #3
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It depends on how you write the note. It gives you brownie points and reminds the interviewer that you were astute enough to get his email and proactive enough to write a thank you.

You could also include a few questions you had about the position and perhaps point out something you forgot to mention.

There are examples online of how to write a thank you letter that may guide you to write a nice one.

This is where young people fall down on. They send the same resume to every company. They don't go the extra distance to hunt down a job via networking through their friends or through technical circles. They dutifully send stuff into the HR dumpster where resumes are scanned and stored for future reference if ever. They don't look for ways to get directly to the hiring manager.

Your fundamental shyness means you won't get the salary you deserve because you'll likely not counteroffer for fear of losing the opportunity even though you know the first offer from a company is conservative and any promises they make to the contrary will likely not be honored in the future. Sometimes though for your first job this is okay because then you'll feel more comfortable when pursuing your next job.
 
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  • #4
Choppy
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In all the hiring committees I've been on, I have never seen a candidate disqualified for sending a polite thank-you email.

I have seen committee members impressed when candidates take the time to do so.
 
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  • #5
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I've never done it yet and don't plan to start.

But it's easy and might help, so maybe you should?
 
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  • #6
Dale
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Is it really common practice to send a thank you email after a job interview?
It is not common practice, that is exactly why you should do it.

If I have two equally qualified candidates and one sends a thank you note and the other doesn’t then the one with the thank you note has just demonstrated friendliness and conscientiousness. I immediately believe they would be more enjoyable to work with and that they would be more likely to treat customers well.

I have often had equally qualified applicants.
 
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  • #7
gleem
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It has become commonplace to send a thank you note after an interview. A thank you note shows interest in the company and you can never show too much interest.
 
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  • #8
symbolipoint
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Is it really common practice to send ,...
To me, it seems redundant, pushy, and smarmy.
...
I generally feel the way you do. Sending "ThankYou" letter probably not a bad idea but also probably meaningless. Either you are qualified for the job or you're not; either the interviewers like you or they do not. A possible strategy - do you have something you wish to emphasize which can be combined with a written expression of gratitude? But if you make a written claim or statement you wish to emphasize, you must do so honestly. (Like you might say basically, ' I would suit this part of the work well because I have done such or other experience and / done some task of the same kind for Q number of months',... whatever.

I surely was hired for a few jobs in which I did send a letter of gratitude, but like I say, doing so was almost certainly not what helped me achieve hire.
 
  • #9
Choppy
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There's a principle in the marketing world referred to as the "seven touches" of advertising. The idea is that it takes about seven interactions with a potential customer before they will purchase your product. A "touch" refers to things like: seeing your ad, a phone call, a direct meeting, a word-of-mouth contact from a friend, etc.

So in terms of something like a job hunt, and a thank-you email, you might think of this as one of those seven touches.

Here are a few contexts in which it could help...
  1. If you've ever been on a hiring committee, after seriously reviewing about five to seven candidates, they start to blend together. It becomes difficult to remember which attributes or qualities go with which candidate and often committee members have to rely on notes they've taken. A thank-you email helps to solidify you in the working memory of those on the hiring committee.

  2. It's an opportunity to provide follow up information. If during an interview you forgot to mention some relevant experience, or if there's something about yourself you felt wasn't emphasized enough, the follow-up email is a means of presenting that in a way where you have the opportunity to reflect on it and word it precisely.

  3. You can use it to invite feedback. If there's a reason why you are no longer in the running, a direct email gives potential employers an immediate means of explaining it, and that can give you actionable feedback to improve your candidacy for the next opportunity.

  4. It's an opportunity to invite consideration for other positions. If you're not successful, you can tell them you're really impressed with their company, that kind of position, etc. and that you're interested if something similar comes up. Remember, an unsuccessful interview for a previous position can be a "touch point" for if you're interested in another position later on.

  5. It also gives you the opportunity to give the potential employer feedback. Remember the interview is a two-way street. If they are not offering a competitive benefits package, it's possible they're not aware of that--particularly with smaller employers. Giving them that feedback invites an opportunity for further negotiation.
 
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  • #10
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One other potent feature of a thank you is to bring up some common interest that may have been disclosed like music, opera, Sci fi books, games or shows. My boss reached out and got a hot candidate by appealing to their interest in Sci fi by sending a note to them with a short story he had written.

Another boss I had, remarked one time that the new candidate was really into classical music and that impressed her because her own son was a professional opera singer.

These connections may come up in an interview and while you won’t dwell on it during the interview it’s ideal for follow up notes and can improve your chances to make a good impression.

Another is a college connection where you and the interviewer or someone you met from his/her team went to the same school with the same or similar major. Common profs, common courses, common college events, common college hangouts...
 
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  • #11
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I don't know, I think many of the responses here approach
redundant, pushy, and smarmy
territory.

Are we talking about a thank you note? Then, if you truly feel grateful for the interview opportunity, just say so: "Thank you very much, I enjoyed our talk." Don't make this a second interview (you had your chance already); don't require any action on the part of the interviewer. A genuine thank-you is its own reward.
 
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  • #12
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The response can be more than a simple thank you. As @gmax137 said you can lead with I enjoyed our talk and then mention whatever topic and go from there.

It could be the interviewer mentioned some problem they are struggling with and you took it to heart and looked into it after your interview (yes that's something you should consider doing) and let them know that perhaps you've discovered an approach could work. Bosses love people who take the initiative unasked and go with it and solve a longstanding problem.

It's really up to you as to what is important whether you send one or not will something you decide. We can't read the vibes you got from your interview and so there's no way in knowing exactly what you should do.

The key point is to drop your preconceptions, or your view of smarmyness. You shouldn't be thinking of your own personal image, you're trying to get a job whatever works works.

Don't let your preconceptions limit your actions, so many people do that already.

Be different, be original, be yourself.
 
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  • #13
hutchphd
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Unless you are just scrambling for any job that is offered, there is a silver (non smarmy) lining to this. Very often for a job I really want the interview will have been a useful and interesting exchange of ideas. Writing a thank you note then becomes a sincere human interaction with people you wish to see again. If in fact you hated the interview, then probably the note itself is irrelevant.
If it seems smarmy to you, you should ask yourself: why?
 
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  • #14
Dale
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Personally, if you think a thank you note is smarmy then I would probably rather have someone else fill that role in my organization anyway.
 
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  • #15
symbolipoint
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Choppy's #4:
It's an opportunity to invite consideration for other positions. If you're not successful, you can tell them you're really impressed with their company, that kind of position, etc. and that you're interested if something similar comes up. Remember, an unsuccessful interview for a previous position can be a "touch point" for if you're interested in another position later on.

That can be great, but just be HONEST. Do not try to trick for confidence.
 
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  • #16
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I always send a thank you letter, if I actually interviewed with someone at the company. That's definitely common practice, and something you should do. I even have a signature containing my photo and links to my resume, outlook, LinkedIn and GitHub right under the emails, for extra brownie points.
 
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  • #17
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Personally. Writing a thank you note is equivalent to brown nosing (IMO).

Now, if you felt that the interview was insightful and the interviewer was warm, but you were passed over for another. Then a thank-you letter requesting possible feedback on self-improvement for future interviews, not necessarily at the same company, is not brown nosing...

I personally would never work for an employer who values brown nosing in the guise of thank-you letters. (you know the old saying... Being respectful, humble, and hardworking are the only way to receive recognition and respect in the work force...)
 
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  • #18
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I think most people will receive a thank you letter for what it is, and a very few may be agitated by it, for whatever reason. So, I tend to do it, mostly to fulfill the formality.
 
  • #19
Dale
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To people who think that a sincere thank you note is either “smarmy” or “brown nosing” or otherwise negative: what is wrong with you? Are you incapable of honestly feeling and expressing gratitude? Do you therefore erroneously assume that all such expressions must be insincere? Do you think that you are too superior be bothered with simple decency and thoughtfulness? Are you so prideful that simply feeling gratitude and saying “thank you” is an affront to your ego?

If you don’t have it in you to feel gratitude and sincerely say “thank you” for an interview then don’t be terribly surprised if you occasionally get passed up for someone who did. If you didn’t feel it for that specific interview then it probably was not a good fit anyway, but if you never feel it for any interview then that is a deficiency in you, not in those that did.
 
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  • #20
symbolipoint
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To people who think that a sincere thank you note is either “smarmy” or “brown nosing” or otherwise negative: what is wrong with you? Are you incapable of honestly feeling and expressing gratitude? Do you therefore erroneously assume that all such expressions must be insincere? Do you think that you are too superior be bothered with simple decency and thoughtfulness? Are you so prideful that simply feeling gratitude and saying “thank you” is an affront to your ego?

If you don’t have it in you to feel gratitude and sincerely say “thank you” for an interview then don’t be terribly surprised if you occasionally get passed up for someone who did. If you didn’t feel it for that specific interview then it probably was not a good fit anyway, but if you never feel it for any interview then that is a deficiency in you, not in those that did.
The world is filled with many suspicious people. The world is filled with many deceitful people. Some individuals will and do find other individuals who know how to say things to get what is wanted regardless of the truth or distruth of their sincerity.
 
  • #21
Dale
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The world is filled with many suspicious people. The world is filled with many deceitful people. Some individuals will and do find other individuals who know how to say things to get what is wanted regardless of the truth or distruth of their sincerity.
So therefore expressions of gratitude are to be denigrated as “smarmy” or “brown nosing”? I fundamentally disagree with that.
 
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  • #22
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Some people will get triggered by you addressing them as "Dear" in an email.

However, I don't believe these people are of the majority.

Dear is a formality.
 
  • #23
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Rather than continue this thread discussion to the point of a thank you note, I will close it now.

We have covered the many facets and interpretations of the thank you note. Personally I would send one but that’s just me. I’m a sincere person and am not at all offended if someone thinks my note is smarmy.

If they did then I wouldn’t want to work for that person anyways. Suspicious bosses tend to micromanage everything and not give their employees a chance to grow. I’ve had both and know the feeling.

In any event, thank you all for contributing here. Let your spider sense decide whether to send a thank you. There are many resources online for how best to write one you choose to do so. Just don’t let procrastination be your reason for not doing it.

Take care,
Jedi
 
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