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December 17, 2009


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Eh, thank you notes are obvious suck-up-ing (and not required, IMO), but OK.

But I think it should be emphasized that a thank you note has to be professional--either a business letter or email. And try not to use a form letter---use the thank you note to mention or follow up on something that came up in the interview.

I have received several thank you notes handwritten inside a pretty card covered with flowers etc (un, totally unprofessional). While I appreciate their thoughtfulness, it makes me wonder about their judgement and if they've ever had a job before. Better to send nothing in that case!

I've never given this idea much thought. I've had a couple interviews in the past 2-3 years and I did not send a thank you note. I think I'll add this next time.

Articles about thank you notes always seem to end in something similar to your point number four. That tells me it's a waste of time. Certainly I've never sent one beyond a (very) short follow up email. But maybe this depends on your industry; honestly if you sent a non-emailed thank you (particularly a handwritten one!) to me or any of my senior colleagues after an interview, the reaction would be anything from eye-rolling to laughter. We're already buried in paperwork and junk mail and don't want more.

As a hiring manager, I have always appreciated and welcomed thank you notes, whether they were handwritten on flowery paper or as a business-style letter. I'm not as crazy about e-mails--too easy. To my way of thinking, it makes the applicant stand out if they say "thank you" and is a courtesy in a world where courtesy seems to be dying...

I appreciate that a candidate takes the time to write a handwritten thank you note. In fact, when I did the interviewing thing last year, I sent one to the receptionist because I truly appreciate how welcome she made me feel. I later found out that she wasn't the receptionist, but the office manager. She even commented on how nice my note was.

I was hired at that company. While I'm sure that my thank you notes didn't get me hired, they set the tone that I wanted to have going into the company - I like to let people know I appreciate their time and the help that they have given me. I'm also in the habit of sending thank you emails when someone has gone above their normal job to help me out.

I'm at the individual contributor level, fyi.

I wonder if this issue isn't very dependendant upon industry, job position, and personality of the person making the decision.

In the engineering sciences field I can say that I have never sent a thank you (the only job I didn't get they couldn't meet my salary requirements even though they said they really wanted to hire me, just couldn't pay it). I have done countless interviews, never recieved a thank you note either.

If I did receive a thank you note I am in total agreement with the MC comment. It would have to be extremely professional and appear to be just a common courtesy thing rather than any attempt to "sway" me. If it appeared to be an attempt to sway me it would immediately put them in the suck up category and be a check against them. I would think this person thinks he can get by doing formalities that I consider worthless rather than actually having the ability and the desire to do real work. To me and in my type of field, real work involves getting stuff done, not sending paper around to make people feel like you acknowledged them. And I am not interviewing 50 people. I don't need a thank you to keep your name in front of me. If you are a top candidate you are already on my short list. Sending a thank you doesn't buy you anything with me because I already new the second you left what I thought of you.


My suspicion is that in sales, marketing, and executive management this might go a lot further. I consider sales to be just one big suck up industry. Marketing as well. I know a few good sales people and a few good marketing people but most people I work with in sales are liars and marketing is just "creative lying." And executive management is a lot of politicing often. In these industries and positions I suspect applying your lips to the hiring managers posterior might show you have what it takes.


I have always considered any kind of "personal touch" to be a waste. My insurance agent sends me a birthday card every year. I throw it in the garbage without giving it a second thought. I know who my agent is, I don't need to be reminded, and his gesture appears to me to be what I expect it is, namely an obvious attempt to keep his name in front of me rather than any real remembering or caring that it's my birthday, which gives it zero meaning.

Finally, unless I was desparate for a job in which case I might do anything to get ANY job, I would never send a thank you because of two reasons. One I don't want to give the impression to my potential boss that I might get from getting one and that is that I might be a suck up trying to cover up my lack of producing real results. If I can produce real results and that is apparent from my resume and my interview, why do I need the suck up letter?

And secondly and more importantly, I don't want a job from a boss who makes his decision based on my ability to jump through rediculous hoops like the need to send the right note or say the right things at the right time to make people feel like I am the right person or doing the right things. I will do my job, produce results, and I expect that to be acknowledged and rewarded. I am not interested in a job where I produce results but I didn't jump through the right hoops so I am "not a team player" or whatever other kind of non sense this person might be looking for. I realize that many people wouldn't be that type of a person even if they enjoyed getting the thank you. But no sense in getting me hired by the person who is and so if thank you type hoops are important to this person then not sending one will keep me from getting hired by the nazi!

After landing my first job out of college, my supervisor told me that it was a tough choice between me and another candidate (I knew the other candidate and I think we were very evenly matched). The manager said that it finally came down to the fact that I had written a thank you note following the interview. He said that it made the difference because I expressed gratitude for the opportunity to interview, but more importantly, it showed an attention to detail and a willingness to follow up. I've used them ever since with great success. While it may not be absolutely necessary, I think a hand written note can make a very positive impression. btw, no flowery cards, invest in conservative stationery (my name embossed on the front of mine). With e-mail being so common and easy, a hand written note will definitely be noticed.

Tell em how it is Apex!


I agree though... I think it is very dependent on industry. It makes sense in some, but not in others.


I suspect my personality plays into my view as well. I see no value in them for myself. I don't know anyone in my industry who sends them or has ever received them so when this topic was first brought up on this blog a number of months back it was kind of like someone talking about green men on mars. It was very foreign to me. So I had to sit back and think about what it was about and why one would do it. Because it was just completely out of left field for me, something I had never even thought of doing. As in I have never thought of wearing a boot on my head. It was literally that odd to me. I suspect not being in a relationship based job/industry plays a big role in that view and in my complete ignorance that the task was ever done by anyone.

Depends on the position- I’ve hired sales guys and programmers/tech people. I haven’t hired a ton of people, but I interview everyone and carry a veto.

It is unlikely that I would hire a person in sales or client relations if they failed to send a thank you email/note. From what I can recall, everyone who we have hired has sent a not of some kind- those who didn’t send some kind of note, probably weren’t in the running to start.

I could care less if a programmer/support person sent a note. It’s not part of their general personality and irrelevant for their job.

A note is something you do, it’s not a solid reason to hire one person or another. If it ever comes down to, “She sent a not, he didn’t,” we need to reevaluate our hire requirements/ parameters to find something more relevant.

I work at a large engineering company. I've never sent a thank you note. For one thing, I normally get the job offer within a day or two of the interview - a non-email thank you note wouldn't even have arrived by then.

I think this does vary by industry, and I also think that thank-you notes matter more in smaller companies than larger ones - my company's interviews are extremely structured, and I doubt there's a way to add extra points for a thank you note after the interview.


That lines up very closely what I would expect and what I have seen as well.

I think the main thing I would take away from this post and the original article it was derived from was the whole idea of people giving out advice like send thank you's or you need to do personal branding is not something that can be applied universally without taking into account the job type, the industry, and e perthsonality of the person in question.

As strange as I think thank you's are for a job interview coming from the technical side of things, the whole of idea of personal branding is something I consider to be about the most rediculous crock of B.S. I have ever heard of. In sales it probably works but in the sciences, its not only meaningless but a serious detractor. If I get someone trying to brand themselves in front of me, they are out of the running. They are not a brand. In fact most of the people in the sciences do not have the personality to even attempt to brand themselves and if they tried they would make themselves look like fools.

I have realized in the last 5 or so years that there is way too much 1 size fits all "preaching" going on in the world, including in church (such as every good christian evangelizes like this, etc). I have heard many things that I should definitely do which will definitely improve me in many ways.

Only I think they are almost all wrong for me. And I think the problem is that most of them are given out by extroverts (75% of the population). This thank you and branding thing is another example. It's an extroverted thing to do which applies in extrovert fields and is expected by extroverts (not universally true but pretty darn close).

Problem is if you make introverts do deeply extroverted things, they will hate it, they will do it poorly, they will likely make it worse for themselves but they won't do it right and they are far outside what they feel even remotely comfortable doing and likely will fail at it and probably quit whatever over all organization or entity they are involved with that is forcing them into this mold that doesn't fit.

In my experience with this it seems that many extroverts believe everyone should do extroverted activities. I don't see a lot of introverts trying to make extroverts do introverted activities though. I suspect that would get no where because extroverts wouldn't stand for that.

I also think most extroverts are unaware they are doing this. So as a public service I am informing them now. :)


lol.. you're right on about the intro/extrovert thing. In my experience, extroverted people assume that everyone around them is like them. But the best part is when they find out that this is not always the case.. they get the most puzzled look on their faces haha :)

And about the personal branding thing, again, I think if you're in sales (probably an extrovert) it makes sense. But if you're in science/engineering/other technical fields, I don't think it works so well. Most of the colleagues I've had in school are of the personality type that others would likely refer to as nerds, geeks, ect. btw, if you don't mind me asking, what field are you in?


I am in the engineering field (computers to be exact). I think I made vague reference to the engineering portion somewhere in my ramblings. :)

I pretty much agree with Apex. In engineering, a 'thank you' note is probably more likely to be seen as a negative. Essentially, it is 'why are you wasting your time, my time, and the mailman's time on sending this note when we already exchanged pleasantries in person'. If you don't understand why that is worthless, you might not be a good engineer.

Same with dressing TOO nicely for a technical position. These days, pretty much no one dresses up in an engineering company unless they are visiting a customer, so if you show up in your 3 piece suit you just make everyone feel uncomfortable. As Apex said, if you were secure in your technical abilities, you wouldn't need to do all this superfluous nonsense to make us see your value: your abilities would sell themselves.

I've been involved in hiring, never as the hiring person per se, but anytime I get a thank-you it just gives me the willies.

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