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January 13, 2011


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I've hired a lot of people and I disagree. I would never hire someone based on whether or not they sent a thank you note--! Unless the job is something like event coordinator or personal assistant secretary (few actual skills required beyond being pleasant), you'll be hired or not based on your qualifications and experience and on how you did in the interview. A hand-written thank you note could even backfire in my opinion. A professional style follow-up email is fine, but a handwritten card more is more appropriate for private correspondence and mostly just makes you look naive and/or out of date.

If I were out interviewing, I would do it. You never know what will be that thing that sets you apart from the rest.

I don't think it's a horrible idea but I don't think it's going to be a game changer all that often. Let's face it, most HR / interview type people are going to know whether or not they want to hire the interviewee way before the thank you note comes across their desk. Heck, when I was interviewing people back in a management role I had a few years back, I would often know in the first five minutes whether or not I had any desire to hire that person.

I guess if they have a large candidate pool and have two or three people that would fit the bill, a thank you note might be something that pushes you over the edge into or out of the job. So, I'd recommend it but I'd keep my expectations in check that it probably isn't going to mean the difference between no job offers and lots of job offers.

I will say that I recently interviewed roughly 25 or so individuals over the past two months. Personally the thank you notes received had absolutely not bearing on our hiring decisions. It was hands down the connection that was felt with the individual interviewed coupled with their overall experience and professional capabilities. I noticed the ones that took the time to do things such as write personable, hand written notes were the ones attempting to make up for other areas in which they were lacking.

This does not mean it should not be done, however in most professional positions, it is not HR who is making the hiring decisions. People need to spend time concentrating on other aspects of landing the job. Past experiences and the ability to connect and/or relate to the interviewer goes much further than a note.

As they say, a good resume gets you in the door, but it is note a good note that lands the job. In fact, most of the notes I often receive are from candidates I do not even remember. So many people fail to concentrate their efforts on the actual interview itself and that is ashame. Obviously it depends on the position but if you are going in for a well paid, professional position, I think a follow up note is not going to sway any decisions that are going to be made.

Just my two cents, for what it is worth.

I would have been in the "it can't hurt" camp, but after reading the comments so far I wonder if it could. In the past I have sent them out when job hunting and gotten a favorable response, but that was a long time ago. I agree that making a connection *during* the interview is more important. I think at this point I'd be more likely to send an email following up on a topic we'd connected on during the interview, plus thanking them.

I would base my decision on my initial take on the interviewer. No-nonsense types probably would not appreciate thank you notes, but open and responsive interviewers may really appreciate it.

Based on reading posts and comments on FMF for the last year, I'd think that you might want to skip thank you notes to engineers, lol, since they see it as sucking up, but you definitely want to send them to sales or marketing interviewers since it shows good networking skills.

I guess they can't hurt.

I suppose it depends on the situation.

But for when we were hiring people a thank you note would have had zero impact. The jobs were won based entirely on the resumes & impression made in the interviews. And if we ever ran into a 'too close to call' decision we wouldn't decide it on something as trivial as a thank you note. We'd do another round of interviews between the 2 candidates.

Say you have two candidates who are as equal for the position as can be. One sends you a thoughtful thank-you note and the other nothing. Who would you choose then? (I bet it is the thank-you note person) Sure it might not help 99% of the time, but the 1% of the time it does help, it could be the best 5 minute investment you ever made.

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