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I just had a technical interview over the phone with a manager for a programming job I'm applying to.

The company deals heavily with open source, and the phone interview was friendly and rather informal (this doesn't mean unprofessional! We had some good talk about code, technologies, etc) so I was wondering if sending a "thank you" email afterwards would be appropriate.

By doing a quick search this seems to be the recommended thing to do, but most of these "job search" sites seem to apply to positions not technical or related to programming, but rather marketing, business, etc. so I'm having some doubts whether this would be seen as rather lame or unnecessary.

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    It probably won't help you get the job, but it's a good habit to get into for overall professional conduct. – Code Whisperer Jan 20 '14 at 15:10
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The answer to this question does not depend on the industry (or the type and level of position), because being polite is never "lame or unnecessary".

You might find the answers to this question interesting, to understand how your "thank you" might be received by the folks who interviewed you: Responding to thank-you notes from interviewees

Be grateful for the opportunity to interview, reiterate any good parts of the conversation, express a desire to keep in touch, do not go on and on, and do generally show that you are a fine, upstanding individual: none of that is lame!

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    I wish I could upvote repeatedly for being polite is never "lame or unnecessary" – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner May 23 '12 at 20:43
  • If nothing else, they might have lost your email address, and your thank you note will helpfully provide it to them again! – Benjol May 25 '12 at 5:56
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    ... and to make one final pitch about how you're the perfect candidate for the position. "The Acme 'foo' product looks incredibly exciting, and I'm sure that my experience with bar and baz will help me make great contributions to it. I hope to speak with you soon about how soon I can join the team at Acme and start making those contributions." – Scott C Wilson May 25 '12 at 14:45
  • the only thing that worries me is that i might be cluttering their inbox. Imagine, receiving so many thank-yous from interviewees. – david blaine Apr 15 '13 at 22:05
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    Thank-yous are not clutter. Similarly, the number of people who actually do send thank-yous is very small, and therefore is a welcome and memorable occasion. – jcmeloni Apr 15 '13 at 22:32
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No matter what the field is, it is good to follow up and give a thanks. This can help for many reasons:

  • It shows that you are very interested in the job
  • It shows that you are a kind (or you can act kind) person
  • You may get a response to the email that says more than just "You're welcome"

So yes. Say thanks. It can't hurt.

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Absolutely. The thank you e-mail isn't just a courtesy, it is another bite at the apple to sell your candidacy for the position.

It is a good excuse to give them a concise summary of your qualifications mapped to their needs as communicated to you during the call. You should have a much better idea about what factors are important to the interviewer after talking to them than when you wrote your cover letter, and you should use that information to your advantage.

Also, during the recruiting process it is a good idea to have your name cross the hiring manager's mind as frequently as possible. Anything (positive) you can do to separate you from the pack is going to be beneficial to you. I can tell you from the perspective of a hiring manager, that only about half of the phone interview people bother to take this extra step and it does make you stand out a little.

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As a person who has interviewed and hired for technical job roles I can honestly say this does not make a difference to your chances of being hired, I do however agree with jcmeloni in that being polite is "never lame or unnecessary".

If we keep things as simple as possible, you will get hired because:

  1. They think you can do the work
  2. They think will get along with the others (in business speak you "fit")

They will also take into account risk factors for hiring you, including (simplifying again):

  1. How long they think you will stay
  2. If they think you have skill gaps, how long will it take to teach you what you need to know (and can you be taught what is needed)

Being polite via a follow up email has never swayed me into choosing a candidate over another, however, it won't hurt your chances either.

What I think would be a good cause for a follow up email is researching an answer you didn't know the answer to during the interview, and then contacting the interviewer with a solution and asking if you are on the right track. This will show:

  • a willingness to learn
  • a willingness to attempt to solve problems (shows you don't need someone to 'babysit' you)
  • and a willingness to seek guidance when you are new to a particular subject

These are all good qualities for someone in a technical role, as it is a very rare that a single person will know all that is needed to know to determine a technical solution. An email of this kind would make me remember you and discuss what you had done with others, and will influence directly hiring point #2 and risk point #2, above, and to a lesser extent, hiring point #1.

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