28

I've never sent a thank you letter after an interview. I mean, I wouldn't send a thank you letter after a first date.

I've asked one senior dev about this and he says he's never got a thank you letter or email and said he would consider it 'cheesy'.

However, all the main UK job websites are adamant thank you letters should be sent. Does anyone know whether this technique is effective? Does it have any negatives (if you come across as desperate surely at best they'll just lowball you)?

  • 2
    Being polite is never "lame or unnecessary". So 'Yes' - Send a "Thank You" note! – Jim G. Feb 14 '14 at 4:28
  • It can't hurt, and if it helps improve the hiring manager's impression of you, you have quite a bit of potential bang for the buck. Don't think of it as a thank you note, but a follow-up letter. – Andy Lester Jul 21 '17 at 18:28
23

According to AskAManager, thank you, or follow-up notes are a good idea:

And they’ve really done everyone a disservice by using the term “thank-you notes.” These aren’t really thank-you notes at all, but rather follow-up notes. After all, most interviewers don’t really care if you thank them for the interview; they’re not interviewing you to be charitable but rather because they might want to enter into a business arrangement with you that they’ll benefit from. So your note shouldn’t be as much about thanking them as it should be about building on the conversation from the interview. They’re “follow-up notes,” not “thank-you notes.”

If done right, they can help (if you're already a good candidate). Here's another quote from her site:

Here’s the deal with thank-you notes:
* If you’re not the best candidate for the job, a thank-you note isn’t going to change that. No one is going to hire the lower-tier candidate just because of a thank-you note.
* If you’re the undisputed top candidate, the lack of a thank-you note probably isn’t going to stop you from being hired.
* However, when the decision is close between you and another candidate, a thoughtful thank-you note can tilt the scales in your direction — especially if the note isn’t just a perfunctory “thank you for your time” but contains substance that builds on the conversation you had during the interview.
* A thank-you note contributes to the overall picture of a candidate. It’s not generally make-or-break, but it’s a piece of the picture. It serves two functions: (1) It signals that you pay attention to the little things and care about presenting the best possible face to your candidacy. (2) It signals interest, by showing that you went home, digested everything you learned in the interview, and concluded that you’re still enthusiastic about the position. That can matter. Now, there absolutely are hiring managers who don’t care at all about thank-you notes. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from sending them because there are also plenty of hiring managers who will tell you that a thank-you note has swayed their hiring decisions. And as the candidate, you have no idea which type you’re dealing with … so of course you should send thank-you’s. There’s just no reason not to do this very small, very quick thing that could impact your chances. Not that it definitely will, but it could. So keep on sending them.

It's hard to do a better job in what she says about them, but I'll point out that she is a hiring manager herself, not just someone who gives advice but doesn't actually hire. Some hiring managers (answering here) have never received a thank you, and don't consider them necessary. But since others, such as the one quoted above, do consider them useful (in some cases), it would be worthwhile following up after your interview.

  • 4
    Can you elaborate on why you think this is good advice? – user8365 Feb 12 '14 at 13:40
  • @JeffO Ultimately, I think it's good advice because I've been reading her blog for over a year, and wish I'd been reading it for my whole career, and many others also say how her advice has helped. But I tried to distill that down into some of her credentials, since I can't provide a better overview on thank you notes than she already did. – thursdaysgeek Feb 12 '14 at 16:34
  • It's good that you quoted a reference, and it's also good that you added in some of your own content and interpretation based on the quoted text. Nice answer. – jmort253 Feb 14 '14 at 8:26
15

I was a hiring manager and hired about 12 people. I interviewed over 100+ people and I never got a thank you letter for an interview. I don't think that a thank you letter would have persuaded me to hire someone over someone else... unless I had two very good candidates that I felt could do the job and I couldn't decide between them. If I got a thank you letter from someone I thought was just "ok" I still wouldn't hire them.

I've switched jobs over the years. I have sent out some thank you letters after interviews. I never got a job from a place that I sent a thank you letter.

My advice is that it's not needed... Unless you have a lot of great competition trying for the same job. In that case you have to run faster than the guy next to you if you want the job and a good thank you letter could set you apart. If you write a thank you letter it better be well-written or it could kill a great interview.

Hope this helps.

5

Maybe not necessarily a Thank You e-mail as such. With the careers information available online I'd definitely recommend a follow-up e-mail of some kind, possibly including something technical based on the content of the interview:

Hi Rob,

Thank you for the interview yesterday, it was great to see a little more of how the company works and hopefully give you a better idea of my what contributions would be with a position here.

Following up on our talk yesterday about project management software. I went away and had a look at the online Kanban tool you showed me in the office and gave it a quick comparison with the LeanMgmt tool I told you about yesterday. I'd still recommend giving it a look, it has a few additional time and resource management features I think you'd definitely enjoy. I'd be happy to forward you some links and information if you're interested.

Many Thanks

Jim

So to answer your question, a thank you e-mail is fine but the point of doing it is to make yourself more memorable so try and draw attention to unique events and discussions you had during the interview and expand on them.

4

I usually follow up with a short email saying:

Hi [NAME]

Was good to meet you yesterday and find out more about [XYZ company]. I think you've got a really great product. How about [ABC idea that I've just thought up]?

I'd be really keen to move forward and get involved in taking [DEF product] forward.

Look forward to hearing from you.

FULL NAME
MOBILE NUMBER

If this email just prompts them to look at you again, or puts your name into their sub-concious, it was well worth your 5 minutes effort. It also shows enthusiasm and that you are proactive, both desirable traits.

2

I have helped with the hiring at my company and I can't say whether this is common or not, but often at the end of a long day of interviews we meet to discuss candidates and forget who said / did what. Yes, we should have taken better notes. But we did not.

So while I don't think a simple thank you note would do much, I do think a thank you note with reminders of things we talked about in the interview that you bring to the table can definitely be a plus. It doesn't have much to do with thanking anyone (although that is nice) but it helps refresh our memories and can make sure your positive traits are not lost in the often chaotic messes that are interview days. And unlike your cover letter / resume, you can now address specific needs of our company that came up in the interview. Example: "During the interview you spoke about the need for programmers to understand networking as well, and I agree. My certification in blah blah blah network technology, combined with my years of programming experience in blah blah blah, make me an excellent candidate to fill this role, blah blah blah."

Another thing we talk about in the end of interview day meetings is candidate enthusiasm for the position. The thing is, it is often hard to gauge this in an interview. So receiving an email afterwards that restates your interest in the position after you have came and seen the working environment, met with managers, etc. helps us determine that you are still seriously interested.

So I definitely vote yes on thank you notes, just make sure you use them to show enthusiasm for the position and refresh us on what you have to offer.

1

In most of the interviews I've been in over the past two years, I inevitably mention some tool or technique that the hiring manager is not familiar with during the course of the conversation. (This happens most frequently with "how would you approach x situation" questions.) I usually try to remember what these things are so I can base my "thank you" letter around them...

It was great meeting you today...In case you were interested in learning more about [tool/technique], I've attached some additional information. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

I think this shows the interviewer that you have a serious interest in their work and you are enthusiastic about helping to improve their business.

protected by Jim G. Feb 14 '14 at 4:19

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