I just finished an interview with 8 people. It was a day long interview. I am not sure if sending a thank you note would increase my chances of being hired. Also, is it usually a voting process? Or does one person make the final decision?
If it's just a "thank you for your time and I'm looking forward to hearing from you" note, it won't do any harm but isn't likely to help much.
It's more likely to do some good if you can figure out how to use it to re-state some of the points from the interview which indicate that you're a particularly good choice for the position, refreshing their memory of why they liked you. But even then it will only help if the letter reaches someone who (a) did the interviewing and (b) is in a position to influence the final decision (as opposed to just providing a day-of-interview opinion).
Will wearing a nice suit make or break you? Will perfect grammar? Will a well crafted, readable resume? Will [insert attribute here] make or break you. It's not likely that the decision to hire you or not will hinge on any single factor. You are evaluated on many different factors, some of them consciously, some are subconscious.
A Thank You letter alone, no matter how well crafted, will not swing a hiring decision in your favor. But if the decision comes down to two candidates, of which you are one, it might be the nudge that edges the decision in your favor.
How a company decides on candidates is as unique as the company. You can figure that everyone sent to interview you has a stake in the process. What stake and how it plays out is a totally case by case basis.
If you have legitimately obtained the contact info (ie, people gave you their cards, or the recruiter gave you a list of emails), sending a thank you will do you no harm, and may do a bit of good. Do the following:
- Keep it short and sweet
- Be memorable if you can, but short is all important.
- Be polite, be careful with grammar.
- Get people's names correct. Not just spelling, but know which one is the first name and which is the last name.
- Do it 1-3 days after
- Don't make demands - if you have actual deadlines or time limits, talk to the recruiter about them
Good things it might do:
- it lets them know you care
- it jogs the memory in a pleasant way
- it shows you were paying attention and are a polite person
It's gone so far as to jog a stalled process. People get busy, and you can get lost in the shuffle on a frenzied week. A thank you in the next few days reminds the busy people who interviewed you that they better give their feedback.
It's a very mild form of selling. What it won't do:
- counter any really negative impressions during the interview
- make more qualified candidates disappear
- make you so exceedingly awesome that they will rush to hire you
- change much about the $$ of the offer
If they decide to hire you, they will have to justify their decision to their top management if they are top management, their decision to hire will be based on why the open position will be best filled by someone with your credentials and your personality.
It's unlikely that a thank you letter or the lack of a thank you letter will by itself make or break your candidacy. Most likely, a thank you letter may reinforce an already made decision to hire but it won't change a decision not to hire.
At the risk of getting the wrath of the moderators for not answer the actual question, I would suggest to only send the thank you note only if you felt that it is justified, don't send it because you feel that it may swing the decision in your favor.
For me, one of the big reasons for sending a thank you note is I have been given the time for interview and the effort put into the interview. It is obvious that interviewing a person is a big investment in time and resources.
I will also point out that the importance of the thank you note can vary depending on the type of position you are applying for.
For instance a sales job may require frequent follow-up and persistence. It may require you to keep in contact through written means with potential or exisitng customers. In this case, a thank you note shows you do have some level of follow through and the text of it might be analyzed to see if you are selling yourself well (after all who wants a salesman who can't even sell himself?) and if your writing skills are up to the job they have. Much of the advice about thank you letters comes from people who sell for a living, so they tend to put a higher emphasis on it than in many professions.
For other people, thank you notes are a nice to have and would be unlikely to affect much unless you are truly tied with someone else from a technical standpoint and the tie-breaker will be your social skills. But in most of the interviewing I have done, the decision as to who was still in the running happened long before I would have gotten a thank you.
Our career center director tells a story about how she was on a hiring committee for some big position at the school and it came down to two people. They both had pretty equal qualifications and experience, so the director asked if they had sent thank you notes. Candidate A did and candidate B did not, so they went with candidate A. So, in that case, it made the difference. It doesn't hurt anything :)
(They later ended up hiring B for a different position.)
I just finished an interview with 8 people. It was a day long interview. I am not sure if sending a thank you note would increase my chances of being hired.
It might not increase your chances of being hired, but if you don’t send one someone might ask, “Hey, anyone hear back from that other guy?”
The reality is humans in a flurry of activity tend to forget things no matter how “on the ball” they are. A quick & simple thank you note won’t hurt. Just thank people for their time, express your interest in the position & hang tight.
Also, is it usually a voting process? Or does one person make the final decision?
Depends. But you are overthinking this. In your case you might have interviewed with 8 people but maybe only a few people there will actually have any weight in the decision. For all you know they cold collectively arm-wrestle for their candidate. Which is me basically saying: There is no one set method to getting stuff like this done. Everyone meets with a candidate, shares an opinion on what they saw or felt & that’s about it.
I will say I would be shocked if this was based on voting. That becomes nasty when you are in a small group of people. Ever sit on a jury? Nobody wants that kind of realness for a hiring process. In my experience things like this are structured, but casual and usually the people most directly connected to the position will have the most weight.