should employers respond to job-seekers’ post-interview thank-you notes?

by Ask a Manager on October 8, 2009

A reader writes:

What’s the etiquette of responding to a job candidate’s thank you note? Is this the right thing for employers to do?

Every time I go for an interview, I always send out a thank you email, normally on the same day. Some companies/people I interview with were kind enough to respond to my thank you, but mostly just don’t. From past experience though, it never really means anything as far as whether or not I get the job, since I got jobs from the non-responsive companies, and did not get jobs from those who responded. But when companies/people respond to my thank you notes, even if I didn’t get the job at the end, it always gives me a positive impression about them.

What’s your take on this?

You know what’s weird? I went years without ever being asked this question, and now I’ve been asked it numerous times in the last two months. I can’t figure out why. In any case…

I do not think courtesy demands that employers send a thank-you in response to your thank-you. I think of it like gift etiquette, where if someone sends you a thank-you note for your gift, you’re not expected to then send them a thank-you for their thank-you. If you were, it could become an endless cycle, and we would all just keep thanking each other over and over and have no time to watch Top Chef.

(And imagine if you had to do it with thank-you’s that arrived by mail rather than email. It would get time-consuming.)

That said, it’s certainly a kind and gracious gesture to reply to a candidate’s thank-you note. When I have the time (which isn’t always the case), I’ll sometimes reply with something like, “It was great meeting you as well, and we’ll be in touch soon.” But again, I think this is optional, and I wouldn’t read anything into it when employers don’t do it.

Anyone want to argue that it’s obligatory?

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{ 106 comments }

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 4:41 am

From the original poster.

Thank you for posting my question so quickly, AAM.

I recently had 10 (yes, right, ten) interviews with a large company, meeting with nine people – one person interviewed me twice. Almost all of them responded to my thank you emails, with the exception of the hiring manager.

I ended up not getting the job, and in fact no body else was hired either. But apart from getting a bit frustrated by the long, dragging process that had no conclusion at the end, I still have really nice impression about that company. I feel that most of the people I met were very welcoming and they embraced the possibility of my joining their team.

From my perspective, it is still a thing for employers to practice. On the other hand, I wonder if it would give candidates a 'false hope' when we get a response for the thank you note, thinking that we are the special one and will therefore automatically get the job.
Hm..

NewsView September 7, 2011 at 1:01 am

Keep in mind that there will be no response to positions that remain unfilled despite ongoing interviews and/or job postings.

There are three additional possibilities that stand out above and beyond those that were mentioned in the article.

1) The employer is testing the market. This is the process whereby interviews are conducted in preparation for a as-of-yet unrealized growth phase. The hunt for fresh talent enhances market perception (shareholder satisfaction). Never mind that in this particularly harsh economic climate such a practice amounts to cruel and unusual punishment: the job seeker’s version of a bait-and-switch encounter.

2) The hiring manager had an incumbent in mind for the position. You did, in fact, interview well but the decision had nothing whatsoever to do with you.

3) You interviewed for an out-of-area (state or country) position and while you are qualified there is always that doubt that you are serious about uprooting your life as you know it to relocate “just for a job” (even at your own expense). It’s all too easy in an “employer’s market” to hold out for a comparable local talent. The more desperate the long-term unemployed become the further they may be willing to go for work. Would-be employers may have a difficult time believing that such candidates will stick it out when the economy improves.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 5:02 am

Related question for AAM: I've always sent hand-written thank you notes, thinking that was more professional than email. These days, it seems email is an acceptable substitute, and more instantaneous of course. Yet emails sometimes get overlooked or land in a spam folder, etc.

Which do you recommend? Is it overkill to send a brief email and then a snail mail note as well?

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 10:04 am

yes employers should help employ the job seekers because there are disperate to work so i feel is right to respond to job seekers like me.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Many companies, including mine – have a policy – no contact with a candidate outside of HR. I frequently receive thank you notes for people I interview as the hiring manager, and this certainly helps me form a favorable impression of that candidate, however I never respond. Not because I'm rude or don't care, but because our HR department has a very smart policy in place to protect us.

NewsView September 7, 2011 at 1:23 am

“I frequently receive thank you notes for people I interview as the hiring manager…. however I never respond. Not because I’m rude or don’t care, but because our HR department has a very smart policy in place to protect us.”

This is exactly what happens when millions of children grow up with the “stranger-danger” message and don’t realize that was intended to protect them from KIDNAPPING vs. “normal social situations”. Too many of us have grown up and entered the professional world with the same fears we had as children. This is not progress for corporate America — or for interpersonal relations in general.

I realize my metaphor paints a rather extreme picture but I think this accounts for the equally confounding lack of manners we see in our society today. Reading your post, I’ve had a Oprah “ah-ha” moment: We’re all too scared of the boogieman under the bed — even as professional people; even as full-grown adults — to reciprocate decency and respect.

Apparently, too many of us have been watching too many made-for-TV movies and if-it-bleeds-it-leads nightly newscasts. Seriously, whatever happened to giving others the benefit of the doubt? Psychopaths and stalkers make up a tiny fraction of the population. Perhaps the next corporate seminar needs to come from a social psychologist who can put the stranger danger in perspective before it inexplicably erodes the talent base of our “job creators” as a direct result of hiring “recruiters” who are afraid to do their job (interact with the public).

HR, after all, has the background check option at their disposal. Furthermore, most applicants provide multiple references. If an applicant has any kind of job history at all you can follow up on them (and should!). Better yet, technology has never made it easier to hide behind email or voicemail systems. Responding to an applicant with whom you’ve interviewed — to let them know if the position remains open or not — doesn’t even necessitate picking up the phone to actually TALK. In short, it doesn’t get any easier to be antisocial. So if it is easier than ever to be “safe” than what accounts for still not feeling safe enough (to the point where we rationalize out-and-out indifference even to the most gracious of applicants who have hand-written thank-you notes!)?

Sad but telling, indeed.

Ask a Manager September 7, 2011 at 1:28 am

I don’t think that’s quite what this is about. HR depts that prohibit managers from responding to thank-you notes may be misguided, but what they’re afraid of is that a manager will inadvertently send a response that implies to the candidate that they have the job. They want to prevent that, so that they prevent situations like the candidate feeling misled if in fact they don’t have the job or, worse, giving notice at their current job.

I also maintain that sending a thank-you in response to a thank-you is unnecessary.

Manager October 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I agree with “Ask a Manager’s” post. I might be a hiring manager, but it is the responsibility of HR to inform a candidate of the decisions made by myself or other managers as there is an offer to make and compensation package to discuss. I just make the decision of whether or not I would accept the candidate as an employee. My response could inadvertently tip off the candidate to my decision – or give the wrong impression.

That being said, if I get a thank you and my current company has no policy against it, I sometimes respond just to be courteous…albeit with a very carefully worded reply politely and indirectly referring them to the recruiter for further correspondence.

Ask a Manager October 9, 2009 at 1:57 pm

I do think email is perfectly fine — often even better, because it gets there quickly. I sometimes receive postal mail thank-yous after my decision has already been made. I think email has become perfectly acceptable for thank-yous.

I'd say using both would be overkill.

Fedora October 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I've done many thx-you notes and after a while, wondered if they were worth writing. Does this add value to your application? Does this help being remembered from the crowd? I have a serious doubt.

What is your view?

Anonymous October 14, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Fedora,
I have to say I started thinking the same thing. I've been sending countless thank you notes and the problem with that was it made me waiting for the response. And lots of times there wasn't any.

Now, I also interviewed a few candidates and just realized recently, I received not even one thank you note from anyone of them. And a few of those candidates got hired.

So probably I should re-think this.

Ask a Manager October 15, 2009 at 1:24 am

Thank-you notes do matter. They're not going to convince me to hire a bad candidate over a good one, but when you have several great candidates, I absolutely take note of who sends them. It only takes a minute — why not just do it? It won't hurt, and it may help.

Fedora October 15, 2009 at 9:10 am

What does it say of a good candidate that does not send one?

Ask a Manager October 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm

It's more what it says about the candidates who do send them. For them, I know that they're very interested, and care about making a good impression. For candidates who don't send them, those things may be question marks.

Laura January 26, 2011 at 11:19 am

I always send a thank you after I have had an interview but for the first time EVER, I got a response from the hiring manager. Now what to do? I am thinking the best plan of action is no action-I don’t want to keep the email “going” by responding with a “you’re welcome” and then making HIM feel like he needs to respond. But on the other hand, I am not sure if I should respond just to let him know I got his email…this could go on and on…

Ask a Manager January 26, 2011 at 11:22 am

Laura, what exactly did his response say?

Anonymous July 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I had the same situation and wondering if I should respond?

The response to my thank you from the employer: “Thanks Nancy. I will be out of the office for the rest of the week. I will keep in touch as we go through the process.”

I know the employer has checked some of my references.

Ask a Manager July 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Yeah, no need to respond to that.

Anonymous July 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm

So based on what the email said, do you think it sounds like I’m a top candidate?
Thanks.

Ask a Manager July 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

No way to tell from just that!

anxiously awaiting January 28, 2011 at 9:11 am

I had an interview on Tuesday and it seemed to go well. I asked relavant questions, pulled out literature I had about their organization and had very strong referances. Of my 5 references, one of them actually works for the organization with a relavant position and he placed my resume of the directors desk and gave me araving review at that time. When they called me for the interview they told me that there were 3 interviewing for the position, and that we ALL had very strong resumes. About 1 hour after my interview, I got a call from one of my strong references. She immediately called to tell me they called her and she gave me a raving review. The following day (wed.) I sent a thank you letter. Is this a good sign. I know my stuff and passionate about what I do. I have been told by my past employers that I blow them away during the interview process…very polished. It was the same this time as well. I know there are no guarantees based on this info but realisticallly, how does this sound…positive? They said I should know something my Friday (today) no later than Monday. Ofcourse I am a nervous wreck until I get the call.

imnervous August 23, 2011 at 5:25 am

I had an interview in a company last week, it went quite well, friendly and I think i did quite well. At the end if it the hiring manager told me that he would like to connect me on linkedin. (Although no invitation yet). I sent a thank you mail and got response from hiring manager after 3 days. It says ” Dear Mr. Name, I also enjoyed our discussions. you will be contacted soon by our HR department for our decisions and the further process”. It is clear if I m out there is no further process. Do you think it is a good sign and should I expect a positive mail soon?
Thanks for your advice.

Anonymous September 1, 2011 at 10:53 am

I finished my second interviews this week with a major cable network. I always send a thank you email to everyone I interview with. The first interviews were four individual interviews and the second interviews were two individual ones. I sent out my thanks for the same day after the first interviews and the next day after the second interviews.

I have normally never received a response from any of my thank you emails. But I actually got a response from one of my second interviewers and now I’m really worried. The response I received basically said it was great meeting me and thank me for being patient since it took them awhile to get the interview process going, then at the end it says “keep in touch.”

Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but I feel like that’s an indicator they’re not choosing me for the position even though this response did not come from the hiring manager, this interviewer still has a strong input in the selection process considering they were lined up as an interviewer in the first place.

Trying to stay optimistic…

Anonymous September 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm

So I’ve received a response from HR since I decides to follow up today and find if they had made a decision. I was told I am still under consideration and that I’ll be kept posted with updates.

I’m happy to hear I’m still being considered but can’t help think how that means another person is also being weighed against me. I guess I generally go into a job interview with a company I really want to work for very confident they’ll like me and feel confident about my ability to handle the job. Still very nervous and really hoping I’m the person chosen. Maybe I’ll hear something this Friday.

If I don’t should I follow up again on Monday with HR?

Anonymous September 1, 2011 at 11:03 am

Hey this is a good sign in fact. Why someone would like to “keep in touch” if you are out. I think you should be happy firstly because the guy took his time and sent you reply of thank you mail and secondly he wants to stay in touch. In my view you did well and were able to make him remember. Expect a positive reply soon & post the response here. Good luck!!

Anonymous September 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Thank you. I will definitely share the outcome regardless.

Tyler September 4, 2011 at 11:11 am

I had an interview last Tuesday, July 30. I did not too bad on the interview even what they asked was out of my preparation and expection. After the interview, I wrote them a thank-you letter to each of the interviewers, three of them including the HR Manager, two Department Managers. After that, I got a reply from one of the Department Manager saying “It was my pleasure to meet with you too.” Do you think this is a positive sign to show their impression of me or not? I did not know how to do at the time and I did not reply to this email cause I through if I reply, it could end up with a endless cycle of thanking each other forever. Do you think I did right for this? In addition, the HR Manager told me right after the interview that they will let me know the final outcome in a week the most. But I got no reply till now. I am so much worry about I did not get selected and that is why they did not call me so far. I am now thinking I will call the HR on this Tuesday (Monday is holiday cause the long weekend) to follow up anyway. Should I do this on Tuesday or I should wait until the end of this week?

Ask a Manager September 4, 2011 at 11:14 am

I wouldn’t read anything into the reply (it was just a polite response, doesn’t mean anything either way), and you were right not to reply back to it for the reason you said. It’s been almost a month since you were supposed to hear something, so it’s reasonable to follow up. Call or email on Tuesday. (Or did you mean AUGUST 30, not July 30? If so, it hasn’t even been the week they said yet — in which case wait until the end of this coming week.)

Tyler September 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Many thanks for the quick reply. Yes, I made a mistake in my last post. The interview happened on last Tuesday, August 30. Sorry for the confusion. As the HR Manager told me one week the most I will have the answer. This upcoming Tuesday will be the date after a whole week of the interview. This is why I am worry that I was not selected cause they might have the final decision by last Friday already. But anyway, I would wait until this Thursday or Friday to follow up. Thanks.

Katie September 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm

First of all, I’d like to tell how much I LOVE your blog, and how much it has helped me to improve my resume, cover letter and overall preparation for a good job hunt! I was able to land 2 interviews last week (one was last Wednesday, one was yesterday!). I already received an email from the first interview that I am invited for a 2nd round next Monday! However, the job I am REALLY interested in, I interviewed for yesterday.

And as you might have figured… I have a question :)

So, yesterday’s interview went really well.. or so I think. I came prepared, dressed very professional (even though I knew the office was casual – I definitely saw people in flip flops and jeans!), arrived about 10 minutes prior to the appointment.. and so on. The two interviewers were very impressed by my (job-relevant) skills, and when I was speaking about how I enjoy being very organized, the dpt. manager said she can definitely tell from my very well-structured, neat resume. I was sooo happy! In fact, she complimented me on my skills quite a few times throughout the process. Sounds like everything went perfect… BUT… there were two really akward moments. Oh God!

First, when I was alone in the interview room waiting for the managers to show up I felt like I have a lash in my eye or something, and wipped out my mirror to check. Well, unfortunately, 2 mins into doing that I look to my right and can see the managers standing in front of the door. I was so embarrassed.

The 2nd awkward moment was a short skill test. It’s a bilingual position (a language that IMO not too many people in the US speak.. at least not too many that applied for this job, I think. Haha.) and at the very end I was supposed to write a one or two sentences about a “turning point in my life” in the other language.

Now, at this point we moved the interview from the room to the lobby area because we went over the scheduled time (which is a good sign, in this case, I believe). I had to bend down and write on a coffee table, while the two managers were chatting away and I got kind of nervous. I had no clue what to write, started, and then crossed out some stuff. It looked kind of messy, and to make it worse I put on a bad poker face and jokingly said “Gosh, I haven’t written by hand in so long. Sorry about it being so.. messy.” The moment it came out of my mouth, I literally wanted to slap myself. Ugh.

Also, the manager was a “talker”, and in between topics she talked about, she’d ask me if I had questions. I, of course, asked a few, but wanted to save some for the end. Well, as I mentioned.. the interview was moved to the lobby for the short skill test, and then I got a quick tour, and the interview was over after I received her business card. She apologized and said both of them had to run into a meeting, which I didn’t think much of, as the interview went 20 minutes longer than expected, and in a large company, I know that managers often have meeting after meeting without really getting a break.

What do you think? Should I be worried about these two faux-pas? :/ I followed up with a very nice email to her, and expressed how interested (and why!) I am in the job, and that I really enjoyed everything. I didn’t mention this, but I really wish I would have gotten more time to ask questions! I only asked about 3-4 in total, because I didn’t want to interrupt her or changing the topic completely! Ugh.

She replied to me today, and though I wish it was a sign of me being close to getting an offer.. I doubt it. She mentioned that if I have any additional questions, I should get in touch and that she expects to be in touch with me about the job before the end of the week.

Should I reply to hear? And, as a manager, do you think the “compliments” towards my skill set were simply standard/her being polite or if she actually meant it? I’m so nervous about hearing back, because I really want this job. Le sigh.

P.S. Sorry for the ramble!

Ask a Manager September 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Katie, those don’t sound like serious faux paus at all! I wouldn’t give them another thought, seriously!

As for her compliments, it’s hard to say if they mean anything or not. You could be a fantastic candidate, but there could be 3 fantastic candidates, you know? It’s better not to try to read too much into this stuff. Good luck!

Katie September 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Wow, that’s what I call a quick reply! :) And phew, I’m really relieved now. I was soooooo embarrassed by the mirror incident, like.. seriously. So much. Hahaha. It’s crazy how when you’re looking for a new job the smallest thing can throw you off!

We’ll see how it goes.. I’ll try to stay positive for now! Thanks so much for all your great advice, I love your blog!

Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Hi, wow – this is a great site! Anyhow, here is what happened to me. 1) I was selected for an on-campus interview with a large firm 2) I (and the rest of the candidates) were invited to a “meet-and-greet” at a local restaurant for lunch the day before the interview. 3) I interviewed the following day on campus with two members of the firm (1 Partner/1 Sr. Mgr) for approx. 30 minutes each. 4) Both the “meet-and-greet” and the interview seemed to go well. 5) I sent thank you emails to both interviewers 6) a few days later I received the following response from one of the interviewers “Thank you for your interest in XXXXXXX. I enjoyed the time we spent together. You should be hearing from us regarding whether you will be receiving an invitation to visit or office within the next couple of weeks. Please feel free to reach out to me in the meantime with any questions, etc. Have a great day!”
7) Is this a test? Should I respond and/or re-reiterate my qualifications and why I would be a great fit? All contact information was provided such as multiple phone #s. Any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks

Ask a Manager October 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm

It’s not a test, but there’s no harm in sending back a short email (don’t call). Thank them for their time in talking with you and tell them why you’re more interested as a result of that meeting.

Ask a Manager October 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Oh, wait, ignore me. Just realized you already sent a thank-you and this was in response to that (duh). No, I’d say only respond back (to their thanks for your thanks) if you do legitimately have questions. It’s not a test though, I promise.

Laura October 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I had a wonderful interview with a great Corporation this past Monday 10/10. The CEO and Direcot of Human Resources were in the interview. They stated they received over 900 resumes and mine stood out. They know my former boss and were impressed my my long history of staying at jobs for more than 10 years +. They said they were agressively interviewing by word of mouth/referrals. I wrote a thank you email and received a response from the CEO stating that they would get back to my by the end of the week as again they are agressively interviewing…….I have great references and people that know him that put a good work in for me but then the other candidates are referrals from members of the board…….I guess this would be more like a “political” appointmet of who knows who the best ….I am very confused and scared that I wont get a fair shot……..

Jeremy February 12, 2012 at 2:06 am

Many of the comments here have been questioning how much a response to a thank-you email indicates good performance in the interview. I don’t think that is the case. Instead, I think the post-interview response is a function of 2 items:

1. How personalized the email is. If you sent a 2-liner that says “thanks for interviewing” then a response is unlikely. However, if you mention something specific that stood out to you from the conversation, attach a work sample for something discussed in the interview, or mention something else unique about the interviewer’s background/weekend plans/interests, etc, then you are naturally more likely to get an individual response.

2. How many people were interviewed that day. If it was a 30-minute on-campus interview, then the interviewer likely saw about 15 people that day and will have her inbox flooded with emails from people that she hardly remembers. However, if you did a fly-out final round, and the interviewer only met with 2-3 candidates that day, then she would be more able to respond individually.

I think these 2 factors alone drive 90% of employer responses to post-interview thank you emails. In short, the extent of personalization and size of interview class will alter the probability of getting a response.

That said, if only a handful of candidates are interviewing that day and you had a good enough interview to draft a quality/personalized thank you note, then odds are, you are more likely to pass that round. So in this respect, there would be a correlation (not causation) relationship between receiving a employer’s response and receiving a job offer.

Please note: I just received responses from 2/3 interviewers from my interviews yesterday, and not knowing the result is driving me crazy. And I get highly analytical when I am crazy, so I thought I would share my thoughts.

Anonymous May 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I received a reply from the indivdual that interveiewed me telling me it was nice to meet and thanking me for taking the time to write a nice thank you note. They also said they would be in touch soon.
Do I need to reply to this?

Anonymous May 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm

If the interviewer doesn’t give you the opportunity to ask questions after the interview or “pre-screening” as it was called, is this a bad sign?

Ask a Manager May 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Most likely it’s a bad/inexperienced interviewer.

Anonymous May 19, 2012 at 11:21 am

I figured it would be the hiring manager that would ask me if I had a question; provided I land a second interview as it was the hiring manager that shortlisted my resume. However it was the companies HR recruiter that I had first contact with and they didn’t even bother to describe the position passed what the add was saying, in fact they didn’t even talk about the position at all. It was just straight behavioral questions and OK thanks for your time and I will pass on your response to the hiring manager? Is it fair to assume that “pre-screening” is just a set questionnaire and not actually an interview, because it didn’t feel like an interview?

Ask a Manager May 19, 2012 at 11:24 am

If you’re asking if you should send a thank you note anyway: Yes, still send one.

Anonymous May 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Will do thanks

Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I had an interview this past week and I sent thank you emails to everyone whom I met with. I received a response from one of the HR people thanking me for the email and that she would get back to me as soon as possible “with the next steps.” Does this imply I have a good chance of getting the job? I may be reading too much into it, but I feel as if an email saying something like she would be getting back to me asap with their decision would be more neutral?

Ask a Manager May 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm

You’re reading too much into it :)

Christina June 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Hello, So I sent a post-interview thank you email to my employer and received a reply informing me that she (the girl that interviewed me) is waiting for her boss to get back in town and I’ll be contacted soon when things are finalized. I replied that with a short message expressing my interest in meeting the boss as well and re-stating how I look forward to hearing from them. Is that too much? Should I have just waited to hear from her again regarding the hiring decision instead of replying? I can’t decide if her acknowledgement of my thank-you letter needed a reply. Please help!

Ask a Manager June 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Meh, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If you could do it over, I’d say not to mention meeting the boss unless you know for sure that that’s the next step, because if the boss isn’t involved in interviewing and the woman you spoke with is the decision-maker, you don’t want to imply that she’s not. But I wouldn’t worry about it at all.

angela June 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Hi,

I had a phone interview 2 days ago which i feel like it it went really well. The call was concluded with “reach out to any of us if any more questions pop up” I spoke with 2 people and sent thank you notes to both of them the same day as the interview.

The first one replied saying it was nice meeting me, thanking me for my time and insisted again that I call if I have any further questions.

The other one replied just now (which is 2 days later) saying the same thing as the first one, also suggesting that I should reach out to them should I have any questions.
I wonder why she is replying just now? Do you think they might have just made a decision? If so, which way do you think they are leaning towards?
Also, the time allocated for the phone interview was 45 min but it really only lasted 35 min. This is a bad sign, right?

Ask a Manager June 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I wouldn’t read anything into it. Just sit tight!

Ken June 22, 2012 at 11:16 am

I sent a thank you letter to 4 interviewers: 3 are associates and 1 is a vice president. The vice president was the only person who replied me and he said “Thank you for the note! Great to meet you and goodluck.” Why did he say goodluck? does it mean goodluck with my job search because I dont get the job?? :(

Ask a Manager June 22, 2012 at 11:32 am

I wouldn’t read anything at all into that. It’s just a nice thing to say.

James July 17, 2012 at 11:00 am

After an interview with the senior VP of the department I’d be working for—my fifth interview in two weeks with this company—I sent a thank-you note to him reiterating my qualifications and desire for the job. And I got a response. I’ve never gotten a response to one of these! He wrote: “You’re most welcome. We hope to wrap this up sooner rather than later; vacation schedules may sidetrack us a bit. Stay tuned.”

A good sign, yes? Or neutral? And why warn about vacation schedules? A cover for offering the job to another candidate first? (I’m not usually so neurotic, I swear—this process is making me go a little nuts.)

Ask a Manager July 17, 2012 at 11:02 am

Neutral, leaning slightly toward good. (No need to warn you about vacation schedules if they’re planning to reject you this week.)

Take it at face value though. They have vacation schedules they’re working around.

James July 17, 2012 at 11:10 am

Okay. Thank you. Your voice of reason is much appreciated. I can’t remember the last time I was on such a rollercoaster.

Ken July 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Ok I sent a thank you letter via email to the hiring gm of a company. He responded with this…

Ted,

It was great to meet you; thank you for taking the time.

Continue to present yourself with self- assured confidence and I have no
doubt that you will find a position for which you are  uniquely and
suitably qualified.

Your interest in The L. S. Starrett Company is appreciated.

All the best!

I have built a stellar relationship with the other hiring manager, he flew me out, introduced me to customers/Distributers ( they all loved me) I have not heard a yes or no but would like someone’s opinion on this thank you letter response.

Kay July 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Hi I went for the second of two interviews it went well I think. After the interview I sent a thank you letter via email. I got a response of thank you for the thank you letter and they would let me know one way or the other. As I am nervous about getting the job. I may be reading too much into this but I worried that the response seemed like that they were leaning more to not hiring me. I may be just to nervous and reading to much in to this. I really appreciate that they responded with a thank you and response and if I do not get the job I appreciate they responded in kind and thanked me for the thank you note.
Are thank you notes appreciated and do they help a candidate stand out? Thank you

Ask a Manager July 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm

It sounds like you’re reading too much into their note. Ignore that.

And yes, thank you notes matter — read the thank-you notes section of the archives here!

Jen July 27, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Had an interview…went great! Told me typical salary and told me I would make way more than that b/c I am aggressive. Sent a follow-up thank you via e-mail expressing that I would love to be a part of the sales team and thanking him for his time. His response was,”Thank you for your time, as well. I enjoyed our conversation.” Am I out? At the end of the interview, he told me if I did not hear from him early next week to be sure I called him…I feel like that repsonse is not a good sign when I felt very confident after the interview….

Ask a Manager July 27, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Why are you thinking you’re out because of that? I wouldn’t read it that way at all. Take it at face value — he enjoyed the conversation and call him if you don’t hear from him early next week, nothing more than that there.

Anonymous July 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I had an interview with the Hiring Managers of which one person is the VP and the other person is the AVP of the Department . They said the HR will let me know the results once the interviewers meet with few other candidates and make the final decision. Once the interview was over I sent a Thank you note to both the interviewers. I recieved a reply to my note which stated “Thank you too for your interest in our team and for taking the time to meet with us. Enjoy the rest of the summer and good luck in school this fall” . So does this note mean I am not being considered any more for the position?

Alicia August 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I had an interview this past Wednesday (Aug. 15th). I’ve been obsessing about it ever since. I’ve never wanted a job this badly. At the end of the interview I signed a release for a background check and the manager gave me his business card. Are those good signs or standard procedure?

Ask a Manager August 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Standard procedure. Don’t obsess :)

Overthinker September 4, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I sent an email to the branch manager and the regional manager of the bank that I was interviewed at last Wed (Aug 30) on Thursday (Aug 31). I received a reply from the regional manager later that day. It says “It was very nice to meet you also. We are finishing up our interviews and should have a final decision by Tuesday of next week if not before.
I look forward to speaking with you again. Have a great day.”
It’s Tuesday night now and I haven’t received any replies. What do you think?

Ask a Manager September 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Normal. This stuff often takes longer than it’s supposed to.

Overthinker September 4, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Thanks for the quick reply! I was thinking that, since this past weekend was a holiday weekend. Do you think I should send an email tomorrow or Thursday if I don’t get a call?

Ask a Manager September 4, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Check the “job searching: following up” category — tons there on this.

Jay September 5, 2012 at 5:50 am

Hi~Today i went to a dental assistant interview. The interview was OK except i got a bit nervous talking to the dentist. During the interview she did ask me about my expected wage but I said no expected wage, happy to start from the beginning cause i have no experience in the dental field, then she asked me about the the other languages i spoke and showed me around the clinic. When i got home i immediately sent her a thank you email, and she responded as” it s nice to have met you and thank you for coming all the way for an interview, will let you know the outcome.” So should i be positive? Thank you.

Kerry October 24, 2012 at 7:13 am

Wow – I’ve been rereading the “thank-you notes” archive to make sure I’m not missing anything important before I dash them off to my interviewers from yesterday. I’m so impressed that you continue to respond to people posting on older posts, especially with such reassurance! Thanks again for creating this great resource and community. :)

sai November 6, 2012 at 5:13 am

Hey

I attended an interview yesterday with a senior person, the interview was a stress one with tough counterings but was a long session. I followed it up with a thank you email this morning..the reply which came (after thanking me for the interest in the org. )said
‘I commend your energy and passion. WIsh you all success in your career’
But it didnt specify any next steps…:-(

Does this mean I wont get the job? I love the role and absolutely would love working for the said org. My frd had referred me for this role… and he has told me not to write off my chances, though they are meeting others as well – what can I do now?:-(

Ask a Manager November 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

Doesn’t mean anything either way.

Alice November 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hello,
So this is my 2nd round interview at with a larger company. The interview consisted of a writing sample, and interview with a manager and supervisor, and lunch with a staff and a supervisor. I think the interview and lunch went really well. One of the people I went to lunch with told me I did I really good job during the lunch and that they enjoyed our lunch. After the interview I went home and emailed all 4 interviewers and the HR contact, and I recieved a response from two one of the actually interviewers returning the thank you and telling me the next steps in the hiring process(says it take about 2-3 weeks, and HR will contact me) but he wished me luck a little confusing(good luck but your not fit or just good luck period?). The other response came from the staff with whom I went to lunch with he thanked me and stated that I did very well in the interview process and that he enjoyed our lunch(was this a hint or am I over thinking it because remember he wasnt in the actually interview). I responded to neither email returning the thank you because I felt as if it would become annoying is this bad?
huh I guess im nervous because this is my dream position and I’ve been on over 10 interviews this whole year trying to land this type of position..any advice??

Ask a Manager November 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm

You’re over-thinking it. Don’t read anything into those notes either way.

TA November 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Greeting from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I really enjoy reading your blog. I always read it when I have interview scheduled and after I had an interview.

Thanks for your effort in running this blog. Your blog in informative and it also makes me calm in facing an interview and telling myself to be calm after being interviewed.

Junbuggg November 21, 2012 at 11:28 am

Hi There,

I was contacted by the HR manager (Steve) of the company I applied to – he set up my interview for last Thursday, but he was not going to be conducting the interview. In fact he told me to ask for “Tim” when I arrive (no last name stated). Then when I went for the interview, Tim took me into a room where there was another man participating. He introduced himself, but I was so nervous that by the end of the interview, I completely forgot his name! (I only know for sure that it was not Steve).
I thought the interview went OK (I’m always so critical of myself that I replay the interview over & over in my head afterwards and think about things I should/should not have said).
Because I had forgotten the other interviewer’s name and didn’t know the last name of “Tim”, I sent a thank-you email the next morning to the HR manager and asked him to forward it to my interviewers stating I had “forgotten to get the proper spelling of their last names”.
I should also mention that I had 4 great references – 2 of which used to work for this company as managers, and they were my managers at the company I just got the boot from due to re-organization).
Now it’s been a week and I haven’t heard anything back.
Should I be concerned that I really messed things up by forgetting to ask for business cards and/or names?
Also, do you think it’s appropriate for me to phone the HR manager to confirm he got the thank-you email and also ask for an update???

Any comments will be most welcome.
Thanks.

Ask a Manager November 21, 2012 at 11:31 am

Should I be concerned that I really messed things up by forgetting to ask for business cards and/or names?

No.

Also, do you think it’s appropriate for me to phone the HR manager to confirm he got the thank-you email and also ask for an update???

No — you don’t bother someone to confirm they got a thank-you. You can, however, ask for an update on their timeline, but do that by email, not phone.

Junbuggg November 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

Wow, thanks for your quick reply.
Really appreciate your comments :O)

Junbuggg November 22, 2012 at 10:30 am

Hi again,

Ok, I now have another dilemma:
I emailed one of my references to see if he had been called for reference (as I mentioned on original post, he was a manager at this company I’m applying to).
He told me he had not been contacted and that this company moves in “fits and starts” (not really sure what that means), but here’s the issue – he thinks the email address of the HR manager is different than what I had down (and sent my thank you letter to).
Should I call in to get the correct email address?
Also, he said he didn’t think it would hurt to phone HR manager “Steve” to check in on how the decision making process was coming along.

Any further advise on these issues/questions?

Thanks again.

Ask a Manager November 22, 2012 at 11:18 am

Use email, not phone, for all of this. If you don’t have the right email address, call the receptionist to get it — don’t bother the HR person for that.

Amanda December 9, 2012 at 5:43 am

Hi there,

Hoping you could offer your opinion.

I had an interview mid last week with the HR manager and the manager. The HR manager said she would be making decisions for round two by the end of the week. The week ended with no phone call.

I have just received a response to my thank you email from the Sales Manager which said; ‘Thanks for sending a follow up email and expressing your interest in the role. I enjoyed meeting you and I think the skills you offer are complimentary to this role. We will be in touch next week to discuss next steps.’

Does that sound like I’ve made it to the 2nd round or not?? Surely there wouldn’t be any further steps had I not made it… a next step couldn’t be rejection, or could it? And maybe she says that to everyone and compliments their skills to be nice.

Not sure if i should start preparing for a second interview or stop getting my hopes up.

Really love this page, eagerly waiting for your response.

Amanda

Ask a Manager December 11, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I wouldn’t read anything into it — next steps could be another interview or could mean a rejection. I’d just sit tight and wait to hear.

pins and needles December 17, 2012 at 11:23 am

I had an interview a few days ago with two individuals in high positions at a government agency. The interview went well (I think) and sent two “thank you notes” a few hours later. A day later the person who has the senior position sent back a quick note that included “Thank you for your interest in the position”. Also in the interview the person stated that they were going to make a recommendation for hire later on the day of the interview. The recommendation will be sent up the chain to an elected official.

I’m thinking that I am not being recommended. Am I over analyzing this?

Ask a Manager December 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

Yes. There’s nothing here that indicates either way.

Lisa January 5, 2013 at 10:29 am

Hi There,

So glad I found this website.
I had an all day a job this Thursday across the country for an executive level role and took a red eye home to the east coast. Normally I would have immediately sent out my thank you emails upon arriving home but I also had an interview in NYC yesterday which I barely had time to get ready for before heading back out.

I know I should have sent each interviewer from my Thursday interviews a thank you note within the preferred 24 hours but by the time I got back from yesterdays interview I was so completely exhausted from the 36 hour cross country interview whirlwind that I could barely put a coherent sentence together and didn’t get my thank you emails out.

I am a great fit for the job and felt the interviews on Thursday went well and also believe they may have had additional candidates coming in yesterday (Friday). As I was leaving their office on Thursday the hiring manager said that I’ll hear from him early next week.

Here’s my question, do I send the thank you emails today (Saturday) which may seem inappropriate since it’s not during the work week in an effort to not lose more time (all interviewers were C Level) or is it ok and best to wait until Monday. My gut is saying not to send a Saturday email.

If Saturday email is a no no, is Monday too late to be effective since I’m already expecting a decision early in the week? I know they’re in a rush to fill this role so I do expect that a swift decision is being made.

FWIW I did send thank you emails after my two phone interviews with the hiring manager prior to this face to face but the weekend is now in the way of a timely note and I’m overthinking this situation.

Ask a Manager January 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm

There’s no reason you can’t send email on a Saturday.

Lisa January 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Thanks so much! I really appreciate your quick response! LOVE this site!

Gary February 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Well, I just came across this site and since you are still replying to comments, so I thought I might talk about my recent experience.

Had an interview with a hiring manager. I would be working with about four other people–all women. I am not great at interviewing. I get very uptight and nervous and I am a reserved person. I don’t smile a lot around people I just meet, which has been a problem. This is a job I really want and I haven’t interviewed for many of those. I came very prepared, but the interviewer was kind of flying by the seat of their pants. It threw me off and a lot of the typical questions weren’t asked.

We talked for about 40-50 minutes. She brought up money and benefits, so I thought that was a good sign. I got the impression I was either the first person they interviewed or the only they might be interviewing.

Overall I thought it was my best interview. She said she get back to me in a few days. I sent a thank you note and it has been about three days since I interviewed. I am dying to know if she is talking to my references, but don’t want to be a pest.

Since it’s a small place, she’ll probably pick the person she feels like would fit in well personality wise. I asked what kind of person fits well with the organization and made sure to say that I fitted the description she gave.

I am just kind of rambling and trying to pass the time haha

One thing I wish I would’ve done was ask about her. How she started with the organization, how long she’s been there. Is that something that is appropriate?

I’d guess it depends on the interviewers style. This wasn’t some corporate place or HR.

Alright , I am done lol

Brice February 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Hello,
2 weeks ago I had a first interview with one of the main HR and a department Director of a major film distribution studio (London office). I had 15-minute to prepare a powerpoint presentation, started the interview discussing about my motivation and skills for the role, and presented. After the interview I sent a common email to both, and the following Monday I was invited for 2nd interview, exactly one week after my 1st interview.
At that 2nd interview, I had a 10-minute chat with the Director of the 1st interview, was introduced to one of the 3 head of marketing the role is connected to on a daily basis and discussed my experience and motivation for the role as well as how “I” could be useful to her and her department. Finally, finished the interview with a drink at a coffee shop with the colleague of the department “I” would be working with if selected – rather informal, discussing about my personal interests and activities (it was her own initiative).
The two last persons did not know about the next steps. But checking on LinkedIn, I found out the previous analyst left more than 2 months before…
Today has been one week since the interview, so I am wondering whether the delay to respond is due to a request of approval from the budget to fill in the position again…?
I did send a thank you note to the HR and Director again (same day), but only sent an email to the other managers on the following Monday. I got a reply from the head of marketing saying “You are most welcome xxx, it was lovely to meet you.”
I also tried to call the HR manager on Monday evening, then yesterday to know about the status of my application, but he never picks up…
Do you think the delay is a bad sign? How about the response to my thank-you email? Does it sound positive and could play in my favour?
Thanks a lot in advance for your response!

Ask a Manager February 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm

What delay? One week is very little time. Don’t call them; give them time to make decisions.

Brice February 20, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Thanks so much for responding so quickly! You are right, one week is short. I’m just saying “delay” because after 1st interview they told me to wait one week, and was contacted only 2 working days later! I would have assumed it is generally faster to get answer after 2nd interview. But seems not necessarily. Will wait then… and let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

lena March 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Hello. I had an interview and at the the end of it I was asked if I had any questions. Well one of the questions were if she had any reservations about me. She smiled and said no. I also emailed her and thanked her. She replied back and thanked me and said it was a pleasure meeting me and thanked me for considering her company for my future career opportunities. What do you think?

Paullyb March 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I had an interview, great company, good vibe, felt good in my gut, really want it – so sent my thank you email off and got this: ‘Hi there

Great meeting you as well.

Thank you for your time’ – what does this mean? Arggh. I’m thinking ‘thanks for your time’ is not good! :-(

Ask a Manager March 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Means nothing either way. It’s just a polite response; don’t read into it.

Paullyb March 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

They relisted the job. BUT — my interview went really well, he did express disappointment at the selection of candidates that had come forth so far, in comparison with me and I was told i was only one thus far that is ‘brand appropriate’. Reading your helpful sight is making me think ‘they are increasing the pool of candidates’ – either way, I want to switch jobs, so they better hurry up. That’s all i’m saying :-D

Diana March 29, 2013 at 10:43 pm

I sent a thank you note and the employer responded by saying, You are very welcome and wishing me and my family a blessed Easter. Do I respond back with Happy Easter or do I do nothing?

Mildred March 29, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I sent a thank you note and the employer responded by saying, You are very welcome and wishing me and my family a blessed Easter. Do I respond back with Happy Easter or do I do nothing?

Sammie April 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm

I am an about-to-graduate senior from college, and here’s my interview history with thank-you note replies:

1) KPMG – no reply to thank you note, didn’t get to second round of interview.
2) Wells Fargo – got replies to thank you note from both interviewers, advanced to second round. Didn’t get any reply to thank you notes sent to all 6 interviewers. Didn’t get an offer.
3) Target – no reply to thank you note. Interviewer didn’t even bother to give me his business card and only wrote down his email on a post-it note. Didn’t advance to second round.
4) A private investment firm – got reply to thank you note from an interviewer, but I couldn’t go to the second round of interview. Still got the internship.
5) A private IT consulting firm – got reply to thank you note from first interview. Advanced to second round. Got reply to second round of interview. Advanced to third round. Didn’t get reply from interviewer in the third round. Didn’t land the position.
6) A small CPA firm – Didn’t get reply to thank you notes sent to all 5 interviewers. Got rejected.
7) A real-estate firm – Didn’t get reply to thank you note. Advanced to second round. Didn’t send thank you note to second-round interviewer because I lost interest in the position. Didn’t get accepted, naturally.
8) Ecolab – Got a reply to thank you note. Didn’t get another interview.

From my experience, if you receive a reply to your thank you note, it is generally a positive sign (but not a guarantee). If you got a reply from the first round but not from same company in the second round, probably a good idea to mentally prepare for a rejection and keep searching for more opportunities.

Jamie April 3, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I had an interview yesterday. After the interview I felt like I did not do as well as I would have liked. Mind you I was also told I was the only candidate. There were 2 but the other candidate dropped out. I have been interested in this job for months. I cannot read the interviewer. I had a feeling she may have wanted a stronger candidate. The next morning I emailed the interviewer a thank you note. I received a response stating “thank you for your time as well. I will make my decision next week”. Not certain what to read into this.

Anon May 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I received the below reply in response to my thank-you email. Is this standard, negative, or positive?

Hi Timothy,

It was my pleasure.

Thank you for your time.

I will be in touch in the next two weeks to give you an update.

Thanks for you interest in Goldman.

Manka May 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I received the below reply in response to my thank-you email. Is this negative or positive?

“I too am very optimistic about what you bring to the table as a person and a professional. We will be in touch soon”

Laura July 3, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I am an account manager and interview people at least once a year either for my account or to help out other accounts. Thank you notes matter! Ours is a relationship business. If you don’t send a thank you/follow up, it doesn’t show you’re interested. I know of at least two people that use this as a weeding out tool for candidates. I’m not as strict but I do look more favorably on thank you noters. You stand out simply because so many people don’t bother to write or email (and handwritten beats email; it’s very rare that it wouldn’t arrive in time to make a difference). I was told when I first started in my career that I was the only candidate to write a thank you and while I was the best, the thank you note sealed the deal so to speak. Years later, when a colleague was looking, I pulled out a thank you note from someone (their cell phone was on it) and gave it to my colleague – that person got the job. If you’re not suitable, it’s not going to help. But if it’s close, it will likely give you the edge. And if you weren’t suitable, it makes you memorable so if something else comes along you are suitable before, you might get a personal heads up.

Eli July 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm

After 3 phone interviews, I sent an individual follow-up email to all 3 people. I received a nice, neutral, standard response from the director thanking me for my patience as they continue the hiring process. Should I respond to this email thanking her for her time and the update? It seems rude/ weird for me NOT to respond yet I also do not want to bother her.

June July 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Had my interview yesterday and sent a thank you email to the top interviewer. Received a reply earlier from him stating it was great to meet me, andbhevhoped id recovered from my interview, and that he would be in touch over next couple days.
I thought this looked very positive – or am I looking too much into this ?

June July 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Excuse spelling error above – typing quickly with puppy on my lap !!

Connectainment September 20, 2013 at 10:00 am

Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

sam October 23, 2013 at 5:26 am

Hi,

I had an interview on october 17th with two managers that I had the chance of networking with a while ago. The interview went well but my phone rang and the ringtone was on. You could barely hear it but I think they noticed. After the interview they told me I would hear back early next week. The week passed. I followed up with an email and the response was “pleasure meeting you again, we need to have some internal discussions here and I hope then we can get back to you early next week. Call me if you have any question” Another week has now gone by. Any advice on what this might mean or what to do next?

anonymous December 11, 2013 at 1:13 am

I had an interview last week which went really well in my opinoin. I sent a thank you email and received a response stating that they were very interested ans I was very qualufied fir the position. They are currently working on 2014 budget and my current salary is the max for that position. There is one other candidate frim within the company.

I am really intetested in the position so I dont know if I should respind and let them know that I am willing ti negotiate. I also dont want to come off as too desperate.

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