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?