A reader writes:
I emailed you a bit ago about creating an audio clip in a resume which you suggested to not do because no one would take the time to hear it. Now I’m in a position where I hire, I TOTALLY see why… I’d find it annoying and I’d probably delete it.
Anyway, I manage a department of IT developers and find myself hiring frequently (we hire interns from a local school and there’s a lot of turnover in that position).
One thing I’ve always been recommended in job seeking is you should definitely send a quick thank-you note after an interview, stating you appreciated the interviewer’s time. Nothing too complex or long, just a thanks for the time and maybe a sentence or two of what you were excited about most.
I’ve noticed that within the pool of candidates whom I’ve interviewed over the last year (probably 30 or so), I’ve gotten maybe 2 thank-you notes. Usually I’m in the position of hiring individuals right out of college or still in college and wonder, is this just inexperience, or is sending a thank-you note going out of style? Personally, I’ve had to sort of ignore it when hiring (I’d literally get no one if I didn’t) but it still irks me a little.
I wanted to ask because I wanted to change my expectations if it truly isn’t required anymore.
It’s never been required! It’s just a smart thing to do.
You definitely shouldn’t penalize candidates for not doing it. It’s more something that might be a positive for a candidate who does.
It’s also important to realize that some candidates treat these as just one more box to check off in their job-searching steps — they send a perfunctory note that oozes “I’m just sending this because I heard I was supposed to.” Those aren’t especially useful, and I wouldn’t count those for or against a candidate. All that tells you is that they read something that suggested a thank-you note, and they’re dutifully doing it.
What’s much more helpful is when a candidate sends a note that builds on your conversation and explains why they’re interested in the job and think they’d be a good fit for it. That’s a plus. Anything else (perfunctory “I’m checking this step off my list” type notes, or the lack of a note at all) is just a neutral.
(And really, keep in mind that you don’t need to be thanked for your time; you weren’t doing them a favor by interviewing them. Interviews are business meetings of two professionals seeing if it makes sense to work together. Which is why it’s too bad that people think of these as thank-you notes, rather than the follow-up notes they should be. )
In any case, it’s not surprising that you’re getting so few post-interview notes from candidates, since you’re interviewing candidates without much experience. This is a group that doesn’t really know business conventions yet, and often feels uncomfortable with job-searching in general. But even if they were more experienced, a post-interview note is just part of the overall picture of a candidate, not a deciding factor.