should I send flowers after a job interview?

A reader writes:

I was just wondering if you think it’s a good idea to send flowers after an interview for a thank you.

It’s a nice thought, but no — it’s too much.

I know it can feel differently, but an employer is not doing you a favor by interviewing you. They are hoping that you will be the right match for their open position. The relationship — although I know it never feels this way — should be a roughly equal one. You are both having a conversation to try to figure out whether you’d each like to embark upon a relationship, one that you’d both benefit from.

And there’s a less abstract argument against it too: It could come across as a bit desperate, because it’s too strong of a gesture.

Stick with a thank-you note.

{ 9 comments… read them below }

  1. Interviewer*

    A few weeks ago, I had someone drop off a resume with a very nice bar of gourmet chocolate which probably cost at least $2, maybe more. She called later that week to ask if I received the resume and if I enjoyed the "gift."

    I thought it was very aggressive of her to add chocolate. It felt like a bribe to read the resume. You know, I do my job. I read resumes when they arrive. Chocolate will not influence me, and in fact, it ticked me off.

    So no, AAM is spot on – do not send flowers. That's good for a thank you after a nice date – not a job interview.

  2. fholmhogan*

    I once had a candidate drop off a large tray of cookies at the client's office after an interview.

    The client called me shortly afterwards to tell me she was out of consideration for the position.

    So, my answer is NO!

  3. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach*

    I remember when I interviewed for AT&T back in 1988. Right after the interview, I fedexed a thank you note and a restatement of how I could benefit the company.

    I was told later on that that particular action (was viewed as politeness) plus how I answered "How do you tackle problems?" won the job for me (I responded, "I ask myself, to where do I want to go? Where am I now? How do I get there from here?"…. learned that from my problem solving math classes at college.

    That being said, nope, I wouldn't send chocolate either. Macgyver, now…that's another story. :)

  4. Rebecca*

    "That's good for a thank you after a nice date – not a job interview."

    Funny – as I was reading this, I was actually thinking "You don't want people to think you slept with the interviewer"…

  5. Richard*

    It doesn't seem appropriate in any situation:

    If you're man, giving flowers to another man isn't going to win you any points. If you're giving flowers to a woman, the gesture may be seen as either making a romantic gesture that would be inappropriate in an interview situation, or as a patronising action, assuming that a bunch of flowers is appropriate for the little lady. Certainly not the impression you want to leave.

    If you're a woman, flowers will not be received by a either gender favourably, as they will think that you're unprofessional, and will assume that you perhaps can't conduct yourself in an appropriate manner in the workplace.

    Stick to a thank you note: It shows the mutual respect and level of formal conduct that is appropriate in an interview situation.

  6. The Serial Candidate*

    This is definitely a deal-breaker in many levels. It is generally perceived as awkward in corporate circles.

    After an interview or even after accepting an offer, a thank you note is the best form of gratitude in this situation.

  7. Perpetual Interviewer*

    Flowers are too much – I don’t even care about a handwritten thank you note… and to be honest, I don’t even care if they thank me with a follow up email or phone call… as long as he/she is a good fit for the position, has the skills in the job requisition, he/she is confident in the interview, seems to be a good corporate/contract fit, good sense of humor, asks the right questions and is dressed professionally and doesn’t give me a creepy/weird vibe/doesn’t smell bad/wear too much perfume than I am moving forward!

    That’s not too much to ask is it?

    That said – the type of people I mentioned above will almost ALWAYS send a follow up “thank you” of some kind….

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