rejecting anyone who doesn’t send a thank-you note is terrible hiring

There was a big kerfluffle on Twitter this weekend when the executive managing editor of Business Insider published an article saying that she refused to hire anyone who doesn’t send a thank-you note after their interview. It doesn’t matter if they were otherwise her top candidate — if they don’t send a thank-you, they get rejected.

Twitter was Not Happy.

Including me:

To be clear, post-interview follow-up notes are a good thing. I’ve written plenty here encouraging people to send them.

But for most jobs, the idea of rejecting anyone who doesn’t send a thank-you is preposterous — and it’s terrible hiring. A hiring manager who rejects an otherwise strong candidate solely because they didn’t send a thank-you note is a hiring manager who’s not clear on what the must-have qualities and skills are to excel in the role … and who subscribes to an increasingly outdated old-school way of hiring where employers think they hold all the cards, and candidates’ job is to kowtow to them. They don’t, and it isn’t.

Moreover, rejecting anyone who doesn’t send a thank-you is going to keep you from hiring candidates who come from backgrounds where they didn’t learn that particular job search convention, which many, many people do not: like people from less advantaged backgrounds, or people from families where their parents weren’t office workers, or many immigrants (thank-you notes aren’t a thing in many other countries). That’s going to have a disparate impact by race and class, so if you care about diversity and equity in your hiring, this is a terrible, biased practice.

People who hire need to be thoughtful about what it truly takes to excel in any given role and not create artificial tests that have nothing to do with that. There are some jobs where sending thank-you’s might actually correlate to the skills you’re hiring for, like for fundraising roles or PR jobs. But for most jobs, there’s just no correlation between who was taught to send a thank-you and who will excel once you hire them.

At its core, a hard and fast rule of rejecting anyone who doesn’t send a post-interview thank-you is about old-school, outdated power dynamics in interviewing. Fortunately, those are changing.

P.S. I appreciated this:

{ 652 comments… read them below }

    1. Bubbleon

      Sounds like a bullet dodged for any good candidate who lost out only because they didn’t send a thank you.

      1. HannahS

        Unrelated, but “horsepuckey” is an excellent non-swear, thank you for sharing it with the world.

    2. Kathleen_A

      I’ve been at the same job for a really long time now (20+ years), so no doubt I am out of touch. But I can assure AAM readers and Ms. Leibman that I was never taught that a thank-you note was compulsory. In fact, way back when I graduated from college, which admittedly was back in the late Cretaceous, thank-you notes were basically unheard of. They are quite common now, of course, but hardly universal, and anyway…

      What exactly does it prove when someone sends a thank-you note? I mean, really? Interviewing someone for a job is a business transaction, not a graduation gift from your grandma. If you want to find out if a prospective employee is polite, there are better ways to do so than a task that would require about 2 minutes’ worth of politeness.

      1. Anne (with an “e”)

        I agree. I was hired for my first “real” job in 1989. I did not send a thank you note because I didn’t realize that was the convention. (And I was raised to always send thank you notes for Christmas, Birthday, etc.) I never really realized that sending a thank you note after an interview was “the done thing” until I started reading this column.

        1. boo bot

          Yeah, I could be wrong, but I think the post-interview thank you note is actually an ‘old-fashioned etiquette tradition’ that was made up sometime after email became ubiquitous. It makes sense to write a quick email follow-up to someone after meeting with them, but if you sent a thank you note through the post office, the hiring decision is likely to be made before the note arrives.

          I don’t think that really has bearing on whether it’s a nice thing to do (I think it is!) but treating it like a traditional and universal ritual is a bad idea for a lot of reasons, including this one.

          1. Kimmybear

            When I started job hunting after college, the career office did recommend handwritten thank you notes. Email existed but not everyone used it extensively. And this was less than 20 years ago.

              1. Kathleen_A

                Until the last two years or so – in other words, long after email because ubiquitous – nearly all of the thank-you notes I received were via snail mail. It seemed pretty silly to me, particularly when it’s very easy to discover my email address on my organization’s website, but I didn’t blame the candidates because I’m pretty certain that college career departments stuck to the “thank-you notes must be handwritten” rule for long after it was necessary or expected.

                1. PurpleMonster

                  I’ve heard that’s because people generally get much less snail mail now, so it makes you stand out *shrug*

                2. Danger: GUMPTION AHEAD

                  @Purple Monster, I think the problem with that is that people get so little snail mail at work that they don’t check their mailboxes often. In fact, come to think of it, I have been working here for 2 years and I don’t even know if I have a mailbox

                3. Kathleen_A

                  Yes, that’s exactly it, Danger: GUMPTION. I have a small stack of mail sitting in my “in” box right this very minute, and while I will eventually get to it…well, let’s just say that there’s so seldom anything useful or timely in it that I don’t feel any need to get down to it right now. Or tomorrow. Maybe sometime next week?

          2. Elaine

            I agree with everything else you said, but as someone who has worked long before email became ubiquitous, I can say that email didn’t bring about the convention of thank you notes. Although many people from non-middle class weren’t aware of it, nevertheless it was very common to expect a note. It was indeed sent by mail. Generally a hiring decision would not be made in the next 2 days, which is all the time needed for a locally mailed note to arrive.

            But I’ve never heard before of someone refusing to hire a strong candidate because of a failure to send a thank you. Just wow. I wouldn’t ever want to work for someone with an attitude like that.

            1. boo bot

              Thanks – I’ve always thought of paper thank you notes as more of a social thing, but I suppose part of that may be because I wasn’t learning about business etiquette before email really took hold (I’m old enough to remember paper letters, and even fax machines and mimeographs, I just never had a business job).

              It also makes sense that two days going by wouldn’t really hold up the process; it probably wouldn’t hold up the process now, even – I think it just seems like a long lag time because I’ve gotten used to the expectation of instant communication.

              Regardless, as you say, it’s a ridiculous thing to discount an otherwise strong candidate over!

          3. Story Nurse

            In the pre-email days, a friend taught me to write a thank-you note before the interview, and have it ready in an envelope with a stamp. That way, immediately after the interview, one could deposit it in the mailbox nearest the building where the interview took place and have it arrive very quickly. This seemed sensible to me and I did it a couple of times. It did require writing generic thank-yous rather than being specific about things discussed in the interview, but the point was mostly to keep me at the top of the interviewer’s mind—and to look better than all the people who didn’t think of doing it, which I assumed was most of them. So I interpreted it as “special thing you can do to boost your chances”, not “bare minimum required by custom”.

            1. Shannon

              I guess you could always split the difference. Have the envelope ready to go, quickly jot off a note after the interview and post it.

            2. Environmental Compliance

              I’ve most often read don’t do a generic thank you – it’s much better to have something that you can revisit from the interview in the thank you note, as it gives a better ‘attachment’ to something in the mind of the interviewer, rather than a passing “oh, that’s nice I guess”.

              (FWIW, it’s nearly 5PM here and I haven’t eaten yet today and just sat down for the first time since 7:45AM, so disregard if nonsensical.)

              1. madge

                This made sense. I graduated in the mid-90s and was always taught to send a personalized thank you note after an interview. They were quick reads but had to mention at least one thing that was discussed that was exciting/interesting/something I could help address. And they needed to be in the mail within a day. At my second job, I was told that it was down to two equal people and I was hired because I sent the handwritten note. It’s fascinating to me that this wasn’t actually standard in the 90s.

            3. Elizabeth West

              I used to do this too. It doesn’t seem to make much difference either way. Plus, if I didn’t get the job, I was always mad that I wasted a stamp. At least email is free!

            4. Orange Crush

              Your friend’s trick is adorably pointless. All letter mail has to be taken back to a central plant (usually on the outskirts of a city)– where it is scanned, stamped, and sorted– before going out for delivery. One more point in the “it’s a nice gesture, but it won’t– and shouldn’t– net you the job” column. :)

          4. Asenath

            I would have said that the thank-you note predates email, and is a dying tradition. I’ve never written one for an interview – somehow that bit of instruction missed me, although my family was very firm on thank-you notes for gifts to all the out of town relatives. Nowadays, I rarely see one, and I thinkthey may be less common. They have absolutely no effect on hiring – our processes involve doing all our interviews in one fell swoop, and then having a meeting to make decisions – well before any thank-you note could arrive. Even an email might not get read until later – it’s a very hectic time.

            1. boo bot

              Oh, definitely I think the thank you note itself predates email! I just meant for job interviews, although I am seeing that I was for sure wrong about that :)

          5. Martha

            “I think the post-interview thank you note is actually an ‘old-fashioned etiquette tradition’ that was made up sometime after email became ubiquitous.”

            I agree, and Kimmybear’s experience fits right in with your theory. I started job hunting somewhat longer ago than Kimmybear, and neither my college career center nor any of the other “job search” advice I read said anything about thank-you notes.

            Just like the “Elf on a Shelf” is not a long-standing tradition but a fairly newfangled marketing success, so the “interview thank-you note” is not a long-standing tradition. At least not in my part of the U.S.

      2. TootsNYC

        It may be that sending a thank-you note indicates an attention to detail and follow-through.

        But I never pay attention to whether I get them–I’m too busy!

        I figure I can tell whether they’re interested in the job by how they act in the interview.
        And I generally have a second interview, which tells me how they feel.

        And besides, they will certainly tell me they’re interested when I offer them the job!
        What’s the worst that will happen? They’ll turn me down.
        My ego can take it.

        Now, if you spell QuarkXPress wrong, you’re toast.

        1. Blue

          Yeah, I always think, “Oh, they’re on top of things,” when I get a thank you email, and then I promptly forget who did and did not bother sending one. It’s great if you do it (and I always make a point of it, myself), but it’s definitely not the thing I’ll remember about a candidate.

      3. cmcinnyc

        I am also approximately 4,000 years old–but I *was* taught to send thank you notes, and once got a job solely because of one. The CEO told me that I and another candidate were basically six of one half dozen the other when my note arrived. They waited a day but the other candidate didn’t send a thank you. So I got the job.

        I would send an email now, not a handwritten note. Hell, I send thank you emails when I get rejections to say I appreciate getting the notice.

        Agree on Alison’s point that this is cultural. It was as important to my mother as brushing one’s teeth, and it’s as automatic to me now.

        1. Choux

          I was also taught to send a thank you note. I got a retail job once in 2004 because I went back the next day and dropped off the notecard at the front desk to be given to the manager. When he called to offer me the job, he told me the thank you note had made his day.

        2. Elizabeth West

          Hell, I send thank you emails when I get rejections to say I appreciate getting the notice.

          I only did this once, and it was because the hiring manager was really super nice and personalized the rejection, sort of like, “I really enjoyed meeting you and I’m so sorry we aren’t going to work together,” etc.

          I also did it when an agent sent a critique rejection for my book, because even though they’d read the full manuscript, it’s very rare for them to do that. I thanked them for taking the time to let me know what I needed to work on.

      4. Burned Out Supervisor

        I do hiring and I find them annoying and just skim them. I mean, it’s fine that people send them to me, but I don’t expect it at all.

        1. Kathleen_A

          I’ve received a few that were really nice – the person had clearly thought about the job and the company and so on, and left me with the impression that they cared about the position. But most are neutral and a few are just, you know, kind of icky: too gushy or too exclamation-pointy or too fill-in-the-interview-thank-you-note-blanks-like. Those do not leave a good impression.

        2. AliceW

          I always thought that a thank you note was not really a “thank you” but an opportunity for a candidate to reiterate their interest in the position after they have been through the interview process. As a hiring manager I explain the good and not as good aspects of the job very clearly so I know candidates are well informed about what the position entails. The thank you note follow-up tells me that even after they heard all about the job, they still want it. I’ve never sent a thank you note after an interview if I decided I did not want to job. If it was a job I really wanted I made that very clear in my thank you note. If it was a job I was borderline interested in, I sent a more perfunctory thank you note.

      5. Liane

        “If you want to find out if a prospective employee is polite, there are better ways to do so than a task that would require about 2 minutes’ worth of politeness.”

        How about talking to the receptionist who greeted him at the door; your intern who showed her to the conference room and offered coffee, etc.; and/or the janitor who happened to be restocking the lobby restrooms? Or including a business lunch, to see how they treat the restaurant staff?
        Those are classic ways of finding out if a job candidate has better manners than, oh, an Executive Managing Editor who made herself–and possibly her company–look bad on social media.

        1. Elaine

          I worked in a hospital where this was done. We were hiring a nurse, and after each interview they checked with all the support staff about how we were treated. As it happened, all of the candidates were friendly and polite, but it most certainly would have been taken into account if any hadn’t been.

        2. It's Business Time

          I knew of someone who would take interviewees out to lunch as ask them to drive so he could see how they were calm or not in traffic

          1. pugsnbourbon

            I’m not normally a nervous driver but driving my interviewer around would make me one. I’d probably blow a stop sign and the subsequent interview.

          2. ChimericalOne

            Not sure if that’s quite fair unless the job actually involves driving. You may think you’re measuring “attitude under pressure” but you might really be measuring “comfort level with driving,” reflexes, vision, etc., and letting those color your perspective unfairly.

            (I say this as someone who knows herself to be a fairly poor driver — partly because of marginal vision, partly because I misjudge distances — and who would probably drive even worse under the eye of a perspective employer.)

        3. Media Monkey

          an interview i recently had (and got the job – whoop!), i was in reception chatting to the security guard who was trying to find someone in the office before normal working hours to let me in (the person i was interviewing with wasn’t normally based in that office so there was no extension he could call). i have never been so glad that i am always polite as when i sat down where shown to wait and the chairman of the company that i was interviewing with introduced himself. his key fob wasn’t working as so he was waiting for someone to come and let him in and had been sitting right behind me the whole time!

      6. Nessun

        I’m of two minds about it – on the one hand, etiquette says send a note to thank someone for their time, and I’d do it if I were job searching (which I fervently thank the Great Organizing Principle of the Universe I am NOT), on the other hand, why am I thanking someone for Doing Their Job?

      7. RUKiddingMe

        Likewise back in the dark ages we never heard of such a practice.

        I dont like them anyway. Thank you notes are for gifts, for when someone went above and beyond. An interview us not a gift unless the interviewer is doing it as a favor to someone else (e.g. Linda’s kid…you know, Linda in accounting…).

        In general only potential hires get an interview. It is part (or all?) of the interviewer’s job yo … interview. They are doing nothing special for a given candidate.

        Sure “it was great meeting with you this morning and hopefully we will speak again, blah, blah, blah…” or some such is fine. That’s a *flow up* which is good.

        A *thank you* just IDK… To feel entitled to “thanks for spending your oh so valuable time talking to my unworthy self” it kinda pisses me off as a concept. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    3. Emily K

      Very few things such be across-the-board dealbreakers that can disqualify a candidate independent of anything else about their application.

      Being aggressively rude to your interviewer or reception staff, missing the interview without calling ahead as much as the situation would have allowed, stealing from the employee break room….those are the only ones I can really think of (almost everything I came up with was really covered under “being aggressively rude”). Showing up for your interview in a bathing suit for any job other than a lifeguard, maybe?

      1. TootsNYC

        that reminds me–I once wanted to hire someone but my boss felt she should meet her before I made a formal offer. “I’m going to give you what you want, but I feel like I should do my due diligence.”

        So I called to set up the interview and said, “This is the last filter, you’re probably going to be getting the offer. As long as you don’t spit on her, the job is yours.”

        1. Just Employed Here

          Yeah, we do those “one last chance for you, the candidate, to screw this up” interviews with the big boss, too.

          1. Gumby

            I worked some place that did that. Mostly the last interview was a formality. One candidate, however, did manage to shoot himself in the foot. It was something that showed really, really bad judgement like saying to the CEO that he thought he’d like the job because there was flexibility in work hours and he really wasn’t an 8-hour-a-day type person. (We had core hours from, say, 10 – 3, but everyone was expected to work a full week. It’s just that there was flexibility outside of those hours. Also it was a start up and I’m pretty sure my contract called out that 45-50 hour weeks were the norm.) (Eh, not great, but young, just out of school, they fed us, etc. so it wasn’t off-putting. This was before the dot com bust.)

            1. ChimericalOne

              I hope that wasn’t just a flub on his part — that he didn’t mean (for example) that he didn’t like working 8 hours *straight* but would’ve been happy to work 10-3 and then, say, 6-9.

      2. Burned Out Supervisor

        I reject any candidate who is more than a few minutes late. I mean, outside of terrible weather or when our office was renovating the parking lot and spaces were at a premium, there shouldn’t be any reason to just show up 20 minutes late for an interview.

          1. Burned Out Supervisor

            Eh, in my town, not really. I know it sounds harsh, but I’ve been understanding a few times and it’s really burned me. The people ended up having major time management problems that they were never able to improve on. I mean, sure, things happen like major accidents, but communicate early an often! I almost always get a call on my desk phone after I’ve given up waiting for them (and I wait a long time) that they’re still on the road.

            1. Someone Else

              People should not be phoning while driving. That’s a terrible practice and a terrible expectation to set. If I’m stuck behind a giant accident I’m sitting in my car panicking about being late, but I’m going to explain and apologize profusely when I arrive.

                1. Pomona Sprout

                  It’s actually illegal to use the phone while driving in some states, including IL, where I live. But if I was just sitting gin traffic and knew I was going to be late for something as important as an interview, I’d probably call anyway! I’d be too paranoid about them writing me off as a goofoff not to, lol.

        1. anon today and tomorrow

          I once left an hour early for an interview with the plan of camping out in a nearby coffeeshop until I went to the interview next door. Except, my subway train broke down and I was instead stuck on the train with no internet service for 45 minutes and arrived to the interview 30 minutes late.

          I realize it’s my fault for being late, but there was no way I could have predicted the subway grinding to a halt. The hiring manager told me I should have driven or taken a cab, and that my lack of foresight in transportation meant I wasn’t “dedicated” enough. Never mind the fact that most people living in the city don’t have cars because parking is so limited and expensive. Or that, you know, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to know you’re going to get stuck on a broken train.

          It was a bullet dodged. I feel like most random, unpredictable, extenuating circumstances outside of weather should get a pass. Sometimes life gets in your way.

          1. anon today and tomorrow

            *No internet or cell service, I should add, so there was no way to contact the hiring manager that I was running late.

            1. Kathleen_A

              Oh, I think you dodged a bullet, too. I mean, I can understand the hiring manager being a bit doubtful – no doubt in a city dependent on subway travel, people try the “my train broke down” thing all the time. But to automatically dismiss what could very well be a perfectly valid excuse seems really snotty and smug to me. This is the sort of employer who quite possibly requires employees to get a doctor’s excuse when they need sick days to nurse their cold.

              Hiring is hard, and I get that. But it’s no excuse for that stupid “not dedicated” job. What an ass.

              1. anon today and tomorrow

                It was trending on social media and made the local city news, so it was definitely something that could be verified. I mean, sure, the hiring manager could assume I lied about being on that train, but I think anyone who’d assume you’d lie about something that could be verified is pretty snotty anyway.

            2. ArtsNerd

              Missed an entire therapy appointment this way with no way to let her know. She was really concerned! I can’t even imagine that kind of stress for a job interview.

            3. Anita Brayke

              Heck yeah! We had a suspicious package on a major freeway in Phoenix this morning. One of our major arteries was completely shut down! Stuff happens.

          2. Burned Out Supervisor

            FWIW, I would probably reschedule a candidate, but they would really have to wow me. Again, I know it sounds really harsh, but I’ve been burned before so it makes me extra cautious with a candidate.

            1. anon today and tomorrow

              If a hiring manager had this attitude toward a candidate who late because of an unexpected major event like a highway accident or subway breakdown, I’d probably consider it a red flag if they expected me to have to “really wow” them because I was late due to things beyond my concern.

              There’s late because you’re rude and late for things you can’t help. No sympathy for the latter is not someone I’d want to work for.

              1. pope suburban

                Yes! It’s not possible for someone to plan for literally everything. I don’t drive much, and I’ve still been stuck in traffic from a sinkhole, and from an armed police chase. Checking Google Maps is prudent, but can’t save you from a bad accident or an act of god (Landslides, etc). Public transit can be similarly capricious, and may not offer you the alternative of calling a Lyft if you’re stuck in the subway. As long as someone makes a good-faith effort and lets their interviewer know as soon as possible, well, that’s as much as can be asked. I’ve worked for my fair share of people who expected robots, and while I’ve been able to meet those expectations, they did not engender much goodwill in me, and I took a dim view of the fact that I was only able to keep them happy by being hyper-anxious as a person, and happening not to have any commitments like kids or caregiving or home repairs to tend to. It’s just not a reasonable way to behave, I think.

                1. Cactus

                  Late to this, but: I live in a city with notoriously terrible traffic. I once worked for about a year on the other side of town, with an absolutely awful and unpredictable commute. I left super-early, and some days I would arrive a half hour early, and others I would barely make it in time. It was hellish. There was a day when a foreign dignitary visited our town and his secret service detail closed down an entire highway, during my commute, causing the other roads, including the one I was on, to clog up even more. I emailed my boss that I was going to be late due to this. She went into full-on lecture mode. It was demoralizing. Let your employees be humans. We can’t control traffic. Or world leaders.

            2. Parenthetically

              Yeah, you’ve got a case of confirmation bias, IMO. The fact that Cersei and Fergus were late because they didn’t plan for normal traffic emphatically does NOT mean that when Tina is an hour late, profusely apologizing because she got rerouted around a big spill on the highway, she doesn’t deserve your consideration.

            3. Zennish

              The last candidate’s performance is not the fault or the responsibility of the current candidate.

            4. Mrs. H. Kenway

              I once witnessed a guy skip over the lane divider and ram another driver innocently going about his business (this was on a highway, so there was real damage). Turned out the guy who got hit was on his way to a job interview, and he’d been out of work for months (this was 2009). I still worry that he ended up with a hiring manager who refused to reschedule or held it against him even though he had an accident report that stated it was absolutely true and absolutely not his fault–I’d been directly behind the accident so saw the whole thing, and when the wonderfully named Sheriff Manly asked me outright who I would say was at fault if asked, I pointed at Mr. Over-the-line and said, “He was, 100%. This guy was doing nothing wrong, and that guy drifted over and smacked into him.”

              I’m not saying you’re saying you’d hold that against him, but…man, I hope that poor guy got the job.

          3. Burned Out Supervisor

            Also, I would never have told you that you should have taken a cab. That’s neither helpful nor kind to say to someone. Hiring someone who’s first impression is lateness can be really tricky for a hiring manager (especially since my organization focuses a lot on time management, dependability, etc).

          4. sheworkshardforthemoney

            A friend was taking a bus to a job interview in another city and her bus hit a moose. She got the interview re-scheduled. It made the news, no one was hurt but you can’t make up a story like that.

          5. Green Great Dragon

            If you’d been stuck in traffic, do you think he’d’ve told you that you should’ve taken the subway?

          6. RUKiddingMe

            That was not your fault for being late. The freaking **train broke down.***

            Bullet dodged for sure though because that boss sounds ridiculous.

            1. CB

              I wish more people understood this. I don’t own a car (in a very car-centric city) and take the light rail to work. About once a month, a motorist will do something that causes the rail to be delayed. I once texted my boss that the trains were 20 mins behind due to a collision and that I would be in ASAP. His response? “Fine, but give me a head’s up next time”.

              Currently working on training myself to see the future…

          7. Anita Brayke

            I’ve never been to a city with a subway; can one even get off a stuck subway? It doesn’t look like it in movies. He’s a jerk and you indeed dodged a bullet!

            1. selena81

              You definitely cannot get off: you are generally between stations and it would be way to dangerous to just open the doors and allow people to call a cab to come pick them up (all those passengers would be walking around in a place that’s not suited for foot-traffic: high-voltage lines, not separated from nearby busy highway, tunnels with bad lighting, etc etc).
              Subway tunnels have emergency-exits at regular intervals but those are only for fires and such, in most cases the safest course of action is to keep passengers contained in the train.

        2. gbca

          I wouldn’t go that far, but any candidate who is late with ZERO explanation or apology loses huge points with me. It’s happened to me more than I would ever expect! I totally get that life happens, but at least acknowledging lateness and apologizing for any impact shows that you respect my time. I once had a candidate who had to reschedule for hours later. No explanation. When I interviewed him and said I was glad we were able to accommodate him later, he just said something like, “yup”. It was an on-campus interview with a student, but still. Needless to say that guy did not get the job (and not surprisingly, he was not a particularly strong candidate outside of the lateness).

        3. NotAnotherManager!

          There was a traffic accident with a fatality that added about 45 minutes to my commute this morning, and I was in bumper to bumper traffic where it would not have been safe to phone (old car, no hands-free features) for much of that time. And, less applicable to other regions, but the DC Metro catches fire and breaks down on occasion without much notice (i.e., while you are on the train).

          My position on things like this is that I care what the aftermath looks like more than what happened. Did the candidate contact us, apologize and explain, and offer rescheduling dates? Did they ghost us? Did they put the burden on us to reschedule? I care more about that than lateness, but I also live in an area where traffic is a total hellhole and even planning ahead doesn’t do much most days.

        4. Cows go moo

          I understand why lateness is a big red flag.

          I get that sometimes lateness is truly unavoidable and due to Circumstances it really isn’t possible to make contact. But you have to hire based on the limited data you have available about an applicant; and based on my experience lateness has been a reliable indicator of bad things to come. Especially since in most cases the late applicant has been pretty cavalier about it.

          My tip to people new to job search is that if you know you’re going to be late, call ahead as a matter of courtesy and apologise profusely when you’re there. Everyone has been late to something; but it makes a difference when you deal with the situation professionally instead of being cavalier about it.

          1. selena81

            I get what you are saying about limited date-points.
            But i am one of those people who is/was too shy/insecure to explain that it is ‘not my fault i am late’: if i didn’t adres the issue it’s because i mentally convinced myself you hadn’t noticed.

      3. That Girl From Quinn's House

        Incidentally, I used to hire lifeguards, and typically the ones who came best dressed were the ones who couldn’t swim. The ones who showed up dressed like they’d just rolled out of bed usually understood that their interview required an in pool skills demo, and wore what they normally wear to swim team practice.

        That said, I interviewed everyone equally regardless of what they were wearing. We issued uniforms, as long as you turn up to work in your uniform it’s all good.

        1. LadyL

          One of my first jobs was applying to work at a summer camp, and even though I had a feeling they were wrong my parents convinced me that I needed to dress “professionally” to make a good first impression. Turns out the interview was basically “you’re a warm body, right?” and then I was sent out to play with the kids. Looked like a fool trying to play capture the flag in nice pants and low heels, and the first thing I said to my parents that night was “I KNEW I SHOULD’VE WORN THE JEANS AND SNEAKERS!!”

          Now I’ve learned to ask when I’m interviewing at “non-traditional” places so I’m dressed appropriately.

    4. metronomic

      I’m torn about this. I haven’t actually decided not to hire someone because I didn’t receive a thank you note/email, but I do notice who did/didn’t send them in, and it informs my opinion of that person. These days you can research job hunting protocols online. I grew up in a blue collar family and learned on my own (probably via job hunting books) about sending thank yous. Then, when things went to email, I send them that way.

    5. Artemesia

      And totally classist. Being taught to write thank you notes is something a fairly narrow part of the population is trained to do. This arrogant priss will be excluding minorities, immigrants, people from less educated families or poorer backgrounds — but maybe that is what she intends and revels in only hiring people from her prep school or country club.

      1. Mark

        When did common courtesy become a trait only practiced by the rich? Thanking someone for taking their time to interview you should be obvious. If something that basic escapes you…perhaps you’re destined to stay poor.

        1. Jaclyn M

          Social norms are learned behaviors – they are only “obvious” to the people who have already learned them. Or are you saying that you popped out of the womb already knowing to send a thank you card after an interview?

        2. Richard Gadsden

          That really is cultural. Thanking someone for doing something that is their job, where they didn’t go above and beyond the ordinary, is deeply insulting in other cultures. It implies that they are so bad at their jobs that this (the bare minimum) is exceptional performance worthy of thanks (if you’ve ever wondered why some people get insulted at tips, then you now have an explanation).

          I’m not from either the American culture that expect thanks nor from a culture that is insulted by it. I’d just be puzzled to get a thank-you note. Until this story blew up, and taught me that Americans are expected to do this, I might even have been suspicious that they were trying to ingratiate themselves with me (ie to get the job on personal connection rather than actual ability).

        3. selena81

          Uh, i would hesitate to write a note because i think it would be seen as ‘wasting someone’s time’ and borderline stalkerish.

          As Richard points out: there are a lot of people in this world who would NOT be happy to receive this kind of uncalled-for communication.

    6. Brian K

      People should send thank you notes to their dentist. To their doctor. To their butcher. .. you get the idea. These people are doing their job. This woman obviously is on an ego trip where she needs to feel respected. WOuld stay clear.

  1. Anon this time

    YES the minute I saw this pop up on my LinkedIn feed I was like “I really want Alison to weigh in on this!”

    1. Anon this time

      Also, thank you notes are NOT a universal norm/rule. Many countries don’t do this, and might actually think negatively of it. (It might seem like “sucking up” to them.)

      In addition, I went to college with first-generation college students. They are very bright but have complete lack of guidance when it comes to navigating business culture. I’m not a first generation college student per say, but my parents are immigrants and I also entered the working world with little knowledge of American business culture, which is largely dominated by upper class whites. I’m about 3 years into my career and dealing with a bunch of unspoken rules and passive-aggressive management style is still a challenge for me.

      1. Works in IT

        I know you’re supposed to send thank you notes after interviews, but I experience severe anxiety whenever I type them up because it always reads, in my head, as looking like I’m sucking up when I’m just trying to follow a standard business convention so I end up sending them several days late if I send them at all.

        1. sam

          I got advice very early on from our career planning department that it was probably better *not* to send them because:

          – even if ultimate hiring decisions weren’t made yet, most interview feedback was collected by HR immediately or almost immediately after your interview, so a thank you note was going to get there well after it could have any impact (this was doubly true back when I was in school in the 90s, when less things were done by email)

          – a good might look nice, but wasn’t going to get you the job (see above), but a bad one (i.e., if you accidentally had a typo or something) could knock you down in the running

          – if someone’s email isn’t public, it may be for a very good reason (I worked at law firms where the default was actually to put everyone’s contact info online, so reaching out to people was often not a problem, but I had at least one colleague who had to have her bio hidden for a while because some creep decided to stalk her).

          1. Observer

            That’s pretty poor advice, to be honest.

            #1 – That’s not necessarily true, assuming that there is even a dedicated HR function handling the process. Also, in all but the most rigid processes, input from hiring managers, etc. is not limited to one “collection” from HR.

            #2 – That’s seriously messed up. The solution to accidentally sending a bad email is not to not send emails – where does that end – but to have a process in place to avoid those errors.

            #3 – This makes no sense. If someone’s contact information is not available, then obviously (I hope!) you shouldn’t track them down to send a thank you. But the fact that there are people who don’t publicize their addresses has no relevance to whether to send a thank you to people whose contact information you actually legitimately have.

            1. sam

              Obviously the advice is context specific, but you’ve clearly never worked at a law firm. Hiring is often done on a mass scale (per law school class year) and decisions can be made in less than a day from interviews. Firms will interview HUNDREDS of potential candidates, and no one will remember who sent them a thank you note, except for the ones who mess them up.

              And on #3, did you read the original article where she SPECIFICALLY said that she expected people to track down unpublished and unavailable email addresses to send thank you notes – that it was a test to see how “resourceful” the candidate was?

          2. sofar

            To you fist point: yes! And I say this as someone who remembers sending snail-mail thank-you notes back in the day.

            For my last couple jobs I’ve interviewed for, I’ve gotten a request for a second interview BEFORE I had the chance to write a thank you note. I’d always sent thank-you emails. But in the last two cases, I was working another job at the time. So, I did the interview in the morning, worked at my current job for the afternoon, did my after-work volunteer stuff, and then when I logged in to my personal email that night to send off my thank-you note — I’d already gotten requests for second interviews, even though I know for a fact there were still first-round candidates in the pipeline. After the second interviews, I had offers before 24 hours were up. Companies in a lot of industries move fast. So, yes, to your point, the thank-you note step often gets bypassed these days.

            If I ended up having time, I’d still send a thank-you. But it’s weird to think about a hiring manager dragging their heels for an extra day or two, thinking, “OK let’s see if she sends a thank-you note before inviting her back!” Like, how long do you wait before deciding no thank-you note is coming? A few hours? A day? Several days? Who has that kind of time or head space to devote to that?

          3. I Took A Mint

            Re:#3, I don’t understand this insistence that you should dig up someone’s email from the ether just to thank each person you spoke with individually. Couldn’t you send an email to the address you do have (recruiter, HR, whoever) and say thank you to the company (and even name people you spoke with) and ask them to pass it on to others? Even if they don’t, I don’t think it’s respectful to dig up someone’s contact information just for this.

          4. MCMonkeyBean

            Someone on my team pretty much got the job because of the thank you notes. She was in another state so ended up doing two phone interviews, each with a different group of us. One interview group thought she was great and the other thought just kind of eh. But the big boss was extremely impressed that she managed to send thank you notes to everyone personalized to something each person had talked about, which must have been very difficult to do given that there were so many people on the phone and she’d never met any of them so keeping straight who said what would be hard to do.

            And yes, definitely don’t track down email information that is not available that is creepy. But it is normal to ask for a business card or contact information at the end of an interview. If they give it to you, use it. If they for some reason don’t want to give you that information then they will certainly not be expecting a follow-up email.

        2. Emily K

          Alison has written about this before, but it might help you to reframe them in your mind not as “thank-you notes” which is a bit of an outdated misnomer (from the time when employers held all the cards and job-seekers had to prostrated themselves sufficiently to be worthy), but as “follow-up notes.”

          Tonally, they wouldn’t be much different from an email you send to a colleague after a meeting to summarize what was discussed and put it in writing because memories are fallible. You’re not saying, “Thank you so much for considering me for your awesome role that I would be so lucky to be given.” You’re saying, “After learning more about your department and the role, I feel like the match with my skills is strong, especially with XYZ project which aligns so perfectly with the unusual combination of disciplines I’ve been trained in. I’ve always enjoyed working in both fields but have never had the opportunity to combine them in one role before and that appeals to me. Thanks for taking time to meet with me, and I’ll look forward to hearing your decision.”

          Basically, you just want to remind them of your biggest 1 or 2 selling points or competitive advantages that surfaced in the interview and may not have been in your cover letter or resume so later when they’re trying to remember each of 5 interviews they have your note and say, “oh, right, Jean was the one who had worked on a submarine mapping the ocean floor early in their career so they are familiar with GIS mapping unlike all the other candidates.” You’re not flattering the interviewer with your note, if anything you’re flattering yourself!

          1. Daisy

            Having read this explanation, I still don’t get it. Surely your strong points are in their interview notes and your resume? Which they’re far more likely to have in front of them in deliberations than some random email? And the ‘thanks and I’ll await your decision’ stuff will be the last exchange said in the interview. It all seems completely redundant.

            1. Emily K

              Well, the “thanks and looking forward to hearing from you” part is just a pleasant way to end an email. It’s not the point of the email. The point, as I elaborated on below, is that interviewers see a lot of people and they don’t always take good notes or have great memories. It just doesn’t usually hurt to take any culturally acceptable opportunity to further market myself as a candidate, and follow-up notes are a culturally acceptable opportunity to do that.

            2. Someone Else

              Think of it more as closing the loop, which is sometimes redundant, but intentionally so to confirm nothing were missed.

          2. Luna

            That makes no sense to me to make a ‘follow up note’. We *just* had the interview, so why should I send you an email when I get home to basically feel like I am reminding you about the stuff we talked about 30 minutes ago? Makes me think of fictional stories, where the characters keep talking about what happened 5 minutes ago because they assume the audience can’t remember anything.

            We had the interview. I have done my best to ‘sell’ myself to your company. At this point, the ball is in the hiring company’s court. It’s they who have to decide to hire me; I shouldn’t have to remind them that they need to make a decision or should get back to me. (Though I absolutely hate it when a place I applied to doesn’t even bother with a generic rejection letter.)

            1. Emily K

              It’s just another opportunity to sell yourself. You don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. Having sat on the other side of the hiring table I know it took me a really long time to actually take the kind of notes that meant anything to myself two weeks and five candidates later. I don’t like to bring a laptop to interviews and put a screen between me and the candidate, so I’m writing notes by hand while trying not to disrupt the flow of the interview too much or intimidate the candidate too much by pausing to write at length…it’s a challenge and I had a lot of interviews where I thought I had written sufficient notes, but then later struggled to remember specifics when HR asked for my official notes and I had to try to convert the short-hand I had jotted down into actual notes that would make sense to someone else. So when I’m interviewing I like to take any opportunity I can get to make sure they remember what I want them to remember about me.

              Again, this isn’t very different from what I do in my actual job either, where I routinely leave a meeting and then send an email to everyone who was there summarizing what we discussed. It’s a super common business practice and I send or receive multiple emails like that every week.

            2. Windchime

              When I got my current job, here is the “thank you” note I sent after my initial phone screen. It doesn’t have to be a heavy sales-job or a reiteration of one’s resume; I needed to confirm a time for a next interview anyway so I just added on a quick little note. They really were a fun and friendly group.

              Hi [Manager Name],

              Thanks so much for the phone interview this morning. It was great speaking with you and the rest of the team. I’m even more excited about the position after speaking with you all–I don’t think I’ve ever had that much fun on a phone screen!

              I think that Monday, Sept 19 from 1-2 pm will work best for me if that slot is still available. Thanks so much!

              [My Name]

              1. Former Employee

                Except that this was an initial phone interview, not an in person one, plus you were confirming the time of the actual interview.

                This sort of thank you makes sense to me because they haven’t met you yet – this was a preliminary conversation – and you needed to contact them about the date and time of the real interview anyway.

                An email such as this one if it’s sent after the in office interview just doesn’t make sense to me The exception would be if you were asked to send something to one of the interviewers or something came up in the interview that gave you the feeling that some additional information you could send to the hiring manager might make a difference.

      2. It's the little things

        I’m from the UK originally and am in HR in the US now, and not only would it not occur to me to send a note, it also makes me incredibly uncomfortable as a hiring manager if I receive one – I definitely get that initial reaction of ‘sucking up’ – it wouldn’t change my decision one way or the other though as that is really poor hiring…

        1. MayLou

          I’ve rarely had enough time between an interview and hearing back about whether or not I got the job to even send a note – most recently I had less than three hours between leaving the interview and getting a call to say that someone else got the role, and I hadn’t been home in that time. I think this is definitely a cultural/country difference – I asked about this on the Friday thread but didn’t get a lot of responses.

          1. One of the Sarahs

            Yeah, I was rung up and offered a job as I was still walking home from my civil service interview, and in other cases have heard same-day or first thing next day – but then, I’m in the UK, where thank you notes aren’t a thing.

            But from my experiences on the other side of the interview desk, in my civil service and public sector jobs, we scored candidates in the moment, then discussed them straight after the interview, and had to complete according to pre-set criteria related to the person spec etc, so I’m always confused how a thank you note would factor into this. I get that it’s industry- and culturally-specific, but it seems strange to me to wait the few days after the final interview it would take to give people time to get home, write the note, post it and wait for delivery to make a decision. Even waiting an extra day to see if a person sends thank you emails seems weird – especially when good candidates are often interviewing for multiple jobs at the same time.

            1. UK Civil Servant

              Strangely I did send a note after my CS interview, but it was literally a genuine thank you to the HR person who was lovely to me when I was obviously nervous. She didn’t interview me, and the note was attached to my travel expense claim. I don’t think it was the kind of note we’re talking about here.

      3. Thursday Next

        I’m so glad Alison covered this in her response—a lot of people come from backgrounds where thank you notes, let alone post-interview thank you notes, aren’t customary (or might even be construed negatively).

      4. PizzaSquared

        Frankly, as a hiring manager, I greatly dislike thank you notes. I don’t hold it AGAINST a person, but I’d prefer they not send them. It’s just adding more noise to my inbox, it never sways the decision, and it feels like there is no reply I can send that is “safe” in terms of not sending some undesired message about their status (or something that at least could be interpreted as such, as evidenced by the countless “what does it mean when they say….” questions Alison gets.

        1. TootsNYC

          This is sort of my reaction as well.
          I know you’re glad of the opportunity; I assume you’re interested (and if you’re not, you’ll tell me at whatever point you decide is appropriate, even if it’s after I’ve actually made an offer).

          I will say that just like a great cover letter, a really great follow-up letter might cut through the clutter, or make a point you didn’t get to make in the interview. But a cursory, “thank you, nice to meet you, I’m still interested” isn’t going to make a difference one way or the other.

          I never notice who sends them, to be honest!

        2. Anon this time

          I hate sending thank you notes, but I do it because there are some hiring managers who tend to get swayed by them, and IDK which one I’m dealing with! (I also have been following Alison’s advice about making them “follow up notes”). I also live in a competitive city where you can take it for granted that you are always competing with job candidates just as if not better than you, and I don’t want to risk missing out on my chance because it all came down to the thank you letter. But I am aware not all HMs put stock in them.

          My other gripe about the idea behind thank you letters is that interviewees do way more work to prepare for interviews than the employer. Now we are the ones who are supposed to thank them?? Ugh. (I treat every interview like it’s an audition – I practice for days, get my hair professionally straightened, get my clothes dry cleaned, fed ex print my resumes, and I usually Uber to the interview site to not risk getting my clothes dirty.. multiply this by the number of interviews and it’s a lot!)

      5. Ros

        NOT A UNIVERSAL, thank you!!

        I live in Quebec – literally less than an hour’s drive from America. I had never heard of interview thank you notes before AAM (and had never sent one), and I’ve been a hiring manager for over 10 years and have NEVER, from ANY candidate, recieved a thank you note. A follow-up if it’s taken me more than a week and a half to get back to someone, ONCE (he was choice #2 and I didn’t want to get back to him until we had an answer from choice #1, for obvious reasons), but… no, it really is not the norm around here. Far from it.

        1. Equestrian Attorney

          As a counterpoint, I’m in Montreal and always send thank-you notes. I was told to do so by my university. Maybe this is industry-specific?

        2. Quoth the Raven

          South of the U.S. border for me, and thank you notes for job interviews are not a thing I was taught. It’s not unheard of to send an email these days, but it’s hardly standard practice (and actually we don’t really send thank you notes socially either; we either thank people in person or on the phone)

        3. Tiny Soprano

          They’re not a thing in Australia either, as far as I’m aware. I’m sure there are industries where it happens, but mostly I think it would come across as gumption-ish.

          1. APS

            Agreed. I’ve worked in research and government in Australia, I’ve interviewed a few candidates in my time, and I’ve never even heard of thank-you letters being a thing here. I wouldn’t penalise a candidate for it, but it’d feel weird and wouldn’t benefit them.

      6. Artemesia

        I come from a lower middle class background and the number of social skills I didn’t have starting out was a very long list. I shudder at some of my early fails.

      7. Also an ex-pat

        I agree it isn’t done over here in the UK and would come across as sucking up. Bit like ringing immediately after you send in your application to check they got it. They know you want the job, leave it with them.

      8. Mrs. H. Kenway

        I still suspect my husband lost a job offer two years ago because he didn’t send a thank-you–it’s just not a convention after job interviews in the UK, so he didn’t do it here.

        Luckily he quickly found a great job that he loves, and is up for his second promotion in twenty months of employment, but…I still wonder.

  2. Ingray

    I had never heard of thank you notes for job interviews until I started reading Ask A Manager!

    1. SusanIvanova

      Me neither, and I’m a middle-class middle-America kid. My mom insisted I wear a suit to my interview! (Silicon Valley software – everyone who interviewed me said “you know you didn’t have to wear a suit”. Well, *I* did…)

      1. Feather

        I kept noting on Twitter that honestly it’s a custom that comes from a very. very. specific North American white middle class business-oriented subculture, generally the kind where (not to put too fine a point on it) you were in fact being hired by how the business partners/etc felt about you as a person.

        1. cmcinnyc

          I was drilled in thank you notes by a poor/working class mom who was first in her family to go to college and a son of immigrants (ditto, first in family to go to college). It was about fitting in, absolutely. There were a lot of things about business they did not know, but they knew this, and passed it on. I really don’t care about *getting* them (except for gifts). I think it’s like military people who can’t *not* say m’am to me. If you’re not a vet, I’m going to be very annoyed. But if you are, I get that you’ve been conditioned to say sir or m’am and that’s just the way it is.

          1. An O Nym It Tea

            Um…I’m not a vet and I say sir or ma’am b/c it was drilled into me as a kid…but I don’t get a pass on that (for a first-time offense)?

            1. EtherIther

              I think you misread that comment. “It’s like military people who can’t *not* say” means that they forgive military people if they have more trouble giving up the habit. So the comparison you’re making is not the right one (she’s talking about giving up the habit, you’re talking about a single offense)/

              1. NotAnotherManager!

                The point was more that vets are *not* the only people who have sir/ma’am drilled into them, so excluding them while being very annoyed with others with the same conditioning seems a little harsh? So, basically like saying, “I don’t hire people who don’t send thank-you notes, except people from this one Miss Manners-hating town where it’s understood that they hate anything Miss Manners says, but everyone else – thank-you notes!”

                In the South, it is common and expected (or was when I grew up and is still expected by my elders), and it was a total shock to me that people find this sarcastic, rude, etc. And I have to code switch between visiting my folks and work. It is hard to turn on/off the instinctive sir/ma’am reflex, and I can’t even guarantee a one-time offense.

                1. I Took A Mint

                  Yeah, I think it’s kind of self-absorbed to twist “sir/ma’am” aka the only polite forms of address for strangers that we have in English, as an insult, but only if you fought in the military, because they have to use it as a term of respect… uh.. it’s a term of respect everywhere. If you choose to take offense to it (for reasons unrelated to misgendering/not having a gender neutral option) then I think that’s a You Problem.

          2. Feather

            Exactly. It’s very very much about indicating “well is this one Our Kind of People?” and if you don’t follow all the little rituals and protocols, you’re clearly indicating that you’re not.

    2. Washi

      The only reason I ever heard of them was that as a college senior, I got an email from our campus career office to notify us that “companies doing on campus recruiting are complaining that they aren’t getting thank you notes.” And it was sent as if that was an obvious thing that everyone should know, like “be on time to your interview” and “don’t wear a bathing suit” when clearly we all just had no idea!

      1. Kimmybear

        I actually got a job once because I came to the interview in a suit and the hiring manager said the last person came in a bathing suit. (After I worked there a while, that didn’t actually seem that strange.)

        1. MCMonkeyBean

          Well someone told them to wear a suit and they did! It’s not their fault if they weren’t given more specific instructions as to what kind of suit :D

    3. Archaeopteryx

      Me too- middle class but my parents are both engineers, so I don’t think they came across this expectation. Or if they did, they didn’t pass it along! (And this is from someone who’s scrupulous about sending thank-yous for gifts very promptly!)

      1. M&Ms fix lots of Problems

        Was wondering if engineers were going to come up. There are so many of them in my family, and none of them have said anything about thank you notes or follow up notes after interviews. I think beyond just immigrants we need to add certain industries as well. From my experience it has not at all been the norm in engineering fields.

        1. Feather

          It’s generally not a thing in middle-class fields that require EXTENSIVE, specific professional training, and that tend to be continually in demand.

          It’s mostly a business/corporate thing.

          1. Humble Schoolmarm

            I’m a teacher raised by teachers and I had no idea this was an expectation until a friend in the retail/corporate world brought it up. Likewise, my parents did expect me to write thank you notes for gifts, thought.

      2. HR Stoolie

        My experience hiring engineers its all about licenses and certification. I never expect a “thank you” follow up email.

    4. Nicki Name

      Same here! I’m another white, middle-class-background American who never heard about this from college or family. I’ve encountered a few technical recruiters who had detailed advice about resumes and interviews, but none of them have ever mentioned thank-you notes either. It must be something that varies by field.

    5. Move Over Thrawn - Florian Munteanu is BIGGER than you!

      I have learned so much from this site over the years. I didn’t grow up in a white collar family, so I had no other way to know what I didn’t know. Thank you Alison!

      1. Kat

        Nor in Canada. I’ve spoken to many people about this and not one person, be it someone in HR or just a regular Joe has heard of Thank You notes after an interview.
        It must just be an American thing.

  3. Cleavings

    The funniest thing is her previous tweet was advertising an open position at her company. The replies went exactly how you’d expect them to.

    1. Liane

      How do I find this previous Tweet?
      Silly question, I know, but I am not on Twitter so I only know there is/was a 140 character limit and it seems to be involved in many Public Embarrassment Crises.

      1. GRA

        If you click on Jessica’s name on the original tweet above, it will take you to her Twitter page. Scroll down and you should see the post Cleavings is referring to. You can click on it and see all the replies (which are priceless!)

      2. Triplestep

        Follow GRA’s instructions, and click on the date of the tweet and the whole thing will open up, including the comments. (Took me a bit, too – if you click the comments icon, it assumes you’re posting one. Not just reading the others.)

      3. Jennifer Thneed

        Also the character limit isn’t true anymore. It was originally true because Back In The Day of dumb-phone texting, there was a 140-character limit on texts. But that’s not true anymore either.

  4. Laura H.

    I’m big on the Thank you note, but to be completely fair, an interviewing candidate often has so many pots on the burner and pots waiting, so to speak, that something has to go to the wayside… sometimes, the wayside thing is the thank you note.

    1. Sneaky Ninja for this one

      I enjoy a thank you note, mostly because it’s nice. If everything were exactly equal with 2 candidates, I’d pick the one who sent a thank you. Other than that, it bears no weight in my decision making.

      1. Mazzy

        I don’t like receiving them unless the candidate has something new or interesting to add. Otherwise, it just seems like they want to have their name pop up again, or most likely, they are just checking the box on their to do list. I’d much rather have a good cover letter that gives me a sense of what the person is like.

    2. Double A

      I had an interview on Friday and got the rejection on Monday before I even had time to send a thank you note.

      Also, I’m losing my job after over a year of difficult transition within the job, have a 6 month old baby, and am frantically trying to figure out what I’m going to do next year, so I have a lot of stress and some things are falling by the wayside. I’m also super bitter about having to job hunt and just adding more phony faux-cheerful thanks for “opportunities” when I’m not thankful to have to be even looking is just like more lemon juice in a wound.

      1. One of the Sarahs

        I really hope you find something soon, and things start looking up for you.

  5. Unexpected Dragon

    It’s such a ridiculous idea! My office recently hired an awesome candidate. About a month into her being in the office, the Thank You letters she had hand written and mailed finally showed up. If our office was this crazy restrictive, we would have passed on a fantastic hire because the postal service lost a letter.

    1. Rune

      This^^ I sent 3 thank you notes to the same office but only one showed up. They still hired me and I was told later that the only “ding” against me was that I didn’t send thank you notes. The letter that made it was to the ED and 4 months later my boss got the letter I wrote her. The third showed up at house as Return To Sender 2 weeks after my boss’s letter showed up.

  6. ragazza

    And hey, thank you emails can get lost in spam folders or go otherwise haywire. Not fair to penalize a job seeker for something that was possibly a technical glitch. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

    1. JustaTech

      And snail mail takes time, and honestly, when was the last time a busy hiring manager checked their physical mail box?

      How long is this person going to wait on their hiring decision to see if a candidate sent a thank you note in the mail?

  7. Clever Alias

    Interested in knowing your thoughts around the thank you note demonstrating a required skill. I work in donor relationships, where the ability to recognize the need be gracious and write a thank you note is a Thing.

    I understand this can certainly be taught, but I can’t help but give preference to those who already understand the concept.

    1. Sauid

      Alison’s post specifically gives the example of fundraising as a role where this requirement could potentially make sense. Her argument was that that isn’t the case for many other jobs.

    2. Snark

      Then make it clear that a thank-you note is a required part of the application materials, up front and without game-playing.

      1. Observer

        Actually, in this kind of context, I’d argue that the question is not if the candidate can craft a nice thank you note, but whether they are familiar enough with the cultural norms and expectations to do this without being prompted.

        Even there, I don’t think I’d treat it as make or break, though, because the field seems to have some equity problems in terms of hiring.

        1. Snark

          I understand that it’s about the cultural norms and expectations rather than the skill to write the note, but the salient issue is that you don’t want to be selecting for cultural norms and expectations. If you need a sample of their thank-you note skills to evaluate them for the position, then tell them that, rather than implicitly selecting for a certain income bracket, background, subcuture, and education level.

          1. Annette

            For donor relations. They probably do mean to select for these things. If you’re from a working class background – better know how to blend in with / impress rich donors. All about copying cultural norms. Read between the lines!

            1. Snark

              So today I learned that working class people can’t blend with or hope impress rich donors. Well. It’s rare to see classism and elitism so boldly stated.

              1. Annette

                You misread in your haste to be right. Actually, the mentality I’m describing is very elitist and classist – but you took it a step further.

                1. Snark

                  It’s not at all clear whether you’re describing that mindset or actively espousing it, actually, but seeing as you started attacking me on unrelated threads downstream….well. So.

                2. Wake up!

                  I’m not seeing any way to read this comment as saying that working class people can’t blend in with rich people. It seems indisputable that the managers for some of these positions are basically trying to screen for people who can perform certain class characteristics. So if you’re working class that means trying to hide that, i.e. blending in. The original comment couldn’t have been clearer. And yes, “if you’re poor you better know how to hide it” is a super classist statement, but different than Snark’s misunderstanding (“If you’re poor you can’t hide it”)

              2. I Took A Mint

                I think you’ve misunderstood Annette. They are selecting for “does this person know cultural norms of rich donors enough to judge for themselves what would be impressive, or would we have to teach them.” That’s a valid skill to select for like any other. At AAM we frequently bemoan resumes over 1 page, this is a cultural/industry norm, and people frequently select candidates that know these norms already.

                We shouldn’t select for knowing certain cultural norms at every level in all positions, but it makes sense sometimes for some.

          2. nonymous

            That’s an interesting intersection. I think a legitimate business case could be made for an org wanting staff to be able to interact with donors at the cultural norms that make those donors feel comfortable, and to do so independently without training or direction by the org.

            However, the org should take a hard look whether all their staff need to be able to function with that independence. For example, staff that need training and guidance to interact with the donor’s demographic could work in junior positions or the org could implement an internal mentoring process.

            1. sange

              It’s a fascinating situation, and in my field (arts fundraising), the individuals who tend to be the most professionally successful either come from upper-class backgrounds or have learned to fake it exceptionally well: reading certain publications, attending or having a broad knowledge of other cultural happenings in our community, etc. My organization does a pretty good job working with junior staffers and helping them learn how to thrive in one-on-one situations with major donors, but there are some cringeworthy moments. Usually at meals.

        2. MsM

          Depends how senior the position is. Entry level employee who’s otherwise great and eager to learn? Not an automatic dealbreaker. Director of Donor Relations? Yeah, you kinda need to have figured that out by now.

    3. Maeve

      As someone who worked in fundraising for years, writing a thank you note is not a particularly difficult skill that is going to require intense training.

      1. Cobol

        This is getting off topic, but especially when you’re hiring towards the entry level, so many of the things can be taught relatively easy.

        There are so many reasons why people might not have the right internships, or experience with a particular program. I think hitting managers and HR often can’t see the forest through the trees.

      2. Hapless Bureaucrat

        Yeah, it seems like a small barrier to have such a major impact. If the concern is to test graciousness and responsiveness I’d address that heavily in the interview questions. Someone who understands the concept can learn a thank you note. But someone who knows a thank you note is a boring box to check but doesn’t understand what it’s supposed to represent….
        I get considering it, but I don’t think I’d put a lot of weight on it, especially in a junior position.

      3. Antilles

        And even if you didn’t realize the concept…is it really that hard to explain? This isn’t nuclear physics here, you could explain the entire intent and purpose in like, two minutes:
        “Jane, I know you’re coming from private industry, where norms are different, but since we get money directly from donors, it’s important to add an extra personal touch with a written thank you note to all donors, no matter how small. It helps us connect with the donors, makes them recognize their importance, shows them that we care and appreciate them. Here’s an example of how we like to do it [show example, point out a couple key phrases]. Can you do that?”

      4. cmcinnyc

        Agree. It’s the kind of thing you can put on a checklist of follow-up tasks. If anyone needs guidance, you can teach them how to crank out a polite note in about 5 minutes.

      5. The Vulture

        I was going to mention this – I agree with Zoey and Maeve – even if it IS required for the job – sure, you might want (and it seems perfectly reasonable to ask for a thank you note sample if you require it?) but also – it seems to me like the absence of a note does not prove absence of the skill or ability to learn the skill.

    4. Nephron

      You also run the risk of losing people that are from different cultures. There is a lovely argument online about city folk being impolite compared to small town folk. After a bunch of back and forth someone finally wrote out that to a small town American it is rude to not make chitchat and express interest to each customer, to a city person it is rude to take up the time of everyone in line behind you as you chitchat.
      In some cultures it would be rude to not thank people for their time, in another it can be rude to take up more of their time by sending them the note. If you want someone to send thank you notes as part of the job you can tell them it is expected and considered polite, but assuming everyone comes in thinking that is the polite thing to do is not realistic.

      1. Liane

        Yes! If someone included a decent cover letter, was polite to everyone during the interview process, and their references didn’t say their puppy coding skills are way stronger than their people skills,
        I think it’s safe to conclude you can quickly teach them how to write good donor thank you notes and why they can’t be omitted.

    5. User 483

      Do you also send a thank you note to the applicant, thanking them for coming in for the interview?

    6. hbc

      I don’t think it’s necessarily obvious that having to write thank you notes to donors translates to knowing that you should write them for an interview. It’s more of a mutual meeting rather than anyone giving freely.

      Personally, I would include “write thank you letters to donors” in the job description (or at least discussion of the day-to-day responsibilities) and then ask for a sample thank you letter to a donor as part of a skills test for the finalists.

  8. Dittany

    On the other hand, it’s nice of her to advertise that you probably don’t want to work for her.

  9. CatCat

    When I was a newbie to the working world, I received advice to NOT send a thank you note. The rationale for this advice was because it was an opportunity for you to screw up (spelling mistake, or saying the wrong thing). So better to not send anything at all.

    This was years and year ago so I don’t know if this type of advice is still out there. Sometimes, as a candidate, it feels like no matter what you do, you’re potentially doing the wrong thing because of all the variation in advice.

    1. Observer

      Aside from the issue of thank you notes, per se, I think that the general advice to simply not try things because you might mess up is really bad. No one is ever going to move forward if the first rule of operations is “never risk making a mistake.”

      OK, there are exceptions to that too, but as a general rule for most things it’s just a poor approach.

    2. CoveredInBees

      While I’ve never heard that particular piece of advice, I can totally see that happening. I’ve been told so many contradictory “rules” of job hunting over the years. Most of the time, it seems like one person had a specific experience and they generalize it to all applications/interviews ever.

    3. Lucille2

      As a hiring manager, I have seen some pretty awkward thank you notes. Like misspellings, getting the name of interviewers wrong, or adding in some awkward, misguided humor. I’ve never had my impression of a candidate improved after receiving a thank you note, but I have second guessed a candidate because of one. I generally don’t really notice if a candidate never sends one, but I view it more as a friendly gesture than requirement of etiquette.

      I knew a hiring manager who put a little too much stock into post-interview thank you notes. For many reasons, this is a manager I wouldn’t recommend working for. Most of those reasons had to do with the manager-employee power balance dynamics Alison refers to.

  10. Lies, damn lies and...

    I at one point chose not to hire an independent contractor after she sent a thank you and addressed the (young unmarried) woman she was emails as “Mrs.” (but also for other reasons, that felt like an out of touch moment for someone who would be interacting with a client).

    1. SusanIvanova

      Just yesterday I was filling out a form where “title” was required and the only two options in the popup were “Mr” and “Mrs”. Please join the 21st century!

      1. Seeking Second Childhood

        (Humorous aside: They’re not even in the 19th century! Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell would have been unable to fill that out accurately, as would have schoolteacher Laura Ingalls before she married Alonzo Wilder.)

        1. Ros

          That’s what I usually do. Recieving mail to Mr Ros I can work with, Mrs Ros gives me a jolt of absolute fury. *shrugs* If they wanna be backwards about it, they can deal with randomly queer people gaming their 18th century listing.

        2. Ms. Jennifer Thneed

          I do that. If the title is a required field, anyway. I figure “Ms” is not a new idea, so if your dropdown can include things like “Prof” and “Dr” but can’t include “Ms”? You get a Mr out of me. And nope, my name is very much not gender-neutral.

        3. SusanIvanova

          I get enough “Dear Mr Lee…” already – that being the first half of my double first name. The second half is definitely feminine.

      2. EmKay

        Heh. I’m a bilingual admin in a mostly franco office, so people here are generally not native speakers. I recently had to explain the different ways to address a woman to one of my colleagues who is well into his 50s: Miss is a lady who has never been married, Mrs. is a lady who is currently married, Ms. is for a lady who has been married in the past, but isn’t anymore, etc etc. He just blinked at me. I told him he could always use Ms. and it would probably be okay.

        Can’t wait til he asks me to explain Mx.

        1. Feather

          Ms is for a lady who does not feel her salutation should reference her private life.

          I can’t wait for Mx to catch on even as a cis woman bc frankly my salutation shouldn’t need to reference my gender either, but the only way I can avoid it is by doing something like picking up a PhD or a religious or military career, le sigh.

          1. Story Nurse

            When filling out forms that have more salutation options, I have been known to select Captain or Senator.

            1. EnglishGirl

              My sister did a form before that had Lady and Princess options, I think she chose Princess

          2. Free Meerkats

            As I’m ordained in the United Church of Bacon, I always choose ‘Reverend’.

            That reminds me, I need to get a couple of tab collar shirts; or find a pattern so I can make them in bacon fabric.

        2. Emily K

          I would say Miss/Ms is more about age nowadays than whether the person has ever been married. Pre-women’s lib that was the line, but in the modern day where even women who eventually marry do it later and later in life, beyond a certain age, most women are going to feel infantalized by “Miss.” That also makes it a lot easier to explain to a confused foreigner who might be thinking, “How the heck am I supposed to know whether this woman has ever been married?!”

          1. EmKay

            Yeah, that’s why he was so confused. I definitely don’t recommend ever using “miss” in a business setting, even if the lady in question is very young. It’s pretty condescending.

          2. Another Sarah

            This is a complete tangent but your comment reminded me of this. I was taught this at uni in my linguistics class as an example of how changing society can change how a word is understood and I always thought it was really interesting based on gender politics through history.

            Neither Miss or Mrs were intended to demonstrate any indication of married status.
            Miss is the term for a young woman and Mrs is the term for an older one. They match up exactly to the male equivalents – Miss/Master and Mistress/Mister.

            Because a young person was basically an unmarried one and an older one was probably married, and in western culture there’s no generally accepted rite of passage to mark a person becoming an adult, over time this evolved until it was understood to mean married/unmarried. At this point, men and women were broadly still in line with each other, but then while men continued dropping the use of Master after a certain age rather than due to marital status, unmarried Mrses didn’t want to be described as children for not having been married and began to use the unabbreviated version of MRs, Mistress, which was in turn was eventually misunderstood to be the unabbreviated version of Miss – which it isn’t, which led to more confusion around Miss being a young vs an unmarried woman.

            As time went on, Mistress fell out of use as a term because people saw it as a perjorative term for someone who’d never been married, leaving a vague gap between Miss/Mrs, because people still had the “child” meaning of Miss, but now the meaning of Mrs was obscured to mean married, not adult.

            Also in sync with all this was the loss of formal address in everyday use to the point where children were no longer being addressed as Miss/Master – but while Master has fallen mostly into the past, because Miss was being misconstrued as a comment on marital status it stayed in common usage, even though it kept its childish connotation

            Finally women were fed up with the social judgement that implied you were a child if you hadn’t gotten married, and the moniker Ms. was invented to describe women who didn’t want to distinguish themselves by marriage status, which is seen as a new (within a century) idea but actually just brought us right back to the original meaning of the word Mrs.

            Basically sexism rooted in people’s perceptions of women being considered adults only when they’ve managed to bag themselves a husband caused the complete distortion of a perfectly innocent word which is now being replaced by a word that means exactly the same thing. I find that weirdly interesting, like a chart of gender attitudes through the ages.

        3. cmcinnyc

          EmKay, what? Ms. is for a woman who has been married in the past??? No, Ms. is not for the divorced/widowed. It’s for females over the age of 18 who prefer a term that DOES NOT reference their marital status, a la Mr.

          1. EmKay

            Yes, that’s what it means NOW.

            Sorry, I was unclear. I was explaining to him how those designations were used historically, and why there was so much confusion as to how to use them now. I could have sworn I included that in my original comment, but obviously I’m wrong!

            1. Penny Parker

              You are incorrect even with the historical use of the word Ms! I am old enough to know when that word first came out. It has ALWAYS been intended to disguise whether a woman was married, or not. It was created to be equivalent with “Mr.” You are quite incorrect with your thought on this.

        4. Autumnheart

          Those are not correct. Miss is a young, unmarried woman. Ms. for any adult woman regardless of marital status or divorce history.

          1. EmKay

            Yep, that’s how we use it today. Please see my above comment to cmcinnyc, I left a crucial part out of my original comment *facepalm*

        5. anon today and tomorrow

          I’m a woman who has never been married and I’d push back HARD if someone called me Miss. There’s a weird judgmental gender connotation that goes along with it that’s pretty archaic imo.

          Honestly, I prefer to be addressed by my first name. I have never once needed anyone to address me with any gender signifier in my professional or personal life. If someone every introduces me as “Ms. Anon Today”, I’ll correct them and say “Please call me Anon Today.”

          1. EmKay

            I definitely don’t recommend ever using “miss” in a business setting, even if the lady in question is very young. It’s pretty condescending.

          2. Emily K

            Related point of interest – that’s also the APA style/journalistic convention. Honorifics/titles are not to be used unless quoting a person who used the title in their speech, or by explicit special request of the person being referred to. Which makes a lot of sense – honorifics just create an opportunity for you to get the honorific wrong without adding any relevant information even when you get them right.

      3. Liane

        Miss Manners (the First), wrote that the first documented use of “Ms.” was back in the 16th century.
        (Like Mrs., it was originally an abbreviation of “Mistress,” the honorific for a woman.)

        1. Pandop

          Yes, I mean we could all just transition to Mrs. on reaching adulthood – as the mistress of the house was the one who kept the keys. Hence Victorian housekeepers being addressed as ‘Mrs.’, even though they were unmarried. Most of us have our own keys to our home by adulthood, regardless of own home/renting/house share/other housing situation

      4. madge

        Ugh, WHY. My marital status has no bearing on whatever we’re communicating about, thankyousomuch.

        Although this does remind me of the ridiculous incident recently where the AP sent out, “Stephen King, wife give $1.25M to genealogical society.” They, Twitter and Facebook were entertaining as hell but my favorite was probably someone referring to Stephen as “Mr. Tabitha King”.

    2. Justme, The OG

      I get so many emails addressed to Mrs. Mylastname. I deal with teachers. Ironically, none of my kid’s teachers have used Mrs when emailing me.

      1. Story Nurse

        How about “Mr. and Mrs.”! I can guarantee you that no one in this household of one male person and two nonbinary people has EVER filled out a form suggesting that this is the correct way to address us, but we still get mail that uses it.

        J has a male-sounding first name and I could barely, barely understand why someone might think “Mr. and Mrs. Joshua [lastname]” sounded plausible. But after X and I eloped and spent our honeymoon at a little B&B that apparently sells its mailing list (grr), we received an advertising flier addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Christina [lastname]”. We had a good laugh over it and the clipped-out label now adorns our “wedding” photo (a beach selfie—eloping is great, I recommend it highly), but I am very glad that we didn’t get into any other databases that way, because I would have to burn them all to the ground and salt the earth.

      2. BeachMum

        I convinced an organization to which I donate that Mr. and Mrs. His Name was a certain way to ensure that I never donated again. They’ve since changed to using first and last names for all couples, and I continue to donate.

        My mother-in-law, however, still addresses things to me as Mrs. Her-son’s-name and it drives me batty (which I’m guessing is her objective).

        1. EnglishGirl

          My Mum is visually impaired and one of my siblings was helping her by addressing Christmas cards and it turned into a big debate on this topic, because she wanted them addressed with just the husbands name and no one wanted to address them like that, so a compromise had to be negotiated, can’t remember what was agreed in the end!

        2. Emily K

          You know what’s crazy, I work in the nonprofit world, and we get it from both sides. Our average donor is like a 70 year old widow and some of them are very pointed about wanting to still be Mrs. Husbandname Lastname. Most sophisticated databases these days have a field for “preferred greeting” that you can use to ensure you call everyone what they want to be called, but I really feel bad for smaller organizations who don’t have that sophisticated of a database and have to just deal with complaints or do a lot of manual editing whenever they send a mailing.

          1. Astrea

            When I started a job at an organization where I do a lot of email correspondance with donors, grant applicants, etc., I initially addressed emails to “Mr. Lastname” or “Ms. Lastname” but that felt like an uncomfortable assumption of the recipient’s gender. I switched to “Firstname,” and luckily that seems to be fine with most or all people involved. Our organizational public persona is relatively informal in general. I still use the former in cover letters when applying for jobs, though I later switch to the latter if they do, mirroring the employer’s level of formality as I’ve been directed by AAM.

          2. Feather

            Yup. For some older women the shift to the *right* to call themselves Mrs Husbandsname Surname was a huge social and personal COUP – it was like staking out power and territory, ownership not of them by him but of him by them.

            People are weird.

        3. Zoe Karvoupsina

          My mother once received an invitation to Mr and Mrs Father’s Given Name Father’s Surname when she had retained her maiden name after marriage, and was a member of the board.

          My father says it was the nearest he’s ever come to seeing her commit a murder.

          (My cousin did the same thing with her wedding invitations. My mother called me up and said, “Well, she’s invited your grandmother. I’m not sure why, she died in 1992 and I don’t think they ever met…”

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch

      Ha…

      I was just having a “moment” the other day. We got a letter from a State Office that was addressed to “Dear Sirs”, in 2019. I was not amused to say the least.

      1. Art3mis

        I once worked at a place that got a letter addressed to “The Pension Broad” the woman who got it had a good laugh over that one.

      2. Emily K

        I’m always surprised by exactly how salty I feel when this happens to me. You’d think I could just let it go as an innocent oversight, but it triggers all my rage at every single way in which women are slighted and discounted and overlooked in our society.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch

          I don’t blame you!

          I have morphed over the years, it would have enraged me ten years ago. Now I just laugh about it because it’s so “old timey” and outdated.

          1. smoke tree

            I work in publishing, and it always makes me laugh when someone sends us an email with the salutation “Dear sirs” or “Dear gentlemen” or something similar, because publishing companies are so overwhelmingly staffed by women these days. I assume they’re imagining a bunch of gentlemen in frock coats enjoying a pinch of snuff as they survey the incoming manuscripts.

      3. MarfisaTheLibrarian

        When I worked in an archive, we a couple times got requests for information addressed to “Dear Sirs.” Everyone working there was female. The entire field is majority female. I think one of my colleague’s took the request and gently told the person that that was not really an appropriate way to address a letter.
        I also had an older french man try to physically remove a box of archival materials from my arms because I was female, even though I’d repeatedly told him that only staff were allowed to carry materials.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch

          Ah yeah, this was a letter sent to essentially the HR department. One of those notoriously female departments, so I just cackled at it and know they will never change because it’s a state office, they never update that kind of thing because there’s so much red tape involved in changing even the first line in standardized letters.

          If it were anyone else, I would have popped off at the mouth at them with a “We don’t have any of those around here, I hope that it’s okay that a lady handles this one, dude.”

          Thankfully being my size, men don’t ever try to do the “Dainty miss, let me carry that for you.” nonsense. If I need help, I ask because I was raised properly!

      4. Slovenly Braid Cultist

        A particular entity used to send us mail addressed, “Gentlemen,”

        I wanted to light it on fire. Especially because at the time the office was nearly all women. We didn’t even have multiple gentlemen.

        1. Katefish

          One of the courts at which I routinely appear has only female judges, and people still use “Dear Sirs” to address them (headsmack).

        1. Richard Gadsden

          You can tell people that even the Queen of England will sent out invitations with “Mx” on because a friend of mine got one when they were invited to the Palace to receive their MBE.

          They are also non-binary and apparently there was some rule that the awards were given to ladies first and then gentlemen; the usher took them to one side and explained that and said that they were being placed between the two and the Palace hoped that would be satisfactory. If Buckingham Palace can be that considerate then the rest of the fucking planet can catch up.

    4. Kimmybear

      I almost didn’t hire someone because the thank you letter was full of spelling errors, incorrect punctuation and run-on sentences. I should have gone with my gut because I had constant issues with managing those same problems later. Yes, a college-educated, native English speaker.

    5. Alhssa

      Someone just send me an email that started with “Ms so-and-so” and I was still so surprised because people don’t use any of those that much!

    6. Close Bracket

      Did the marital status of the interviewer come up during conversation? Was there another way that the interviewee could have known what the interviewers marital status was? Was the problem actually “Mrs.” versus “Miss”, or was the problem “Mrs.” versus “Ms.”?
      I am asking all these questions about what the interviewee could have known and what you wanted them do you have said instead because they were in a position where they could have a false positive or a false negative, and basically had to guess. Married women get *really really* upset when you call them “Miss” and almost as upset if you call them “Ms.” Like, really upset, as though they had studied for several years and went through an oral examination to get those three letters. So for a female interviewer of unknown marital status, “Mrs.” runs the least risk of really pissing somebody off. If the marital status of the interviewer didn’t come up, then you should really have let that go.

      I suppose you could argue that the interviewee should have noticed that the interview or was not wearing a ring, but some married people don’t wear rings for one reason or another.

      1. Married Ms.

        That seems oddly sexist… Married women in the professional world are not weirdly insistent on people recognizing their marital status, and most of the ones I know use “Ms.” or “Dr.” Ms. and Mr. are the norms for anyone regardless of marital status unless a higher title can be used.

        1. sange

          Absolutely – unless there is direct knowledge of a different title, women are Ms. in professional settings.

  11. Lies, damn lies and...

    Oh! She also writes in that column that it shows perseverance because they tracked down an email address they weren’t given. What a unique and lame power play. I’m not going to give you a way to contact me and then I’m going to punish you for not contacting me with the information I didn’t provide.

    1. SusanIvanova

      O. M. G.

      *How* many times has Alison advised against deep-diving LinkedIn to find contact info you weren’t given?!

      1. Hiring Mgr

        Really? If I’ve interviewed with three people, and i had email addresses for two of them, but didn’t for the third for some reason, I would certainly go into LinkedIn to either add them or just message them… I’m not sure what the harm is in that.

        1. Ros

          Linkedin is MEANT to be public, findable, and searchable though. That’s legit the entire point of being on linkedin – to give work-peripheral people an easy way to get a hold of you.

          If you go deep-diving somewhere to look up personal non-publicly-available contact information, I’m going to find that kind of creepy.

          1. Triplestep

            That’s why I won’t tell you I’ve done it, heh, heh.

            Seriously, I do “stalk” people before I interview with them just to gain any knowledge that might be helpful in a do-I-want-to-work-with-this-person kind of way. But I would NEVER want to make that evident.

            1. SusanIvanova

              Replace with Facebook or any other place where you might find email addresses for someone who didn’t give it to you. I defaulted to LinkedIn because I still reflexively think of it as business related, even though it seems to want to be Facebook now.

      2. Close Bracket

        I think that is more for instances where you haven’t had any contact with the person at all rather than for an instance of somebody who you have met and would like to contact.

    2. Snark

      Yeah. It’s just “are you an upper middle class, educated white kid just like me who can play my ridiculous mind-reading game? Yay, you’ve got the job!”

      1. Mazzy

        I have noticed class and country-of-origin differences or perceived differences in how applicants approach the job hunting process, and I take them into account. But I think if I wrote them out in an online forum I’d carry the risk of assuming that I was the cause of the problem or was given them to much or that somehow I was bad for even noticing them and pointing them out. But I do agree that this a middle class and higher American thing. I get a decent amount of foreign born applicants and they’d never do this gumption game.

        1. Triplestep

          Eh? When I look at her picture and see her name, I think we might have gone to Jewish summer camp together. Not really, but you get the point. I am White, Jewish, educated, middle class. She is clearly the first, quite possibly the second, and likely the other two.

              1. Snark

                My dad’s Jewish. My spouse is Jewish. A whole bunch of our family friends are Jewish. Not that someone with that background can’t be antisemitic, of course, but I will cheerfully defend my observation that a lot of affluent, educated Jewish people in the US have become socially and culturally aligned with other affluent, educated demographics like WASPs, to the point that many of their mores and values are shared. These are my people. I’ve seen it.

        2. Annette

          So you’re saying she’s a JAP. And to you JAP = WASP.

          Bigotry on full display. Very disturbing.

          1. Snark

            This wouldn’t have anything to do with me calling you out for suggesting that the working class are incapable of impressing wealthy donors, would it? Of course not. I’ll invite you to stop performing wokeness at me to take cheap shots; you’ve made a fool of yourself here and above.

    3. Knork

      And many people will find that somewhat invasive. I did that once–emailed everyone on a panel interview after looking them up on the company website. I did get hired, but much later a coworker mentioned that she found it excessive, and everybody else who had sent a thank-you had only addressed it to the HR person they had actually been corresponding with.

      1. Triplestep

        Interesting. I have done this (Thanked everyone on the panel interview, sometimes after looking them up in order to do so.) Never thought it would reflect poorly.

        1. Knork

          I think this is a case-by-case basis thing. That organization was particularly informal–many candidates sent no thank-you, and nobody batted an eye.

          When I interview now, I try to ask for business cards. If someone doesn’t have one with them, they usually say “my email’s on the website,” so I go ahead and look them up. If they don’t offer, I ask the person I have contact info for to pass my thanks along to the other people I spoke with.

    4. Alianora

      Good way to screen for people with boundary issues. I usually ask for a business card, but if someone doesn’t give me their email address I assume they don’t want me to internet stalk them.

      1. Squeeble

        Yes!

        For my current job, I ALMOST sent a thank-you email to the person who would be my boss, but decided against it because I’d found her email by sleuthing, not because she’d given it to me. It may not have mattered but in case it seemed like an overstep of boundaries, I decided not to.

    5. ArtsNerd

      Gross!

      I had an applicant include “as a fellow english major” in a cover letter before, with other indications that he google-stalked the hell outta our department (including my freelance web site / emailing me at that account in addition to the hiring one.) It… did not have the intended effect.

    6. Observer

      Seriously?! She thinks that flat out stalker behavior is a GOOD thing?

      Most people who don’t give out their addresses have a reason for that. Digging it up for your convenience is mightily disrespectful. Working for her must be toxic.

      1. Alana

        In fairness, she hires for a news site, and the ability to find contact information that isn’t listed IS a huge advantage for a reporter. I work in the media industry, and while I don’t downgrade applicants for addressing their cover letter to the wrong person, I do approvingly notice those who take 3 minutes to look up our masthead and address it to someone plausible (the editor in chief, the person whose title appears to put them in charge of the section that’s hiring, etc).

    7. Emily K

      Yeah, that is terrible advice. I actively feel hostility towards people who email me without me having given them my email address because it puts a burden of response on me that I didn’t sign up for.

      I am more forgiving when it’s a job candidate because I know how hard it is and that they’re just trying to make a good impression, however misguided, but as a general rule my reaction to an unsolicited email like that is, “Oh, you think you can circumvent my system for incoming messages? You think that because you figured out the pattern of our corporate email addresses I now owe you something? That you’re entitled to take up my time – my very limited work time – and demand a response from me? If I had time to answer emails from every _____ I ever spoke to my email address would be public, but it’s not because I’m not!” Like not even exaggerating, it triggers a lot of resentment from me and the busier I am that week the more resentment it’s going to provoke.

    8. Akcipitrokulo

      Yeah… no. If I want you to email me, you will have been given my email address. Email me otherwise and you probably go in my creep category. Definitely if you send to my personal email!

  12. CommanderBanana

    Speaking of advertising that you’d be a bad boss – I have an email alert for jobs that comes to my inbox and one caught my eye. The first line of the job advert was this:

    “If you’re not willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard, this job isn’t for you, so just stop reading now.”

    Wow. Woooooooooooow.

    1. Snark

      “We will work you like a rented mule and our concept of work-life balance mostly revolves around letting you sleep in your own bed, rather than having to keep a cot in your cubicle.”

      1. General Ginger

        Snark, come on, you’re not getting that job if you’re not willing to assemble cubicle cots.

      2. CommanderBanana

        Also, a new dog grooming place opened down the street from my house and I’ve brought my dogs in twice to get their nails clipped – while on their website I noticed that they were hiring and clicked on it out of curiosity (I have no intention of becoming a dog groomer, I’m too chicken to even clip my puppers’ nails) and the popup said this:

        We are currently looking for a very experienced groomer that is knowledgeable of most breed specific haircuts and who is gentle with the dogs. The right candidate for this position will understand and exhibit professionalism, from coming to work on time every day, keeping your personal life out while you are at work, to building a relationship with your clients and working well with other staff members.

        What we require:
        Minimum of 3-4 years of experience
        Must have tools, all in good working condition
        A recent resume with contacts
        Drug free
        Self sufficient, we do not want to train you how to groom or be professional

        This really made me wonder about bringing my girls to a place that doesn’t train their groomers.

    2. Cube Ninja

      “Huh, they’re right. This job isn’t for me, because I refuse to work for people like this.”

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch

      I’ve seen some over the top job listings before, that’s sadly somewhat typical practice for some nonsensical companies who think it’s actually going to weed out the people they’re trying to push away.

      I’ve seen a lot of “If you cannot show up on time, don’t even bother!” lines thrown in there. Sure, someone who is lackadaisical enough to no-call no-show on you is going to use their great judgment skills and just steer clear, you sure told them… Bless their amateur hearts, they tried.

    4. Ada

      That reminds me of a job posting I came across recently. Looked great, right up until they mentioned their products to go out “faster than the industry standard.” This is not the sort of work that can reasonably be rushed, either. Gave me the impression they either a) work their employees to death or b) take some major shortcuts. Maybe both. Was not going to move across the country to find out.

    5. Batgirl

      I recognise this regime! Lemme think how the rest goes:

      -We will be impossible to please nine times of ten but you’ll occasionally have a random ‘win’ which will give you a false sense of achievement and a bit of Stockholm Syndrome.
      – We will pay you in ‘exposure’and ‘opportunities’.
      – This will be character building in that you will build up a character which is awfully weepy and too exhausted to find the exits.

      1. Anonny

        I have often felt that “building character” is a jerk’s euphemism for PTSD and similar mental illnesses. Mainly because I’ve never encountered a “character-building” experience that wasn’t really, really traumatic.

  13. SignalLost

    This is ridiculous. I stand, however, by my decision to inspect any interviewer’s parking job, assuming they drove, and judge them accordingly. (I do not have hiring authority, and if all goes well, never will.)

  14. MK

    For rational people “immediate rejection” is something that should be saved for truly egregious behaviours, not an etiquette faux-pas.

    1. Antilles

      For rational people “immediate rejection” is something that should be saved for truly egregious behaviours
      For me, “tracking down an email address that an interviewer intentionally didn’t give you by stalking their LinkedIn, company page, or social media” is pretty close to this category.

      1. OhBehave

        However, if the email addresses follow a common suffix, it’s reasonable to use that in your thank you. Some things don’t require a deep dive.

        1. Old European

          In my culture it would be incorrect to send email to someone who has not contacted you first or who has not explicitly given her email address, unless you have a justified reason. Post-interview reply to the email of the person who invited you, confirming your interest, would be acceptable, even welcome after face-to-face interview, but anything beyond that is not expected. Lack of self-initiated communication by the applicant (after sending the application) would not be seen rude as at least professional recruiters assume that they lead the process. Some may even feel insulted if the applicant challenges that.

  15. Leah

    I’m from Brazil, and many, MANY interview and hiring tips I learned from your blog are not the norm here at all, including thank you notes. I’ve never sent a single one in my six years of professional career (although I plan on doing it from now on) and had never heard of them until I started reading your blog, so the point you made about immigrants is spot-on. People like that woman need to get off their high horses and think long and hard about their priorities and their poor life choices.

    1. It's the little things

      I’m with you – I’m from the UK originally and am actually in HR in the US now (which is why I frequent this blog!), and not only would it not occur to me to send a note, it also makes me incredibly uncomfortable as a hiring manager if I receive one – it’s just not a norm for me, but wouldn’t make or break a hiring decision for me.

      1. Tau

        Second attempt at posting the comment I meant to:

        I remember us commenters from Europe discussing this a few times when the subject of thank you notes came up, and I’m pretty sure the conclusion was that they weren’t a thing anywhere we knew of. And if it’s not a thing, “uncomfortable” or “weirded out” is definitely a natural reaction if you get one.

  16. The Man, Becky Lynch

    Ah secret “rules” that people put in place for themselves and their mind-reader interviewees! That’s nice.

    I came from a background of laborer workers and so when I graduated high school a million years ago, I went and got one of those terrible self-help books on job seeking, so that’s where I learned about cover letters and thank-you notes. But I’m a nerd who before Google, my default was to scurry off to the library for a how-to book, I’m absolutely an outlier for life.

    I’ve hired both people who have sent thank you’s and those who haven’t. The only thing a thank-you makes me think is “That’s nice!” and “Well they seem like they’re actively interested still, that’s good news”. It helps but it’s certainly no deal breaker, that’s such a short sided deal breaker.

    1. Annon

      I’m writing only because you seem like the kind of person who would appreciate this, and I apologize in advance for how rude it is to correct others.

      The phrase is “short-sighted”, rather than “short-sided”, though for many dialects of English, those sound identical, so it’s confusing.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood

        (It’s well within the garble-factor that I expect from autoINcorrect and speech-to-text apps.)

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch

        I blame this on my parents and them ruining me with their mountain people dialects coupled with my speech impediment. Yeah, I wasn’t aware of that at all.

        1. Annon

          It sounds the same even in my non-mountain, not-impeded Midwestern speech, so I wouldn’t have known the difference except that I learned it by reading rather than hearing.

          And Seeking Second Childhood is correct that it could easily have been an autocorrect or text-to-speech issue.

          It’s part of the category of “toe the line”, “moot point”, “all intents and purposes”, “pique one’s interest” etc. where the spelling of the phrase isn’t clear from its pronunciation.

            1. Polaris

              I’m one of those people! Particularly as a child/teen, I read extensively but socialized very little, so I had a massive vocabulary and very little actual practice using it aloud. (Woe to the English teachers who had to read my essays though.)

  17. Antilles

    I don’t understand this rationale:
    “It signals that the person wants the job — or rather, no thank-you email signals the person probably doesn’t want the job.”
    I spent time applying to your company. We had a phone discussion. I took PTO off work to show up. I wore a suit rather than my normal khakis/jeans and button up. I arranged references for you to call. I came prepared with a detailed list of questions to ask and very obviously did some research on your company. And then I asked about your timeline for when I should expect to hear back from you.
    If I probably didn’t want the job, I would have bailed out on this process like a dozen times by now!

    1. BRR

      Yes but do you REALLY want the job? (I hope the sarcasm came through). I feel the same way! She needs to adjust her thinking on this. Next thing you know she’ll want candidates to tattoo the company name on themselves to show how much they want the job.

    2. Yikes Dude

      Any time someone says “It’s easier to get a job if you have a job” has never worked in an open plan office with about 15 days of PTO total where everyone dresses casually in a job market where at least 3 different interview stages are required, often with very little scheduling notice, and homework/tests are increasingly mandatory for all career levels.

      1. Anon for this

        DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED. My final-stage interviews last 4 hours long – that is way too long for a “doctor’s appointment”.

    3. Parenthetically

      Yes, you did these twelve other things that you would only do if you wanted the job, but this ONE thing is SO important that it cancels out all the other things! Because of… reasons! *giant eyeroll*

    4. Anonny

      “You were our best candidate, but you didn’t send a thank-you note so we’re gonna go with the guy who defecated in our potted plant. At least he has some manners.”

      1. an infinite number of monkeys

        Haha, excellent reference! But what sort of a thank-you note do you write if you *have* defecated in the potted plant?

        Asking for a friend.

    5. Liane

      I think the kindest thing we can say is that Ms. Liebman might be one of the few hiring managers who appreciates candidates who use “That’s Real GUMPTION!” gimmicks.

    6. Feather

      What she really means is one of two things:

      “It shows you’re One Of Us and this is something you’ll do automatically, so we can count on you being The Right Sort.”

      or,

      “It shows you’re properly deferential to my position as The One Who Hired You and will appropriately Respect My Power/Authority.”

      Neither of these is particularly flattering a look for people outside her subculture but many people like her either don’t realize it, or don’t care.

    7. Luna

      Forget PTO for someone who was unemployed like me. If I wasn’t interested in the job, I wouldn’t have applied to it to begin with.

    8. The Tables Have Turned

      Maybe it is time for interviewers to send interviewees thank-you notes!

    9. General Ginger

      “You’re a pure soul. But you didn’t say god bless you when I sneezed.”

    10. Anon for this

      I KNOW. I already stated this in an above comment, but my interviews require days of preparation, a trip to the hair salon, dry cleaning and/or buying an expensive suit, PTO (but I still have to make up the work after…I’ve worked late due to interviews), printing out resumes as needed…like it takes me a week minimum to prepare for an interview, and you still want me to send five separate thank you e-mails?

  18. voluptuousfire

    That’s a damned arrogant POV. I’m def a “good egg” and I don’t think I wrote a thank you note to my current job and I’m kicking ass at it for 3.5 years now. Faulty logic at best.

  19. Sleepytime Tea

    I never really considered specifically that this type of thing would actually discriminate based on backgrounds, so that’s actually some very good insight from Alison. But also, I know that I never heard of a thank you note after an interview until I had a class in high school where the teacher took the time, outside of regular curriculum, to teach us about resume and cover letter writing. (I’ll add that what she taught us was way out of date, but at the time it was absolutely better than nothing.) Most of my high school classmates weren’t in that class, which was actually a college course, and didn’t learn about those things.

    What a terrible way to hamstring people in their job search. Your top candidate failed to send a thank you note so you write them off? That’s so ridiculous. It’s right up there with my CFO who didn’t want to hire someone because he thought their hair was too “slick,” whatever that means.

    1. Observer

      It’s right up there with my CFO who didn’t want to hire someone because he thought their hair was too “slick,” whatever that means.

      It probably means that the candidate didn’t REALLY want the job, or they would have found out what kind of hairstyles the CFO approves of and made sure to do their hair that way.

      The sad thing is that I don’t know if that should be sarcastic or not >sigh<

      1. Sleepytime Tea

        In the case of that CFO, it is sadly possible that that might not be sarcastic. He also wrote off someone because he didn’t like their shoes, someone because of the college they went to (which was, incidentally, the same college he went to, and a very prestigious business school, so I’m still confused on that one), and there was someone else that he refused because of something having to do with the pants they were wearing…

        After over 6 months of him rejecting every candidate we sent through the interview process, always for weird reasons like these, my manager finally got him to keep himself out of it, and we were finally able to hire someone. (In the meantime, my poor salaried ass was working 80 hour weeks. Not that he cared or acknowledged my work.)

  20. Jamie

    I recently started a new job after a very long multi interview process and I never sent a thank you note because before I could I had received one from them thanking me.

    (I did, however, reply thanking them in return.)

    Have to admit it was kind of refreshing and disconcerting at the same time since it upended the typical convention.

  21. Justme, The OG

    I saw this on FB and was going to ask your opinion. I don’t have to! I agree with your assessment, too.

  22. Susie Q

    Honestly, I think thank you notes for interviews is bullshit. It’s a business arrangement not a wedding gift. You need an employee and I need a job. You interview me because you have a need and I interview with you because I have a need. There is no need for any thanks. No one is doing anyone any favors which is the whole point of a thank you note. And I’m a stickler for thank you notes in my personal life for gifts, etc.

    1. Hey Karma, Over here.

      The protocol should never have been named “thank you letter”. It should have been a “follow up letter” to help the interviewer remember you, to add anything to your interview, clarify a point, just one last push. Not for the purpose of butt kissing, not for the now ubiquitous perfunctory because you have to purpose, but for a real purpose that benefits both sides, but maybe the candidate more.

    2. Mrs. Fenris

      That’s sort of how I see it. And I was taught all of those old-school social graces when I was growing up, so it’s not like it’s a foreign concept to me…I just don’t think it applies here.

    3. Double A

      So much this. I posted on another thread, but I am job hunting due to a job loss and I am anything but thankful right now.

  23. Boba tea

    i’m an immigrant and i’ve been living in the US sine high school. no one ever teaches me this, my parents dont know and they own business. their hiring practices are complete different. my family here doesnt really share either. my cousins are doctors who dont really go through your regular hiring process. others who do office jobs dont mention it, they just assume i know. i only know when i go to the school career services. even then, some of their advices are frowned upon when i share it with my working professional friends! i feel like i walk on edge shell with job search trying to guess what’s right and wrong. managers like this lady above doesnt help. i always send thank you note though sometimes it feels tedious and forced then im stuck with wondering if i’ll annoy them and if they’ll even read it. but even if i dont which i can see my younger self do this cause no one tells me anything, i’ll be devastated to know that this alone can cost a potential offer.
    someone in the Twitter thread said something along the line of managers need to stop this whole ” bend down and kiss my shoes and thank me for offering you a job, peasant” attitude. i’ve seen this a few times as a student searching for job. i cant help but feel a bit “less” which makes me under the manager mercy and tolerate stuffs that others dont. i had managers who ran late to interviews and not even address it or did not call me then didnt even reply to my email asking if they want to reschedule cause i want to give them the benefits of the doubts. i feel like there should be mutual respect between the manager and the applicant. yes, i want a job but you also want someone fit for this job. you need me as much as i do but why do i have to bend down and kiss your feet everytime?

    1. Seeking Second Childhood

      Could everyone who is from a country/culture where thank-you notes for interviews are NOT standard please list that country/culture? I think the twitterverse should see the list.
      So far on this commentary page alone, I’ve seen the United Kingdom and Brazil.

          1. Aurion

            Fellow Canadian and I have heard of thank you notes before this blog! That said, they were taught to me as a general “reiterate interest” and thus all notes I produced prior to this blog were universally terrible or useless.

            I’ve never been on the hiring side of the desk and I don’t know how much weight my employers have put on them though.

            1. Feather

              also Canadian: it shows up here sometimes, but not that often, mostly in areas where you’d also most often find people with business degrees working (or in charge of hiring) – marketing, high-level sales, etc.

              You’ll occasionally see it outside those circles but not very often, and not as an Expected Norm. And that’s mostly in Anglophone Canada; francophone Canada doesn’t really have much time for that, ime.

        1. Pommette!

          Seconding Canada.
          (At least, I think so? It could be that it is a norm and that I am just really oblivious.)

      1. smoke tree

        I’m in Canada, and I have the impression they’re not common or expected here, although it may vary by industry. I first heard about them on AAM, and I volunteered with my university’s (quite good) career centre, which never mentioned them. But sometimes American customs trickle up here so some hiring managers may appreciate them.

      2. Feather

        It’s a very, very American – and very specifically *business*/corporate culture American – thing. It spreads a bit outside that because of the way business/corporate culture often becomes formal HR culture and gets inculcated into that training, but that’s still where it comes from.

        Even the idea of “a follow-up note” is a very American thing – most of the people I’ve worked for would find this (unless it had a very specific purpose) obnoxious/pushy, an instance of the candidate DEMANDING attention again and while it might make them remember the candidate it won’t be fondly.

        1. Doc in a Box

          Even in the US, it’s regional. I went to college in Virginia (go Hoos!) and was told by premed advisors to write thank you notes for medical school interviews. Then med school in NYC, where no one writes thank you notes for residency interviews. So it varies a lot.

        2. Le Sigh

          I view it as an outgrowth of an American culture that prioritizes companies over people. You should be grateful to get a job and kiss the ground I walk on! Nevermind that hiring is a two-way street.

          I don’t see these hiring managers out here sending notes, thanking candidates for coming in.

      3. London Calling

        Also UK. I’ve been working for 40+ years and never even knew thank you notes for interviews were a thing until I started reading AAM in 2016. Needless to say I’ve never written one and I can’t say it’s hurt my progression, but then I have never interviewed with Jessica Liebman

        1. Batgirl

          Oh good. Also UK but wondered if this might be something I missed due to being working class.

        1. Bulbasaur

          Second for New Zealand.

          It does sound like a particularly American phenomenon, like “thank you for your service.”

      4. Rebeck

        Australia- especially in any form of government or government-adjacent hiring where it would be seen as an attempt to circumvent the processes and get more “face time” than other candidates.

      5. Japananon

        Japan. Often hiring goes through external recruiters so not sure how you’d send one. But I was encouraged to send one once by a recruiter who helpfully provided a template.

      6. Oska

        Norway.

        I brought up the idea of thank-you letters with my new colleagues shortly after I started my current job, which is my second job after I completed my education. The others were 10-20 years older than me and had been through more interviews than me, and also been part of the process on the hiring side. The universal response was “What? Never heard of it. It would make a bad impression, honestly.”

        Calling to ask for an update/timeline after a week or two is considered fine, but not required. You’re doing it to get information, not to draw attention to yourself as a candidate.

  24. Amber Rose

    I’ve been job hunting multiple times over the years and I follow one simple rule: don’t feel disappointed over not getting job offers from jerks.

    I’ve never sent a thank you note in my life. I don’t think it’s a thing here as much, and I’d never even heard of the practice until I started reading this blog a couple years ago.

    1. Bulbasaur

      I think it’s the same here. We don’t give out our contact info, and ask them to go through the primary contact if they have any follow-up questions and the like. Any thank-you notes would go to that person. I’ve never seen any, which suggests that either people aren’t sending them or our primary contacts don’t feel they are important enough to pass on to us. If it’s the latter then I’m perfectly fine with it – I have enough to do all day without needing to filter through a list of passive-aggressive ‘notice me’ signals.

      The only time I typically send them is after rejection notes that provide feedback on how I did and why I wasn’t chosen – because they don’t have to do that, and a lot of employers don’t. Also you’ve already been rejected and there’s no decision left to influence, so they know it’s not performance art.

  25. Alton

    In addition to penalizing candidates who didn’t receive this type of job training, I think it can also penalize people who receive potentially old-fashioned info. I was taught to send thank-you notes after interviews, but I was also taught that mailing a physical note was preferable to e-mail. That’s probably something people have different feelings about, but the risk with physical notes is that they take longer to be received and may not arrive before the hiring manager makes a decision.

    1. Observer

      To be honest, at this point for most positions a paper that you note would probably weigh against a candidate for most positions that I would have any input into, whereas not sending anything wouldn’t matter. Mostly because I’d be wondering if this person understands business norms and communications.

      For some positions it would be unlikely to be useful because you don’t know when it will show up – or even if it WILL show up, but it wouldn’t do any harm.

  26. BethDH

    I’ve only been on the interviewing panel for a couple of positions, but the thank you notes I got after those interviews were so perfunctory they gave me a lower impression of the candidates who sent them. It was pretty obvious that the interviewees had been told to write thank you notes and that they resented it as an additional hoop in a stressful process. And that kind of seems fair — it’s not like I’m doing them a favor by seeing whether they’d be a good fit for a job that needs doing! It seems like sometimes the interviewee is expected to be SO GRATEFUL to the interviewing company for deigning to consider hiring them.
    On the other hand, I do send thank you emails to people who interview for positions when I’m on the hiring side — but these are really info dumps that give a sense of follow-up timing and who to contact for questions in the meantime.
    Lots of people on this site have mentioned the need for social niceties like thank you emails for pretty minor things in the workplace, and certainly they can be a big part of maintaining internal and external relationships. So I can see that in some jobs the awareness of that process might be important. I still wouldn’t use the thank you note as a sole disqualifier in an interview process, but it might make me more sensitive to other signs the person showed that they were aware of soft skills and norms in the field. I don’t think I’d care at all for an entry level position, though.

  27. goducks

    She expects a thank you follow up from every candidate, but does she extend the courtesy of a prompt, personalized no-thank you to every candidate she doesn’t move forward with? Good manners in the hiring process need to be a two-way street.

    1. Autumnheart

      I wonder what the top candidate thought when they read the article about how they didn’t get the job.

    2. Luna

      Interviews are a two-way street, in general.
      Yeah, the company is interviewing the candidate for a potential employee. But the candidate is also interviewing the company as a potential employer. I’ve read stories of managers being late for interviews and not apologizing, steamrolling anything the candidate is saying or generally not listening, and then they are appalled that the candidate is refusing the job offer — not realizing that the candidate noticed during the interview that it would be more trouble than worth to work for someone like *that*.

      1. London Calling

        And the thing is, a lot of candidates don’t realise that and interview is a two way process. If you are desperate for a job, you can be so cravenly grateful for an interview that you’ll take any behaviour. I’ve walked into places where I knew from the atmosphere even before the interview started that I wouldn’t work there and have carried on for the practice.

  28. Hey Karma, Over here.

    Ricky Gervais as David Brent: Avoid employing unlucky people by throwing away 50% of the applications without even reading them.
    Because, you the interviewer are doing the candidate a favor by allowing these people to bring your their knowledge, skills and energy to your company.
    You madam, are an ass.

  29. Ruth (UK)

    “thank-you notes aren’t a thing in many other countries”

    Yep. I work in an administrative job in a uni in the uk (and previously in NHS admin) and likely would not have even heard of thank-you notes if not for this blog. I have never (nor know of anyone who has ever) sent a a thank-you note.

    Last time a thank-you note related post or discussion (I can’t remember what) on here came up, I asked around a bit among my friends/colleagues and at most, it was something people had heard of (but no one I asked had done it themselves).

    Perhaps there are jobs/industries (or maybe regions/areas?) in the UK where it’s a thing, but definitely not something I’ve really come across.

    1. It's the little things

      I’m originally from the North West of England and worked in a number of different industries and roles (including HR so likely would know people who did this if it was a thing), and had never heard of it before moving to the US and reading this blog

    2. Weegie

      I’m in a similar field in the UK, and in my experience anyone who sends a follow-up email would be wasting their time. Generally speaking, interviews are all on the same day, the successful candidate is offered the job on the same or next day, and the unsuccessful candidates are informed just as soon as the successful one has accepted – which is usually within 24 hours, or a couple of days at most.

      I’ve worked in other sectors, and in other countries, and have never come across this convention – so Alison is right that insisting on a thank you note is going to rule out anyone who isn’t from the US and is unaware of this nicety.

      1. Birch

        Wait, the quick interview turnaround is a UK thing? It makes sense to not expect follow-ups then–they don’t have time to forget you.

        1. Akcipitrokulo

          I’ve sometimes waited a few days after an interview… but normally they get back to you or agent that day with initial feedback, and you hear yes or no within a day or two.

          From interviewing side, it’s the same. By the time we’ve done phone interviews the field is narrowed down to just few – and generally you know you’re going to need to wait a month at least for their notice period if they are working at the time, and your leaving person will be gone in same time frame – so a good candidate will get snapped up.

          Obviously ymmv! And this is just my experience – but I’ve never waited more than a few days.

        2. Ruth (UK)

          I’ve normally heard within 1 or 2 working days when I’ve been offered the job, but I’ve waited a week or more to be turned down after interviewing.

          However, I did once interview for a temporary summer job when I was a uni student… and received the rejection letter something ridiculous like 9 months later (honestly). It was even funnier because the position was only for a 2-month summer contact, so by the time I got the rejection, I was hardly still hanging on for a response…

          And much like many accounts here, when it comes to rejection at the application stage, it can be a very long time or never. Though a lot of job ads do say something like “if you haven’t heard by [date] please assume you have been unsuccessful”.

          1. Jackalope

            I remember the bad taste it left in my mouth once when I had an interview where the person interviewing me told me she would contact me within a week to let me know if I had the job or not…and then never called. I wasn’t sad not to get the job (I had misunderstood the position and it was something I would have been awful at) but I did feel that if she told me she’d call then she should call. (Saying that if I hadn’t heard in a week I would know that I didn’t have the position would also have been fine.)

        3. londonedit

          Yeah, I’ve been hired on the same day as my interview before. You do the whole ‘thank you very much, it was lovely to meet you’ ‘we still have other people to see, but we’re hoping to make a decision later this week’ thing at the end of the interview, which is one of the reasons why it’s a bit weird to then send another thank-you note, and you’ll usually hear within a couple of days. If it’s being handled by a recruiter, they usually keep you very well updated on how the process is going and let you know of any delays.

          It’s true that you might wait longer to hear a rejection – because they usually wait to reject candidates until the person they want to hire has accepted. And it’s very common in my industry for job adverts to indicate the interview dates, and then say ‘Only successful candidates will be contacted’ so you know that if you haven’t heard from them by the dates of the interviews, it’s a no.

    3. Arjay

      Out of curiosity, can I ask if “thank you notes aren’t a thing” is just in the context of business transactions and interviews, or are they not a thing at all, socially speaking?

      1. Akcipitrokulo

        Oh, they are a thing for presents or social niceties… just not a thing for interviews.

        Having read AAM I now know about them, but otherwise I’d have been at least a bit “huh? That’s a bit weird…” if I’d seen one after an interview. Maybe even push into thinking someone had GUMPTION!!! territory.

    4. Eric B

      Also in the UK and have been involved in hiring, and if anything we’d view it negatively if we received a thank you note, like they were trying too hard! I think it would come across a bit slimy.

      1. Akcipitrokulo

        Yes, this.

        Having read AAM, I’d now think “oh, that’s a thing in US… maybe they’re from there?” but otherwise – it’s a turn-off. It’s not on same level, but same feeling, as someone sending chocolates for the hiring manager with the application.

  30. TB

    Back in 2016, I interviewed for an editing job at a place where I really wanted to work. Afterward, I sent a two-sentence “thank-you note” to the CEO, as well as similar individualized notes to three other people I met that day. Well, the morning I sent the note, the CEO posted this on social media:

    “… have decided that no interview follow-up is better than a bad thank you note. Particularly for Sr. candidates”

    (I was a senior candidate.) I didn’t get the job, obviously, but since that time I’ve won six significant editorial awards at the job where I stayed until late 2018 (I’ve been in a new position since August 2018). Despite my success, this thank-you-note incident still pisses me off, three years later.

    1. Doc in a Box

      Wow, that was really unprofessional of the CEO. I’d be angry too but sounds like you dodged a bullet there….

    2. The New Wanderer

      That CEO belongs in the same category as the BI Editor. Not every thought needs to be put on social media, and especially the ones that out you as a whiny jerk who whines that people didn’t do exactly what you thought they should do the way you wanted them to do it.
      Didn’t send a thank you note that is a completely optional, not-universal business courtesy? NO JOB.
      Didn’t send a ‘good enough’ thank you note based on one person’s standards? NO JOB.

      Just imagine the impossible standards, hidden requirements, and shifting goal posts those jobs would have!

      1. TB

        I saw the post a few days before I got the official rejection. Was eagerly following this company on several social platforms.

      2. London Calling

        Just imagine the impossible standards, hidden requirements, and shifting goal posts those jobs would have!

        I think that’s what annoyed me about her comment. Candidates are supposed to know what she’s thinking and what she expects – the famous’ unwritten rules’ that everyone’s supposed to know about but that exist only in some people’s heads

  31. Liane

    Does it make me a Bad Person to hope the Twitter-storm is followed by a flood of emails/letters to Ms. Liebman & Business Insider from their job candidates and those BI has extended offers to, asking to withdraw from the process or declining an offer, due to this kerfuffle?
    Alison, how would one word this letter/email? And am I correct that I shouldn’t Tweet it?

  32. Rainy days

    Thanks for calling this out, Alison. I love getting a thank-you note, and in my personal life I’m a real stickler about thank-you notes for gifts, but in my work life I hire a lot of immigrants from several different nationalities this makes it clear just how well certain cultural backgrounds prepare people to integrate with US job-searching norms, while others do not. There is one nationality I hire where I almost always get a thank-you note, even from candidates I reject, while I rarely do from certain other nationalities. There’s no correlation between the note and the person’s work ethic, once hired.

    1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister

      This is such a good point – sending or not sending a note has much more to do with that person’s cultural norms and etiquette rules, than with their work ethic or ability to do the job. Conflating the two means candidates who come from a different set of cultural norms than the hiring manager are essentially being discriminated against.

      1. Feather

        Honestly?

        In many ways: that’s exactly what it’s meant to do. Like, discriminating against people not in this specific subculture and obedient to its details is 100% the point.

        1. Pomona Sprout

          I honestly don’t think people always *consciously* realize that’s what they’re doing. Unfortunately, the net result is the same either way, but it’s not always a case of deliberately setting out to reject everyone whose cultural norms aren’t a perfect match to that of the hiring manager. In most cases, I think it’s the kind of thing people do unconsciously and aren’t aware of it until and unless it’s pointed out to them.

  33. Fiddlesticks

    I’ll be happy to start sending mandatory thank-you notes as soon as it’s mandatory for all companies to send polite rejection letters to all job applicants… instead of just leaving them with dead silence as the current practice apparently is.

    1. Luna

      +1
      Absolutely agree. In fact, can we extend that to go from ‘polite rejection letters’ to ‘personalized rejection letters’? I’ve had people not give me any rejection letter, and I have gotten people sending me the generic rejection letter that just says they cannot take my application into consideration for the job.

      With the amount of rejections I have gotten, I would prefer some personalized ones because it makes me wonder if *I* did something during an interview that made them reject me. And, of course, if you get a generic rejection letter (or none at all), you never know what the issue might have been and have no way to work on it.

  34. PizzaDog

    I genuinely have never sent a thank you note after having an interview.

    Canadians, is this a thing we do here?

    1. iglwif

      I’m in Canada, I used to be a hiring manager at ExJob, and I’ve gotten thank-you emails after interviews. I think they’re great; I also think using them as a secret deal-breaker is a ridiculous idea.

    2. curly sue

      I’ve done it before and been told that it helped get me the job (entry-level office work, early 2000s), but haven’t seen it done much since.

    3. Kowalski! Options!

      I have, but I wouldn’t lose sleep about it if I went to an interview and woke up at 2AM the next day and realized that I hadn’t.

      1. PizzaDog

        I remember applying to the job I’m currently working through LinkedIn – I didn’t realise what I did sent them just my profile without a cover letter, resume, NOTHING but what I had on my LinkedIn page already. I worked myself into a frenzy for days… Someone was looking out for me because I actually got the interview and the job.

    4. Aurion

      Yes, in my experience. Although I suspect most are in the “thank you” and not “follow up” vein and thus vary from middling to useless.

    5. Felicia

      Yes.

      At least, it’s a thing recommended in university careers centres, and taught in the Careers course all grade 10 students in Ontario are required to take (at least it was as of 12 years ago!) I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea especially the way they’re generally done, and I don’t really send them myself, but I (a 28 year old from Ontario) was definitely taught to do them from multiple sources.

      Also in my limited experience in hiring, for an entry level role specifically, about half of the candidates sent them, so it is A Thing.

      1. smoke tree

        Might be regional too–in BC, I don’t think they’re terribly common. At least, I had never heard of them before AAM, and neither has anyone I’ve spoken to about them.

    6. GirlfriendInCanada

      Sasky here, with a business degree, and I had never heard of it until stumbling across Ask A Manager.

      I’ve only ever done it once, to which I got a response that said “Wow, this was a nice note! Very professional!” …… and then I promptly didn’t get the job. So… ?

    7. Public service in the maritimes

      It’s not a thing that I’ve done or had suggested to me. I have heard of it in the private sector, though. I wonder if union vs. non-union is also a factor. Most public sector union jobs use a very strict points structure for any hiring.

  35. katelyn

    My thank you note to my current employer bounced back because while the interviewer goes by “Christine” in Canada, her actual ethnic name is something much more difficult to pronounce, and she didn’t have business cards on her the day I interviewed. So I tried my best to follow name conventions, but as I didn’t actually know her given name, and I had forgotten that some asian languages follow a lastname firstname convention, I had no way of getting it right. So even if you can actually figure out Sally Smith’s email at genericCo.com, there’s probably more ways to mess it up than to get it right, so it’s just another unfair hoop to ask everyone to jump through for you.

    The email also took about a week to bounce back to me for whatever reason, so I already had an offer by the time I realized it hadn’t sent. Good thing for me they weren’t waiting on my four sentence email/thank you!

    1. Temi

      This! My last thank you email bounced back too.
      I re sent it copying the recruiter. Happens more than we think.

  36. Yikes Dude

    It makes me feel much better that everyone is knee-jerking because when people say stuff like “I only hire people who write thank-you notesm” all I hear is “I am casually revealing that I am terrible at my job and always have been.”

    1. irene adler

      Yes! She’s using an emotional yardstick to gauge candidate fitness. Never mind skills, qualifications, accomplishments, obvious benefit to the company. Can only hope her managers are re-thinking her fitness to evaluate any future job candidates.

      Why not fault candidates who don’t present a potted plant or other small gift to the interviewer? That’s the thing to do when invited to someone’s home.

  37. Cari

    If I hadn’t chosen people who didn’t always send a follow-up, I wouldn’t have the amazing team that I currently have now.

  38. kittymommy

    I completely missed this when it happened (I’m not great about checking my Twitter unless it’s for Live PD) but the comment stream is hysterical.

  39. Jackie Paper

    I wonder how much it varies industry to industry too. In my industry I’ve seen hiring managers questioned en masse and it seemed pretty evenly split between those who like receiving thank yous, those who think they are akin to brown-nosing, and those who don’t really care either way.

    I’ve also heard advice to send a thank you to every single person you talked to, but I’m in academics and over the course of a full-day interview you may talk to 15 or more people. Sending an individual note to each of them (or even remembering all of their names) seems ludicrous.

    I’ve both sent and not sent thank yous throughout my career and haven’t noticed an impact in my hireability either way.

  40. Soveryanon

    I’ve done a lot of hiring over the years and, while it’s nice to get a thank you note, I’ve never treated it as a make or break criteria. Some people forget, or just don’t think to do it, and if they’re otherwise qualified, I’m not going to hold it against them. This just seems inflexible and dumb.

  41. boo bot

    I feel like secret and arbitrary litmus tests in general are terrible hiring. Yet another area in which workplace advice and dating advice overlap!

  42. MicroManagered

    I love that she CLEARLY expected that Alison was going to agree with her and got shut down so hard. LOL

  43. iglwif

    OMG that article made me so mad!! ::flames! flames on the side of my face!::

    I was a hiring manager for at least 15 years, and I did like getting thank-you notes–especially the kind that give you additional insights into the candidate that didn’t come up in the interview for whatever reason. As between two equally great candidates, it’s possible that getting a really good thank-you note might tip the balance? But as a deal-breaker, oh HELL no. What a stupid idea.

    I will also mention, since this came up a lot on twitter, that when we decided on a candidate, I *always* emailed the rest of the folks we’d interviewed to let them know. Every. Single. Time. There’s no excuse for putting someone to the time and effort of an interview–especially an on-site interview!!–and then ghosting them.

    1. MoopySwarpet

      This is 100% how we handle our hiring, too. It might tip the scales in their favor if the candidates were truly equal. However, to date, there have never been 2 candidates who were so close that this particular thing made a difference. There have been instances where it made us feel even more “warm and fuzzy” about an already strong candidate.

      I also don’t think it has to be a “thank you” specifically. Any kind of follow up is nice. If they don’t, we normally circle back after we’ve completed that round of interviews to let them know where they stand and thanking them for their time, updating timelines, etc.

      1. iglwif

        Yes, I think using “thank-you note” to describe what is actually, ideally, a substantive follow-up message is kind of muddying the waters here.

        Until I started reading AAM I had no idea how common it was for employers to just … not get back to people at all. Nobody enjoys writing “sorry, you didn’t get the job” emails, but where I worked that was 100% part of the hiring manager’s job! That workplace had a ton of problems, don’t get me wrong, but we did at least get back to people.

    2. Aurora Borealis

      Agreed, iglwif. It definitely isn’t the deciding factor, but I love the follow up. Thinking back, I vaguely remember that only once did it become a deciding factor. But that was based on the additional info added in their note. It, as you said, tipped the scales just a bit. Also, a handwritten note makes more of an impression than an email.

  44. Spencer Hastings

    That’s a really condescending reply, IMO. I’d be willing to bet actual literal money that Becky Lynch is well aware of the phrase “short-sighted” and that this is the result of an autocorrect or voice-to-text error, or a typo.

  45. Steve Shindle

    Sometimes the person you interview with is not the person you set up the interview with. Unless the person you interview with hands you a business card, their email is easily accessible on the website or you are good at internet sleuthing– well you may not even have their email. So there is that…

    In that situation do you thank the person who set up the interview and say it was great speaking to (insert name here)?

  46. Tammy

    When I was last a jobseeker, I wrote thank-you notes. Emailed thank-you notes for most companies, handwritten for a handful where I felt things went especially well. (Including for my first role at CurrentCompany). But that’s mostly because I’m a fountain pen and nice stationery nerd, and I appreciate the excuse to write a handwritten note. Similarly, as a hiring manager, I definitely appreciate when someone takes the time to write me a thank-you note (paper or email). But I appreciate it in the sense of “oh, a thank-you note from Fergus. That was thoughtful!”, not in the sense of “Wakeen did not send a thank-you, so that scurrilous cur is totally out of the running for my position!”

    Hiring the right person who has both the skills I need and the ability to mesh effectively with my team – who proudly calls themselves “the Island of Misfit Toys”, if that tells you anything – is really an art. Hiring requires finesse, emotional intelligence, the ability to connect with people, and the ability to look at people of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and experiences and to tease out whether they’ll thrive in the role. Rigidly inflexible adherence to arbitrary (and not culturally dexterous) rules doesn’t do anything except reinforce your own biases and communicate that you’re not good at hiring, IMHO.

  47. Magenta Sky

    Unless I’d applied for a job writing thank-you notes, I’d consider such a rejection a bullet dodged. Granted, this women probably wouldn’t be the direct supervisor for whoever was hired, but she is the public face of the company so far as applicants are concerned, and she represents the culture of the company. And the message (accurate or not) she is sending is very, very clear: “We care more about form than function. We don’t care if you – or anyone that you’ll be working with, or relying to be able to do your job – can actually do the job, only that you look good while failing to.” No thanks. I’ve worked for a company that was going out of business due to incompetent management. Never again.

    Not only is she inept at her job, whoever hired her is, as well.

  48. Ammonite

    Funny story, when I applied to my first job, I sent the manager and every member of the hiring committee a handwritten note on personalized stationary that older members of my family gave me for that purpose. I got an offer about a week later, and was convinced the perfect thank you notes had helped seal the deal. A few days after that, I found all 6 notes in my mailbox with Return to Sender notices on them. Even if you know to send the notes, figuring out the logistics isn’t an easy task for an outsider!
    I still always send thank you emails, but I don’t stress about the physical notes and I don’t go scavenging for contact info. I send the thank you to whoever I’ve been communicating with previously. Since the thank you is a follow-up/continuation of the interview conversation, this simply makes the most sense!

    1. CB

      +1. I work in the research unit of a university, and we have different physical and mailing addresses. Our own staff sometimes mix the two up!

  49. Kate R

    The paragraph that stood out to me the most was this:

    “The handful of times we’ve moved forward with a candidate despite not receiving a thank you, we’ve been ghosted, or the offer we make is ultimately rejected. A few times, the offer is accepted, but the person pulls out before their start date or leaves after a few months.”

    I can actually understand her putting more weight on thank you notes if they’ve noticed this correlations, but this make me think her company just sucks. People reject offers for all sorts of reasons, but leaving after only a few months, ghosting, or backing out of an already accepted offer all seem pretty unusual to me. Sure, candidates will do that to perfectly good employers, but if there is such a pattern to it, I’d be looking for flaws at my own company.

    1. Turtlewings

      Yeah, the conclusion I’d be tempted to draw there is “The only people who actually go through with working here are the desperate ones who are pathetically grateful for any job at all.” That doesn’t say anything good about your company…

  50. ResuMAYDAY

    I hire for my company. After every interview, I *TELL* the candidate to send me a follow up email with their thoughts on how they’ll be able to make the biggest impact, based on what they learned during the interview. More importantly then being thanked, I’m genuinely interested in their take away after we spent that much time together.
    Yes, candidates should close with a thank you, but employers should also temper their egos.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch

      Eeeeeh, this would send me running for the hills if an interviewer requested such a thing. It’s over reaching and feels like teacher/student behavior. I’m not essentially writing you a report about what I learned in our meeting, let alone continue to try to sell you myself. It’s an interview, you should ask me what my biggest impact would be in that setting, not have me go think about it and get back to you.

      1. Fortitude Jones

        Yeah, I would withdraw from consideration if I interviewed somewhere and was asked to do this. It would strike me as patronizing even if that wasn’t the intent.

    2. Luna

      Frankly, this would confuse me. I would expect the aspect of how I, as an employee, would work in the company or would react like to certain situations arising — like, “say you have situation X here: how would you react?” — would be part of the interview to begin with.
      And it would make me feel very much like I am nitpicking and bothering you by sending you an email after an interview that basically amounts to mentioning things I might have forgotten to mention during the interview. I would worry it makes me look forgetful.

    3. Me

      I’ll add to the I’d run category. It really feels almost condescending.
      Just ask me that in the interview. Don’t send me how to think about it and report back. I’m not a child and this isn’t school. Not to mention a 20-60 minutes interview is certainly not a lot of time together.

      Hiring is a business transaction – you want the candidate as much as the candidate wants the job.

  51. nnn

    Every time I’ve been hired, I was offered the job before I had the opportunity to send a thank-you note.

    Which also means that every time I sent a thank-you note, I didn’t get the job.

    Another interesting thing: despite being white, educated, upper-middle class etc., I didn’t hear of the idea of sending a thank-you note for job interviews until I was well into adulthood. (I can’t remember how I heard of it.)

    1. soupcold57

      THIS! If you’re going to excuse the lack of a thank you note, you should do the same for cover letters. There’s already a resume!

        1. soupcold57

          If it’s silly to reject someone based on lack of TY note, it’s equally silly to do so based on lack of cover letter. There’s simply no point for a cover letter other than to demonstrate one’s ability to write flowery language (or hire someone)

            1. soupcold57

              As other posters said similarly about TY notes, I wouldn’t want to work for a company that rejects applicants based on a lack of cover letter. I have a pro forma cover letter when an online app requires it, but otherwise, nope!

              1. Andy

                if you’re sending in a pro forma cover letter you’re really missing an opportunity to shine.

                1. Ask a Manager Post author

                  Okay, you are really missing the point here! (That’s to
                  soupcold57; the threading has stopped.) If you’d like to take this up on Friday’s open thread, please do! (But for now it’s getting derailing here.)

          1. RG2

            I almost always auto-reject people who don’t submit a cover letter. It’s a requirement of the application, and an inability to follow directions/thinking the directions don’t apply to you is a big red flag in a field with strong security requirements. Additionally, many of our roles are writing/analysis heavy and so your resume would have to be the best I’ve ever seen to make up for skipping an opportunity to give me a sample of your writing ability and to explain how your skillset translates to this particular role. Pro-forma cover letters are very obvious and, with a pretty competitive hiring pool, almost never get you an interview.

        2. Alton

          I wonder, though, if the trend of requiring cover letters by default is counterproductive for some types of roles. I can absolutely see the potential value of them as a way of going into more specific detail about your qualifications and why you’re interested in a job, but when I was a recent grad with limited experience applying for entry-level jobs that didn’t require specialized experience or skills, it was often really hard to come up with specific examples of why I would be a good fit or why I was interested. Most of the advice I could find about writing cover letters didn’t apply to my situation.

    2. LQ

      I feel like this is a tiny bit late but a hiring things that matter march madness would be pretty fun.

  52. Clementine

    I have discouraged candidates that I personally know from trying to send thank-you notes at my current company. The interviewers do not give out business cards, the email aliases are not easy to determine, and I can’t give them out. The hiring process is well-organized and has zero consideration of thank-you notes. When I have done hiring at other companies, I got thank-you notes from less than 5% (probably way less) of the candidates, and none were from the candidates I wanted to hire.

  53. Becca McIntyre

    Mandatory? No. Appreciated, yes. Do I consider them at all, after 25 years of recruiting? No.
    But, I absolutely consider spelling, grammar, and punctuation on resumes for all professional jobs (all of whom have to write), regardless of race or gender. No exceptions.

  54. Rainbow Roses

    If she want to toss away a top notch employee just because of her silly hidden rule, it’s her company who loses, not the candidate.

    I’m sure most applicants already said thank you in person during the interview. She’s acting like this is a wedding or birthday transaction where Miss Manners says thank you notes are a must for gifts. No sweetie, this is business. You’re suppose to hire the best person for the job and you’re not.

  55. Lucille2

    I cringed when I saw this quote on LinkedIn. Thank You notes remind me of my husband’s grandmother when I first met her. My husband and I were dating at the time and went to visit his grandmother. She was a very kind host, and I thought I was being a gracious guest. We made dinner to show our appreciation. A few weeks after my visit, my husband is scolded by his mother because I failed to send Grandma a Thank You card. Apparently, I was not raised right.

    For the next visit, I not only gave her a thank you card, but it came with a gift as well. She gushed about how I didn’t need to do that. But I thought I DID need to do that. I’ve worked with hiring managers who seemed to put a little too much stock into the thank you note after an interview, and I’m reminded of my husband’s grandmother’s rules of etiquette. It’s not the sincere act of gratitude that matters, it’s the thank you note.

    1. Lucille3

      Agreed, this sounds like something my MIL would do. If she sends a card, she expects one in return (thanking her for HER card, of course!), not a phone call. It’s passive-aggressive game-playing.

    2. That Girl From Quinn's House

      This reminds me of how my parents expected a thank you note any time one of my friends from college came to visit and stayed the night. And they’d get mad if they didn’t get one because my friend was “being ungrateful.” And they’d get mad that my friend hadn’t helped with the chores, even though my parents’ policy is that guests do not help with chores and they will shoo any guest out of the kitchen if they’re trying to help. I had to warn people about this in advance, after awhile.

      It all struck me as incredibly excessive.

      1. Story Nurse

        My mother expects a thank-you note every time we go over to her house for dinner or go out to a dinner she pays for. She also thinks everyone should stand up when she arrives at the table, and when I was a kid, she expected that any adult arriving home should be directly greeted by any children already home (rather than a mumbled “Hi” while not looking up from one’s book), and any overnight guest should ask whether to make the guest bed or strip the sheets off of it, and…

        But my ex-girlfriend was affronted that the first time I visited her house I left my water glass next to the sink instead of rinsing it and putting it in the dish drainer, because we had a tiny kitchen that was 100% my mother’s domain, so I’d never learned that that was something a guest should do, or offer to do.

        I can’t wait to find out what my kid will do that I think is fantastically rude!

    3. Feather

      Oh you totally did need to do that. The gushing is part of the performance, which is also why your mother-in-law scolded your HUSBAND, rather than grandma saying anything to YOU.

      The dance-around and total lack of actual, honest-to-the-words communication is part of the etiquette dance.

    4. Ruthie

      This is a topic that comes up frequently in advice columns like Dear Abby. To me, making thank you notes mandatory depletes all of the sincerity of emotion that makes them powerful. Your grandmother in law sounds mean.

      1. Public service in the maritimes

        This is really interesting! In my world, thank you notes are to be sent when you don’t have the chance to thank the giver in person. So you absolutely do a thank you note for a wedding gift (where the giver probably were’t there to see the present opened or the party was too big to offer more than a quick thank you) but dinner is bring a gift and lots of verbal thank yous.

        1. Ruthie

          I was thinking more along the lines of the example of this hiring manager. If you’re writing the thank you note because you believe that it’s a mandatory part of the job application (like the resume or cover letter), then it’s just a formality. But going out of your way to write something when you know you didn’t have to means so much more.

  56. voluptuousfire

    Also looked up this company on Glassdoor–middling to negative reviews. It’s pretty bad IMO when only 55% of those who left reviews recommend the company.

  57. SheLooksFamiliar

    Talk about inductive reasoning gone bad…no, sending a thank you note doesn’t necessarily signal that I want the job. It probably means that I’m (maybe reflexively) polite.

    Also, sending one means I’m an eager, organized, ‘good egg’? No, ma’am. It means I know how to game you wiht your own bias. And now, thousands of other people do, too.

  58. Aggretsuko

    I didn’t send a thank-you note for the last job I applied for because I decided I did not want it. (And from what I heard later, there is bullying there so I dodged a bullet.)

  59. What Fresh Hell is This?

    I mean, besides being terribly classist and outdated, who would you even send this thank you note to, when so many jobs require you to apply via some giant corporate website? Unless you specifically asked for the interviewer’s personal contact info (which may or may not be given to you), that seems like a really poor hiring strategy.

    1. Alton

      Especially when there are multiple interviewers! You don’t want to snub anyone, but it can be hard to track down contact info and think of things to say to each of them.

    2. Snark

      Well, as she cheerfully admits, she wants applications to LinkedIn stalk her until they find her email address and send a thank you, so it’s like a little obstacle course, with her undoubtedly fantastic management approach waiting for you as a prize.

  60. Argh!

    Wow that’s such a harsh policy! Also stupid. Having read “So you’ve been publicly shamed” I wonder if she’ll still be employed tomorrow.

  61. Chocolate Teapot

    My old battered copy of Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions* talks about follow up notes. I send a Thank You for your time email, and to be honest, it’s an opportunity to either expand on something I said during the interview or to reiterate why I think I would be good for the position.

    It’s an American book originally, although, like Alison’s, the majority of it applies wherever you are.

  62. Jasmine

    The last 3 people who sent me thank you messages after interviewing:-

    1. Did a terrible interview. Didn’t show any enthusiasm for or competency for the job while actually in the room with us.
    2. Never got back to me when I tried to offer him the job.
    3. Accepted the job enthusiastically, ghosted us on what was meant to be his first day and never replied to my voicemails, text or email. I was genuinely worried about him and still don’t know if he just decided against it or something bad happened!

    Hmm.

    1. ItsAllFunAndGames...

      Similar ilk of issues as to mine that I was literally writing at the same time.

    2. Noah

      Obviously, this proves you should never hire anybody who sends a thank you note. Your data is as good as Jessica Lieberman’s.

      1. Jasmine

        +1

        Seriously though, I’m still slightly worried about the last guy (it was ~2 months ago). He seemed so enthusiastic and literally said “see you tomorrow” when we went over the paperwork he had to bring. Maybe this is a Friday free-for-all question…

        1. Anon for this

          In a similar case, I felt justified to use social media to look up information on the missing candidate, and found out he had moved to another country in the previous couple weeks. If he has zero footprint on any social media, then it’s harder of course.

        2. MayLou

          We had a similar thing (hiring support within our household, not a company or anything). Interview went well, paperwork was completed, first shift was agreed, and he just… didn’t come. Didn’t answer phone calls, didn’t reply to emails, never got in touch again. We were worried, but a few weeks later we saw him in the street chatting on his phone so he clearly hadn’t been hit by a car or anything. Our best guess was that he’d gone home, read the information pack he’d been given, and realised that we were…. GASP… lesbians !!! – though how he didn’t figure that out by meeting us in person I don’t know – and was horrified (from his social media profiles he was an evangelical Christian), but it’s just a guess.

  63. ItsAllFunAndGames...

    One previous place of employment the hiring folks would get so so so so wrapped up in things that were highly ancillary to the job at hand, and often pass up on several more qualified people for a position because of things like “their shoes had a scuff” or “their watchband did not match their belt” or they said “um” twice during the interview, and so forth.

    We tended to end up with snappy dressers with good etiquette who were woefully ill qualified for the jobs they were hired for.

    1. Parenthetically

      Yes! I guarantee this is definitely happening for Jessica.

      Honestly, it’s so ridiculous. So you have six candidates who are qualified on paper. The three most outstanding candidates just nail the interview, and you’d be super excited to hire any of them. None of them sends a thank you… so you hire one of the candidates you were LESS excited about?

  64. TotesMaGoats

    I absolutely teach my students that thank you notes should be done. It’s actually part of a graded assignment for my class.

    I wouldn’t hold the lack of a thank you note against a candidate for entry level roles but the higher the role level (director or above and it isn’t their first job), I would wonder a bit. I was on a search for an AVP level role and was really surprised by the lack of thank you notes (and the lack of cover letters when clearly asked for in the post). And thank you notes are generally expected in my field and at those levels.

    1. Observer

      I would also “wonder a bit”. But that’s a very far cry from “never hire, no matter how strong.”

  65. Noah

    What makes me the most angry isn’t the basic “rule,” although it also makes me angry. But what bothers me most is the way she purportedly backs it up with data that is almost totally meaningless.

  66. Mediamaven

    I’m not so extreme but I do agree with it in many ways. I didn’t receive thank you notes but three people I still pursued and put offers out too. None of them accepted. They likely didn’t send a note because they weren’t interested in the job. In my line of business it is confirmation that someone is interested.

    1. Wing Leader

      Huh. That’s strange to me. I’ve never heard of a thank you note being confirmation that someone is interested. I thought applying for the job and showing up well-prepared for the interview was confirmation enough. Maybe it’s an industry thing.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch

        No, you’re missing the point.

        Of course when you appear at the interview, you’re interested. However once you’re done, you may lose interest. The thank you note is confirmation you’re still interested. You’ve never changed your mind about a job after you got an interview? I sure have.

    2. Episkey

      I don’t agree with the article, but I have to say, I’ve also used not sending a thank you as a way to express my disinterest in the job after the interview.

  67. AngryApplicant

    I was once subtweeted by a CEO for a less-than-perfect thank-you note. Well, me and possibly others. Tweet said it was better to not send a thank-you e-mail than to send a bad one, especially for senior candidates. This place has landed on several “best places to work” lists for the DC area.

    1. hellollo

      and then you get into what is a good thank you note consist of? There is no standard, some people like them short, some like them to emphasize what was said during the interview, some want a full page letter of the person convincing them they’re good for the job. this is what makes me so mad about all of these “”rules””

      1. AngryApplicant

        It was three years ago and I’m still pissed about it. Didn’t harm my career — I’ve won several B2B editorial award since then, and got a new job last year that I love — but it was just like, jeez, THAT’S your big takeaway from my years of experience, my proven track record of success, and the time I spent talking with you and your staff?

    2. Batgirl

      I do not trust those lists. In the UK I’ve heard of too many companies who ‘encourage’ staff to vote.

  68. Parenthetically

    Oh my gosh, Anil Dash’s response to this is pure gold. Worth digging through the insane number of “HOW ABOUT NO, SCOTT” replies to find.

  69. Mr. Tyzik

    I’ve done hiring and I don’t give thank you notes any weight. The advice that is out there makes the gesture a perfunctory one, not of real gratitude.

    I’d rather have a great interview than a thank you note for a mediocre one.

  70. Czhorat

    Over on Twitter I said what another part of my issue with this is: it emphasizes the power differential AND plays into the idea that an interview is a favor from the hiring manager to the candidate.

    Unless I’m unemployed and desperate, any time I interview for a job, I am as much measuring their suitability as a workplace as they are me as a candidate. I know that there are scads of conventions which favor hiring managers, but leaning into these is a bad look. It makes it feel to me that the hiring manager is enjoying the power a bit too much and taking advantage, rather than trying to see the candidate as a party with an equal stake and just as valuable a say in the choice to take the job or not.

  71. HairApparent

    My takeaway from Ms. Liebman’s article is that “good egg” is the new “gumption.”

    1. Parenthetically

      Yes, OMG, the whole GUMPTION section in the article!

      “It shows resourcefulness, too, because the candidate often has to hunt down an email address the interviewer never gave them.” !!!! there really are people out here expecting sh*t like this

      1. iglwif

        I would Very Much Rather Not get an email from someone who had to hunt down an email address I didn’t give them. That feels stalkery to me.

        Any time I interviewed someone in ExJob, I was the one contacting them to schedule the interview, give directions, etc., so they already had my email address. Most of them still didn’t send a thank-you note, and … ultimately that’s fine?

  72. Manz

    I’m a 31, white, middle class woman who was raised by a blue-collar dad.

    Definitely didn’t learn that thank you notes after a job interview were a thing until I was 30.

    This is not something that came up in college, at home, or in any sort of conversation when I was looking for a job post-college. Apparently thank you notes and the need to send them are an assumed part of the job interview process that no one told me. I’ve been at my current job for going on 5 years, and all because I found an app that let me swipe right and send my resume to companies.

    This rule sucks.

  73. Rachael

    I understand the reasoning behind sending the thank you notes, but I became jaded really quick when I would take the time to send one and the employer wouldn’t even have the courtesy to let me know that I didn’t survive the third round of interviews. I mean, it seems kind of old school back when it was expected to feel grateful for a job. In today’s market you are giving the employer just as much value as they are giving you. Why are candidates expected to be the ones to say thank you when it should go both ways?

  74. Coldbrewinacup

    I graduated college in 1995 and was NEVER told to write thank-you notes after an interview. In fact, I didn’t know this was a thing until about 10 years ago. P.S. My Mom worked in an office, as did other relatives. Just never was a “requirement” up until the job market changed.

  75. AndersonDarling

    I used to send thank you’s, but I don’t anymore. When I was an administrative assistant, I always sent them partially as an actual “thank you” and partially to show off my communication skills. But now that I am in a different, high-in-demand field, it isn’t as important to me. Also, my interviews are more friendly/conversational and less formal as they used to be. Now, sending a Thank You feels like an outdated social convention and all I am doing is checking a box on an imaginary list. My recruiters know I am grateful for their time because I told them, and I know they are grateful for me leaving work to do the interview because they told me.
    Besides, taking the time to interview a candidate for a job isn’t a sacrifice, it’s part of everyday office life.

  76. voyager1

    I think the author is focusing too much on individual experiences. She remembers the good employees who sent thank yous and is forgetting the bad employees who also sent them.

    The article is a good example of what AAM has mentioned numerous times about managers having weird individual things that they look for.

    There are probably managers out there that see thank yous as a candidate trying to hard for example.

    In the end, I say a candidate is better off sending them but don’t lose sleep if you don’ t or forget.

    Oh and something I do. If I had contact with an HR person before meeting the manger I send them a thank you too.

  77. Autumnheart

    It also made me think about how much of her colleagues’ time that Lieberman has wasted by this personal rule. You have a person recruiting candidates and getting their info, doing the pre-screening, then you’re interviewing all the candidates, possibly with other managers or coworkers that they’d work with. And then after all of that, one person rises to the top of the list….and then bam, suddenly all those man-hours are wasted because one person didn’t get a thank-you note? Meanwhile, the other candidates may well have moved on to other opportunities, so you could be starting your candidate search all over again.

    That seems like a tremendous waste of company time and resources for the sake of a personal power play.

  78. Mimi Me

    I didn’t know that Thank You notes after an interview were a thing until I saw it on this blog. Full disclosure – I’m in my mid-40’s and have been gainfully employed since the age of 16. I don’t think my ignorance on the subject has hurt me.

  79. Luna

    I come from a country where ‘Thank you notes’ are, from what I can tell, just not a thing. (Germany)
    Especially not for anything related to work. I think thank you notes are mostly for personal stuff, like telling a relative thank you for the gift they sent you.

    If *this* is enough for this business owner to decide to not hire someone, she is not someone worth working for. And might lead her to a very small pool of candidates, with lots of time spent between needing someone for the job and eventually getting someone.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      … in which she makes it sounds like it’s not really a rule, even though she earlier said it was … claims everyone there loves working there, which Glassdoor emphatically refutes … and denies it could impact people from other backgrounds.

      1. Snark

        We’re not really doing it. But if we did, it would be a totally great idea, and would have no downsides, and it couldn’t have the downside that approximately a million people said it would. Which it doesn’t.

      2. Bulbasaur

        Interesting. She says she never claimed it was a hard and fast rule, even though she clearly did, and the evidence is right there to see. So that’s an outright lie. This from someone who works at a media company – and it was linked under their official Twitter account, so they obviously have no problem with what she is saying.

        We are learning a lot about Business Insider today!

      1. Parenthetically

        It’s both! Somehow! “I know I said it’s a rule I’ve followed for a decade, but it’s not really a RULE rule! But also I have black friends, I can’t be racist I mean, we have a slightly-more-diverse-than-average employee population, we can’t have discriminatory hiring practices!”

      2. Observer

        A double down dressed up as an “explainer” to all the people who “misunderstood.” She would NEVER back-pedal, oh no.

        1. Parenthetically

          She’s been hanging on to this rule since the LAST time she got ratioed about it in 2012, evidently, so my guess is she still doesn’t learn from this.

    2. GRA

      I think the fact that she wrote a follow-up after the backlash tells us everything we need to know about her and her company.

      1. Ingalls

        “Why don’t you send candidates a notification to let them know they didn’t get the job, or thank them for applying for the job?

        We try to do this as often as we can, but we haven’t figured out the best system at scale. We are working to improve the application and interview process at Insider all the time. I will be the first to admit that we can get better at this. ”

        Brother.

        1. Alana

          Based on their job listing page, they use the same software my company does (Greenhouse), which makes notifying candidates as you reject them EXTREMELY easy. You just upload a form letter with blanks for their name and click “Reject & Send Email,” and it does it for you.

          1. Ingalls

            Alana,

            Thank you.
            Someone should point that fact out to her.
            So she is a hypocrite. Or a liar. or both.

    3. Liv Jong

      I may be reading into this too much, but she said she was prompted to write the article (again, after it didn’t go over well seven years ago) after hiring someone who didn’t write a thank you.

      I feel for that person who just got called out for not stroking her ego. It seems like she posted a job opening just before the original article in order to make sure the next hire “gets it right”.

      I was not impressed with the follow up.

  80. LJ

    The funny/awful thing about this is, I’ve heard totally contradictory advice on this. An older hiring manager my Dad worked with once said that they considered a mailed or dropped-off handwritten note, rather than an email, to be standard — emails didn’t really ‘count’ to them! But I also can’t imagine trusting my chance at a job to USPS. What if my mail didn’t get to the hiring manager? They didn’t expect anything and didn’t pick up their mail? And maybe it’s because I’m a millennial, but showing up at the office again to drop off a card seems desperate, overly familiar, or try-harding (would they even give the manager the note)? Career services at my college told me “send a simple email no earlier than two hours after the interview, but no later than 24 hours.” Every tech interview I’ve had as an adult, I fretted about language in the email for hours, but either had a “no thank you” or a second interview follow-up/offer within a day! And thus I imagine my ‘thanks so much, really enjoyed blahblah please hire me :) :)’ arriving after they had already called to reject me…

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch

      Requiring anyone a handwritten note is archaic and out of touch. Much like putting an objection on your resume or only wearing only neutral colors and women can only wear skirts with heels.

  81. Sleeplesskj

    Dying to know if Ms “No Thank You No Job” responded to the kerfluffle at all??? (I’m not on Twitter.)

  82. kc89

    her hair and coloring is similar to Zooey Deschanel’s so I’m just picturing this as a new girl episode lol

  83. Ella Vader

    Personally, if that’s what it takes to get torpedoed by her, I’d be thanking my lucky stars I dodged a bullet.

  84. TST

    A friend of mine (a person of color, by the way!) just started a new job at BI a few days ago. This article’s author was one of 8 people she met during the interviewing process. She came across that article after interviewing so she made sure to send thank-you notes to all 8 people…

    Every single one of them EXCEPT the author of the article replied to her thank-you note.

    Just hilarious, honestly!

    1. Snark

      Uh, hello, central casting? We need a demanding but cluelessly oblivious manager type. No, no that one, we need at least a bit of subtlety.

  85. Andy

    OK, I think the ‘thank you note’ thing may be pure shibboleth.
    ‘Business Culture’ in the US is meant to weed out peeps who aren’t ‘Business-y Class’ and having social etiquette masquerade as business etiquette is just another way for the ‘Business Class-Caste’ people to know who their Right Sort are.
    It’s…so obvious.

  86. jonquil

    I’ve been interviewing a lot lately, and for jobs at some companies that are hiring for hundreds or thousands of positions all at once. So not only is my main contact throughout the process actually a recruiter, not the “hiring manager,” but I’ve also often never even received any communication from the recruiter herself– just from her scheduler. These sorts of companies also seem to use a lot of automated processes (i.e. an invitation to interview in person being triggered post-phone screen by my references completing an online survey about me after). If it’s early in the process, there’s no public employee directory, and the process seems designed to minimize human interaction and communication, I’m disinclined to send a thank-you note as it just does not seem to matter. Perhaps I’m wrong! But things seem to be going okay in my search so far.

  87. Amethystmoon

    I was always taught that thank you notes were a way to show your follow-up skills and employers would assume you had terrible follow-up skills if you didn’t send one. Is this really no longer a thing? I would include an e-mail as a thank you note — obviously not everyone would send a handwritten note anymore.

  88. RWM

    I *genuinely* cannot fathom trusting the USPS enough to take this approach! (In my experience, plenty of candidates — if not most! — send handwritten notes.)

    Also hard LOL at that tweet at the end.

  89. Hello

    I once heard of a hiring manager rejecting candidates because they don’t show up with a pen and notepad to take notes. Another one rejects candidates who don’t ask questions in the interviews. Second one seems a little more reasonable but not to the level of absolute deal breaker, IMO.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch

      I’m more than happy to self select out of a job that assumes you need to take notes during an interview. I take notes when I’m training for a job not just to talk about myself and the general basics of a company, JFC.

  90. hellollo

    I work in PR and I hate thank you notes lol although I do get your point. There is a lot of old school vs. current within the type of PR I work in.

  91. CynicallySweet

    This so much reminds me of my best friend. She had been applying for jobs for awhile and had an interview. When my Mom asked her what she wrote in her thank you note after the interview, my friend had no idea what she was talking about. She was the 1st one in her family to graduate college and apply for professional jobs. She had no problem with writing them, after she found out it was a thing

    1. OhBehave

      Because we clearly didn’t understand what she meant. Umm, it was perfectly clear! Gotta love the comments on this on and the job posting!

      1. Andy

        I’m slightly confused in that the point of the first article was ‘I have a bright line’ and the point of the second was more ‘this line isn’t bright and really isn’t a line more a of a dotted suggestion’?

  92. Wing Leader

    Whoa. I definitely agree with Alison. Thank-you notes are thoughtful and polite, but definitely not a deal-breaker. Not by a long shot. You’re missing out on some great employees by hiring that way.

  93. PersephoneUnderground

    It’s funny- I think there’s an overall pattern here where people take “x is a good thing” and, in looking for clicks or writing ideas, turn it into “Lack of x is the worst thing ever! Never hire anyone who doesn’t do x!” Seems to come up a lot in fields like job advice where people love to be opinionated. And almost always, when you do this to any concept it’s nonsensical. It removes actual logic from the equation and ends up having ridiculous implications and effects. Makes for great arguments on Twitter though, and decent click bait because now everyone needs to read the terrible article that said that awful thing!!! :P

    1. Parenthetically

      I know people (and am related to people) who feel compelled to do this with all their opinions. “It’s a nice thing to provide better-than-Maxwell-House coffee for your employees; if it’s in the budget, why not spring for a decent drip setup and some good local beans,” becomes either, “How DARE employers INSULT their employees with terrible industrial coffee!!” or “Entitled, demanding millennials are now insisting on craft pourovers at their workplaces, what next?!”

      1. Lucette Kensack

        I think it happens a great deal in the comment section here. Folks express outrage/claim they would quit/etc. over things that fall within the range of normal employer behavior.

    2. smoke tree

      I think persuasive writing is often at risk of falling into this territory. This is why I don’t put much stock into any self-help writing–to give yourself a marketing advantage, you have to lose the nuance that actually makes the advice worthwhile.

    3. Michael

      I so agree. I also think it happens a lot with topics that are difficult to decipher or hard to tackle. It’s so similar to weight loss (cutting this ONE ingredient/doing this ONE exercise is what you’ve been missing!) or making money (this ONE investment strategy that everyone overlooks) or raising kids (you’ve been missing this ONE trick to get rid of colic). You begin to think you’re missing something obvious that everyone else figured out, and you’re eager to hear easy answers.

      In this case, the article appeals not just to hiring managers, but to job seekers who’ve struggled to get a new job and feel like they’re missing some trick.

  94. Jake

    I saw this on yahoo today where you jumped in. I appreciate it greatly when somebody with credibility is willing to publicly challenge conventional thinking.

    Thanks.

  95. Serena

    My question with Thank-you notes/emails is when in the interview process should you send one? If there are multiple tiers to the interview process where you are interviewing with different people do you send one after each interview? I don’t send one after the phone screening interview, but should I wait until you get to the last level of interviews? Sending one after each interview repeating the same thing seems like it would just be ignored if it’s repeated.

    1. H.C.

      Ideally, you wouldn’t be sending the exact same thank you/follow up note after each interview, asides from the initial “Thank you for taking time to speak with me” or something similar. As others have mentioned in this comment section, the notes are really to follow up on things discussed during interview (e.g. either you had additional questions you hadn’t thought up of and/or you wanted to provide additional data or context for responses you’ve given).

      Thus, a follow up/thank you note to a HR person (where you may ask about companywide benefits & policies, for example) would be different than one you’d send to your potential boss (where you may ask about workflows, team culture, departments you would collaborate with etc.)

  96. Liv Jong

    I stopped sending thanks you’d after I received the one I sent.

    Ten years ago I went to an interview with a mostly written note in my car along with the pre addressed and stamped envelope. After I nailed the interview I filled in names and jotted one more line before dropping the note in the mail on my way home.

    The awkwardness of being the person who opened the envelope and then deciding if I should and which boss should I route it to first made me never do it again.

    That and I switched industries where notes are not the norm and I learned my value.

  97. Brett

    This subhead caught my eye:
    “She uses an easy test to see whether a candidate really wants the job”
    So, basically, she wants to filter out candidates who don’t _really_ want the job, which are often the most talented candidates who have options elsewhere.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch

      To be honest, most hiring managers don’t want to hire anyone who they don’t think want the job or who is just using the job as a filler position while they look to leave quickly. So yeah, we pass on people who are talented and would kill it for a little while because the foreseen quick turnover outweighs their talents in the end. I’d rather invest in training someone who is aiming to stay long term and really wants that specific job, not just a job.

      So it’s not hurting anyone ever to be all “This person is talented and could do the job well but they are causing me concern about how long they’ll be around”, recruiting and training is a huge cost, so in many industries and for many positions it comes into play.

      However using a thank-you note to measure that is a poor way to go about it. It has nothing to do with how long someone is going to stick around. I send thank you notes every time I have an interview. My resume and track record that my references can confirm speaks to my loyalty and how they can expect me to stick around more so than any nonsense factor like a thank you note.

      I’ve also walked out on a few crazypants employers in the past, oh that’s not on my resume and I still sent them thank yous as well. Just to counteract her thought process some more that the thank you notes do not tell you a darn thing.

      1. Brett

        There’s a difference, though, between “wants the job” and “really wants the job”. I think the implied difference is the person who is interested and might be a long term person, versus the person who thinks it is their dream job, is not under consideration elsewhere, and would take lowball pay and other abuse just to be there.
        I know that’s a lot to read out of requiring a thank you note, but a lot of flags in the article point towards that.

  98. Purple Jello

    I’ve been interviewing for jobs on and off for over 40 years, and I still swear by a simple rule: If a company doesn’t send me a thank you note after each step of the process, I don’t take the job.
    (eye roll)

  99. Juli G.

    I had a manager (who wasn’t the one who hired me) who automatically “dinged” candidates that sent her thank you notes after an interview. It wasn’t an automatic disqualification but she found it to be a significant flaw.

    Years later, I realize she hired almost exclusively people she knew already (internal or external) so I wonder if this was a weird justification for that practice.

  100. Rose's Angel

    She wrote a followup article explaining further (and backtracking it seems like). I had no idea sending thank you notes were a thing until recently and I’m in my 40s.

    1. Southern Yankee

      Yes, the follow up is almost worse as she tries to clarify point by point the criticisms. Mostly her responses are some version of “I didn’t mean that” or “I didn’t say that” or misrepresenting the criticism to begin with. To reply to the diversity criticism (her very scrubbed language: “expecting a thank-you email is elitist because it does not consider that many people were not taught this skill”). Her reply: “Over the years we have interviewed and hired many people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. Creating and maintaining a diverse workplace is a top priority for us. I have not observed that a person of any particular background does or does not send a thank-you but would welcome any broader research or data that might suggest otherwise.”

      I’ll counter with a quote from the original article:
      “But using the thank-you email as a barrier to entry has proved beneficial, at least at my company.”
      I’m pretty sure advertising this practice as a barrier to entry is not going to win you any points there.

      And the Global editor and chief of BI is now busily tweeting stats on their hiring record for diversity. I assume for some damage control!

      1. Rose's Angel

        She really didn’t understand anything the people commenting about the article was saying. And her doubling down did not help her cause.

    2. The New Wanderer

      Yes, the follow up article was not any more convincing than her previous piece, or the one from 2012 where she states the same position. If anything it was more confusing – stating that she won’t hire someone who doesn’t send a thank you email, and then stating that the company has hired plenty of non-thank-you-sending people (I guess not hired by her though). And also saying that the thank you is NOT a deciding factor when the entire premise is that it’s a deal-breaker if she doesn’t get one?

      The one thing she gets right is how she wanted to shed light on what she considers in hiring someone. She did that, for sure. Unfortunately she’s demonstrated that she puts way too much weight on this one *completely optional* aspect of the process over the resume, cover letter, and actual interview(s).

    3. Salt & Vinegar Chips

      Seems she didn’t really understand what people were pointing out, and wanted to justify her POV. It came off more as a damage control article to “save face” more than anything else.

  101. OhBehave

    After conducting thousands of behavioral interviews, a thank you note is the last thing I am looking for in my eval of a candidate.
    I am sure Ms. Liebman did not expect such a backlash against her sage advice. Her rebuttal was defensive. Let it go, clueless one!

  102. Me

    I work in government. We give exactly no cares about a thank you note. We are not allowed to use it in your favor. The opposite would then also be true. It merely gets recycled.

    That said, to me a thank you note for an interview is weird. I didn’t interview you as a courtesy or to be nice. There was no going out of my way and its quite literally is part of the job. I asked for applicants and got them, then picked the ones who seemed to meet my needs. It’s a business transaction – you have something I *may* want, and I have something *you* may want. It’s a mutual exchange really.

  103. Tara

    I’ve been hiring for much more than 10 years, and I actually find thank you notes unnecessary at best and annoying at worst. I don’t quite get the need for them. It’s like sending a thank you note to someone for a gift when they watched you open it and you said, “thank you” right then. Most interviewees say thank you as they leave. A note is a waste of my time and theirs, in my opinion. Getting one or not getting one has never been the deciding factor for me.

  104. Thank You, But....

    If you read the actual Business Insider piece, there is this important detail which many commenters seem to be missing: “(To be clear, I am not speaking about handwritten, snail-mail thank-you notes. As I wrote back then, you should never send a handwritten thank-you note. That still stands.)”

    1. Anonymous Educator

      Really? So most of the commenters are saying “I’m more than happy to write a thank-you note, but how dare you suggest it be handwritten?” I didn’t see those responses. Maybe I didn’t scroll far enough down on the Twitter thread.

    2. Parenthetically

      Nah, most people are saying, “It’s stupid to screen out candidates who don’t write thank you emails.” Because she’s saying she screens out candidates who don’t write thank you emails.

      It’s pretty simple.

  105. Lepidoptera

    For my last job, the recruiter had left a congratulatory voicemail saying they wanted me before I even got home from the interview (there was a traffic jam and I was stuck on the highway for almost two hours). I actually obsessed a bit over whether to send a thank you for a job I’d already been offered, but ended up not doing it.

    1. Phil

      I actually had that happen in my first job out of college. I had the interview shortly before I was due to start my shift at my retail job. They offered me the job about ten minutes before my shift, so I literally walked in and started typing my resignation email. :p

  106. Phil

    I’m one of those “from a background where this was never a thing” people. First of all, I’m still somehow getting hired, despite having never sent a thank you note.
    And second, I thank them for the opportunity in my cover letter. I thank them for their time at the end of the interview. While no one is going to be put off by a thank you note, at the same time, how much thanking does a person need to do?!

  107. Anonymous Educator

    I’ve been involved in a number of hiring committees over decades, and not once did I ever encounter a situation in which it came down to two otherwise equally good candidates, and the one who sent a thank-you note tipped the scales in her favor.

    Is it nice to get a well-written follow-up note to an interview? Of course. I mean, interviews aside, it always nice to get a well-written note.

    My workplace recently hired someone for our department. One candidate did write a nice thank-you note, but another candidate was clearly the best, so we made an offer to the latter, not the former.

    Early on in my career, I sent thank-you notes after interviews and didn’t get those jobs. Once I stopped sending them, I started getting job offers, so I’ve just given up on them since. Obviously, I haven’t been getting jobs because I stopped sending thank-you notes, but I’ve just found them to be unnecessary. I try to be courteous and polite and enthusiastic, and I think that comes across in many ways during the interview (and, more importantly, when I’m hired). I haven’t found a compelling reason to send a follow-up, unless I genuinely have something to follow up with.

  108. Elizabeth West

    I hope the wet-pants OP laughs at that don’t piss yourself tweet (I laughed; I’m going to hell, LOL).

  109. CatMintCat

    Speaking from Australia, and also speaking from not having job-hunted myself in over 25 years (I have,however, been on many interview panels in that time), I had never heard of thank you notes for interviews until I started reading this blog. If I received one in the mail, I would think it was quaint and cute and assume the candidate was being coached by their great grandma.

    Its probably 20 years since I saw a thank you note in a personal context, as well.

    1. Busty Alexa

      Also Australian and the one time I received a thank you note the candidate almost didn’t get the job (we all thought it was the strangest, creepiest thing to do)…. I learned it was a thing from this site.

  110. annab53

    Wow! Makes me wonder how many jobs I might have lost out on simply because I didn’t send a thank you note to the interviewer…

  111. SaraV

    That awful feeling of realization that I didn’t send a thank you email for an internal position interview I had lasr Thursday. o_O

  112. Bartimaeus

    Agreeing to consider me for a job IS NOT something worth thanking you for. It’s a business transaction.

    I’ll thank you if I get the job.

    (Sorry if I sound grumpy, but this just smacks of a mindset that implies employers deserve above-normal standards of respect just ’cause they’re in charge, and that rankles.)

  113. Corporate Goth

    I’m in government. Structured interviews mean that while a thank you would be nice, I literally am not allowed to consider it. It’s not part of the rubric for senior level panels. The scoring is done before I even get back to my desk. Insiders know this, so I’ve never seen a thank you for a senior panel with a structured interview. I bet this habit sometimes carries over when people leave government.

    Might sway me toward a developmental candidate. Those are much more informal. For government.

  114. What the What

    Really interesting points from Allison AND Jessica and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments. I’d have to say I have a foot in both camps and agree with many aspects of both sides of the argument. I feel like some of the commenters were painting with a pretty broad brush that this is an antiquated practice developed by WASPs, for WASPs and that people falling outside of that label would’ve automatically been at a disadvantaged. I’m a white-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant who grew up poor, with few advantages and no guidance from parents on many of the basics. (Looking back, I’m not sure how I became a fully functioning adult.) That being said, I still learned about thank you notes on my own and educated myself on what it would take to get a job. I didn’t let my background hold me back in that regard. I do like to send thank you notes and think it also helps me stand out as a candidate.

  115. David Rose's silly poses

    Ha ha. I didn’t learn about the convention of thank you notes until I had climbed from entry level to regional manager and had hired several people under me. One day a candidate sent me a note and my coworkers laughed at me when I thought it was anything more than a polite ‘requirement’.

  116. Annie

    It also discriminated against non-Americans, because in many countries the idea of sending a thank you note after a job interview is literally unheard of and would be considered extremely weird.

    1. Old European

      Definitely.

      I never heard about thank-you notes until last year in these and other advisory pages. I think that is very American tradition that does not apply elsewhere. When I was a kind of recruiter I never expected and never received one. Unless the candidate has a very specific and justified comment related to the interview, it would be considered pushy.

    2. UKCoffeeLover

      Exactly. And a s a recruiter in the UK, I’d would not be impressed by someone sending a thank note after an interview. It wouldn’t stop my hiring them if they were the best candidate but if they were marginal it could put me off choosing them.

  117. Dreamer

    I have a somewhat related question:
    If interviewing for a government job, specifically one that requires you to pass a test to get to the interview stage, is a thank you note still customary?
    For reference I’m referring to jobs like the foreign service.

  118. MsChanandlerBong

    I really appreciate how you always consider the perspective of people who may not have grown up in white-collar households. My dad worked in a factory and did construction. My mom was an aide for an elderly woman who needed help around the house. They’re the type of people who think a $10-an-hour job is a “big” job that pays amazingly well. I had no guidance on applying for jobs, writing cover letters and resumes, sending thank-you notes, etc.

    1. David Rose's silly poses

      I was raised in the US by a white collar worker and a an etiquette-obsessed former paralegal, and neither ever mentioned sending thank you notes to me, ever.

    1. David Rose's silly poses

      Same! I’ve received several and when I see the subject line my brain immediately says “ugh barf” and it gets delegated to the archives. Feels mean to say, but welp.

      1. Oaktree

        Oh yikes, really? I always send thank you notes after interviews; basically I genuinely do want to thank the interviewer(s) for their time and consideration, which I recognize is something substantial. It means something to me that I was asked to come in, and I want to express my appreciation. If it makes me look courteous and more memorable, great. It never occurred to me that people penalize candidates based on them sending a note to say “thanks for having me in.” Is that really any better than the person who takes people out of the running if they fail to send a note?

        1. Akcipitrokulo

          I think they meant the thankyou email gets the archive treatment, not the application itself?

    2. Tara

      I’m the same. I read them, but they are just something people do because they are told they should, in my opinion. They don’t sway me one way or the other, I don’t even keep track of who sent one and who didn’t. Few of them say anything beyond the generic: thanks for meeting with me, very interested in the job, blah blah blah.

  119. Yesssss

    My parents are immigrants and I have relied on your site a lot to learn professional norms, appropriate boundaries and expectations in this country. I owe a lot to Alison and to the commenters, by extension. I’m a hard worker but I would have guessed a lot of soft, social-type things wrong and probably not had a few of the the opportunities I’ve had had I tried to figure it out on the way. I would never have known how seriously people take thank you notes!!

  120. Jacs

    If I were the authors’ employer I would be hauling her in for a performance review.
    She has created a personal lazy ‘hack’ for narrowing the field, and due to her self imposed rule will be overlooking fantastic candidates.

  121. Cows go moo

    Our HR person and I jokingly refer to thank you emails as a red flag! We’ve had a few people who sent professional, beautifully articulated thank you notes only to end up being the worst kind of toxic employees and leave after creating a mess. It means absolutely nothing about a person’s ability to do their job well.

  122. Quake Johnson

    Alison, your reply to her follow up tweet today completely scorched her. *the two raised hands emoji*

  123. CastIrony

    I’m from a family that never worked in an office (ranching and food service), and I wasn’t taught about thank you notes until AAM and Pinterest!

    Now, I think mine were too gushy, though I wrote to each member of a the committee about what impressed me about them, but they have never led me to a job. Not once, though they liked the gesture. :(

  124. Benefits Counselor

    I can’t believe this author seriously won’t hire someone who doesn’t send a thank you note. You can be the worst candidate ever and still send a three-sentence thank you email but that has no bearing on your candidacy. I mean, I send thank you notes all the time in my personal life to friends and family, but how does that reflect how well a candidate will perform at a job? It doesn’t. And all the comments about cultural differences really raise a valid point. I hope the author of this article reads AAM and other criticisms and realizes that this is a stupid, outdated practice and not how you hire someone!

  125. Media Monkey

    interested in people’s opinions if this was the right thing to do. I am in the UK and thank you notes following an interview aren’t really a thing. i had the hiring manager’s email and i came across an article a couple of days after the interview in trade press that mentioned the particular sector of the role i was interviewing for. So i dropped it over to the hiring manager aying i thought it was really inteeresting if he hadn’t seen it. I did get the job but was this something you would have done?

    1. Akcipitrokulo

      I think that’s different – and if you’d been contacting them directly anyway about the interview, then unusual, but in a nice way. (IMO.)

  126. Jack Balfour

    I would be less likely to hire someone who sends me follow-up materials which contain zero content.

  127. Van Wilder

    In the last two weeks, I’ve interviewed four people. The two weaker candidates sent me thank you notes. The two stronger candidates did not. The two stronger candidates got offers.

  128. Steve C.

    If within a day or so of a interview I don’t get a note from the hiring manager thanking me for taking the time to attend, I refuse to entertain any offer that they may make once they arrive at a decision.

  129. SV ME

    I didn’t even get a chance to send a thank you note for my current job. By the time I had driven home from the interview, I had an email inviting me to a second round of interviews. And after those interviews, I had barely made it home before I got a call back from the recruiter saying that I got the job.

  130. nonprofit writer

    A few years ago, I was asked to participate in interviews for a job outside my dept because the position would involve a fair amount of interaction with my department, mostly with me. So I wasn’t the hiring manager but she was asking for my opinion on the candidates. Some of them sent thank yous to me, some didn’t. I’d forward them to the hiring manager as an FYI.

    The person I liked best sent a nice email–so I forwarded it to the hiring manager, who said “huh, she sent me the same note!” We then compared with another colleague who had been joining me in my part of the interviews, and he also had received the same note. She used the same exact wording for all of our thank-you notes!

    We thought it was funny, and a little weird, but she was by far the best candidate, and she was hired–and turned out to be great.

  131. JustMyOpinion

    She has already posted an article backtracking what she said in the original article. Despite saying “But using the thank-you email as a barrier to entry has proved beneficial, at least at my company.” in the original article, she now states that they hire tons of people who don’t send thank-you notes (all my friends are [minority]).

  132. church lady

    Story I read somewhere about Thomas Edison, who would invited potential research assistants to dinner at his home before deciding whether to hire the: If the candidate sprinkled salt in his soup before tasting it, he didn’t get the job, because that indicated the assistant wouldn’t be observant and questioning enough for the role. Wonder how many good assistants got passed over?

  133. Jessica

    I posted this on twitter already, but to add here: I once applied to an internal posting and was rejected as a final candidate for failing to send notes to a surprise panel interview of SEVEN. (I sent a note after the first round interview of two.) The person they hired is still in the role, while I’ve been promoted twice more after getting the next gig, and the hiring manager was let go not long after. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

  134. Oaktree

    Sending a thank you email is a smart thing to do- it shows the hiring manager that you’re still interested after interviewing and that you want them to remember you. It shows respect for the process.

    But not to hire someone solely on the basis of them not sending a thank you note? Ridiculous. What, someone’s perfectly suited to the job, had a great resume, and interviewed well, but because they didn’t send you an email saying thanks you’re going to let all that go? Your loss.

    And it is discriminatory. It may not be intended that way, but that’s how it often shakes out in practice. There are plenty of smart, driven, qualified people who didn’t have anyone to coach them through the social niceties and vagaries of etiquette that people from middle class, white collar families more often know about.

    But mostly, it’s just a really stupid reason not to hire someone.

  135. UKCoffeeLover

    This policy also runs the risk of losing candidates from different cultures. In the UK a thank you note an interview is not a ‘thing’. It s not being rude, it’s just not something that’s routinely done here.

    1. NLManager

      We are all at risk of losing candidates now. I am from The Netherlands. Thank you notes are not a thing here. One other cultural difference is the way we refuse stuff: saying Thank you can be a sign of refusal.

      Last week our HR manager plopped into my office with a conundrum. She received a Thank you note from an applicant and was greatly confused. The predominant thought was that this young gentleman might be trying to refuse our offer with it.
      Since I was aware of this practice from the US we decided that it might be due to ‘internet advice’ and we reached out to the candidate. He had indeed just been trying to be polite. If I had not been aware, we might have shruged and moved on to other candidates.

      Our world is shrinking and we all need to adapt, even US managers with 10 years of hiring experience ….

    2. Lemmy Caution

      Yeah, another European here. I was totally confused by this piece when it popped up. The last thing anyone wants is more unnecessary spam in their inbox, I wouldn’t send anything just for that reason. And a snail mail letter… erm… no… we had an interview, not a romantic night. Makes me cringe even thinking of getting a letter like that. I’d be weirded out.

      I’m hunting for a job right now, and 90% of the process in UK where I am now seems to go through agencies. I have a list of good agencies/agents and a bit of a shitlist of clueless ones. One of the good ones actually will have a face-to-face next week and go through my CV, which is a nice personal touch. And I did write a thank-you note for another agent, and said he should forward it to his boss. This was after the feedback came ”…sorry but”, but I was very impressed of his approach to the process as recruiting seems to be a wild west with all kinds of cowboys and he was way above and beyond any agent I’ve dealt with in years.

      So ”Thank You” notes are really not a thing here, but on the flipside employers don’t send even those generic refusal letters any more. I’ve gotten one so far, and it was snail mail and even had a real signature. This is so rare I’m half inclined to frame it and put it on my wall. You might get an email or a phone call, sometimes with no feedback at all, but the worst ones are when you get ghosted and you don’t even know if its just taking time or they just don’t feel the need to tell you. I mean fair does, sending in applications they usually say if you haven’t heard back in two weeks you’ve not been successful, but getting ghosted after a face-to-face is bad form.

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