I was rejected for not sending a thank-you note, aggressive office money collections, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I was rejected for not sending my interviewer a thank-you note

A while back, a close friend recommended me for a job similar to mine at the company she works for (service/sales combo vs just sales). I had a decent initial Zoom interview with her manager, who told me he’d be checking on the next steps for the interview process and we would talk soon. I never heard anything else from them and assumed I hadn’t been chosen to continue.

Many moons later, I was talking with my friend about something annoying at my own company (another email entirely) and I joked, “Well, maybe if I had heard back from your boss” and she dropped this bomb: They never emailed me again because I hadn’t emailed a thank-you note within 24 hours of my initial interview, and that her boss and his boss were “shocked” I never followed up.

I have read your website and knew a thank-you was nice but not required and, to be honest, life got in the way of me doing a real follow-up, which I told her. She said every recruiter she had dealt with in addition to her husband’s business school classes taught to ALWAYS do a thank-you email. After telling her I had neither attended business school nor had any interactions with a recruiter, she said it was “just common courtesy.”

I was shocked. I was removed from contention because I didn’t say thanks? Is this normal? This strikes me as a decision that would eliminate those who haven’t had as much interview experience or coaching but who would be good candidates otherwise. Overall, I wasn’t too interested in just sales and I’m glad I got this feedback but I’m stumped as to if this is a normal elimination criteria.

Nah, this is BS.

It is smart to send thank-you notes and I recommend candidates do them, but it’s bad hiring to eliminate a candidate solely for not sending one. Plenty of excellent candidates have never been trained to do it, and making it a secret requirement screens out people from less advantaged backgrounds, or whose parents weren’t office workers, or many immigrants (since thank-you notes seem to be mostly a U.S. thing). If you care about diversity and equity in your hiring, it’s a terrible practice.

There are a small handful of jobs where it’s more reasonable to expect this kind of follow-up, like fundraising (where thank-you notes demonstrate a skill candidates will need with donors) and some types of sales, so maybe this job is in that category. The fact that they were “shocked” not to get one implies all their other candidates send them, so it might be. But for most roles, there’s no correlation between who was taught to send a thank-you and who would be great at the job.

To be clear: Candidates, you should send a note, for all the reasons here. But “it’s smart for candidates to do it” is not the same thing as “employers should require/expect it.”

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

2. My coworkers are pushy about money collections

My office of 15 people collects money at least twice a month. There is no discussion. Most recent was everyone owes $10 for the paint two of my coworkers decided to use to paint perfectly fine cabinets. In the same email, someone took it upon themselves to purchase our boss a gift but now wants $5 per person. There was also a donation request for a memorial for one of our vendors’ mother.

To collect money, an envelope is taped to a cabinet in the break room with everyone’s name on it. After you contribute the stated amount, you mark through your name. At the end of the week, the debt collectors come around.

I work part-time in a very different position than everyone else. I wouldn’t mind if an envelope were passed and I could put in what I could, but after the fact demands for a specific amount seems unethical and maybe illegal. How do you handle this situation?

One option is to just cross off your name and not put anything in the envelope; in this case, crossing off your name would indicate “I have seen this, I acknowledge it, and no follow-up with me is necessary,” not “I have contributed.” But since your coworkers are being so aggressive about it, I suspect they might get up in arms that someone is crossing off their name without putting money in (since the math will make that clear).

Given that, you could just go with, “Sorry, not in my budget” every time. You could also say, “I can’t afford to contribute to these as frequently as we do them. I’ll cross off my name so you know I’ve seen it, though.” If they push, you’re going to need to hold firm: “It’s really not in my budget.” And maybe: “I don’t think we should be pressing people to give money; it should be optional. We don’t know people’s financial situations.”

Speaking of which, you could mention to your boss that the pressure to donate has gotten out of control and organizers aren’t taking no for an answer. And if you have other coworkers who are similarly annoyed, see if they’ll join you in pushing back more strongly against whoever organizes these. Multiple people all saying together, “Hey, we need to change the way we do these” can be pretty effective.

3. Defaulting to first names on call center calls

I’ve recently joined a new call center, and one thing threw me. I was told that it is company policy always to refer to customers by their first name, supposedly because we don’t want to encourage a hierarchy where the agents feel better than the customers, or the customers feel better than the agents, I’m not quite sure how it’s supposed to work but this just seems really informal and quite presumptuous to me. Am I just out of touch?

Apparently, they did an informal experiment where half the team asked customers if they were allowed to use their first names and the other half didn’t, and nine out of ten times, they were told it is okay. So from that, they’ve decided to make it a blanket policy. I’m going to do it, of course, because it is the company policy but I wondered what your thoughts were?

Personally I don’t know why call centers insist on using people’s names with them at all! Most normal conversations don’t involve repeating a person’s name over and over (how often do you use someone’s name when you’re in a normal one-on-one conversation with them?) and yet it seems to be a regular (and irritating) feature of call center scripts. I really dislike it when a call center rep asks, “May I call you Alison?” since that signals that it’s going to be one of those calls where my name is used repeatedly and the responses are highly scripted, often to the point of being unhelpful. Let’s skip the whole thing and just get down to solving my problem.

So I reject the whole premise for that reason! They are going to annoy some people by defaulting to first names (particularly older people, some of whom will see it as a sign of disrespect), but they would annoy people like me by asking first, and they would annoy others if they defaulted to Mr./Ms. (non-binary people, people who use Mrs., and on and on). They would probably annoy far fewer if they didn’t insist on peppering their scripts with names at all.

4. Should I apologize for delayed replies to emails sent when I was on leave?

Do I need to apologize for not replying immediately to emails while I’m on annual leave? Even if I have an out-of-office message set, I feel guilty if people are waiting for a week or even a few days.

You don’t need to apologize since you haven’t done anything wrong! If the delay was longer it normally would have been, it’s good to acknowledge it but it doesn’t need to be an apology. Something like, “I’ve been out of the office this past week so I’m just seeing this now” is fine. (And yes, they might have seen your out-of-office message so they already know that, but it can still be polite to acknowledge some time has passed since they first contacted you.)

5. How do I juggle two potential job offers when the one I like more is moving more slowly?

I’ve had four interviews with a really big company (Company A), including one with HR to discuss salary, benefits, accommodations, and more. It was this very interview with HR where they expressed that “there’s interest on their side” but also explicitly stated “that this isn’t a confirmation of an offer.” I was told towards the end of the interview that they should get back to me “within a week” with a written offer. It’s been 10 days so I reached out with a friendly email as I wanted to see where things are at, and HR replied with a one-liner saying “things are looking great, thanks!”

What’s going on? Is it safe to assume that I have the job or is it unlikely at this point?

I had another interview with another much smaller company (Company B) today that I don’t really want to work at (but will if I have no choice) who wants to extend an offer ASAP. Should I just take the offer now and assume that Company A is a long shot, or should I decline Company B (assuming that extensions/time can’t be given) in hopes of getting an offer from Company A?

It’s definitely not safe to assume you have the job at Company A; you should never assume you have a job until you have an offer in front of you that you’ve accepted. But I also wouldn’t assume it’s unlikely that you’ll get one. It sounds like there’s a decent chance the job is still in play, based on what the HR person is telling you — not definite, but a good chance.

You could contact Company A again and say another company has said to expect an offer but A is your first choice, and ask what their timeline is and if there’s a way to expedite things. That won’t always work (there may be constraints on their side or other things going on behind the scenes), but if they really want to hire you it might speed things up. If nothing else, it’ll hopefully get you a better idea of their timeline. More here.

{ 706 comments… read them below }

  1. Erik*

    My last job was full of managers who took the thank you note thing very seriously. I’ve never much been phased by a lack of thank you’s. But I have to say I was shocked to discover that the practice of eliminating candidates who don’t send one is MASSIVELY pervasive. You’ve been warned, dear readers.

      1. Cranky lady*

        I’ve made some bad hires. One that stands out sent such an error-filled thank you letter that my boss questioned the hire. I should have listened to her. Don’t send a thank you note that you haven’t proofread.

        1. Tangentwoman*

          Yes, I won’t hold it against someone for NOT sending a thank-you note (although I’ll admit I used to, until I realized some of the things Alison points out here re. equity, unwritten “rules” and so forth), but I’ve gotten some truly awful thank-you notes that have turned me off to candidates. Super-thoughtful thank-you notes can make me feel more positively toward someone and a timely, straightforward one is fine, but I’d truly rather get nothing than get a perfunctory two-line email with multiple typos.

        2. Infosecretariat*

          I once received a thank you note from a candidate, but she got my name wrong. (It wasn’t even close, like, Kathy vs Kathleen. Without saying my real name, it was similar to addressing the note to “Dear Susan” when my name is Charlotte.)

      2. zaracat*

        I have encountered an exception to “it can’t hurt”, eg with government jobs that have a highly structured application process and ANY correspondence outside of that gets a very terse instruction not to contact them, because it’s seem as trying to bypass their system. But mostly it would be okay.

        1. TimeTravlR*

          Interesting. I work for the (US) govt and it’s never been an issue. Back in the olden days before email it might have taken a while for a handwritten note to arrive because of our mail processing at our agency but it’s never viewed as inappropriate.

          1. De Minimis*

            Yeah, fellow Fed here and same with me. I don’t think it really helps or hurts, but it causes no difficulty for candidates to send them. I’ve been involved with a few recruitments at this point, and it does seem like it’s becoming a less common practice, though a lot of the people we’ve been interviewing were still a little new to office work.

            It does get awkward when candidates request updates on the recruiting process, that’s where we have to tell them to go to HR. We aren’t allowed to give any information. It would be easier if HR were the ones to set up the interviews so candidates would see them as their point of contact, but that’s just not how it works.

            1. Beboots*

              Yeah, I work for a federal agency (not in the US) and we literally CAN’T take anything like thank you notes into account when making hiring decisions. We lay out what we’re evaluating candidates on in the job poster (essential/asset experiences, knowledge, abilities, personal suitability criteria) and we craft assessment tools (application, interview, assignment, references, things like that) and we assess those. We get the odd thank you note and we’re like “cool, noted, can’t give you brownie points for that) because there’s literally no mechanism to take it into account in our assessment process. I will say that while our system can be cumbersome in some ways, there are ways that it really helps level the playing field, e.g., re: unwritten rules like thank you notes. We’re up front on what we’re assessing you on, end of story.

              1. Jen with one n*

                Hello possible fellow Canadian fed employee! You laid out everything I was going to say – and I’d find it weird to get a thank you note from a candidate since they’re usually not given board members’ names outside of an initial introduction; all correspondence about the process is done through hr.

            2. The New Wanderer*

              It might differ by agency, or by position, or by the people involved. As a federal job candidate, when my offer process was stalled out for nearly a month I was informally advised to send a “thank you” email to the interview panel with some wording to indicate to them that HR hadn’t reached out to me. The idea was that the TY note was the pretense the senior people involved would use to nudge HR to get moving and it did work. But this wasn’t unique to me, it was a workaround they had developed that leveraged the TY note as a cue to apply pressure to a process that might otherwise drag on.

        2. Zancudos*

          Interesting. My oldest kid received a coveted internship with the federal government as an undergrad (typically it’s given to graduate students). It came down to them and a grad student. They were told that the thank you note they sent in following their interview ended up being the deciding factor.

        3. AnonforThis*

          Ah I do government hiring and it’s always very clear we do not accept materials outside of the requested documents. So the HR coordinator just throws nonsolicited materials away.

          1. Anon.*

            I now believe I should have sent thank you notes, but I did not do it for this reason and got a public higher ed job. It felt like an example of bypassing the process, and on the hiring side, I’ve been told to avoid a response for ethical reasons. The situation is awkward, and forcing candidates to guess correctly / know as a screening tool is a bad policy.

            1. Sparrow*

              I think this varies. I work in on the admin side of higher ed at a public institution and have served on a number of hiring committees. I regularly receive notes from about half the final candidates I’ve interviewed (and do send them myself, when interviewing). I have never been told by HR that it’s inappropriate to send them or to respond. That said, they’re pretty much a non-issue in hiring recommendations or decisions – the only time it’s ever come up in discussion was regarding the person who slipped extremely casual, hand-written notes under our office doors (she already worked at the university and it’s not like our buildings are restricted areas, but it was still weird. She did not get hired.)

            2. quill*

              I feel like literally all of this could be resolved by having a written, accessible policy somewhere. Though I guess if the policy is “we do actually encourage thank you notes” writing it out could come across as rude.

              “Due to strict rules regarding our hiring process, please do not send thank you notes,” sounds much more polite on an application than “We strongly prefer thank you notes” or “You may send a thank you note.”

              1. Carol the happy elf*

                Internal hires when I had knee and back surgery? There were about six slipped under the door, and I could.not.access.them.
                The unit admin assistant picked up the first three, then advised me to put some “Teacher Tack” on the bottom of my crutch and pick them up that way. As I swung the crutch up to retrieve the last card, it hit the edge of my garbage bin and flipped into the trash. (I read it. It was a Get Well Soon, with a handwritten “I’m sorry about your back, and I really want this job”.)


        4. Me*

          Generally speaking with government jobs, we don’t care about thank you notes, but we don’t aggressively tell people not to contact us.

          You contacting us doesn’t matter exactly because we have a pretty set in stone process, but it’s not going to count against you.

        5. Brooks Brothers Stan*

          Having been involved in the hiring process at a US government agency at the ‘final steps’ point (i.e. past the HR screen, past the initial phone screens, interviews were literally with a panel and then the section chiefs) it was very common for me to be the one to receive the thank you emails as I had done the coordinating and scheduling. The instructions were literally to just ignore them and not even pass them on. And not once was I even asked if a candidate had sent a thank you email. What I *was* asked on more than one occasion was their timeliness in terms of replying to requests for information or scheduling.

          That said, they were all of the ‘please tell Director Kuzko and Assistant Director Yzma that I appreciated the time to speak with them’ variety.

        6. Librarian of SHIELD*

          I’m in the process of changing government jobs, and the way this recruitment was structured left me with no way to send a thank you note to anyone. The application went through the city’s online portal, the interview was scheduled through a sign-up genius, and the interviewers only gave me their first names and job titles. The only person I had contact information for was the HR analyst who sent me the link for the interview sign up page, and that person wasn’t involved in the interview process at all. I can see how, in a case like this one, trying to send a thank you note anyway could come off looking really, really strange.

    1. GNG*

      I agree. As a hiring manager, I don’t find thank-you notes to serve any purpose at all. I wouldn’t even notice if someone didn’t send a thank you note because it’s just not on my radar as something to look for after an interview. I am doing the interview because I have a need to fill a position, as part of my job, not as a favor to the candidates. I make sure to thank the candidates for their time and efforts, and it’s plenty enough when they verbally thank me for the same.

      Presumably, OP1 had already thanked the interviewers at the end of the interview, but I wonder if they thanked OP in return? Did they show at least that courtesy? I am dismayed at their pearl-clutchy “shocked” reaction, as if OP kicked a puppy on her way out of the interview or something.

      The real important question: How do I start a campaign to push for massive eradication for thank you notes?

      1. Elizabeth*

        Can I piggyback on your campaign to remind people it’s a very US-centric, industry-specific thing? I live in Canada, work in a Trades associated position (I am a journeyman parts tech, but am currently working as a supply chain manager), and thank you notes are weird for this industry. Sending one makes you stand out in a bad way because it seems to demonstrate that you don’t understand the industry at all – even if that’s not the case. It’s really important to know your audience as best as possible.

        1. meyer lemon*

          I feel like the thank you note situation in Canada is particularly confusing. Some employers/industries seem to follow US norms and expect them, and others get weirded out if they receive one. I’ve also never seen anyone explicitly recommending them in Canada–I had a great university career centre and they never mentioned them at all. So unless you’re really sure of your industry, it’s hard to know whether a thank you note will actually help or will make employers think you’re an outrageous suck-up. The US/UK cultural influence divide is strong with this one.

        2. GNG*

          Ha yes thank you Elizabeth. Part of my campaign platform will be promising to prevent the spread of thank-you note culture to the unsuspecting good people of Canada!

      2. Lana Kane*

        I’m also a hiring manager and completely agree. The verbal thank yous at the end of the interview are enough for me – I thank them for their time, they thank me for mine, we all go on with our lives. It’s nice to get one in an “oh, how polite” way, but it would never come down to that as a deciding factor, no matter how close 2 candidates are.

      3. Carol the happy elf*

        I think the lack of a thank you served a higher purpose here. It alerted a human being that the space aliens running a company hadn’t gotten the all of the social nuances right, and would probably eat her liver if she had joined the company.

      4. Crabby Pants*

        I’ll be that campaign manager!
        I thank interviewers at the end of the interview itself. I only write to thank them again for their time if I had a followup question or promised to give them additional info. Meaning I won’t go out of my way just to say “thanks for spending time talking to me”. Because I also spent MY time talking to THEM. It’s a transactional conversation, where we might both gain what we are seeking: a job filled / gainful employment. It’s not a party I was invited to and wined/dined/given a gift bag.

        If I don’t get a job based on that, then that was absolutely not going to be a good culture fit for me anyway.

        1. GNG*

          Thank you Crabby Pants! I completely agree, it’s a discussion to see if both parties can mutually meet their needs. It’s stressful enough as it is, nobody needs to play the thank you note game to add more stress.

          For anyone else interested in job openings for this campaign, I promise you: Any one who wrote a thank you note will be immediately disqualified.

    2. DEJ*

      I don’t feel like it should be a deal breaker in itself, but I do know that I’ve been in situations where we’ve been discussing two really good candidates, and we liked them both, and they both bring good experience, and in those discussions you start looking for all sorts of ways to separate the candidates and it never fails that one of the things brought up is always ‘this person sent a thank you and this one didn’t.’ So it can absolutely have an affect on people’s perception of you.

      1. Tom*

        I’m in the US, and I’ve never worried about thank you notes from people I have interviewed. Things that do work: one candidate for a summer internship looked me up *before* the interview and researched well enough to ask insightful questions about my past work. She got very high marks from me. One thing that didn’t work: one candidate called me the next day to ask what he might do to improve his interviewing skills. It put me in an awkward position to try to stroke his ego without giving any reason(s) for passing him over.

        1. Julia*

          I’m curious – why wouldn’t you just give an honest assessment of his interviewing skills? Or just tell him that’s something you don’t do?

          1. Cdn Acct*

            For me, if someone called me up the day after an interview asking for feedback, it would feel that they are trying to influence the process, either by just getting more time with me, or so that if I gave generally positive feedback, they could then push back if they didn’t get the job.

            The time to ask for feedback if at all is either during the interview (there’s nothing stopping them from asking questions like “Is there anything you think I’m missing from experience/So far do you have any concerns/etc”) or after they’re rejected.

    3. Kelly*

      Actually I use this on my side of job searching. If I’m really unsure about a job I just won’t send a thank you note and see what happens. If I get an offer, then I’ll think about it but if I don’t because of that then I don’t even have to worry.

      1. Skippy*

        Yeah, I must confess that I’ve gotten to the point here I only send thank you notes to jobs I actually want. If I go to an interview and realize it’s not the right fit I generally don’t send one.

    4. Medusa*

      I wonder if it’s because they genuinely feel personally affronted by not receiving a thank you email or if it’s just habit at this point.

      1. Sparrow*

        People do get hung up on weird things. About 10 years ago, I encountered a guy who wanted to eliminate all candidates who hadn’t printed, physically signed, and scanned their cover letters before uploading them. If they didn’t do that, he felt they weren’t showing proper professionalism and were disrespecting the hiring committee, or something along those lines. Everyone else thought he was being ridiculous and promptly shut him down. That time, he had to listen because he wasn’t running the search, but I’m pretty sure he maintained that rule when he was the actual hiring manager.

        1. Llama Llama*

          Woah, I don’t have a printer or a scanner… neither do most other young people I know. That is super ridiculous.

          1. Sparrow*

            The funny thing is that he was also on the committee that hired me, and I always wondered if he was annoyed I got the offer because I hadn’t signed mine, either!

        2. PT*

          I have met so many people who draw equally stupid conclusions out of various hiring processes that I don’t fuss too much over it any more. There’s just no way you’re going to figure out what their secret test is and pass it from the interview side, so it’s not worth wasting any mental bandwidth worrying about.

        3. Nanani*

          That’s a giant waste of time and effort. You can make an image of your signature through various means (like signing with a drawing tablet or editing a photo of your signature on paper). Can this dude tell the difference?
          Does he have a fixation on wasting time and effort to appease his checkboxes? That’s a red flag if so.

    5. Richard Hershberger*

      Lots of people have trouble getting their heads around the idea that what is best practice from one side of an interaction might be irrelevant from the other. The candidate should send a thank you note because the employer might care, but the employer shouldn’t care, because the note has little to do with the candidate’s qualifications. This is a level of abstract thought beyond the capabilities of many. So they take the note being best practice for the candidate to mean that requiring a note is best practice for the employer.

      1. Susan Calvin*

        I wish you were wrong, but I’ve seen threads even among the (FAR above average) commentariat of this blog devolve along these lines.

      2. Don P.*

        There are two possible reasons (that I can think of) that sending a note might be something an applicant should do:
        1. “It’s just polite.” Maybe it is, and I’m not going to argue against politeness; maybe it sort of isn’t. I don’t know.
        2. “It might make a difference.” If that’s the reason to advise sending a note, you can’t turn around and complain that, sometimes, it actually DOES make the difference between getting hired and not.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          You are conflating two distinct issues. Should an applicant send a thank you note? Yes. This will give them an edge up with some employers. That is one question. Should an employer base their hiring decision on the presence or absence of a thank you note? Generally, no. Outside of narrow special circumstances, whether or not the candidate sent a note is irrelevant to how they will perform as employees. That is the second question.

          This might be clearer with a more obviously irrelevant trait. Suppose the hiring manager is a huge fan of a particular sports team. An applicant who knows this and who is also a fan of that team (or willing to pretend to be) might make a point of having this come out during the interview. And it might work. The hiring manager might select that candidate in part because of their shared passion. But should he? Outside certain narrow circumstances, no. It is irrelevant, and might lead him to hire the weaker candidate.

          Put yet another way: The interests of the candidate and those of the employer are not fully aligned. All this irrelevant stuff are tips for how the candidate can exploit this failure of full alignment.

    6. pretzelgirl*

      I graduated from college in 08 and it was DRILLED into us to ALWAYS send a thank you note. In 2008 they were even on the fence about email thank yous. I remember them saying, keep stationary in your car. Go out to the parking lot write a letter and then go back in and hand the card to the receptionist. Which honestly I never did, it seemed a little intense for me! I always used email even in 2008.

        1. pretzelgirl*

          I know! I never did it, bc it seemed so out of touch. I always used email, even back in 08!

        2. PT*

          It presumes you have a car, too. What were those of us who lived in actual cities with subway systems supposed to do? (You know, the cities where people keep moving because they have all the jobs.)

          1. Wisteria*

            Bring it in your purse/briefcase/binder/whatever you are carrying your resumes in (and yes, you should still have at least one printed copy of your resume at the interview, if it is an in person interview–you never know who was pulled in at the last minute and hasn’t seen it or who meant to print it out and bring it with them but didn’t, etc).

        3. quill*

          When I was looking for a summer job in ’08 literally every place in town (that was hiring teens part time) other than the family-owned grocery store had already switched to “all applications are done online, either via form or email, we will literally never bother with any physical mail about hiring.”

          The idea that email wasn’t yet the standard for business communications in ’08 according to your college makes me think they were a full decade or more behind the times.

      1. Smithy*

        Around 2010, I was getting recommendations to do both snail mail and email thank you’s.

        I am in fundraising and have definitely sat on hiring panels where an overall mediocre candidate who not only sent a thank you, but did the homework/snooping to find the hiring manager’s email (vs sending it to HR) was elevated above stronger candidates. That case always rubbed me the wrong way, but just to say, any job where I’ve not sent a thank you email – I’ve also had to mentally tell myself that I’m likely not as interested in it.

        1. Observer*

          As Alison points out, fundraising is one of the few fields where this might actually make sense.

          1. Smithy*

            I’m in institutional fundraising, so I think it’s more a case of being part of the professional culture of “follow up” than necessarily making sense.

            Unfortunately in practice it works more as a way of cultivating cronyism than actually marking skill and knowledge of the field. For large nonprofits, the majority of hiring communication is done through HR or a recruiter and not directly with the hiring manager. Therefore, a hiring manager who wants to give points to someone who sends thank you’s via LinkedIn or to the hiring manager’s email vs HR/the recruiter largely reflects someone who already has access to those networks.

      2. Elspeth*

        We had a candidate do this (except we don’t have a receptionist at our location and he ended up walking back into the conference room to hand them the thank you notes) and it creeped my boss out. She didn’t want to hire him due to it. She was overruled by her superiors, who really liked him. He is still here and seems to be very good at what he does, but he is definitely intense.

      3. Purple Princess*

        This makes no sense to me! Surely, as I thing Alison has said previously, thankyou notes are a chance to reflect on the interview, and touch on one or two points which had been discussed previously. A quick “thank you for the interview!” card written in the car and handed in minutes after the interview finishes seems very perfunctory and frankly, pointless, to me. It adds nothing to a candidacy, and it tells the interviewer nothing more about the candidate other than they keep stationery in their car and know to write a thankyou note after an interview.

        I dunno, maybe it’s a cultural thing – I’m in the UK and thank you notes aren’t really the done thing here so I might be off base. Is it more about showing you’ve sent a thankyou note, rather than the actual content of said note, that’s important?

          1. Wisteria*

            Maybe people need better thank you note writing skills, just as they need good cover letter writing skills. I could whip out a thoughtful thank you note that touches on one or two points on the interview from my car or subway stop in maybe 10 minutes. Maybe 20 for hand writing since that is slow.

      4. meyer lemon*

        See, I can understand the point of the Ask a Manager-style thank you letter, which is basically just an opportunity to reflect on and add to the actual substantive conversation you had. But any employer who’s expecting a note of appreciation on fancy stationery minutes after the interview ends is just glorying in the uneven power dynamics of the situation. Even the phrase “thank you note” seems a little gross for a professional context.

        1. Kal*

          I have to agree with that. To me, a thank you note is something you send to people who give you a gift for your wedding or other major event. A job interview isn’t supposed to be thought of as a gift the employer is giving to the potential employee.

      5. Don P.*

        Nobody, in any other context, would be expected to write a thank-you note for anything and physically return and hand it over on the spot. This sounds like madness to me.

      6. Missy*

        The law school career placement people told me to write thank you notes BEFORE the interview and leave them with the interviewer at the end, which seemed especially silly. But also, one of my professors pointed out that career services didn’t care about someone like me who had great grades and was going into government work (I live in a city that is a state capital and so we have an overabundance of openings in the government law sector). I was going to get a job. Career services was worried about getting jobs for people who might not have the best grades or didn’t necessarily look great on paper. So some of the advice, like the thank you note thing, was about trying to make people stand out who might not look great on paper, but it would be like “but they were so conscientious”.

    7. L.H. Puttgrass*

      Does this vary by profession? When I was a techie back in the way longer ago than I want to admit, I can’t recall ever sending a thank-you note after an interview. Now I’m a lawyer, and it seems to be expected. I can’t tell if the different fields have different norms, if the norms have changed over time (odd that they’d change in favor of thank-you notes, though), or if getting hired as a techie was so easy that it didn’t matter whether I sent a thank-you note or not.

      1. Kimmy Schmidt*

        I wonder this too, especially if thank you notes are required in retail, food service, manufacturing, or other blue collar jobs.

        1. LifeBeforeCorona*

          I work in food and hospitality and I’ve brought samples of my baking to an interview for a baker position.

      2. SykesFive*

        I worked in BigLaw. My experience of my firm’s hiring process was that there was no point at which a note would have mattered, yet it is probably still a good idea. The hiring process is really three steps.

        1. On-campus or convention interview: the candidate, who has been preselected on the basis of grades, meets with one or two lawyers from the firm. They have to turn in their list of picks to go forward almost immediately (same day) and would not have time to receive the notes.

        2. Office interview: the candidate comes to the office for a series of half-hour interviews in the offices of an array of lawyers, maybe five or six. They will submit reports immediately after the interview (same day, typically within an hour of speaking withyou) and the hiring committee and HR will have made a decision about you before you have time to write notes, quite likely before you have gotten back to your law school even if it is just across town.

        3. Summer program: the candidate is working in the office for several weeks during the summer (and being paid generously, taken to lunch and social events, etc.). Every day you are interacting with the people who will make the decision about you, and if you have to express yourself with notes, then something is deeply wrong. The decision to hire you or not after this is pretty simple: did you screw up or not?

        Nonetheless, notes to the appropriate people after nos. 1 through 3 would be appropriate since, if you do happen to progress, they may have good feelings about you and make your life easier in the next step. So you are not really influencing the current stage but rather the next one.

      3. Aerin*

        I didn’t even realize post-interview thank you notes were a thing that existed until I started reading this website. Work in tech support, never sent one in my life, never heard it mentioned even in school.

      4. enough social interaction*

        I work in tech. 90% of candidates don’t send thank-yous. Honestly, I don’t want one. Cue: “you’ve read my t-shirt, that’s enough social interaction for today” t-shirt.

      5. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

        Tech is definitely an outlier in regard to traditional and mainstream hiring norms. Definitely. And law is one of the most entrenched.

    8. anononon*

      TBH, I’m usually more annoyed than anything else at thank you notes (not such that it would influence my decision– it’s just another email in my over-packed inbox for me to read!). But then again, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten anything more than the perfunctory thank you emails Alison describes.

    9. SheLooksFamiliar*

      If thank you notes were a consistent and universally accepted business practice, not getting one would be more of an issue. Business norms are A Real Thing in some industries or functions, and it makes sense to abide by them whenever possible.

      But I can’t think of even 5 people in my professional circles who agree unanimously on thank you letters, so it makes no sense to me that the lack of a letter would be an eliminating factor. If you decline a candidate mainly or solely because of this, you need to get hold of some interview training.

    10. FormerTVGirl*

      Yeah — my husband was eliminated from an opportunity because he didn’t send a thank-you note by the end of the day of his interview. He had been planning to send it the following morning, but nope! Too late. Some people just take these things way too seriously.

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        You reminded me of something a mentor told me during a job search in the late 80s. He said I should bring stationery and stamps to my interviews, and hand-write my thank you letter in the car after the interview. If there was no one at a reception desk I give it to for hand-delivery to my interviewer, – the best tactic! – he advised taking my letter to the local post office. It would get delivered the next day, and that would impress the employer because no one else would ‘think ahead’ like that.

        I think I did it once or twice, and it never made a difference. Crazy stuff.

        1. GNG*

          Your story gave me a good chuckle!
          I’m team Anti-Thank You Note. I’ve been interviewing people for more than a decade and I don’t think they serve any purpose. Honestly, the way some interviewers think they’re so astute by using the lack of thank you note as an eliminating factor is so off-putting. Testing your candidates like this is way too underhanded for my taste. It’s really the lack of transparency that gets under my skin.

          If it’s a truly a must-have for moving to the next stage in hiring, then put it in the job posting as a requirement, or find some other way tell the candidates:
          Interested candidates will submit a cover letter and resume. For those interviewed for the position, please submit a follow-up letter to indicate your continuing interest.

          1. Librarian of SHIELD*

            You know, I’ve never been able to express why I hate compulsory job interview thank you notes so much, and I think you just pointed it out to me.

            In cases like this particular letter, the thank you note is functioning like a secret hidden test that not everybody knows about. And yes, we do read a lot of stories here about interviewers who hide secret tests in their job interviews, but nobody ever says “You should always take the stairs to a job interview because some employers will judge you for taking the elevator.” They say, rightfully, that employers who would choose not to hire somebody because they took the elevator instead of the stairs are very bad at hiring and this is not a mindset that should be encouraged. But we still encourage the thank you notes, even though they don’t have any real bearing on a person’s ability to do the job (unless you are hiring a professional thank you note writer or something).

            1. GNG*

              Yes! Great point about calling out & discouraging this absurd mindset. I like your analogy about the stairs!

              1. GNG*

                Forgot to add: Interviews for professional thank you note writers (ha) should just explicitly require a writing sample!

      2. T. Boone Pickens*

        This happened to me as well, I interviewed at the tail end of the day on Friday and had dinner plans plus errands to run and planned on sending over the thank you note on Saturday morning. I ended up getting rejected with that feedback that my thank you note wasn’t prompt enough. It took all my restraint to not burst out laughing on the phone when I heard that!

  2. RGB*

    I found it weird (and to be honest patronising) to send thank you notes post interviews when I lived in Canada – not a norm in any other country I’ve worked in but recruiters insisted.

    In my mind an interview is the chance to assess fit for both of us…thanking an interviewer for their time in writing when I’ve already done it in person seems icky and honestly bowing to a power dynamic – if i grovel enough they’ll like me kind of mentality.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      For what it’s worth, when done well they’re not about thanking anyone at all — they’re about building on the conversation you had in the interview after you’ve had time to reflect on it. But it’s absurd to require or expect it.

      1. GNG*

        Hmm I guess I’ve haven’t seen well- done thank you note just yet? I have a hard time picturing effective, meaningful ways to build on the conversations. Would you be willing to consider a post on thank you note examples? A primer would be really helpful. Or if you have a previous post on it, can you post the link? Thanks for considering.

            1. Mockingjay*

              In your mind, rename it “Follow-up Note” instead of “Thank You Note.” It changes the purpose of the email. You’d email a colleague to ask a follow-up question or to volunteer to help with a task because you have applicable experience. Apply that same mindset to the interview. Remember not to regurgitate the interview points; you want to expand on them or offer additional info to support your candidacy. If the interview(s) covered everything to your satisfaction, then no note needed.

              1. Smithy*

                This is a good way to think of it. I actually have found the easiest “thank you notes” to write to recruiters where more of the conversation is a more direct/honest discussion of the job. Including a follow-up that confirms I remain interested in the position, any genuine questions, plus sending along my thanks to whoever interviewed me – that’s a message I find far easier to write than simply thanking someone for talking to me.

                1. Loredena Frisealach*

                  Yes, it might be just that most of my job searches have involved recruiters, but that’s where all my follow up / next step questions have gone! It’s rare that something has come up in an interview where I’ve been able to write a natural email as a follow up.

      2. Kara*

        Brit here. I won’t bore you all with rehashing how they’re not a thing here, but I also don’t personally love the idea of trying to build on the conversation after the fact. I would feel like I lacked impulse control if I couldn’t resist contacting people to mention extra things.

        I work in government and was previously in the charity sector where this was not a thing, at least not in my area. If I ever went into the private sector I would struggle to do this kind of performative thing – surely if you’re going to judge people on something you need to ask all candidates to do it.

        1. Debbie*

          I’ve worked in both the private and public sector. I’ve never come across this in the UK. If someone sent me a thank you note after an interview and I wasn’t aware of them from this page I would think they were brown nosing and it would put me off hiring them.

        2. Liddy*

          Another Brit here. I’m surprised at all the Brits saying its not a thing here. I have both sent and received thank you notes and I’ve worked in multiple industries across the public and private sector. It is a thing here, just not as common.

        3. WellRed*

          Lack of impulse control is certainly an interesting way to frame it. Do Brits not ever send thank you notes at all for things like gifts?

          1. Cambridge Comma*

            Thank you notes are for gifts and invitations, that’s why it’s so weird to us to send one after a job interview, which is neither. It just isn’t established as a convention.

          2. Rez123*

            This is a bit off topic but I remember when I moved to the UK and I was very baffled on how often Brits wrote thank you notes. Where I’m from, you only do it after formal events like weddings, graduations etc. never after a birthday or christmas (you just say thank you when you get the present and sometimes shoot a text if you are feeling very appreciative).

          3. Koala dreams*

            I’m not British, but from another culture with thank you-notes for gifts, and it would be super weird to send a interview follow-up style thank you note for a gift, where you talk about your working style and end with wishing them good look with filling the role! Thank you notes for gifts are about saying thanks for the gifts, telling people you appreciate their thoughts for you on the big day, and sometimes for sharing a wedding photo.

          4. Forrest*

            It’s just knowing the conventions about when it’s OK to contact people and when it’s not! Like, I’m always surprised by the fact that according to Alison it’s Really Not Done to contact a hiring manager before you put in an application– certainly in my bit of the UK job market, that is extremely normal and I would barely ever apply for a job without contacting them to find out a bit more about the role, organisation, what the current major challenges are etc. (You wouldn’t be judged for not doing it– this is outside the scope of what’s being formally considered– but you will potentially get some useful information that will inform how you apply to the role, such as that looking at the llama grooming guidelines is going to be a bit part of the new role and it would be good to see a bit of a focus on that in your cover letter.)

            So that’s normal and most organisations encourage it for any professional-level roles in my sector, but would be seen as pushy and unnecessary and a bit annoying in the US. Conversely, in the UK, once you’ve got an application in and an interview set up, it tends to come across as a bit pushy and inconvenient to contact the hiring manager outside of that. You’ve got your route and you’re in a system and you’re being judged on the same terms as the other candidates: sending a thank you note or trying to build on the conversation in interview would be a bit, “Woah, hold off, the hiring panel is having a conversation here and you’re trying to butt in!”

            But again, this is very much about sector norms and cultural norms, and it’s not better or worse. So much of this stuff is simply about demonstrating that you understand the professional conventions and norms of your industry, and employers should be judging it on those terms, not on their personal sense that it’s Ungrateful not to send thank-you notes.

        4. BubbleTea*

          In my experience of public and charity sector jobs, there would almost not be time to send a thank you before hearing back! I’ve almost always heard the day after the interview. But I understand this is unusual outside the UK and these specific (entry-level roles in these) sectors.

        5. London Calling*

          I have worked in public and private sector since 1975 (also UK). Never heard of thank you notes after an interview until I found this site.

        6. LTL*

          I don’t think it’s impulsive, but I always disliked the idea of thank you notes, even the ones Alison promotes. Applicants should customize their applications, prepare for the interview, and then they should go out of their way to come up with a post-interview conversation? It just seems like a ridiculous amount of effort. It’s one thing if something genuinely pops into your head after the interview. But contriving a thank you note seems a bit much (and contriving is what it is unless I have something I actually feel worth mentioning that I didn’t already say to the interviewer). The fact that we had a pleasant interview and that I showed interest and competency should speak for itself.

          Hiring is a two-way street. I understand that the power dynamics mean that the applicant will still have to work harder than the employer but there should be limits.

          surely if you’re going to judge people on something you need to ask all candidates to do it

          Yes. If you acknowledge that it’s poor practice to reject candidates based on thank you notes, it’s also poor practice to take it into consideration if you’re truly concerned about equitable hiring. (This isn’t to say that Alison’s advice to write thank you notes for candidates is wrong. It’s just… unfortunate that it’s right.)

        7. ElleKay*

          Exactly. This is advice I give to college/grad students all the time: If you genuinely have a new thought or question to share (to “build the conversation”) then you should do so in your TY note. However, if you’re just inventing something for the sake of “conversation” then *don’t do it.*

          A question you forced yourself to come up with will feel forced and be clear to your interviewer; it won’t help your candidacy.

          If you don’t have something genuine to add then “Thanks for the opportunity, I enjoyed our conversation and learning more; look forward to hearing from you!” is totally fine

        8. ElleKay*

          I also just had to coach a very uncomfortable German through the how & why behind US Thank You notes!

      3. BluntBunny*

        Are they expected after each round of interviews? There have been letters where there have been upto 4 rounds of interviews with a company would you send a thank you note each time in case it is with a different person each time? Or just after the first interview?

      4. Perfectly Particular*

        We interviewed someone for an advanced level technical role yesterday. The candidate’s answers showed either an extreme comfort level with the technical questions, to the point that they weren’t sure why we were asking them, or they were canned textbook type answers. I had trouble distinguishing which of these things were true because they did not/would not deep dive into any examples. There was a slight language barrier that made digging deeper a little challenging. I am hoping for a thank you email that recaps the conversation from their perspective to provide a some insights.

      5. Aitch Arr*

        In sales, they are also good for gauging how a candidate can ‘close’ a sale and try to convince the hiring manager that they are the right candidate.

        That’s the only reason I don’t hate them completely.
        (I support Sales as an HR Business Partner and recruiter)

    2. E. Monday*

      Re: #2 — A lot of people don’t even carry cash anymore! (I haven’t since the start of the pandemic.) Having to make a special trip to the bank or an ATM (with the associated fees!) would make this extra annoying on top of the sheer presumptuousness of the whole thing.

      1. GNG*

        IKR! I didnt go to the ATM for a whole year since the pandemic started. Gosh if they’re going to be so presumptuous, at least they could’ve been more considerate and set up a GoFundMe so people don’t have to go to the bank!
        Sarcasm aside- sounds like too many people are wildly out of control at that office.

      2. Gegesbeachhouse*

        This was my office and let me just tell you….
        One person always wrote a check and they would publicly call him out and then refuse his check.

        I let this last payment collection slide just to see how far it would go. It resulted in a sticky note being placed on my computer saying, “Please turn in money for paint and gift.” I responded, via an unequally personal email, that this wasn’t in my budget with a recommendation that in the future, an envelope be passed for donations BEFORE determining a budget for a purchase.

        The email was met with a “thanks”.

        It’s a very colicky office so there is no talking to anyone else about it. Everyone suffers in silence.

        On the bright side, my last day is Friday and I’m on to bigger and better things!

        1. Batty Twerp*

          Woohoo! A same day update – these are rare, but I’m super happy that you have just three days to put up with this nonsense!
          Congrats on moving on!

        2. fhqwhgads*

          Ignoring for a moment the rest of how ridiculous their doing this is across the board, I’m really stuck on the paint thing. I don’t understand why employees would be paying for paint of cabinets in the office. If they needed painting, that’s a business expense. If someone arbitrarily on their own decided to paint them….well it’s still a business expense and I can’t fathom how any of the staff would ever be responsible for the cost.

          1. doreen*

            I suspect it’s something similar to what happens with women’s restrooms at my employer – every office I’ve worked in has a number of women who like to decorate the restrooms and fill it with various supplies that aren’t strictly necessary. For example, the building supplies perfectly adequate soap, but a group of people want to buy Bath and Bodyworks foaming handsoap. Or the restroom has no furnishings other than the fixtures, and they want to buy cabinets/shelving units/baskets/pictures to hang on the walls. My employer isn’t going to pay for fancy soap because people don’t want to use what’s supplied or for furnishings or paint that aren’t really necessary – but the people who do want these things often try to pressure all the women into contributing because “It’s not fair for us to pay for it when everyone is going to use it” . They never seem to understand when others say ” It’s not fair to expect us to pay for it when you never asked us if we wanted it”

            1. HotSauce*

              I am allergic to a lot of soap, so for awhile I was buying some sensitive hand soap for the women’s room in my office. Then someone started swiping it & I had a couple of instances of people throwing it away, so I started keeping it at my desk and would bring it into the restroom with me. I never asked people to contribute, but a couple of people did. When I started keeping the soap at my desk a lot of others started doing the same.

          2. KayDeeAye*

            Right? I just can’t get past that part. I mean, the rest of it sounds egregious, thoughtless, inappropriate and unnecessary, but that part just floored me.

            Do you know what would inspire me to use my own money to repaint a cabinet that belongs to my workplace? Nothing, that’s what. I can literally not imagine any circumstance that would make that sound OK in my mind.

        3. Observer*

          On the bright side, my last day is Friday and I’m on to bigger and better things!

          I’m glad to hear that! This sounds like a really bad environment.

          If you are leaving on reasonably good terms it might be worth mentioning what is going. ESPECIALLY that staff are spending personal money on making changes to the office. I mean, who DOES THAT?

          1. Simply the best*

            People in offices that don’t have a budget to paint perfectly acceptable cabinets that don’t really need to be painted.

            1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

              So, I just had a thought.

              While going out to buy paint for a workplace cabinet sounds patently absurd, I suppose a cabinet does not need a *lot* of paint. A cabinet maybe needs whatever leftover amount of paint one of these money collectors may have had after painting, oh I don’t know, a room in their own house. I sold my house in March, and painted the bedrooms, a bathroom, and the hallway in Nov-January. I had enough leftover paint to fill a 10 ft long shelf in my basement storage. I left all of it for the next owners, in case they’d need to patch over any defects or peeled-off paint or something. But it looks like OP’s soon-to-be-former coworkers are more business-minded than I am!

      3. Guacamole Bob*

        Especially when the amounts are all over the place! I can go months without having a $5 bill handy these days with how little I use cash, and at least around here most ATMs only give $20 bills. Most of the small collections I participate in these days have options for paypal or venmo or similar.

      4. lilsheba*

        I have never been a huge cash carrier and I definitely won’t handle cash these days. I like having an electronic trail of my spending. I have to admit I enjoy the fact the for the first year in a while I haven’t been harassed to contribute to ANYTHING.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          I try to carry cash to pay/tip when I eat out. Otherwise, no cash. And I also love to have a solid electronic trail of everything.

      5. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

        There’s been a couple of collections this past year and all for good reasons (except for the boss’s gift but she is very much loved so…). But everyone is working from home and yeah, I ain’t touching an ATM unless I have to so all $$ collected was by electronic means (Interac transfer, etc.).

        I did it once and found myself with a dollar fee for the privilege of using that service at my bank. My plan doesn’t cover electronic fund transfers. I did want to contribute but now I have IOU’s with a couple of people for when I feel safe enough to go to an ATM again.

        But an electronic fund transfer is not anonymous at all. The donation envelope simply goes around the office and no one knows who put what inside, which what I prefer.

      6. ErinWV*

        My husband’s office constantly collects money for these types of things (I’ve just been made aware of this since working from home). They do Venmo, but he is tech-phobic and hasn’t set that up, so he has a friend who pays for him and he pays her back in cash.

    3. Asenath*

      I wonder if that’s the recruiter’s take on things, or a feature(?) of your particular industry? I’m a Canadian, and have never written a thank-you note for an interview – and when I was in a position that involved handling well over a hundred – sometimes more – applications for a small number of very competitive positions, only a tiny minority of the applicants who were interviewed sent in thank you notes. I don’t think it’s a universal practice here.

      1. Asenath*

        And I should add – any note would have not affected the hiring decision, because that was made immediately at the the end of the days of interviewing.

      2. Lydia*

        Agree. I live in Canada and have never sent a thank you letter/email after an interview. I don’t think it is expected here in the same way it is in the US.

        1. Sleepy unicorn*

          Canadian here too. I’ve only had a handful of interviews in my career but I’ve never sent a thank you note. I’ve been a hiring manager several times and have done close to a hundred interviews and only ever received one thank you email. I didn’t know it was a thing at the time so I found it weird (and it felt a little brown-nosing/pushy) but my fellow panel member thought it was nice (she was a generation older than me). It didn’t affect our decision one way or the other.

        2. AnonCanadian*

          Different Canadian, always sent thank you notes, drilled into me. I’ve been told between my cover letters and thank you notes, they were sometimes the things that got me the job over someone else equally qualified. I notice if I’m sent a thank you note, but it would only factor into the hiring decision if either it was horribly done or I had two equal candidates and it was a tie-breaker. Most people I’ve interviewed have sent thank you notes.

        3. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

          Fellow Canadian. As someone who got sent to a lot of job interviews all arranged by a job agency (secretarial/admin field), I rarely sent out thank you notes because I rarely had the contact info of the person who interviewed me, since it was all set up by the job agency.

          I suppose, had I thought a little harder about it, I could have composed a thank you email and sent it to the job agency and asked my recruiter to forward it for me. But the job agency also never asked me to provide thank you notes, only feedback about the interview.

          If I had an interview that was arranged without the job, I was more likely to send a thank you note but again, I would have done so only if the interview was good and was a job I wanted.

        4. Minerva*

          Same. Never sent one, usually don’t have contact info for my interviewer (things are coordinated by a recruiter or hr person, who reaches out in a couple days when they don’t ghost me). I’ve received one through linked in of the 20-30 interviews I’ve done this year.

          Also Canadian.

        5. FormerInternalRecruiter*

          Canadian here, worked as a recruiter for 6 years.

          I’d say about 25%-50% of candidates sent me a thank you email after the interview. Or some would ask for the email address of the manager to send it to them directly. I remember one candidate actually mailed me a thank you card. We hired her, though that didn’t impact the decision, she was the best candidate.

          It never impacted whether I hired someone or not.

        6. meyer lemon*

          I tried sending one a couple of times after learning about them on AAM, did not go over well (I’m also Canadian). They responded to me as though I’d made a serious faux pas. But I hear that some Canadian employers do expect them so I don’t really know what to do. All I can say is that I’m glad when there is a writing exercise after the interview so I have a non-awkward reason to follow up.

      3. Colette*

        I don’t think it’s universal here, but I’ve definitely done it, and have been advised to do it by career centres.

      4. Glomarization, Esq.*

        Have worked in Canada, and though I’ve sent thank-you e-mails (my habit as an American?), I can’t say that they’ve affected whether or not I would get a job offer. Most recently, my thank-you e-mail was maybe two dozen words, like “thanks for talking with me, lovely office, let me know if you have further questions” — almost the workplace equivalent of “you wanted me to text you when I got home, well, got home safe, good night.” But my overall impression during the interview had been that they were ready to hire me before having me in, and just wanted to make sure I didn’t have a problematic personality or some other intangible bad fit for the office.

    4. Dona Florinda*

      Yes, having lived in Brazil all my life, I had no idea what thank you notes were when I first moved abroad, and genuinely thought it was just a piece of paper with ‘thank you’ wrote in it, lol.

    5. PT*

      My experience with interviews is that so many people will show up to interviews for jobs, even full time, salaried, career-track jobs, without behaving like a functional adult, that people should really focus on that, first.

      Almost all of the “they did WHAT during the interview” stories I have come from people interviewing for full time, salaried, career track jobs that required significant previous experience. People who should know better! Meanwhile when I hired part-time entry level people who were quite young, they usually just made the same common mistakes of inexperience over and over again.

  3. Artemesia*

    Oh yes the office busybody who ‘organizes’ putting her hand in your pocket. Hope you are able to foment a revolution by pushing back.

    1. Geodesic Dude*

      And why would they take up a collection to pay for the repainting of cabinets in the office? That absolutely sounds like a business expense that the company should be covering.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        Or damage to company property depending on how well it was painted and whether the company agrees it should have been painted!

      2. GNG*

        IKR! It’s ridiculous to me that employees are allowed to take it upon themselves to permanently alter company property. And the company might not even own the cabinets. They might belong to the landlord! Collecting for a vendor’s mother? Sounds like there is a serious lack of boundaries in that office.

      3. tamarack and fireweed*

        Yeah, that’s bonkers. And $150 worth of paint?! (15 ppl times $10.)

        If someone wants to repaint cabinets, and the employer is ok with it but is not paying for it, and the hobby painter STILL wants to do it, then paying for the materials is on them.

        Alison’s scripts are good. This needs pushing back on. And I would be unsurprised if 1/4 to 1/3 of the office (at least) didn’t feel similar. I’d probably be selective and use my best virtue signaling (ha! always wanted to use this in a non-derogatory way) – as in “I’m very happy to contribute to the fund for X’s memorial. But overall the money collecting has gotten out of hand, and I do not have $20 / month in my budget for this. Gift giving should be optional. Put an envelope up – and those who care and can afford it will contribute.”

        1. MK*

          The high quality paint for doing my parent’ three bedroom flat cost that. I am guessing it was either special paint or someone made some cash.

        2. Forrest*

          That’s the maths that was making my head spin! This isn’t just bad manners, it’s a scam.

            1. No Name Today*

              That’s it! 15 people at $10? Did they paint it with gold? Or did they come in on the weekend, “sacrifice a day off”, order food,
              have a good old time because hey, they’ll make a couple bucks?

        3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Just looked up 1 gallon of cabinet paint from a big box store-$43. Says it will cover up to 400 square feet, which is a great deal of cabinets.

          Even adding in primer ($25), drop cloth ($10) and a set of paint brushes ($20), we’re only up to $100. What happened to the other $50?

          Anybody this enthusiast about paint should already have the supplies for it though, so really, we have a missing $80. Which is a pretty significant sum of money.

          Even if it’s reasonable to ask coworkers to pay for paint, which it’s not. But there seems to be straight up theft in here as well.

          1. Anonymoose*

            I think whats happening here is the painter wanted to do some painting in their home and used painting a couple cabinets at work as an excuse to buy all the paint they needed, have other people pay for it, and then presto, the paint is gone

        4. GNG*

          There’s definitely something fishy about the cost of paint. But I want to add that as a manager, I would never be okay with employees permanently altering an office fixture, let alone letting them pay for it. Reading elsewhere on this post that it’s government property just makes it even more jaw-dropping. Allowing staff to do the physical work of painting is a whole other layer of What the Kentucky Fried Faaaaa…..

      4. Lizzy May*

        Both the paint and the memorial for a vendor’s mother sound like business expenses to me. And no one should be forced to buy their boss a gift. I hope the letter writer either finds some support in the office or is able to use these scripts to get the collectors to stop because not only is it too much, it’s stuff that no employee should be paying for.

        1. CatLadyInTraining*

          I used to work at a car dealership. One of our employee’s relatives who owned another dealership in town passed away and the company paid for flowers. That was a business expense.
          At another company I worked at, one of our vendors passed away and they collected money to help with funeral expenses. There was no pressure to donate and I know in the end our boss wrote a nice check to help.

      5. Observer*

        And why would they take up a collection to pay for the repainting of cabinets in the office? That absolutely sounds like a business expense that the company should be covering.

        Yeah, that’s a really bizarre thing.

    2. [̲̅$̲̅(̲̅ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°̲̅)̲̅$̲̅]*

      And does so without permission.

      “I didn’t agree to this.”

      “I never said I would pay for/toward this.”

      “You need to ask before you go about spending other people’s money.”

      “What is this? Who decided this? Why wasn’t I asked before the fact? Seems very strange.”

      1. Well...*

        Your user name is great! Especially for this post. I feel like the face on the dollar bill and scheming up a new idea to take forcible donations from me.

      2. Gegesbeachhouse*

        I asked, after a sticky was placed on my computer telling me to turn in money….

        What was the paint for (playing dumb)?

        I wasn’t included in discussion about purchasing paint. Had I been, I had more than enough extra paint to donate.

        Why was it not paid for by the county? (It’s a state job but the office and furniture are paid for by the county. They recently remodeled but didn’t paint the unfinished stock cabinets from Lowe’s. Two employees took it upon themselves to paint, very poorly, and with the wrong type of paint.

        To make this worse, my state is an “at will” state and you can be fired for your boss not liking the color shirt you wore. Imagine “not paying” looming over your head.

        1. EPLawyer*

          Wait its a County facility and your coworkers took it upon themselves to alter county property? By donations. Oh this has sooooo many minefields all over it.

          Saw your update above, so glad you are out of that bonkers place.

        2. Observer*

          Most states in the US are “at will”. However, there are some exceptions, and this could be one of them.

          For one thing, it’s actually illegal to dock someone’s paycheck for most things, and making someone pay the company if that would put their overall pay below minimum wage (for non-exempt workers) is also illegal. The fact that someone is passing around an envelope might enable them to wiggle out of it, but competent HR / Legal should realize that they are asking for trouble.

          Also, if this is a government agency, then the rules tend to change. There are generally fairly clear and specific guidelines around firing, and your boss should not be able to fire you for not paying what is essentially a kickback.

          Having said that, you are MUCH better off in a place where you don’t have to worry about this garbage.

          1. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

            Do you have any information on rules about requiring payment vs. docking pay in states like this? I am very annoyed and trying to argue through the fact that teachers in my school system are being charged full replacement cost for their very expensive school-issued work laptops if they are broken (NOT actual value based on age–you are charged the same if it is brand new or if you’ve been using it five years).

            I’m not a teacher, but I now have a teacher laptop issued to me, and the replacement cost if, say, a student were to knock their water bottle onto it is more than I get in a paycheck (like, 1/3 more), and the cost for insurance on it is more than I make in a day.

            In my state you can’t dock pay for work equipment except for, like, uniforms at the start of employment, but I don’t see what stops any business for issuing an invoice. This also seems to get around the minimum wage issue (if you send an invoice, you aren’t TECHNICALLY reducing any SPECIFIC pay period).

            1. Observer*

              I think you need to look at the FSLA site and the equivalent site for your state, to start with.

      3. Threeve*

        I’d be tempted to make up transparently outlandish excuses.

        “Money is tight right now, my dog didn’t get the scholarship we were hoping for and he doesn’t want to go to state school.”

        “My psychic told me Capricorns shouldn’t donate money.”

        “I won’t be making any more contributions until my Dogecoin investments pay off.”

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          My little brother this morning got his arm caught in the microwave, and uh my grandmother dropped acid and she freaked out and hijacked a school bus full of penguins, so it’s kind of a family crisis… so come back later? Great.

          1. SheLooksFamiliar*

            I totally would come back later if only to find out why a school bus was full of penguins.

      4. SheLooksFamiliar*

        I’ve used these comments for more egregious requests, too, and to great effect. It really throws the bold ones off, they’re not used to direct pushback.

        For smaller things like, say, chipping in for a gift for someone I literally have never met, or for some ‘fun’ office event I won’t be able to attend, ‘Oh, no thank you!’ It fazes people enough so I can escape the discussion.

    3. Rayray*

      This kind of thing drives me crazy. My current office does more of this kind of thing than previous workplaces, but fortunately they’re not super pushy about it. I understand that $5 might not seem like a lot for most people but that $5 is my $5 and if I don’t want to budget out $5 or more to donate to someone I barely speak to wedding gift or to buy flowers for someone who had a surgery then I’m not going to. Same goes for the potlucks, I can bring my own lunch from home for much less money and not deal with the icky factor of a potluck. At least the potlucks have been banned for now.

      1. LifeBeforeCorona*

        I grew my backbone after my divorce and was a single mom. “No, my daughter needs new….whatever.” There was no way I was going to short-change her so that Fergus could have an extra special birthday cake.

    4. Quiet Liberal*

      My current office is like this, too. And, it keeps escalating. The last per person share for someone’s birthday gift was $35! Whatever happened to a nice cake or just a card signed by all? As far as being charged for the office “improvements” what the hell?

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        To mix sins, shouldn’t that kind of donation trigger a thank you note from the recipient?

      2. Lizzy May*

        $35 is wild. I don’t know how many people are in your office but I honestly would feel uncomfortable getting a gift worth $100s from coworkers.

      3. EPLawyer*

        Yeah if I knew there was a collection to get me a gift, I would be all, thanks but NO. And I LOVE celebrations and gifts. But only if someone CHOOSES to give me a gift.

      4. Bagpuss*

        That’s ridiculous!

        Everywhere I’ve worked, the way this type of thing have been done is that there’s an envelope which goes round, everyone puts in what they want and ticks off / writes on their initials to mark that they’ve seen it / donated f they want. Then when it’s gone round, a gift is bought based on how much was collected.

        And the initials thing is just so no one who wants to donate is missed off and no one is asked twice.

        If you don’t want to contribute, you don’t contribute. And there is absolutely no rule or suggestion about what you should give. Most people give coins not notes, so under £5 each, and no one knows who has given what.

        And it’s just for big events – someone getting married, retiring, having a landmark birthday, or having a child

        1. Observer*

          This is typically how we’ve done it in the past. These days the collector knows who has given money because most of us do it electronically, but there is absolutely NO pushing whatsoever. It’s an email saying “If you’d like to contribute to Fergusina’s going away present, contribute whatever amount you can. You can do so by this, that and the other methods” (Typically “bring it Janice’s office”, send Zelle / Paypal to this@that.com or send CashApp / Venmo to @OtherName.) And the list of contributors is not released.

          When we did the in person stuff, the card was ALWAYS separate.

    5. MCMonkeyBean*

      Those examples are all pretty out there too. Don’t pay for a random gift for your boss and *definitely* don’t pay for paint for the office!!!! Donating for the vendor’s mother is a kind thought but I don’t think most people would expect that unless this is a vendor that you have had a close personal working relationship with for many many years. (And while donating to that is a kind thought, offering up donations on behalf of other people without talking to them about it is not kind!)

      1. CatLadyInTraining*

        In regards to the vendor’s mother, if it’s a vendor that the business has worked with for a long time and they know him or her: I could see the business sending flowers or a donation in lieu of flowers or a sympathy card. I feel that that’s a business expense the company should cover though…

    6. That's Not How You Spell That*

      I say suggest adding a check mark by people’s names to indicate they saw it but maybe didn’t contribute. That way for gifts you can know who it was from but for paint projects, etc.
      And for the LW, since you’re part time, if they’re asking for 5 and you have 3, put in your 3. If people stop contributing, they’ll stop asking.

    7. Super Duper*

      Yep. I’d cross off my name and write N/A next to it, or something. I’ve seen it, I’m not contributing, move along! No guilt — buying gifts for the boss is weird and inappropriate, repainting office cabinets is not something I care to spend my money on, and the company should be paying for condolence gifts to vendors.

  4. Persephone Mulberry*

    As a consumer, I’m entirely without preference as to whether a CSR calls me Persephone or Ms. Mulberry. I don’t recall ever being asked “may I call you Persephone?” but, while I would most likely say yes, I think I would find it an odd question and somewhat off-putting.

    1. Nessun*

      I’d rather they didn’t use my name at all. Usually someone who sees it can’t pronounce it properly, and someone who is reading from a script has it in front of them. And if I point out (yes, kindly) how to pronounce it, the odds are even if they’ll remember how to say my name properly the next time they use it – ON THE SAME CALL. It happens often, and I hate hearing my name mispronounced. Nothing’s gonna shorten my fuse faster than someone who can’t remember how to say my name when I told them how to say it. And yet, theh must have to deal with a hundred names a day, so its gonna happen- they don’t deserve my anger, but it’s a deeply ingrained fact of my life. S: avoid it by not using my name!!

      1. jm*

        this is what i went into the comment section to say! yesterday i was on a threeway call advocating for my client and the operator was really great. but she mangled my name as soon as she asked what it was and i told her. then for 30-40 minutes she tried to connect us with another department & every two minutes she checked in, mangling my name again before bouncing. i wanted to scream.

        1. Jackalope*

          When I worked in a call center I would take notes on name pronunciation for myself (write on a Notepad doc using a guide that works for me) so if I needed to use their name (which did sometimes happen) I could say it correctly for the rest of the call. Now I have a position that sometimes involves callbacks so I will keep my little pronunciation guide until the case is finished so I can say their name correctly whenever I need to ask for them when calling. It has definitely helped.

        2. Just Another Zebra*

          This happens to me quite a bit. My IRL name is very common, as are the nicknames that go with it. I have had people refer to me by a) the wrong nickname, b) a name that sounds like my preferred nickname but is actually a completely different name, or c) “what was your name again”.

          When they ask “Can I call you Zebra?” my answer is generally no.

      2. Spencer Hastings*

        I once had a phone exchange with my ISP that went something like this:

        Him: What’s the name on the account?
        Me: Spencer Hastings. Would you like me to spell that?
        Him: No, I got it. So, Ms. [totally wrong pronunciation], what can I do for you today?


      3. SheLooksFamiliar*

        I don’t mind if a CSR calls me by my first name instead of Ms. SheLooksFamiliar. What I don’t like is the repeated use of my name as a show of personalized, high-touch engagement, and interest in me As A Person.

        There for a while, there was a train of thought that people loved hearing their names during these transactions, maybe there still is. I think some firms went overboard with the concept. It feels insincere to me, but I keep my mouth shut. CSR jobs are hard enough without my getting into a snit about my name.

        1. Virtual Dancer*

          This is one of my pet peeves too. Even worse are email asking me to donate to something or to sell me something. If I never met you even on line, don’t pretend we’re best friends.

      4. meyer lemon*

        My name gets mispronounced by everybody. Maybe this contributes to the fact that I find that salesy tactic of using your name five times in every sentence extremely irritating. It doesn’t make me feel “seen” to have my name mispronounced approximately 1,000 times in a five-minute phone call, whatever your seminar told you.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      I have a hyphenated first name and at least 75% of the time, customer service folks will only use the first half of my name. Honestly, I would sooner that they didn’t use my name at all than they got it wrong. Mostly, I just don’t bother to correct them.

      1. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

        I’m in exactly the same position. The hyphen isn’t a period. The stuff that comes after it is also my name.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          Yeah, exactly. And I constantly have trouble with getting the hyphen included in stuff because a lot of software (especially airlines for some reason) can’t cope with hyphenated first names. The hyphen is part of my legal name, so it always feels like I’m doing something wrong if they can’t include it!

        2. SJ*

          I have this exact problem too. (I’m also nonbinary/bigender and the two parts of my name reflect that, so when people only use the first half they’re both messing up my name and misgendering me.) I feel for you both and honestly it’s nice knowing this is A Thing and it’s not just me and my weird name ahah.

        3. EPLawyer*

          I am so using the hyphen isn’t a period. I hyphenated my last name after I got married and sooooo many people just use one of the names. I hyphenated for a REASON. So they would be connnected as one.

          As for using my name in customer service, I prefer they didn’t. I also hate the fake sympathy. “I’m so sorry you are having this problem EPLawyer.” No you aren’t. This is just another call to you. Don’t waste time saying sorry, just either fix the problem or escalate it to someone who can.

    3. Forensic13*

      This always reminds me of working in customer-facing roles and almost without fail, the ones who said my name were doing it to make a BIG SHOW one way or another, and they were the most trouble.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I came to say the well, inverse. I had a problem with a delivery and called the shipper.
        “May I call you Tom?”
        “Ok, Tom. No worries. Everything is good Tom. Your package was delivered.”
        Yes, that’s what the email states. But it is not here.
        “No worries Tom. I have checked on your package…”
        I was walking around my house and neighborhood listening to this nonsense. I had to ask if he was a real person and exactly why I should not worry.
        So help me, “no worries, Tom.”
        I am over this “build a rapport” nonsense

        1. BRR*

          It reminds me of the scene in silence of the lambs where the senator goes on tv and uses her daughters name a lot to try and humanize her to Buffalo bill.

        2. Cat Tree*

          When I was in middle school, this boy who liked me one day said my name a million times while talking to me and it was so weird. Seriously, it was like twice per sentence. In hindsight I think he must have heard somewhere that saying someone’s name a lot makes them like you better. But when it’s so intentional it just ends up really weird, whether coming from a CSR or awkward middle schooler.

        3. Lizzy May*

          When I was a bank teller, we were told we should use the client’s name three times in an interaction. If we were being secret shopped and we didn’t, we’d get marked down. It always felt so ridiculous and because for a simple transaction, you didn’t know how many opportunities you’d get, everyone would use the client name over and over right up front. I hated it.

        4. lilsheba*

          exactly. “Most normal conversations don’t involve repeating a person’s name over and over” I refuse to do it with people on the phone. I’ve had customers do it with me and it’s creepy!!

    4. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I work tech support (management but I do calls too when the team is swamped) and…yeah, beyond a ‘am I speaking to the right person?’ identity check I don’t use their names. Although I do call people ‘mate’ a lot – ahh regional British accent :)

      If I’m starting to break out the ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ then something has gone wrong – I reserve those for people shouting/swearing at me.

      1. Need a better user nane*

        I’ve had store clerks refer to me by my first name after I’ve paid by reading my name in the credit card. DONT. My name belongs to me and you should ask permission to use it. And don’t ask me for my phone number, email address or postal code/zip code if there are other people in the line behind me – I really don’t want strangers knowing how to contact me.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          That would seem really creepy to me too. I’ve never encountered it in the UK though, but the people on the phone who use my name over and over again are off putting as well. It makes me feel more like an object?

          Like when I’m swearing at a loathsome bit of hardware that is not behaving I refer to it as ‘computer’ frequently. Having my name repeated gives the same kind of feel.

          1. Mongrel*

            “That would seem really creepy to me too. I’ve never encountered it in the UK though, but the people on the phone who use my name over and over again are off putting as well. It makes me feel more like an object?”

            For me it always feels like they’re trying to push a scam of some sort
            It’s a piece of advice from the ‘never worked with customers’ types, it’s meant to make a connection https://www.qminder.com/use-customer-names/

        2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Hate. That.
          I have a hard to pronounce last name. When a cashier says it, I’ll just agree and move on. They don’t need to be corrected and I don’t want a conversation about my name.
          Customer service for my cable company, “just call me Tom,” because 1) why say my name anyway? I’m right here. 2) just fix my cable. Thanks.

        3. Spencer Hastings*

          I use a “coffee shop name” when ordering food, because my real first name is hard to spell and pronounce. My middle name is easy, so I generally use that.

          This only backfired on me once, a few years ago. Here’s what I think the cashier must have done:

          1) read name on card
          2) go “that’s not what she said, I must have heard wrong!”
          3) enter the order under a weird mashup of the sounds from the name I said and the letter-shapes from the name on the credit card.

          1. Zephy*

            My husband does the same thing. He has an uncommon first name that everyone wants to pronounce wrong (similar to the classic Joaquin, “Wakeen not Joe-a-kwin” confusion), though his parents had the good sense to give him a much more common middle name (think “James”). So all coffee orders, to-go pickups, restaurant seating reservations, etc are for James, not Joaquin. Your anecdote about the cashier making up a name for you from what’s on your credit card might be the reason why he pays cash as often as possible, though, LMAO.

            1. Kit Kendrick ᓚᘏᗢ*

              My favorite coffee shop name anecdote came from a convention I went to a few years back. The hotel had one of those chain coffee kiosks and a few people with more difficult names commented that it’s the first time they ever got their coffee back with their name spelled correctly. A few days into the conference I mentioned this to the barista and she shrugged and said “well, you are all wearing name tags.” (This is less intrusive than the credit card method because presumably, you put what you prefer to be used on the large print name on your badge.) At first, I felt silly for not realizing that, and then I remembered that I’d been to plenty of places wearing a badge or ID lanyard and still gotten my name randomized. That barista has more common sense than the average (me included!) and will surely go far in life!

            2. Polly Math*

              Whenever my husband and I go somewhere that calls out names when your order is ready, I always use my name rather than his. Let’s say his name is Lee — that sounds exactly like Steve or Pete or Gene or whatever when you hear it called out. At least a two or three-syllable name has a better chance of being understood.

          2. Tryinghard*

            I’ve used my initials but prefer to use my son’s name. It is uni-sex and easier to hear when called out. Plus if he isn’t with me, it gives my heart a little hug.

            But the cable person doesn’t know my actual name because my husband has a uni-sex name so we’ve done a bit of mistaken identify to expedit getting our internet fixed.

          3. Aerin*

            I first encountered that with my senior year choir teacher. He walked in one day with a Starbucks drink, and I asked him who “Andrew” was. His response: “I didn’t think the little white barista could handle Germán.” Made sense to me.

            1. Tryinghard*

              My teenage son will love that. He’s been working through how his name translates to other languages.

              And honestly as long as my spouse and kids get my name right, “mum”, I’m cool.


        4. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

          I worked at a store that had a policy that we were supposed to refer to customers by the name on their credit card. (Never mind that we wouldn’t see it until the end of the transaction.)

          I thought it was creepy and intrusive, so I called people “Sir” and “Ma’am” (or “Miss” for girls obviously younger than about high school age). I’m not Southern, but I have relatives who are so it’s not difficult for me to slip into that particular mode of politeness.

          1. Wry*

            This is so weird! You were right to ignore that instruction. I would find it super jarring to be called by my first name by someone who I don’t expect to know my name. It would never occur to me that they’d look at my credit card to learn my name. Not to mention the customer might not go by the name printed on the card, or it might not even be their card (Maybe a parent/spouse sent them to the store with their card to buy something).

            1. Artemesia*

              My attitude is shaped by an interaction with a shoe repairman decades ago. I came in to pick up my shoes and it was all ‘ma’am’. and right with you ‘ma’am’ and here they are ‘ma’am’. Then I paid with the check that had my name and my husband’s name on it — different last names, so obviously I was a slut shacked up with some sugar daddy — and he immediately switched to my first name in a leering look and accent. It was so classically lecherous and leering it he should have been an actor. Never went back to that shoe repair (back in the day we had choices)

        5. EPLawyer*

          For phone number, hubby will just say “Don’t have one.” Some will accept that means I don’t want to give it. Others will HOUND him for one. One even looked over at me playing on my phone and said “But she has one.” I looked him dead in the eye and said “No I don’t.” Get a CLUE, we are not giving you our number. You don’t need it for us to pay for a simple transaction.

          1. GraceRN*

            This is hilarious. I hate it too when they ask for my phone number, email etc. I just say “I prefer not to give it out.” every time.

        6. BadWolf*

          Usually these actions are required by the retailer. Please don’t be angry with the clerk. Saying “No thank you” has always gotten me out of phone number/email requests just fine. Write the company and say you hate it.

          1. New Jack Karyn*

            It’s a little old school, but for a lot of folks, it’s impolite to use another adult’s first name without permission. That’s usually in a social setting, but it can carry over into a business setting where surnames are preferred anyway (in the old-school milieu, anyway).

            1. allathian*

              I hate to be called by name. You don’t need it to do business with me at the checkout, and you don’t need it other than to confirm my identity if we’re talking on the phone.

              I’m in Finland, where kids from daycare onward address their teachers by their first names, or even more commonly, by their nicknames (I certainly addessed my elementary school homeroom teacher by her nickname, and my son’s doing the same with his), so I’m certainly used to and not offended by informal address. I just think that repeating my name in conversation is unnecessary and feels intrusive. Most of my compatriots feel the same way. I also prefer it if businesses address me in junk mail by my full name rather than just my first name.

        7. bluephone*

          …These are all things that are most likely required by store policy especially if the store has any sort of rewards program (almost always searchable by phone number and/or email address because no one wants to carry around 1000 rewards cards). You’re allowed to be annoyed by it but the cashier isn’t asking for this information AT you or as part of some larger ID-theft/stalking conspiracy. They just want to get through their shift without the manager getting on their case about reward program sign ups, “customer connection” points, etc. And the manager is only on their case because Corporate is on *their* case about it. Complain to Corporate if you want but also try not to take it so personally when the Walmart check-out lady is like, “Have a great day, Jane!” She’s making $15 an hour, at most, to deal with us Walmart shoppers for god’s sake. She needs all the sympathy.

        8. RagingADHD*

          Have you ever worked retail?

          Please don’t be crabby at people who are trying to follow their employers’ instructions and not get fired. If you have a problem with store policies, write a letter to head office.

          And if you don’t want to answer contact information questions, you can just say “no thank you” or “I’d rather not.” Asking the questions they are required to ask, does not require you to answer. It’s a purchase, not a hostage situation.

          1. mystiknitter*

            I also worked retail for many years and asking for an email addy or a phone number connected that purchase with your account, so that when you returned that item (sometimes years later, when we still accepted returns no matter when or why) without a receipt the item could be found in your purchase history and the amount paid correctly returned. Credit cards could not reliably be used to locate a purchase for returns because the darn original cards changed account numbers/banks/no longer existed. We had to return the purchase price the way it was paid for – as in, paid for by debit/credit card, no, we cannot hand over cash. After handling over 100 transactions/day, no one remembers your particular many digit-ed credit card number/name/address/phone number, we barely remembered our own employee numbers and PIN codes to log out! Plus, ‘secret shoppers’ were a thing for many years and our scripted transactions had to hit every single item on the list, with the barest leeway for spontaneous delivery. And, by Zeus, do it all with a smile and good cheer OR ELSE.
            Please be kind to people who are earning minimum wage!

      2. I'm just here for the cats*

        I wish the US had a word like Mate to use with people. It’s great. It’s universal for any gender or age. Friendly, without being overly friendly.

        1. Another British poster*

          It’s not common in the UK to address someone else as “mate.” Except for basically working class men or blokey types (or men trying to pass as w/c). It actually can be quite an aggressive thing to say. I can’t imagine a woman calling someone “mate.” You might say “you’re my mate” or “you’re my best mate” but you wouldn’t say “pass me my bag, mate” or “how was your day, mate.” To British ears that just sounds incredibly weird.

          The word mate exists of course and yes it’s a very common word but not in that specific type of usage. If you go into a dodgy pub you’d see drunk men saying “oy you spilt your pint on me mate.” You certainly would never say “do you mind if I pop you on hold for a minute mate” – that’s just not a sentence that would ever exist in the UK. To me it sounds much more Australian than British.

          1. Lemons*

            I’m a British woman who uses ‘mate’ in exactly the way you say it’s not used (like, ‘mate’ repeated with different intonations is a complete sentence), and now I’m wondering now if it’s enough of a working-class signifier to be unfamiliar to many, very regional, or if it’s a case of ‘idiolects are thorny’. I might use it more than others, but in my (roughly most of the Midlands) circle it’s not rare.
            But it would be exceptionally odd to hear it from tech support. And to your other comment, yes, I’d be unused to hearing ‘ma’am’ in the UK. ‘Miss’ informally, ‘madam’ in a posh shop or being sucked up to.

          2. ceiswyn*

            That is… not my experience at all. Have you had much exposure to people from classes or localities other than your own?

      3. Colette*

        I was once reviewing a call where the agent used “sir” probably hundreds of time. I was so tense by the end of it!

      4. Kit Kendrick ᓚᘏᗢ*

        Ah yes, “sir” or “ma’am” are nearly always signs of a call gone wrong. I do need to ask people their names (I also take overflow or escalation tech support calls) but it’s for the purposes of logging who called in an issue not repeating someone’s name back at them. “Ah yes, Brad, I see in the notes that your colleague Janet called in half an hour ago for a password reset. Do you want to go ahead with resetting it again or would you rather co-ordinate with Janet before we make any more changes?” Technically we’re supposed to use Mr or Ms Lastname for everything, but in practice, if I need to address someone by name I use whatever the customer gives me when I do the id check.

      5. Another British poster*

        Are you originally American, Keymaster, or do you work for an American company? A lot of your word choices and phrasing is incredibly American, I was very surprised to read that you’re in the UK!

        Does your company make you use “Maam”? Ma’am isn’t a word that’s really used in the UK (except for the Queen, in which case it’s pronounced Marm/Mum – even in posh shops and things they might say Madame – pronounced Modom – but never Maam). Maam is a very very American term to use, so it really jumped out at me as unusual.

    5. Gerry L*

      Over 50 years ago I was a service rep at Ma Bell (aka The Phone Company). We were directed to call customers “Mr.” or “Mrs.” (Ms wasn’t a thing yet.) In the event we couldn’t tell from someone’s name and voice whether they were male or female, we were told to call them “Mr.” The reason being that a man would be more insulted at being mistaken for a woman than a woman would be if mistaken for a man. !?!?!?

      1. Eat My Squirrel*

        One time when I was a teenager, I was taking an order on the phone for the pizza place I worked at. The lady, who had a deep husky voice but was still obviously a woman, asked me something and I said “sure.” She was SO CONVINCED that I said “sir” and SO PISSED about it that even after multiple times of saying “don’t call me sir” “I didn’t, I said sure,” she called back after the order was finished to complain to my manager.

      2. Richard Hershberger*

        I have been watching old episodes of the original What’s My Line from 1950-1967. The host always, without fail, inquires of any female contestant whether it is “Miss” or “Mrs.,” and if one of the panelists gets it wrong he will correct them.

        1. Scrooge McDunk*

          This has been my jam lately, too. Came for Dorothy Kilgallen, stayed for Bennet Cerf and John Daly. John Daly had very old-school manners.

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            Daly made the first news report of the attack on Pearl Harbor. You can find it on YouTube, with Daly talking in that old-timey radio announcer voice. Bennett Cerf: his memoir “At Random” is a fascinating read. His joke books, on the other hand, don’t hold up.

            Holding up less well: the period’s implicit assumptions about sex and race. The producers loved to bring in contestants who went against type. Often this meant a woman in a traditionally male occupation. I don’t recall any examples in the other direction. And any traditionally attractive female contestant would have her looks remarked upon by the panelists, and often would get wolf whistles from the audience.

            The going against type also can extend to race, such as when Samuel Pierce (who would go on to be the only Black member of Reagan’s cabinet) was the contestant, a Black judge being cause for wonder. Then there was the time Eddie Anderson was the mystery guest, but he was billed as “Rochester.” They never called a White actor by the name of his character.

            On the plus side, the early episode where John Daly lights up a cigarette when he doesn’t realize he is on camera was amazing!

      3. foolofgrace*

        >The reason being that a man would be more insulted at being mistaken for a woman than a woman would be if mistaken for a man.

        I am female with a deep voice. It’s not unusual for the worker at the drive-thru to call me “Sir” when taking my order, then when I drive up to collect, they can sometimes be a bit flustered. I’m good-natured about it because, well, I DO have a deep voice.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          My wife, who grew up here and is more locally prominent than I am, kept her maiden name. I often get called “Mr. [wife’s name].” I cheerfully explain that I didn’t take her name when we married, though in retrospect it would have simplified things.

      4. Artemesia*

        I apparently have a voice that is ambiguous in tone on the phone and often get called ‘sir’ — I assume it is because they don’t want to err by calling a guy ‘Ma’am’ for just this reason.

    6. ceiswyn*

      I would prefer that they don’t call me anything, really. I mean, there’s only me on the call, why do they need to be saying my name?

      I’ll say ‘yes, call me cei’ because the only other alternative is that they repeatedly call me ‘Mrs wyn’, no matter how often I point out that it’s Ms. But that doesn’t mean I’m happy with it, it just means that I’ve realised I’m not going to be offered any options that are actually acceptable. And I’ll use a different organisation in future if I can.

      1. Graciosa*

        I find the default to “Mrs. X” annoying as well.

        Are they assuming that any female over twenty must be either a) married, or b) a Victorian-style housekeeper?

    7. ceiswyn*

      I would prefer that they don’t call me anything, really. I mean, there’s only me on the call, why do they need to be saying my name?

      I’ll say ‘yes, call me cei’ because the only other alternative is that they repeatedly call me ‘Mrs wyn’, no matter how often I point out that it’s Ms. But that doesn’t mean I’m happy with it, it just means that I’ve realised I’m not going to be offered any options that are actually acceptable. In fact, I still despise the faux-chumminess and I’ll use a different organisation in future if I can.

      1. A Penguin of Ill Repute*

        At the call center I work at, we’re required to use the caller’s name at least once. I usually work it in right after they’ve said it, in the opening script. “Thank you for calling ____, this is Penguin speaking, can I get your first and last name please?” “Tyrion Lannister.” “Alright, Tyrion, and is there a good callback number for you in case we get disconnected?” “555-555-5555.” “Thank you for that, how can we help you today?”

        And then I don’t need to bring it up again but usually do in the closing script. “Glad we could help. Did you need a ticket or reference number for this call?” “No, that won’t be necessary.” “Alright, just call us again if you need anything else and have a great rest of your day, Tyrion.”

    8. RitaRelates*

      I have never experienced a rep asking to call me my name before either. I think that would be odd too. I don’t care what they call me, I just need them to help me with something and I’ll be only my merry way. Why get worked up that someone is calling you by your name? That’s strange to me.

    9. Daisy-dog*

      I worked at a call center that preferred to let us speak naturally, so we didn’t get scripts. I naturally do not use names in conversation unless I am trying to get someone’s attention. I would only use a name when I placed someone on hold and it ended up being a long hold – I assumed they might have put the phone on speaker and walked away. I would say Ms./Mr. Last Name in those cases. I sometimes said Ma’am or Sir if I wasn’t confident in the pronunciation of the last name. This was before I knew about non-binary as a concept.

      1. Aerin*

        Same, no scripts here. Since we’re an internal desk, they provide their login ID, I ask “Is this (first name)?” They confirm, and we go from there. (If I really have no hope of pronouncing it I’ll say “And who am I speaking with?” and then repeat their first name back to them. But usually I’ll take a stab at it, and if I’m off and they correct me I’ll repeat it back the correct way.) The first name doesn’t come up again unless I have to get their attention, or if we end up on a conference call and I have to refer to them specifically.

        You can tell the agents who came from desks with scripts because they randomly use the caller’s name a LOT. It always feels weird and unnatural.

    10. ObserverCN*

      I’m single, and call center workers call me “Mrs.” all the time. I’d rather they not use my name at all.
      The kids I work with at academic competitions sometimes call me “Mrs.,” but I then ask them to call me by my first name. My mom is the only Mrs. my-last-name out there :)

    11. RB*

      I really hate it when they try to be your friend. Just stop with the naming preference and talk about the issue. Aargh, I’m angry just thinking about some of these calls. I’m with Alison on this.

  5. Aphrodite*

    OP #2, I admit I am shocked by the unmitigated gall of anyone who would presume to tell others to “donate” a minimum of two times a month and for a specific amount. Even though we’ve seen a lot of letters on AAM about these issues, this seems even over those lines (kidney boss excepted). A vendor’s mother? Holy cow! I’d immediately stop giving anything at all for anyone for any amount. No one has the right to spend anyone’s else money unless they want. to work my job for as long as it takes to earn that amount of (post-tax) money.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          Corporations do it too. You are paying for your purchase, when you are invited to contribute to a charity of the corporation’s choice so the corporation can take credit for your donation.

          1. Graciosa*

            I really hate this as well, to the point where I stop visiting for a while when certain charity drives are on at a few local shops.

            Part of this may be that I take my donations seriously, and feel like someone is trying to scam me when they ask for money for “a children’s hospital” when I have no opportunity to research it and determine if my donation will be well used.

            I therefore err on the side of assuming it wouldn’t be.

          2. Fiddle_Faddle*

            That really irks me and I’ve gotten very good at saying “no” very firmly. This request often comes at the end of several other questions, such as “did you find everything you were looking for” and “would you like to save 10% on your purchases by applying for our credit card”. (After one extended exchange, I told the cashier that what I wanted was for him to ring up my purchases and if he asked me one more question I would be leaving. And they wonder why customers prefer to shop on line.)

            1. Rebecca1*

              And if they don’t ask, they can get written up or fired. They are in quite a miserable situation.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Based on analysis of the time I saw it: the person/people doing the strong arm donations for everything (‘coworker X’s sister’s husband’s cousin needs IVF’ kind of levels) it was due to them believing in their hearts that this was an *excellent* route to promotion/management. That they could organise a team to all give money for whatever at a moment’s notice meant they were taking on more responsibility and therefore deserved more pay.

        Probably an outlier, but I do recall the jaw drop of the HR bod when one of the people used it as ‘proof’ that they needed to hold a senior management post. Surreal day.

        1. Well...*

          Along these lines but maybe less cynical: I think people like organizing for a good cause, and service can break up the monotony of the day. They aren’t directing this energy in the right direction though.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            I tried removing cynical from my settings, it crashed the entire OS :p

            But yeah, good point. I wonder if a comparison to the people at work who won’t stop trying to get you to sign up for their charity run/rock climb/exercise club/whatever would work? I get that they are genuinely interested in getting everyone to do a bit of exercise and be healthy and also raise some money but they also need to be able to take a ‘no’.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Speaking and/or deciding for others can be a big thing in families. “Hubs will be over to help paint on Saturday!” Meanwhile the husband has made other commitments. There’s an element of “Because *I* said so!”- a controlling type of thing. There’s a power trip thing, where one “can” make commitments for others without their knowledge or consent. And I think there is an underlying neediness/fear driving the habit also. “Well, if hubby doesn’t paint, then WHO will???”

        I have had an opportunity to watch this play out IRL and this is just what I saw going on.

        The first time I had to stop and think about how this is NOT good behavior, was in learning how to drive. The driving instructor said that when you have two lanes of traffic or more in one direction, you cannot stop and allow people to enter traffic. That is because you cannot be certain the cars in the lane beside you will also stop. You cannot give away someone else’s right of way, you can only give away your own right of way.

        I had to think about this one. I was so used to being around people who committed my time and resources for me that it never occurred to me that they should not be doing this.

        OP, this one is a steep hill to climb but you are totally correct, other people cannot give away YOUR resources- be it time, money, possessions, knowledge, whatever. Getting people who don’t understand this concept to try to understand is very hard. Stay strong.

        1. ErinWV*

          @Not So NewReader The anecdote about not stopping in multiple lanes of traffic rings true for me because a couple months ago I witnessed a fender bender caused by this exact situation. Person going east, in the left lane, is stopped so that person in the west-bound lane can make a left-hand turn into a parking lot. Person eastbound in the right lane zipping along with no way of seeing this is happening utterly T-boned the turning car.

          People think they are being friendly, but when we are in cars, we should be going when it is our turn and stopping when it isn’t. Doing anything else throws people off and causes accidents.

          1. Nerdling*

            Someone tried to wave me through two lanes of traffic the other day and was visibly perturbed when I declined to take them up on the offer since I couldn’t see exactly where traffic in the lane on their other side was. Sorry, but I’m not risking my car and health for your temporary feel-good points, although I appreciate the general idea, I guess. But also, if you’d stop stopping, the rest of traffic would clear out faster, and I could make my turn.

      3. Artemesia*

        In my half-vast experience it is an officious busy body who thinks they acquire power or status by being ‘in charge’ and are not ‘in charge’ of much else. I haven’t seen it coming from managers — it is usually a volunteer and it escalates and escalates until finally there is some sort of explosion of push back and it stops. Often it is an AA who is sucking up to the boss by increasingly elaborate gifts to him, but it can be anyone especially when in addition to currying favor with a clueless boss who allows it, it begins to include many other gift situations.

        My last office handled it with an annual ‘flower fund’ in which higher status (higher paid) people were expected to donate more — there were suggested levels, but no one policed it. The AA in charge of the fund knew how much money she had and so sympathy gifts and such were managed modestly and there were not birthday or similar gifts.

    1. Batty Twerp*

      Painting cabinets is a business expense (unless the employees randomly took it upon themselves to paint it, in which case asking for money to pay for the pain is even more WTF!)
      A gift for the boss is gifting up! Completely discouraged for all the reasons mentioned on AAM every holiday season! If Alison doesn’t have it on a quick insert button by now I’d be surprised.
      A memorial for a vendor’s mother is taking the vendor-supplier relationship to new levels, but given that this is just one of many examples, I wonder what alternative planet the company owners actually came from. Just say no, OP2. They’re not on the same page as you and may never even own the same book.

    2. BRR*

      After all of the donations does anybody here have any money left at the end of the month haha

    3. The Original K.*

      Right – twice a month is a lot! $5 here and there for birthdays (flowing down, of course), or flowers for someone who has suffered a loss, OK, but twice a month every month is bonkers. I love the “it’s not in my budget” line and use it, because it’s true. Paying to paint office cabinets (that’s a business expense, and I wouldn’t care either way if the cabinets got painted) isn’t in my budget and never will be.

    4. Van Wilder*

      Employees decided to paint cabinets in the office themselves and decided that all the employees (rather than the company) should cover that expense??? But why?? Who would do that?? Sounds like some people don’t have enough work. I suggest volunteering.

    5. Karo*

      I’m more bothered by the kitchen cabinet paint than the vendor’s mother. Paint should be a business expense!

  6. LC*

    OP #3

    When I worked in a call center, we generally used first names, but always would adjust to whatever they referred to themselves as. Very, very, very few people were ever upset by us defaulting to first names, and whenever that did happen, we made a note in their file so if they called again, the person answering would know.

    Emails were slightly different. For years, if we replied to an email, we would address it the way they signed it. Someone signs it Mrs. Dr. Fancypants III? That’s how we address the reply. Someone signs it Cal, that’s how we address the reply (even if their file or their email address has Calvin).
    That changed before I left, they made it so we always had to do Dear Firstname Lastname, no matter what. I made a fuss about that one, I thought it was absurd we would stop referring to people how they indicated they wanted to be referred to.

    I do have an issue with their assertion that 9 out of 10 people are fine with it when asked though. A) I’d actually believe it’s much higher, but B) basically no one will say “no you absolutely may not use my first name.” Most people, even if they have a preference, will just say “yeah that’s fine” and try to get to the point of the damn call. So I agree with the conclusion they drew, I just think they got there in a very flawed way.

    I’m sure it depends a lot on what the industry though. We were mid/high end retail and very focused on building personal relationships, I imagine it may have been different if it was for, I dunno, retirement investing? Or something?

    (And it’s not what you asked, but throwing my two cents in) I’m also with Alison that absolutely no one needs to say the callers name seven thousand times per call, so many places are just over the top with it. Use it once at the beginning and then any time you would normally say someone’s name. Drives me bonkers to hear Ms. LC at the start and/or end of every sentence.)

    1. Scarlet2*

      “basically no one will say “no you absolutely may not use my first name.” Most people, even if they have a preference, will just say “yeah that’s fine” and try to get to the point of the damn call. ”

      Yes! It’s so odd to conclude that people actively like or even prefer being called by their first name based on that. I think it’s more likely that some people don’t really care and others would feel rude to say no.
      (And I don’t know where this idea that you need to repeat someone’s name over and over originally came from, but I can’t imagine most people are not absolutely irritated by it.)

      1. Well...*

        Yes this strikes me as a sales gimmick like… Once you agree to it, which you will because it’s the path of least resistance, then you will go along with it for the whole conversation. Then the first name familiarity might tip the scales in salesperson’s favor in some other way (more likely to buy something, less hostile, more superficial rapport built, idk). It’s got that “try this one trick” vibe.

        1. Lance*

          That’s what I was thinking; that somehow being referred to by name makes it more ‘personal’, and that might make people feel better. Theoretically.

          In practice, I agree with a lot of others in the comments: speak normally, and get to the point. It’s a business call (that I might not even be interested in at all), not a personal one.

        2. Van Wilder*

          Yes, someone in sales somewhere extrapolated from a study saying that calling a person by name disarms them (or something) and now they think they’re pulling one over on us by giving that personal touch. I always feel like I’m being worked over when I hear someone use my name mid-conversation.

          1. Kelly L.*

            There is a bit in How to Win Friends and Influence People that says people love to hear the sound of their own name.

            But the actual context was that Carnegie’s client had a difficult name that everyone butchered, so he made a point of learning how to pronounce it correctly. Somehow sales gurus have taken “pay enough attention to get people’s names right” and turned it into “say their name 5 times per sentence, whether it makes any sense or not.”

            1. allathian*

              Yeah, and I can see the point there. Someone who’s used to getting their name butchered by all and sundry will probably have positive feelings towards an agent or salesperson who gets it right.

      2. Asenath*

        Definitely. I’d just as soon some stranger I’m doing business with (or who wants to do business with me) NOT call me by the same name my real friends and long-term business contacts use. It feels like a fake and manipulative imitation of friendship, especially when they do it again and again. But I’m also not going to waste my time telling them to call me Ms. Asenath; I’m hoping to get off the phone as soon as possible, and not speak to them again. I am still very likely, in the unlikely event that I don’t check the number calling and not even answer if I don’t know it, respond to some stranger saying that they want to speak to Asenath by asking coolly who is calling.

        1. Van Wilder*

          Interesting take. I feel like my friends and family call me by a nickname or nothing at all. My first name feels like the proper formal address to me. I prefer it over “Ms. Wilder” but I guess I don’t even notice when a call center does one or the other, because it’s all so scripted and formal, no matter what.

        2. Roja*

          I feel the same way. I won’t correct them on the call; it’s not worth it. But it does imply a level of familiarity that catches me off guard.

          And I’m a pretty casual person usually so I’m not sure why I feel that way, but I do.

      3. Sleepy unicorn*

        I’m pretty sure it comes from one of Dale Carnegie’s books and similar. I’ve always found it annoying and weird.

    2. Name of Requirement*

      Agreed! It’s setting up the call to be rather adversarial to say, “No, you may NOT call me by my first name” if asked, so even if they do have a preference they’ll probably say it’s fine.
      I do hate emails where I’m addressed by my first name only but the sender signs their whole name.

    3. Bagpuss*

      Yes, I think they are making assumptions .
      You say “Very, very, very few people were ever upset by us defaulting to first names” but I think all that shows is that very few people were *sufficiently* upset by defaulting to first names that they made an issue of it. I think it’s entirely possible that there were, and are, a lot more who didn’t like it or were annoyed by it but didn’t feel it was worth making an issue of.

      I personally dislike it- if we don’t know each other, I’d rather we stick to ‘Ms. Bagpuss’ , but in most situations I am not going to correct it because mostly I just want to et through the call, and I tend to assume that the person in a call centre has been told to do it a certain way so I won’t take my irritation out on them.

      Like you, for e-mails I look at how they have addressed and signed off their e-mail. If they address it to me as MS Bagpuss, and sign off as Jane Smith, then I will reply to Ms. Smith. If they address it to me by my first name then I’ll respond using their first name, and if they are called Oliver but sign off as Ollie, then I’ll use that.

      1. Akcipitrokulo*

        Yeah. Usually if someone irritates me I don’t complain – I just use a different company.

        1. Just Another Zebra*

          My boss likes to say, “Of all the people who are upset, 30% will complain. The other 70% will just go elsewhere.”

      2. Sleepy unicorn*

        I’m wondering if this is either a generational thing or a geographical thing? I’m Canadian and and gen x/millenial cusp and people nearly always default to my first name and I prefer it. I also usually automatically default to people’s first names. I’ve never been told or taught to do differently (at least once reaching adulthood)

        1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          I realized during one online discussion of the merits of Ms vs Mrs vs Miss that it has never even been an issue for me, simply because I am always called “Elspeth” not “McGillicuddy”. I can’t remember a single time when I was called Ms, Mrs OR Miss McGillicuddy. Miss Elspeth, yes, but only by or to small children.

        2. Filosofickle*

          American, Gen X, and I automatically use first names and expect first names, professionally and socially. Last names reflect an old-school focus on status and deference that are really uncomfortable for me. The only exception are parents of my friends, as I grew up calling them Mr and Mrs so I wait for them to tell me it’s ok.

        3. At home with work*

          It’s geography/cultural. I’m in Canada too and the question had me thinking, “what? How is this a thing?” You call people by their first names or don’t use them at all. Here it couldn’t be more true to say, “excuse me, don’t use my name, call me Dr./Mrs/Mr/Ms Asshat.” Asshat it is then!

        4. allathian*

          I’m in Finland, and I grew up calling my teachers by their first names, or more commonly, nicknames, and I still feel that using my name repeatedly on calls is overly familiar. I don’t mind them using my full name once to confirm my identity, and maybe using my first name once to wish me a good day as we end the call. But I hate it when they use my name repeatedly during a conversation, and if it’s a sales call, it will definitely make me less likely to buy from them. Gendered titles have pretty much fallen out of use, and academic ones are only used professionally, never socially.

      3. fhqwhgads*

        Sure but asking the question “do you mind?” also doesn’t get closer to the real info. People want to get on with the interaction, so they say “sure” to move on. So whether you’re asking or presuming, as long as no one is bothered enough to very actively push back, you still have no idea why their actual preference is.

    4. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      I have, in the past, told callers “I don’t know you, why are you using my first name?” I like to hear them sputter and splutter. Now I just hit Spam and Block.

      1. LC*

        Based on your wording, I hope you mean people who call you out of the blue, rather than people you call.

        I don’t love it either way but especially if someone calls the company. As much as that job hurt my spirit in a lot of ways, we (as in, me and my team and my other front-ish line people who spoke with people who contacted us) did our very best to be not-shitty and make it as easy and productive (for the customer) as possible.

        Responding in a way to specifically mess with people who are trying to do their best really sucks. If they cold called you and they’re being pushy or whatever, I can see that a little more, but I still wouldn’t say anything to intentionally antagonize them. I’d just get off the call and maybe do the spam and block thing.

        1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          Please note that I said “callers.” If I meant people I had called, I wouldn’t refer to them as callers.

      2. Concertina*

        Here’s my problem with that method, especially if you’re the one calling them: call centers have rigorous scoring for their calls. I was required to maintain more than 85% for my calls, which was low for the industry from what I gather. My husband has to maintain a 97%. We would lose points for not using a caller’s first name. You’ll never convince the company to change their minds like that but you might actively hurt someone’s employment.

        1. Lyudie*

          I was wondering about this sort of thing. If a call center has a policy of using Ms. or Mr. Lastname but I insist the rep call me Lyudie, the rep has to choose between potentially annoying me (the paying customer) or getting in trouble with their boss for not following the script.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      They think that a *call center* using a name builds a relationship with the customer? I’m happiest when they can answer my question or do what it is I’m calling about. Or transfer me to the person who can. And don’t sell my name & address to other mailing lists.

      1. LC*

        I mean, without saying the company, yes. Not in a “Mr. Johnson, I’ve got that pulled up. Mr. Johnson, can you confirm this? Thank you Mr. Johnson.” kind of way. But personal relationships were absolutely something we did, and referring to someone the way they want to be referred to was a (very small but not nothing) piece of that.

        It feels really weird kind of defending my old job, that’s definitely not something I’ve done much over the years, but (what I’m reading as) your incredulity at my statement feels like it’s directed toward the actual employees rather than the company, which I think is unfair.

    6. Constance Lloyd*

      In my FormerJob, we answered all emails with “good morning” or “good afternoon.” Why? Because we served a TON of doctors who thought we should know they were doctors and refer to them as such even if they signed their email as “Bill.” If you don’t call them anything, you can’t call them the wrong thing :)

      1. lilsheba*

        Oh that reminds me whenever I talked to a DR on the phone at the call center where I worked, they always want to be called Dr so and so, not by first name. Every single one.

      2. LC*

        Oh yes, I definitely ran into that. I was happy to use whatever they preferred, but it was kind of eyeroll-y when they signed their email River but then were annoyed we didn’t call them Dr. Song.

    7. foolofgrace*

      There’s a promo for the upcoming Aretha Franklin movie “Respect” where she says to someone (off-camera), “I would like you to call me Miss Franklin.” Yeah!

        1. Don P.*

          Also, I don’t know the context of the specific line, but black adults not wanted to be called by their first name is a WHOLE THING, for very understandable reasons.

    8. Irish girl*

      What I love is when I get a call on behalf of my kids or husband and they call me “Mrs Smith”. And i always go that’s not my name and there is silence on their end. I say my name is Irish Girl. Puts them in a strange position as you can hear their who script go out the window and now they have to compose themselves after calling me the wrong name because of their assumptions we all have the same last name. Just ask me if I’m their mom/wife and move on without using my name.

    9. Phony Genius*

      “basically no one will say “no you absolutely may not use my first name.”

      We’ve had letters here from people whose co-workers either didn’t want others to call them by their first name, and/or wouldn’t call others by their first name. So, anything’s possible.

      1. LC*

        It’s absolutely possible, it’s just extremely unlikely in my experience.

        In the (does quick math on vague memory of normal number of daily calls * how long I worked there, holy hell that’s a lot) ~60,000+ calls/chats/emails I took at that job, that happened maybe a dozen times? Maybe? And if I remember correctly, most if not all of those were doctors or someone else with a title.

        And I’m definitely not saying that there are people with a strong preference one way or another. I think it’s just pretty uncommon for people to feel strongly enough that they’ll respond with a “no” to the “can I call you this?” question, which is why I have an issue with OP’s company using that in their reasoning. It’s just not a very useful question if you’re trying to figure out what people actually prefer vs. what people will put up with.

    10. Aerin*

      In 10 years I have had one (1) person respond to “Is this (first name)?” by correcting me to say “Ms. (Last Name).” It was weird, but I just didn’t use her name again. The people at the very top of our organization get referred to by first name, that’s just how we roll.

    11. Nacho*

      9/10 is probably an informal estimate. That’s the kind of thing you say when the answer’s not 100%, but it’s damn near close. I have had a few callers insist on being called “Dr.XXX” or something though, so they definitely exist.

  7. L. Ron Jeremy*

    As proven in cases like this, I have always sent a thank you note to everyone I came in contact with during an interview.

    You just never know what will tip the scale in your favor.

    1. twocents*

      My other thought is this was an interview that LW’s friend arranged, so even if I was no longer interested in the position, I would make an effort to be polite for my friend’s sake.

      1. Liane*

        The friend arranged the interview and presumably knows her own boss, grandboss, and company culture better than OP does. So maybe the friend should have told OP, “Boss and Grandboss are real sticklers about manners/how things are done/whatever. So send them a thank you note right after the interview. Forgetting can cost you the job.”

          1. Observer*

            Except that the idea that these note are “just common courtesy” is nonsense. As noted in a number of posts here, and the post Alison links to.

          2. Metadata minion*

            The idea that politeness requires a written followup is arbitrary, though, and as plenty of people have noted, unique to the US. Maybe the LW thought thanking people at the time was the polite thing to do and that adding anything extra would look weird and pushy.

          3. Lana Kane*

            If the OP thanked the interviewer at the end of the interview, that’s politeness. A thank you note on top of another thank you, IMO, shouldn’t fall under the polite/impolite umbrella.

          4. Nanani*

            It has nothing to do with politeness. Job interview “thank you notes” are actually follow ups, not like “thank you for the baby shower gift” cards.

    2. AllPlayNoWork*

      Thank you! I felt a little crazy reading the responses on thank you notes. When I was in college, I interviewed with my university for what was essentially a house-keeping position over the summer. I sent both my interviewers hand written thank you cards. I later found out that my note is what tipped the scale in my favor, because it showed an initiative to follow-up. None of the other candidates had bothered to do a thank you note, I’m assuming because of the type of labor involved.

      Now that most communication takes place by email, thank you notes are such a simple way to indicate your continued interest after your interviews!

      1. fhqwhgads*

        I often hear the “thank you note tipped in your favor” thing, but I don’t think really it should be seen as a box to check – which I think a lot of managers and applicants alike seem to do. The note is a good idea for all the reasons Alison said, and when you do them it should add something. So if I have two candidates and one sends a note and the other doesn’t, who until that point seemed equal, it’s not an automatic “note person wins”. However, something the note sender says in the note could be the tiebreaker. That’s when the note-factor comes into play. From either the applicant or hiring side, if they’re treating Note Exists as a perfunctory positive, they’re doing it wrong.

      2. New Jack Karyn*

        A housekeeping position used thank-you notes as a tie-breaker? That sounds really classist.

    3. No Tribble At All*

      I definitely don’t know the contact information for everyone I come into contact with!

      1. JustaTech*

        Exactly this! I was just interviewing folks last week and one of them asked for my email address “in case [they] had any further questions” and the other person didn’t ask for my email address.

        The one who asked for my address send a thank you card, but didn’t end up being the person we hired.

        Like, maybe if you’re skilled at the ways of business email address generation you could guess at my email address to send a thank you note, but if you’ve only been working with the outside recruiter then you might not even be able to do that, and not everyone has the presence of mind to ask for an address during an interview.

  8. Claire*

    LW4 – because it can feel undermining to constantly be apologizing at work, I like to thank people for their patience when there has been a delay in my response. Like Alison said, we’ve not done anything wrong! But this is a good way to acknowledge it and maybe diffuse some irritation on the other end.

    1. Eeyore's Missing Tail*

      I do this as well. Instead of starting with an apology, I start with “Thanks for your patience.” Like Alison and Claire said, you’ve done nothing wrong!

    2. BadWolf*

      I recently read something that suggested thanking people rather than apologizing or requesting was a good way to go (assuming a direct apology wasn’t more appropriate). So “Thank you for your patience” vs “I’m sorry for the delay” — or in the directions route “Thank you for disposing of your dog waste” vs “Please dispose of your dog waste”.

  9. C Average*

    Another reason it’s an awful practice to repeatedly use the customer’s name is that if you happen to be mispronouncing their name, you’re doing so repeatedly and driving them mad.

    Why do I know this? Oh, no reason.

    (My name is not only phonetic but an actual noun, the name of a very common botanical. And yet people still manage to mangle it.)

    1. Ginger ale for all*

      Good point. You could also be using their paperwork name and not the name they actually go by, as in a Margaret who goes by Peg or an Edwin Thomas who goes by Tom.

      1. Susan Ivanova*

        Or a MacGyver who managed to keep his first name secret from even his closest friends for years – or for the one I know in RL, secret even from the company directory because everyone knows he goes by his last name only. Plus the company directory has fields for “preferred name”, which is where I put both parts of my double-first.

      2. MtnLaurel*

        There are also many people who go by a middle name and not their first name. My parents and my husband all do, and I find it really annoying when folks call them by t their first names.

    2. londonedit*

      Yes – also, I don’t use the full version of my name that’s on all my official paperwork, so if they said ‘May I call you Elizabeth?’, for example, I’d think ‘No, you can’t, that’s the version of my name I purposely don’t use because I don’t like it very much’!

    3. Artemesia*

      my last name includes a common everyday noun too and yet half of the people meeting me for the first time mispronounce it and I have never understood why — it is so obvious what the first attempt should be.

  10. T*

    LW #2 I 100% agree with just crossing your name off the list without contributing!! Also, why are employees paying for paint for cabinets?
    LW#3 I’ve worked in client facing roles for many years and we were never required to call people by last name. I had a fee clients who asked us to use their last names, but it was so rare. I doubt many customers will be upset.

    1. SarahKay*

      Not only ‘why are they paying for paint’ but also, what on earth are they painting these cabinets with that it costs $150?!?
      Are these enormous cabinets that take up the space of a small room? Is the paint infused with gold leaf? Is it magic paint designed to repel vampires from the super-secret cabinet contents?

      Leaving aside my slightly fascinated speculation on the cost, they’re bang out of order demanding money like this and good luck in refusing to contribute.

    2. Bilateralrope*

      I think that just crossing your name off the list could provoke some entertaining reactions if they start harassing people to figure out who did it. How your coworkers react to that will be worth knowing.

      Or they might just say nothing. Which might as well be permission for you to continue.

      Just don’t let them know you’re one of the people not paying.

      1. WellRed*

        I would love it if they crossed off the name, announced they did so and started a trend where other employees do the same thereby imploding this whole shakedown system.

    3. BadWolf*

      The drawback to just crossing off your name is if they freaked out that someone might be stealing money instead of contributing money. But now that I write this, sometimes things have to get worse instead of getting better. If they raise a big stink, it might bring the process and quantity of requests to the light of management who, rather than trying to “fix” anything, will just put a stop to it.

      Also, having painted my kitchen cabinets, it’s a pain in the rear to do well and I wouldn’t want random coworkers doing it unless they happen to be seasoned painters on the side.

  11. rubble*

    aside from all other objections to the hard requirement for thank you notes, 24 hours isn’t a very long time to give people to send one! what do they do if they eliminate you after 24 hours and then you send a thank you note within 48 hours?

    1. JM60*

      I agree. I find the convention of sending a “thank you” note for job interviews a little silly. But part of the value I think they do have is to show that you’ve still interested in the job for X and Y reasons after reflecting on the interview. For this purpose, 24 hours is a short time limit.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Came here to say this – doesn’t Alison recommend to wait until the next day, so your thank-you doesn’t seem rushed and like you were checking off a box? 24 hours seems arbitrary. What if my interview was on Friday afternoon?

  12. Alex Beamish*

    About Q3, I don’t mind if I’m addressed as Mr. X (I kinda like it, actually), and I realize I don’t like it when they go directly to addressing me by my first name. We’re dealing with business, we’re not sipping Margaritas on the dock somewhere. Let’s keep it professional.

    1. SaintPaulGal*

      Except, my name is Angela. That isn’t unprofessional. That’s factual. That is my name. It’s not like they’re contemplating calling me A-dawg or Jugs or something. People get to have preferences about how they are addressed, but there’s nothing unprofessional about a person’s name.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        There is if they screw it up. Someone who goes by their initials or a nickname or middle name–or who gets their name mispronounced frequently.
        (Liza pronounced Lisa, Roberto shortened to Bob, Elizabeth “call me Liz” not shortened to Liz, Priti pronounced “pretty”, Anandaganesh or Lujira pronounced three different ways with a stumble each time.)
        My name is a common English name and it still gets mangled by native speakers. I’d rather they just confirm who I am at the start and then stop using my name!

    2. JM60*

      Personally, I’d slightly prefer being called by my first name, but would be annoyed by the call being lengthened by them having to ask my preference.

      As for being “professional”, there’s nothing inherently professional about using someone’s surname, nor anything inherently unprofessional with using someone’s first name. This is a case where whether or not something is considered “professional” is often contextual and based merely on convention.

    3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Honestly, as a divorced woman who went back to my maiden name, I’d take being addressed by my (extremely common and easy) first name over a “Mrs (maiden name)” (which no one can ever pronounce correctly anyway – but to be fair, my longer and more unusual-looking married last name was usually mangled beyond recognition).

      Also very confused on how this is not professional. This is how my boss, grandboss, and so on up to the department head level address me; by my first name. And I address them by theirs. I promise I have never partaken in margarita drinking on a dock with any of them.

    4. MtnLaurel*

      However, my married name is not my legal name. When folks call me Mrs. Laurel, I tell them that’s my mother. I’m Mrs. Orchid. Ms. Laurel, Dr. Laurel? Yes. Just not Mrs.

  13. Cheerfully Polite Grey Rock*

    I had never even heard of thank you notes being a thing before I discovered this site. I am not in the US though, so wasn’t sure if it was country- or industry-specific.
    Other non-US readers, have you encountered this before? And for those where it’s common, how much weight would you put on it?

    For the OP, I think you dodged a bullet with this one, not only that they threw out your application because you didn’t follow up with something that is effectively a “nice to have”, but also, they were “shocked” that you didn’t follow up? I’ve always received a very definite “don’t call us, we’ll call you” message from interviewers, so I would think it impolite to contact them!

  14. healthcare worker*

    #2- any chance you work more than one job? If so, the response I gave when I worked multiple part-time/PRN jobs might work for you. When I was asked to do things like Christmas exchanges, I almost always declined and explained that if I participated in that sort of thing at each of my jobs, it would add up very quickly. People seemed to understand that– although they were also more polite about the requests in general than your coworkers seem to be.

    1. Kara*

      I don’t think you need to give a reason at all.

      You do not owe these people. You did not agree to this. It is weird and strange and on them.

  15. FlyingAce*

    #3 – My first job out of high school, nearly 20 years ago, was at a call center. It was mostly Spanish calls (though I was trained to handle the occasional English callers as well). Back then, the convention was to use the Spanish equivalent of Mr. / Ms. Last Name, and to use the formal “you” (usted) as well. Same for calls in English – no formal “you” in this case, but we would still refer to customers by their last names. Many years and several jobs later, I found myself at another call center (taking calls in English this time); the convention now was to refer to customers by their first names. This was six years ago (I’m still there, just no longer in a customer-facing role); makes me wonder what prompted the change during that time.

    Interestingly, as a customer I’ve also noticed a recent tendency to being called Mrs. First Name (in Spanish) or being addressed with the informal “you” (tú) – both of which I find mildly annoying (I don’t mind being addressed by my first name, but adding the title to it sounds weird to me).

    1. RedinSC*

      When living in S. America more senior individuals were referred to as don or doña first name. It was a sign of respect. So they saying señor or señora First name?

      1. FlyingAce*

        Yup, señor / señora First name. Don / doña would have sounded better, in my opinion…

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          I was watching La Cocinera del Castamar on Netflix, and the aristocrats address each other as Don/Dona First Name, so perhaps that’s where it originates?

          NB. I don’t speak Spanish, and don’t know too much about Spanish etiquette!

    2. MK*

      There has been a definite trend towards less formality for quite a while now, not only in forms of address but in many things, like clothes.

    3. A.N. O'Nyme*

      I think part of it is also that it makes the whole interaction seem more casual, with the expectation being that you see the company as a friend (a bit like how many companies have “quirky” Twitter accounts – it makes them seem more like people) rather than as an entity that is attempting to get as much money from you as they can while providing as little service as they can get away with.

    4. Zephy*

      I work with college students and get called Zephy, Ms. Zephy, Mrs. Zephy, Ms. Lastname, or Mrs. Lastname all day long. I don’t personally use Mrs., even though I am now married, so at least that’s less objectively incorrect now than it used to be, but tbh as long as they’re not calling me rude names it’s fine, I’m just happy they came in/bothered to answer the phone…

      But I would prefer if companies/CSRs just didn’t use my name at all beyond confirming identity. We don’t need to be friends, Wakeen, I just need to pay my water bill or get my AC fixed or schedule an oil change or whatever, please do that.

    5. RagingADHD*

      I get Ms Firstname on CS calls a lot (in English). I don’t mind it, because it’s a very common construction here in the South – though it’s most common to hear it from children, or to use it when addressing a much older woman with whom you have a personal connection (surrogate grandma, church elder, that kind of thing.)

      It is odd to hear a construction that’s both formal and somewhat intimate/personal from a stranger, especially when it’s obvious they aren’t anywhere near the South at all.

  16. RedinSC*

    I work in fundraising, so I do expect a thank you note, because, as Allison said, it’s a big part of my job. It is another way for me to evaluate the candidate. However, if I don’t get one, especially from an entry level candidate, I am not going to hold it against them. It might sway me if two people are basically equally qualified, though, if I get a TY or not, everything else being equal I will hire the person who sent it. But how often does that happen?

    1. ElleKay*

      You know, my mom is rabid about *handwritten* thank you notes and it’s never before occurred to me that it’s because her whole career has been in grants & fundraising!
      She’s in the C-suite at a nonprofit now and I’ve tried to explain that a handwritten, mailed TY isn’t practical in all cases and she just.doesn’t.get.it!

      1. higheredrefugee*

        She must have slow turnarounds for hiring then. Working in higher education and government, it takes time for snail mail to arrive at my desk, those usually arrived after the next decisions are being made.

      2. RedinSC*

        I did hand write the TY for the job I have now. I haven’t interviewed for a job in nearly 8 years, but probably I’d send an email for my next TY if/when I interview again.

  17. Qwetry*

    I am a little amused by the assertion that LW1 is the discourteous one, when the hiring manager explicitly promised to get back to her and then just didn’t.

    1. Batty Twerp*

      I get the impression that the hiring manager getting back to her was conditional on receiving a thank you note.
      Dodged a bullet methinks.

  18. Thank you!*

    So – personally I don’t care at all about the thank you note. And a lot of that comes from how the communication funnels. I went through it myself when interviewing for higher level jobs. Do you send a thank you? You don’t have the hiring manager’s email and it seems invasive to ask. Sending a thank you through the recruiter seems awkward. I’m 100% okay if people aren’t sure of the protocol and don’t send a thank you. As a hiring manager I base my decision off of the interview solely. And I can tell you I don’t care if your microphone didn’t work without some trouble shooting on our Teams interview or whether you sent a thank you note. I want to know the substance of what you have accomplished. I would appreciate a thank you note, and potentially if it were really neck and neck with no other qualifier it might inch you ahead. But honestly, the thank you note in itself isn’t going to sway me

  19. John Smith*

    #3, When I’m calling someone, I’ll always use their full name to start and take it from there. Usually the other person will invite you to use a particular format or name, or if the information is available on the system, I’ll continue using their title and surname. If all else fails, I’ll just ask how they would prefer to be addressed, but I use a person’s name only at the start and end of the call or I’d I need to focus their attention, for example, if I need to interrupt them If they’re babbling on.

    I’ve been raised to never call someone by their first name without being invited to do so. While I would be happy to be on first name terms anyway in most cases, I think it’s rude to start with one. But granted, it seems to be more and more common now and maybe I’m just old fashioned

    But call centres – the human equivalent of chicken battery farms – are different animals. They’re obsessed with targets rather than focussing on outcomes – the former invariably doing absolutely bugger all for customer service. Using a person’s name X amount of times per call is one of the more ridiculous and pointless targets they insist on. I’m thinking of writing a book on call centres and everything wrong with them, but I’m not sure my blood pressure could stand it!

    1. Matt*

      #3 the name calling thing seems to be something not only for call centers, but in every communications training in the world (be it phone or general) one learns that people like nothing better than being called by their name. When I’m talking on the phone with some coworker, within the first few sentences I know where they had been on such training recently: “Good Morning Mr. M.! How is it going, Mr. M.? Mr. M., I have a question …” Personally I have a great dislike for it, and the urge to tell the other one: “I know my name, I’ve known it for over 40 years, you don’t have to remind me of it in every single sentence” :)

    2. ceiswyn*

      If only people did actually use my title, the one written on the system in front of them! But no, they always say ‘Mrs’. I’m not married.

        1. ceiswyn*


          The number of times I’ve said “Actually, it’s Ms Wyn” and they’ve apologised and… gone straight back to Mrs…

        2. Kelly L.*

          And there are so many weird misconceptions (msconceptions?) about Ms.! That it means you’re divorced, or widowed, or probably some other things I’m forgetting. Nope, the whole point is that it doesn’t say anything about your marital status at all.

          1. RagingADHD*

            One of the nice things about the local accent here is that Miss, Mrs, and Ms all sound the same. It’s Miz by default, no matter what the speaker intended.

            Nobody’s got time for that extra “ziz”.

      1. Jessica Ganschen*

        One time, back when I was in the Air Force, I emailed a civilian worker on base and got a response addressed to “Mrs. Ganschen” despite the fact that both my email signature and Outlook clearly stated my rank AND there was no indication or reason to assume that I was married, since I wasn’t.

    3. EvilQueenRegina*

      I can remember when my grandad was having some dealings with Vodafone about 15 years ago, most of the time anyone who called him asked to speak to “Mr. Lastname” but I remember he was not impressed when someone asked to speak to “Henry”. (and probably would have been even less impressed had they used Harry, which he went by on a day to day basis). Having said that, I’ve told that story to others who have said they wouldn’t be bothered by it.

      1. UKDancer*

        I think it’s a generational thing. My grandfather was a retired emeritus professor and even when he was in the early stages of alzheimers he liked the carers to call him Professor Brown not John. The care home we had him in was very good and committed to respecting resident’s preferences so even when his usual carer changed his continence products he still said “I’m going to change this now, Professor Brown” and respected his wishes even when Grandpa no longer understood what he’d asked for.

        I can still remember at his funeral that particular carer crying in my arms about how much he liked “The Professor” and what a nice man he was.

        1. EvilQueenRegina*

          That was actually one of the hardest things when Grandad was in the early stages of Lewy body dementia, when he was in hospital and would be addressed as something like “sweetpea” by the nurses and just accepted it, and I’d be thinking “It’s not that long since you weren’t happy with Vodafone for using Henry!” and could also remember an incident in Tesco where he’d been addressed as “mate” and was still complaining about it two days later. Had he been his old self he would have let them have it for Sweetpea.

          1. UKDancer*

            It’s difficult. As the care home explained it, they wanted to respect people’s preferences because just because they didn’t remember their wishes, didn’t mean they stopped having them. The home also felt it was important that the staff viewed the residents as individuals with personality and identity not just a body in a bed. I thought this was a really positive and person centred approach.

  20. Legal researcher*

    A substantive thank you note within 24 hours from a full-time employee and parent is very difficult. The unemployed will have the time to do it. A full-time employee who doesn’t have time to write a thank you note, but sacrificed their one hour lunch to do an interview, is an excellent employee because they are working hard at their current job and exhausted at the end of the day from expending all their brain power on their job.

  21. CatBookMom*

    FWIW, when I think I”m probably linking to a call center, I try to get the name the respondent is using; in some cases, it’s clearly not their actual name…. different accents, yada. Whatever. I figure it’s a bit of respect from me, and I get respect when they use my own first or last (MS…..) name. I find trying to be courteous to them is a tiny, but helpful thing.

  22. Delta Delta*

    #1 – Seems like you’re better off without this company. They were “shocked” you didn’t send a thank you? I’d hate to see how they react when something actually shocking happens. Or perhaps they blow everything out of proportion there. Is that somewhere you want to work?

    1. MissDisplaced*

      I think they were shocked so much is that it sounded like a sales or business development job.
      So their thinking probably was along the lines of: if you didn’t thank us for an interview, you’ll be the same with clients.

      1. Countess of Upstairs Downstairs*

        I dunno. I keep seeing this point about sales or development job interviews, but I’m still trying to understand it. I don’t work in sales or development so I might be completely off base. I totally get the importance of sending thank-you’s to clients and donors, but I might be missing something here:

        If skills in thank-you note writing is important, wouldn’t interviewers require candidates to submit a thank you note example? One that’s specifically written to clients/donors?

        If sending thank-you notes are important (and they definitely are) in these fields, wouldn’t the managers just need to make sure their reports sent them rigorously, without fail?

        If managers do both of the above consistently, doesn’t it eliminate the nebulous unwritten rule about post-interview thank-you notes?

        If candidate sent thank you notes, we know it’s a learned behavior. Nobody was born with this proclivity. So wouldn’t basing hiring on thank you notes exclude people who hadn’t had a chance to learn this behavior (Alison mentioned this multiple times too)? And for entry level jobs in these fields, can’t this skill and behavior be taught by employers, if other skills are a good fit for the role of course. And to what extent are post-interview thank you note skills directly transferable to client/donor thank you note skills? Is it possible that a candidate writes an ok/good thank you note but after hired, they don’t do a good job with thank you notes to clients/donors?

        I apologize in advance if I’m coming across as wildly off-base or disrespectful – I don’t mean that in anyway!!
        Again my background is not in sales or development, but some of my background is in skills acquisition and learner behavior-based assessment. So I guess I’m definitely viewing this topic with my own lens. But I figure there must be things I don’t know about and want to learn.

        1. T. Boone Pickens*

          A lot of success in sales is following up on opportunities, the thank you note in this instance is the follow up part.

          1. Countess of Upstairs Downstairs*

            Thank you for your reply. I’m interested to hear more. Would you happen to have any insights into my specific questions above?

        2. RagingADHD*

          Thank you notes would generally be considered in the same category as “soft” people skills.

          Most managers don’t think of “soft” skills as something to train into new hires, because they are complex and hard to quantify. And because they take a long time to learn before you can use them effectively.

          One candidate (A) makes conversation easily and presents themselves well with their voice and mannerisms. Another (B) doesn’t. B lets the conversation drag, or goes off on irrelevant tangents, or demonstrates a lot of physical signs of awkwardness/nervousness, or is too loud or too quiet for the room.

          If a job requires people skills and customer or donor engagement, candidate A has the advantage. A hiring manager wouldn’t consider training B to behave like A, they’d just hire A.

          Candidate B could improve their people/presentation skills if they wished to, but that would generally he considered personal development work, not on-the-job training. People who “naturally” have these skills usually acquired them without formal training and before adulthood, so they’re considered personality traits rather than specific job skills.

          People are also very emotionally invested in their personality! Jobs that do require soft-skill training, like entry level sales, are often looked at with suspicion as being artificial or even cultish.

          Thank you notes are generally viewed the same way, as you’ll see in many of the commenters here who mention being brought up to write TY notes (or not). These skills (or lack thereof) are internalized to the point that people believe them to be an integral part of their identity.

  23. emmelemm*

    Let’s say my name is Elizabeth, a very nickname-able name. And I go by Elizabeth.

    So one time I was on one of those chat support sessions, and obviously the support person could see the name on my account, *and* I’m pretty sure that I actually included a “Thanks, Elizabeth” in there somewhere in one of my missives. The guy came back and typed at me, “So, Liz, what you want to do is…”

    LOL WHAT (Don’t do that.)

    1. Lizzy May*

      The number of people who do this to me is shocking. I don’t know why people assume they’re familiar enough to use a nickname and then assume what that nickname is. Lizzy May is a fun thing here but professionally, I have always used Elizabeth. People who barely know me making that choice always puts me on edge.

      1. Not that Anne, the other Anne.*

        Oh, I am so glad I’m not the only one. It’s a major pet peeve, to the point that my entire team knows when someone has decided to nickname me because I am obviously salty about it afterwards.

        New employees are quietly told “Don’t call her Annie. Just … don’t.”

      2. The Rural Juror*

        That’s a good point. There are so many nicknames for Elizabeth (I know a Libby, an Eli, and a Liza to name a small few). That would rub me the wrong way, too. Don’t go around assuming and making an ass out of yourself! Geez!

    2. Lana Kane*

      Same for me! Also going off of my name being “Elizabeth”, I’ve gotten my equivalent of Liz and Lizzy without any indication from me. It happens often enough that I feel like some people might be wired that way, to just go to a nickname? It doesn’t bother me too much if it’s not a person I’m going to be talking to again – otherwise, I correct them.

      1. ceiswyn*

        One of my colleagues at work loves to use nicknames. So when I changed my name, he… sent me a message asking if he could use a nickname and if I had a preferred one.

        It’s not difficult, people!

    3. Don P.*

      A (in-person) salesman once noted that my father’s name was Walter, and began called him “Wally”. The rest of his family just waited for the conversation to end since we knew that the guy had 100% lost any possibility of a sale. I mean, I don’t think it’s JUST that my dad hated it, they’re very, very different names. (I was going to to make remark about assumed social class, but my father had a co-worker in the same job and I guess same social class who did use Wally.)

  24. Cake Diva*

    I have never written a thank you note. To be honest, I didn’t even know it was a thing until a year or two ago. Straight up never taught or told about it for the 20 years that I had been in the workforce.

    But I’ve also never had an office job. I’ve kind of been lucky with respect to my jobs in that it was either entry level grocery store that just went by applications and not even resumes, or the company was so in need of a cake decorator that they saw my portfolio and basically offered me a job on the spot. I can think of one time in hindsight where I never heard back after an interview, and maybe me not knowing to send a note played into that. But knowing what I know now about that job, I dodged a bullet anyway.

    On the flipside, it means I have essentially zero formal interview experience, and only slightly above zero resume skills (I’m sure everything I learned in half a semester in college 16 years ago is terrible and outdated). Don’t even get me started on cover letters. So thank you/follow-up notes are just a complete enigma.

    I could be in a lot of trouble if I ever have to job search.

    1. RagingADHD*

      Most of the norms discussed on this site only apply to office jobs, and many only apply to a narrow subset of those.

  25. fluffy*

    As someone who is trans and who constantly gets misgendered based on her voice on the telephone, I am very much not a fan of being called “Mr. [last name],” “Mr. [first name],” or, worse yet, “Mr. [dead name].” I’d also very much rather not be called by my first name (current or otherwise) by a CSR either. It always sounds like forced friendliness. It doesn’t put me at ease at all.

    Of course in other scripts I get called “sir” which isn’t great either.

    Ideally I wouldn’t even be having these conversations on the phone at all but for whatever reason, email and chat are always treated as second-class citizens. Even when companies constantly tell you to “make your inquiry online” during the interminable hold music.

    1. SJ*

      I agree on the forced friendliness vibe, I hate that. Also sending you trans phone misgendering solidarity, it’s the worst.

    2. OP3*

      OP3 here, thanks for sharing.
      Ive recently been thinking about how to make this process more friendly for people who identify as trans or non-binary, I think what makes it more complicated is that in my country there has been a recent Spate of scammers calling up various call centres and gaining customer information, so to prevent that security policies have been drafted that really don’t consider these kinds of issues at all.
      For example, in my own workplace, were encouraged to listen out for signs such as hesitation or voices that don’t conform to what we think they should, and escalate them to our managers but this is an incredibly flawed and in some ways pointless process.

      1. FlyingAce*

        My best friend is male and has a high-pitched tone of voice. He was refused assistance from his bank once because the phone rep did not believe he was the account holder.

      2. Filosofickle*

        There’s technology for this now, which is pretty cool. (Also a little creepy but that’s how tech goes.) Rather than relying on humans, machine learning blah blah can listen for those signs and even match them to known recordings to ensure the person calling in is legit.

    3. Deborah*

      This is what I was looking for. It’s super important for us as a culture to stop assuming male/female binary and assuming which one the person is on based on name and/or voice and/or presentation! That means moving away from honorifics like sir and ma’am, and it means Mr. and Miss/Mrs./Ms. It’s harder with a call center to manage the deadnaming bit, but I always used to ask the person for their name and call them the first name they gave me unless they corrected me. I once had someone who explicitly told me they had changed their name for what sounded like a trans adjacent reason (it was a long time ago so I think they were describing it a bit different than someone might today) and i just called them what they said.

      Also I would only use the name immediately after they said it (“this is John Doe” “hi John, . What can I help you with today”) and maybe once or twice more, if I needed to get their attention and to say goodbye.

  26. Hattie McDoogal*

    I can’t really wrap my head around the advice around thank-you notes. Most people don’t send them… but I should definitely send them myself… but employers definitely shouldn’t penalize people for not sending them? (It’s similar to how I feel about advice to apply for ‘stretch’ positions: don’t worry if you don’t meet all the criteria! But also, even for jobs where you do meet all the criteria, of course you’re not going to get those jobs because employers are all swamped with good candidates who also meet all the criteria.)

    When I worked in a call centre we were required to use the caller’s name at least once on the call or else QA would score you down. Usually I would try to just say it near the beginning of the call, like after I’d asked them to confirm their personal info (“And can you confirm your first and last name for me?” “Giacomo Nakamura.” “Thank you Giacomo, how can I help you today?”). Though even that felt awkward, if I suspected they would rather be called “Mr Nakamura” or “Jake” or whatever.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Most people don’t send them… but I should definitely send them myself… but employers definitely shouldn’t penalize people for not sending them?

      I think you’re confused because you have it wrong!

      Correct version is: Many people send them. For certain types of jobs (but not all), most people send them. You should send them yourself because it can help your chances, and helping your chances is generally a good thing when job searching. Employers shouldn’t penalize people for not sending them because “X is a good thing to do and can help people’s chances” doesn’t equal “X should be required.”

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        As Alison mentioned, a thank you note is essential in the field of nonprofit fundraising because it demonstrates how you might respond to donors as part of your job. When I was job-hunting in that field, I always made sure to send a thank you no later than the next day. The key is personalizing the note. In my case, I talked with multiple people, and I made sure to email each person individually referencing something that came up in the interview that they in particular mentioned. This is much better than a group email with the same message to the entire panel.

        1. Allypopx*

          Ehh fundraising specifically maybe, but I’ve been hiring/interviewing in the non-profit industry for over a decade and I’d say it’s about 50/50 if people send one.

          I usually do but my most recent round of interviews (for a job I ultimately got) had so many interviews with so many people in such a short time I just didn’t have the mental fortitude to track down contact info and personalize that many emails. Nobody mentioned it, and learning my company culture I think they preferred I didn’t honestly. Not that it would have counted against me just…unnecessary on both sides.

      2. John*

        I am in communications, where the thank-you note is a big opportunity to demonstrate your skills (writing, key messages, etc.) and have been stunned at how few candidates bother with them. My peers never seem as bothered as I do, but in our field it’s not good form to forego them.

    2. Washi*

      It’s interesting, I was trying to think of other examples of “smart for the candidate, shouldn’t be required by the employer” things and all I could come up with was it used to be advised to bring extra copies of your resume just in case, but hopefully no one would penalize you for not having them. But I’m not sure that really applies anymore since so often interviewers bring laptops to the interview now.

      Maybe something like answering your phone when job hunting – it can be a good idea to pick up calls from unknown numbers even if you normally ignore them, but it’s not good practice for an employer to write you off if you don’t answer an unscheduled call!

  27. Kara*

    #4 I’m wondering why you feel guilty and whether you got this impression from current or past workplaces or elsewhere? It would be worth considering, because this isn’t a given – you haven’t done anything wrong.

    1. Just Got Back Myself*

      I wonder if it might be something along the lines of what I’m experiencing right now.

      Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery (stage 1, so I don’t have to do chemo and radiation, just some close follow up for a few years), and was out on leave for six weeks due to the cancer/surgery/recovery. I had my out-of-office set up, directing people to my supervisor or the team lead for more immediate response (this is the normal, standard thing for out-of-office, like vacations .. the only thing with mine was that I didn’t have a firm return date because that couldn’t be determined until pathology was back from the surgery).

      So this week, I start back to work and came across one that had been sent about a week after I went on leave asking me to look at a particular account to check on something. Ironically, the person who sent that is out all of this week, so I couldn’t just send a quick “do you still need this?” on something that was over a month old (which is a really long time in my office), so I pulled up the account and noticed that no one had gone into the account to check on the thing since the date of the email.

      So, part of me wants to say “sorry no one got back to you on this”, but then the other part of me is just ticked off that this was allowed to fall through the cracks until I actually came back to work.

  28. Dennis Feinstein*

    LW2 PLEASE get together with everyone else and agree to cross out your names and leave the envelope empty. Hopefully this will be a subtle hint to the money collectors…
    Or, if that’s TOO subtle, just write a big ole NOPE in black marker on it.

    1. UKDancer*

      Yes, just cross out your name and don’t contribute. That’s what I do if I don’t have money or don’t want to support whatever is being collected for. The organiser doesn’t know who hasn’t contributed that way so they can’t come after you.

  29. Dennis Feinstein*

    I’m in Australia.
    I was taught that it was polite to thank the interviewer for their time at the end of the interview.
    Like just about everyone else, I receive SO MANY EMAILS each day that the thought of receiving a ton of “thankyous” makes me ill.
    Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I think many Aussies would see it as “fake” and “sucking up”. I know I’d personally think: ‘Ugh, just go away’ if I got a follow-up thankyou email.
    Obviously handshakes are out, but surely a polite and sincere “thanks for your time” at interview’s end should suffice, no?

    1. londonedit*

      The way I understand it, in the US it’s less of a literal ‘thank you’ note and more of a ‘It was great to meet you and talk more about the role at Llamas Inc. I particularly enjoyed our discussion about techniques for grooming angry llamas, and I feel that the experience I can bring to that area of the department’s work would make me a great fit for this role. I look forward to speaking to you again soon, and please do get in touch if you have any questions following my interview’ sort of note.

      In many industries in the UK you’d get the ‘sucking up’ and ‘fake’ response, because the convention here is also that you thank the interviewer for their time at the end of the interview, both parties probably say ‘Do email me if you have any questions’, and that’s that. Hiring managers wouldn’t expect a candidate to then email reiterating their suitability for the job, and it would definitely come off as try-hard, like they were trying to push their way in or somehow inveigle themselves with the manager. But that’s because, as Alison says, it’s a cultural difference. People in the USA still need to know that it’s important for them to send a thank-you note, if only because it won’t hurt their chances to do so.

      1. Grayling38*

        Yep. Would be seen as really sucky in the UK. And the European countries I’ve also worked.

      2. Liddy*

        I’m in the UK and I have both sent and received thank you notes multiple times. A well written note does not come off as try-hard or sucking up.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          I am in the UK and have sent thank you notes (this was partly due to having spent most of my career in the US and not knowing that the conventions were different.) However, they were more along the lines of:
          1. Thank you for meeting with me.
          2. I think I’d be a good for this job because of X.
          3. If I forgot to mention something in the interview, mentioning that. If not, reiterating or highlighting info about specific skills or experience.

          If you do them this way and keep the tone concise and non-gushy, they don’t come across as sucking up.

          I think one reason thank-you notes can come across as insincere outside the US context is that peolle in the US generally have to go all out on selling how wonderful they are during the interview process. (I found it REALLY difficult to get used to that mindset when I was living there!) That kind of self-promotion is a lot less acceptable in cultures like the UK and Australia thanks to tall poppy syndrome.

          1. Beth*

            The thank you know that you describe (thanks for meeting with me, mention something you forgot, reiterating something about your candidacy) is EXACTLY what a thank you note in the US is supposed to be. And that is what Alison’s advice about thank you notes has always been. They are not supposed to be “sucking up” and “try-hard” that so many non-Americans seem to think. A thank you note that sucks up is a bad thank you note.

            1. The Prettiest Curse*

              Tall poppy syndrome is essentially the idea that if you’re successful or prominent, you stay humble and never ever say how great you are. It’s the reason that if you ever see a British person winning an Oscar or an Olympic gold medal, they make self-deprecating jokes and practically apologize for winning.

                1. The Prettiest Curse*

                  Ha, I don’t follow Formula One any more, so never seen him interviewed. But wasn’t he living in Monaco for tax reasons? Maybe being around all those millionaires rubbed off on him.

            2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

              When the final of the 7 kings of Rome wanted to conquer a rival city, he had his son beaten and sent into exile to that city. Once the son had taken refuge there and made political allies, he sent a messenger to his father asking how to deliver the city. King L. Tarquinius Superbus ignored the messenger and simply walked around his garden, beheading the tallest poppies growing there as he went. The messenger returned to the son with the story, who set about undermining, exiling, or killing the leading citizens in that city.

              When the Roman troops arrived, there was no leadership left to organize defense of the city.

              Tall Poppy Syndrome comes from that myth/historical episode (it’s hard to tell what is true and not before the Sack of Rome by Brennus in 390 BC), and describes the practice of undermining or eliminating those who stand out in success or thrive, leaving only mediocrity in its wake. The one culling the tall poppies intends to stand out in their absence.

              I usually have seen in the context of “be careful of having too high a salary compared to your peers,” as you’ll be an attractive budget cut independent of your productivity.

          2. Guacamole Bob*

            Another option for #3: I’ve found that “here’s a link to that thing I mentioned in my interview answer” works well in an interview thank you note sometimes. If you happen to have something where that genuinely fits and isn’t forced, it makes it easy to write a note that feels like a natural continuation of the conversation without defaulting to rote thank you note language.

            Worked well when I did an internal interview with people I already worked with near-daily. “I mentioned this project I worked on in a past job, here’s a link if you’re curious, check out the data viz on page 15” let me include the “thanks for interviewing me” sentiment without it feeling totally stilted.

    2. anonforthis*

      We hire in both Australia and the UK and receive follow-up notes post interview. I am just flagging that this is not just a US thing in some industries.

  30. tommy*

    #3, i think this won’t help you because it won’t be under your control, but i vastly prefer no names be used at all. i have a first name everyone can pronounce and a last name nobody can (oddly, given that it’s phonetic), but pronunciation isn’t my reason. my reason is exhaustion. i’m severely disabled; every extra sentence we need to say, every extra bit of verbal interaction, makes a call harder for me. so discussing the question of what to call me feels like a huge waste of energy. i never blame the agent, of course, but i hate the practice. and as alison says, there’s a connection between name questions and scriptedness. when agents are using names, i find they’re usually using more scripts.

  31. Name of Requirement*

    Agreed! It’s setting up the call to be rather adversarial to say, “No, you may NOT call me by my first name” if asked, so even if they do have a preference they’ll probably say it’s fine.
    I do hate emails where I’m addressed by my first name only but the sender signs their whole name.

  32. Forrest*

    $150 from employees to paint some cabinets is either someone running a scam or a *very* badly-managed small business / not-for-profit with a totally warped idea of how reasonable business expenses work. OP, I would definitely raise this with your manager or someone in a senior role because this would have me questioning what other terrible and unsustainable financial decisions are being made.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      I also wonder if they’re rounding up and then collecting more than they should, even when things aren’t that expensive. It’s like the friend who puts dinner for a group on their credit card, then rounds it up to “Oh, everyone just owes $20” when the real total per person might have been $18.50.

      Also, totally agree that this is all very unreasonable!

  33. Regatta*

    I think it’s really funny how so many people think thank you notes (whether for interviews, gifts, or hospitality) are so burdensome. I bet all the people in these comments complaining about writing job thank you notes are the same people who grouse about writing wedding gift thank yous. What is so hard about thank you notes? A few sentences, a bit of simple gratitude, easy. I love writing and receiving them – some of my friends even send them to me after a dinner party. Also, I’m not going to apologize for being well bred enough to know about thank you notes. If that gives me a leg up in the job market, so be it. We all (or most of us) had grandmothers we should have been writing notes to and learning how to write them! I am 100% someone who judges you if you don’t send thanks by some means – for interviews and gifts. I’m hoping my sister in law is reading this, because I still have no idea if any of my probably 25+ gifts over the years have made it to her . . .

    1. londonedit*

      Thank-you notes for gifts, visits to friends, etc are very much part of my culture, but thank-you notes after interviews are not. As many people outside the US have noted, sending a thank-you note to a hiring manager would at best be greeted with a raised eyebrow, and at worst would come off as patronising, try-hard and have the hiring manager thinking ‘Bloody hell, we’ve got a keen one here, they’ve emailed trying to convince us we should hire them’. It’s just not a thing and it would be out of step with the norm. So it’s not always about people thinking it’s burdensome. If I’d never read this website, and I went for a job in the USA, it wouldn’t ever cross my mind to send a thank-you note after an interview.

      1. UKDancer*

        Definitely. It’s just a cultural thing that in the UK it’s seen as a bit too enthusiastic to send them after a job interview. By and large excessive enthusiasm is viewed as a bit suspect in a lot of places in the UK.

        I absolutely send them for gifts, hospitality etc but the cultural rules for that are different from the cultural rules for interviews in my experience. That’s just the way things are here.

        1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          Exactly, gifts and hospitality are personal and interviews are business. Back in the olden days when I worked, if a candidate sent a thank-you, we’d think, “Ew, what a suck-up.”

        2. Ferret*

          I think it’s similar to how US resumes/cover letters often come across very boastful or the customer service feels like really creepy levels of friendliness and intrusion to anyone from the UK. There are just different levels and tones to self-expression at work/in public which can be disconcerting if you aren’t aware of them.

          I think because of the timezones Alison tends to get a disproportionate number of responses from the UK and other countries not used to US norms on these 5-answers posts which can skew the discussion a bit. They have perfect timing for me to start the day and then use as my 5 minute break when I need a distraction throughout work!

        3. CountryLass*

          “excessive enthusiasm is viewed as a bit suspect in a lot of places in the UK”

          Very true! The highest praise I generally get for things is “sounds/looks good”, “good job” or “well done”. If I started getting “Wow, that is great, I think you have done a SUPER job there, it’s awesome!” or whatever I would worry a) I’m dying and no-one told me or b) what the heck have they been smoking??

      2. Bagpuss*

        Exactly. And while I am also from the UK , from reading this site it seems that there are a lot of people in the US who haven’t come across it or wouldn’t be aware that it is normal or expected – and it seems like it’s the kind of thing that you are much more likely to be aware of if you’ve got family who have held professional / managerial jobs, or if you’ve been able to access things like internships, so there’s some built in prejudice and discrimination if you penalise people for being unaware of the custom.

        1. quill*

          I feel like corporate america’s stance on thank you letters and literally every other part of the hiring process has been driven by “how many hoops can we set up for you to jump through” for at least the last 30 years.

      3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        ‘Bloody hell, we’ve got a keen one here, they’ve emailed trying to convince us we should hire them’

        That was my first thought the first time a candidate sent me (as a panel member) a thank you at my work email address that I’d never given them. Then I did a search on here and found out that poor candidates are, at many companies, encouraged or expected to find, or hack together, the contact info of each person they’d interviewed with! I think it’s a ridiculous expectation, but that’s corporate America for you.

        I never sent one in the past. The recruiters that set my interviews up took care of the thank-yous. I feel that they weren’t really a requirement until the late 00s.

        1. meyer lemon*

          That whole idea that candidates are expected to ferret out all their interviewers’ contact information is such a weird one to me, although I’m still hearing it promoted as a great way to show enthusiasm. It seems like the definition of making people jump through pointless hoops to prove their worth.

          1. ceiswyn*

            A salesman for a product I was considering purchasing once brought into the conversation details of my previous job, which I had not mentioned when downloading the trial.

            Spoiler: he did not get the sale. He would have been more likely to get a restraining order.

    2. Ferret*

      The fact that you say “I’m not going to apologize for being well bred enough to know about thank you notes” shows the exact problem here. Someone could be very good at their job, and entirely pleasant and courteous to work with, but because they weren’t raised with the exact same set of cultural norms and rules around politeness that you were (WHICH ARE NOT UNIVERSAL) you are completely writing them off.

      I’ll admit the way you wrote this raised my hackles quite a bit because there are a number of quite gross classist and cultural assumptions that appear to be built into your attitude which can heave really serious results when it comes to entrenching privilege and enforcing specific superficial niceties over actual consideration and kindness

      And I never wrote thank-you notes to my grandmother – because I thanked here sincerely in person. What is this weird assumption about the supremacy of the written word? Are you keeping all of the notes in a little box to keep score 20 years later? Judging by the catty comment about your SIL it seems so – if you were genuinely worried or actually cared about the relationship you would surely have had an actual conversation by now

        1. Bagpuss*

          Yes, it has nothing whatsoever to do with being well-bred and everything to do with what cultural norms you have been raised with.

          (Example, I grew up being taught that you send thank you letters for gifts at Christmas etc, unless you have been able to thank the giver directly. So if you spent Christmas at grandma’s house and were able to open your gift from her on Christmas morning and thank her then and there, you don’t send a letter, if she’s spending Christmas with Uncle Albert and you don’t see her in person, you send a letter. but different people and different families, let alone difference countries have different rules and expectations – I’ve come across people who would consider that a letter should be sent even if you opened the gifts and thanked someone in person at the time, unless the giver is a member of the immediate family, and I’ve met people who just re not familiar with the concept at all .)

          It’s very narrow minded to assume that your cultural (or family) norms are The One True Way, or that people who were not raised with the same expectations are ill-bred or impolite.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            It’s very narrow minded to assume that your cultural (or family) norms are The One True Way, or that people who were not raised with the same expectations are ill-bred or impolite.

            OMG yes. Anyone who questions this would’ve been well advised to spend a half-hour in my home country’s immigrant community back in the 90s, when we were all a new wave of immigrants fresh in the US; to hear them criticize “the Americans” for not following our home country’s cultural norms that “the Americans” knew nothing about, but that to us (older generations especially) were seen as the only possible sign of proper breeding.

      1. Regatta*

        I had two grandmothers and a mother who instilled thank you notes into me. When my one hour long career lecture at school (and this was public high school) told us to send hand written thank you notes, this made sense to me. I don’t come from a very privileged background . . .

      2. Regatta*

        I’m not gross . . . But thanks anyway. You don’t know anything about my class FYI. Civilities, like thank you notes, matter.

        1. Bagpuss*

          I think you have slightly missed the point. Calling people ill-bred because they were not raised with the same cultural norms around thank you notes*is* judgmental and it’s classist. It’s possible to be classist regardless of your own social class! You may not personally be gross but your assumption is… less than pleasant, or fair.

          It’s very sad that your SIL didn’t acknowledge your gifts, and that neither she nor your own sibling thanked you for gifts you gave to their children, and assuming that your sibling was brought up with similar understanding and expectations as you, about thank you letters, then that may be an indication that they were being rude and thoughtless towards you, but for people in general, you can’t assume that they are rude or badly brought up just because they didn’t learn, or don’t follow, the same rules you were taught.

        2. Tinker*

          Civilities, like not making unkind statements about how well-bred you are compared to other people who are present in the conversation, matter.

        3. Nanani*

          It doesn’t matter what class you are. That’s not how classism works. That’s not how ANY ism works. Women can say sexist things and lower-class people can say classist things.

      3. Regatta*

        Also, the cattiness about my SIL is just a cover at my hurtness that she’s never seemed to like me much (she’s beautiful and aloof, and I’m the opposite of that). I show affection through gifts (esp crafty handmade ones), and it’s been really hard for me that things that I’ve spent a lot of time picking out or making for her or my nieces have been met with silence. I don’t live close so was hoping I could be the fun aunt who buys cute clothes and makes neat things for my nieces, but I have no idea if things are going straight to the trash or whatever, so I’ve given up. I want kids but won’t be having them, so this has been a grief for me, cutting off this outlet.

        1. Ferret*

          I’m very sorry you’re going through that – it is entirely plausible that your brother & SIL are thoughtless or rude, and you certainly don’t deserve to have gifts and handmade crafts ignored.

          I think the difference comes down to a couple of fundamental points:

          1. An interview is not a gift, it is a business transaction, so even if we accept that thank-you notes are required if you get a present, it doen’t follow that they should be required after an interview

          2. Not everyone is raised with/taught the same expectations around etiquette, so penalising job candidates for not following specific rules can be very unfair, and can have a particular negative impact on those raised outside of whatever cultural norm you are operating in.

        2. allathian*

          I’m glad you’re self-aware enough that you realize that your gifts may not be welcome. Crafty ones especially are a bit hit and miss, some people love them, others would much rather get something shop-bought, or even nothing at all. For many people it’s really hard to get rid of a gift you neither value nor appreciate when you know that someone’s put a lot of effort into making it.

          I’m sorry you aren’t on good terms with your SIL and that you aren’t able to have the relationship you’d like with your nieces.

          I definitely don’t show affection with gifts. I hate picking out gifts, I just think it’s so much work. Even when I can do it by browsing online, I still think it’s a bother. Wedding registries are wonderful. When exchanging gifts, the pleasure I get from getting gifts is nowhere near the stress I feel when I have to buy gifts for others. For years, my family exchanged Christmas wish lists, until we decided that gifts just weren’t our thing and we don’t exchange gifts among adults anymore. My son still gets a few Christmas presents, but even those are mostly clothes and gift cards he can use in the games he plays, and if all else fails, money. That said, I do like the gifts my son makes at school for Mother’s day and Christmas, even if it’s just a card. All the people who give him gifts live near enough to be thanked in person, except last Christmas when he sent thanks by text (like the vast majority of kids here, he’s had a cellphone since he was 7 and a smartphone since he was 9).

          I’ve only sent a follow-up thank you note to an employer once, and that was because I had a genuine question I wanted to follow up on. We didn’t send any thank you notes after our wedding, either, but that was because it was a tiny wedding, we only invited our parents and siblings, and the new spouses of my in-laws, so written thank you cards seemed superfluous.

          1. CountryLass*

            I always make sure that my children thank the person who gives them the gift in person, or when we have had a birthday party and we open the presents later, I make a note on the back of the card and send a thank you text to the parents to pass on to the child.

            I don’t like seeing people, mainly kids, open a present, go “wow!”, put it to one side and rip into the next one. It feels rude, and so whilst it might slow things down, I hand the gifts to them when they have finished appreciating (even if it’s 30 seconds for something that they can’t do anything with, like PJ’s) and thanking for the previous one.

            1. allathian*

              Yes, we definitely did and do the same thing. I was very happy when he started thanking people without any prompting…

              When my son was small enough that I went to his friends’ birthday parties with him, I was always saddened by the big fuss that was made over birthday presents. We aren’t poor, but I think that spending more than about $15 for a classmate’s birthday present is too much, and many parents spent more than double that amount. It adds up, if you have many birthday parties to go to. I know I paid more than I wanted to at times just so my son’s present wouldn’t be tossed aside and ignored. My son was a fairly timid kid, so I was the only guest parent present at many parties when he was 6 and 7 years old, and I always asked what I could do to help with organizing games and food, etc. His 8th birthday was the last big one we organized, after that he only invited one or two good friends over, and for his 10th birthday we went with his best friend to an immersive virtual game arcade.

        3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

          It’s interesting that you mention grandmothers and mothers in the context of learning about thank you notes. Then you mention your sister in law in terms of gifts to your nieces (and not your brother). It might be worth unpacking some of your cultural norms/assumptions about what are female roles. It would seem to me that your brother would have an equal or greater (since you are his relative after all) role in thanking you vis-a-vis your SIL. And he grew up with the same mother/grandmothers as you while you don’t know that your SIL had the same norms taught to her.

          1. BigHairNoHeart*

            Just wanted to chime in that this is an excellent point. Regatta, if this really bothers you, maybe you should ask your brother to write thank you notes for gifts you’re giving to his children. After all, there’s at least a family tradition/expectation that you both were taught about doing this that you can stand behind. But if what you really want is for SIL to take on that responsibility because of her gender, well, that’s an expectation that unfairly burdens the woman in this scenario. Just a thought, I hope you don’t take this as criticism, but rather, a different way of thinking about cultural norms surrounding gender and manners.

          2. SarahKay*

            Thank you for calling out this point. I quite agree that it should be on brother, not SIL, to be sending / getting the children to send thank you notes in this instance.

        4. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

          One of my relatives made a beautiful, thoughtful, hand made gift for one of her in-laws. Shared pics of it on social media and everyone gushed over it. Christmas day she gave it the in-law who literally sat the present down and never even opened it in front of my relative. No thanks no nothing. My relative was so hurt. This kind of thing happened in other ways over the years. Everyone else loves my relatives gifts. My suggestion to her was to either just get the crappy expected no effort gift card or even better to purchase nothing for that in law next year. And if they notice and say something about it to just reply “well you seemed so unhappy with previous gifts that I thought not receiving one would work better for you”. Some people will always be catty and hurtful. Draw boundaries, put effort where it’s deserved and recognized. Let the chaff separate from the wheat. In my own experience I’ve always made sure to get stuff for the kids but adults who ignore me get ignored in return.

      4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Right? “I don’t apologize for having grandmothers who taught me proper manners.” Well, *I* don’t apologize for living the first 29 years of my life in a culture where thank-you notes were not a thing, and mailing out several hundred stamped thank-you cards after a wedding would have been frowned upon as a ridiculous waste of money and postal service workers’ time. While I’m at it, I also do not apologize for my one grandmother that had the gall to die several years before I was born, and for the other, who had a stroke when I was 12 and became completely paralyzed. What kind of an assumption is this that we all share the same upper-middle-class Anglo culture and were raised in the same multi-generational families, or otherwise we were not properly bred?

        1. WellRed*

          I have no opinion on thank you notes but I’m genuinely curious what exactly is it that you think postal workers do?

          1. Deanna Troi*

            WellRed, I thought the same thing! I agree with everything else I Wrote This in the Bathroom said – it is classist and sexist to think that if a woman doesn’t learn about writing thank you notes from her grandmother/mother, she is not “well bred.” And I personally send over 500 letters/cards/postcards a year. But I don’t judge other people if this isn’t part of their culture, or they just don’t enjoy doing it.

            However, I don’t understand at all what the comment about wasting the postal workers’ time means. The post office is trying to support itself (unsuccessfully) based on people using their services…they want and NEED people to buy stamps and send things through the mail, or they will lose their jobs. It would be like saying you don’t eat at sit down restaurants because you don’t want to waste the time of the servers. If people don’t go in and “waste” their time, they won’t have jobs at all!

      5. RagingADHD*

        Culture, sure.
        Class, no.

        I’ve spent my whole life among relatives, friends, and coworkers of all different classes, from the most “country” of bluecollar rednecks to old-money seriously privileged families. Class, in the socioeconomic sense, had nothing to do with who bothered with thank-you notes and who didn’t.

      6. MEH Squared*

        Thanks for saying this and I heartily agreed. I’m a second-generation immigrant (Taiwanese) whose family most emphatically did NOT do thank you notes/cards. Because of circumstances, I never met my patriarchal grandmother before she died and I’d only spent time with my maternal grandmother four or five times. The latter had no use for me because I was a girl so there was no opportunity for thanking her for anything–not that I would have in written form, anyway.

        Both my parents had white collar jobs but did not talk about them at home so I had no idea what were the norms in the professional world when I graduated from college. Despite that, I got every job I interviewed for (without thank you notes, but with networking connections for most of them) and now, thankfully, work for myself.

        To the original OP: Your personal experience is by far not universal and I agree with the other commenters that you might want to think on your assumptions about what it means to be ‘well-bred’ (ew).

    3. Asenath*

      I learned as a young child to write thank-you notes for presents – most of the relatives who sent them did not live in the same town as I did. Of course I thanked those gift-givers who lived nearby and presented the gift in person verbally. The point was to express gratitude for the gift, not how that was done. I got quite good as writing thank you notes and remembering to instantly thank those who gave me a gift in person.

      Interview notes are another kettle of fish. In spite of Alison’s explanations of how they can be used effectively, I am not convinced they are essential – but my views are undoubtedly affected by the fact that they have not been the norm where I have lived or worked. In addition, they are part of a business relationship, and not a social one. When I wrote a nice note to that distant aunt who sent me something at Christmas, I was expressing my gratitude for her personal thoughtfulness. When a business solicits applications, and I send them one, we are engaging in a business transaction, not a social one where a gift functions as a way to maintain social ties, and giving it is (in theory) an unsolicited and generous action.

      1. BubbleTea*

        I wrote thank you cards (with an enclosed photo) to the dozen or so people who sent gifts to me and my new baby, because I was grateful and pleasantly surprised by how generous and thoughtful people were. I don’t see a job interview as being an example of generous thoughtfulness!

        As I’ve said elsewhere, almost every job interview I’ve had has been followed the next day by a decision. Many use the model of interview where all candidates have the same questions and are rated against a matrix (I know Alison’s view on this!) so a follow up note would be disregarded anyway.

        1. Forrest*

          Oh golly, new baby presents were the absolutely fail of thank-you notes. I tried to make sure I sent a picture of the baby wearing/playing/attempting to eat the present to the relevant gift-giver (or tagged them in on a FB photo), but we got a really amazing, overwhelming amount of stuff and a baby who wouldn’t be put down and I simply did not have the time or headspace to write proper thank-yous.

          1. BubbleTea*

            Helpfully my mum wrote me a list as the gifts came in, but even so it took me until he was six weeks old. If I’d had more gifts I think it would have overwhelmed me, there are advantages to having a baby in a pandemic!

          2. quill*

            Some areas / traditions may have a thank you note difference between wedding gifts (where you don’t open them in public, so thank you notes are required) and baby shower gifts (where opening the gifts is a point of the thing so you only send thank you notes to the people who shipped their gift in lieu of attending.)

            (Also one presumes that it’s much easier to send thank you notes after a baby shower, which happens pre-birth, than sending the notes immediately post birth, when the baby is actively preventing sleep)

            1. Forrest*

              No baby showers where I live– this was all gifts that arrived in the first few weeks after the baby happened!

    4. Klio*

      Thank you for the green scratchy sweater we needed asked for. Our dog had five minutes fun with it.
      In an interview you presumably thanked the people at the end of the interview in person. But maybe we should send gifts to the interviewer afterwards and then get huffy when they don’t even send thank you for that.

    5. Bagpuss*

      But why should you be grateful for a job interview? It’s not a gift or a favour.

      Logically, if interviewees are expected to send them, so too should interviewers, it’s a two way process and there’s just as much reason for the interviewer to be grateful as the interviewee.

      It’s reasonable to send one if it’s the norm in your country, for the reasons which Alison has given, but they’re not even close to being the same as thank you notes for gifts.

      1. Lonely Aussie*

        That’s how I feel, like it’s a two way street.
        Although thank you notes also don’t really seem to be a thing in my family/friend group beyond a text acknowledging it if not in person. I think the only times I’ve ever received one is due to weddings and even that is really hit and miss.

      2. Allypopx*

        Correct. Thank you notes are sort of a misnomer they’re more like “it was nice talking to you” notes.

        1. RabbitRabbit*

          This exactly. It’s not a thank you note in that sense, but there isn’t a more accepted, common term for them so us Americans lumped them into “thank you notes.”

      1. Spencer Hastings*

        Yeah, between the whole “only my closest friends call me by my first name!” stuff and now this, I feel like I’ve stepped into some sort of historical LARP.

    6. Jennifer Strange*

      Also, I’m not going to apologize for being well bred enough to know about thank you notes.

      Your privilege is showing.

      1. quill*

        Seriously off topic but whenever someone uses “well bred” I have two thoughts:

        1) You’re an AKC-certified dog
        2) Your idea that manners are genetic is a classist and also pretty racist statement, I don’t want to interact with you ever again. Even if it’s not what you meant, it is definitely what you said.

        1. Asenath*

          Actually, when applied to humans, “bred” is not genetic, whether you’re well-bred in the dog sense, or, well, not. It’s how you were brought up, as in the phrase “born and bred”.

          1. quill*

            Oh, it has ABSOLUTELY been used in both your upbringing and your actual genetic descent ways, it’s just generally not acknowledged these days to include the second. But believe you me, I have seen it deployed across a wide variety of things written more than 50 years ago to very strongly imply that it may not be your education, it may be because you were descended (or not) from the right people.

            Even if it didn’t have this well established historical connotation, it’s still pretty gross to the modern ear.
            “Born and Bred in Kansas” may be an equivalent to “born and raised in Kansas” but “well bred” absolutely is not fully equivalent to “well raised” or “well educated.” It has always taken social standing into account.

          2. New Jack Karyn*

            Oh, there’s a whole lot of genetics and bloodlines and noblesse oblige wrapped up in the term, “well-bred”. And that’s even before we get into the implied racism.

            1. quill*

              Today has been a banner day for people who do not realize that the denotation of a saying and the connotation can be widely different.

    7. Middle School Teacher*

      Ok but a) nothing you wrote here is actually relevant to the OP; b) this isn’t really the place to air your grievances with your SIL; c) it’s pretty obvious that your gifts are more about you than the receiver; and d) calling people ill-bred because they don’t follow your cultural norms is pretty gross.

    8. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      Woah! The entitlement in this comment is shocking. I’m having a hard time believing that you actually wrote and posted the latter half of your comment in a public forum, it’s that out of touch.

    9. Tinker*

      “Also, I’m not going to apologize for being well bred enough to know about thank you notes. If that gives me a leg up in the job market, so be it.”

      Bless your heart.

      In many places, there is at least a pretense if not an actual desire to hire people for jobs based on their personal qualifications rather than based on their ethnicity, culture of origin, or who their parents or grandparents were. Many people (definitely including me) think that to do otherwise is wrong, and even some of the folks who believe that discrimination is desirable disapprove of or think it an indication of poor judgment to say so out loud, especially in company of mixed sentiments. Put it this way, I was definitely at least taught that latter point growing up.

      Unfortunately it seems like your grandmothers didn’t teach you that, but fortunately you have an opportunity to learn now.

    10. Starbuck*

      “What is so hard about thank you notes? ”

      Well for one I have ADHD and that’s the kind of task that feels like pulling teeth – way too many steps without any reward from my brain. It’s not easy because I have to have it together enough to get all these things done in a timely manner:

      1. Go shopping for cards
      a) plan a time to do it
      b) find my wallet keys, etc,
      c) gas up the car probably
      d) pick out the cards
      2. Put the cards in a spot where I can find them / find the cards
      3. Figure out what to write that doesn’t sound cheesy, fake, generic, etc
      4. Look for my stamps
      5. Repeat process above to go buy stamps because I don’t have any
      6. Address cards (what’s the address again? let me go find the random envelope I saved from the last time they sent me mail… oh look, I found my favorite pen!)
      7. Doodle with favorite pen for 20 mins
      8. Remember to put stamped, addressed, written cards in the mail
      9. Maybe feel the tiniest iota of satisfaction when I drop them in the big blue USPS mailbox and heard the sound of them landing on top of all the other mail

      Or I could just say / text “thank you so much, I loved the X and am looking forward to using it / trying it on / eating it/ drinking it / etc”

      Wait I just noticed you unironically used the term “well bred” oh wow, yikes

  34. Coffee Cup*

    I think people are taught, in call centers and sales trainings, that repeating someone’s first name over and over establishes some sort of rapport with them etc. What it actually does is sound fake, give away that you aren’t actually listening but waiting to repeat your script, and annoy your interlocutor. It might sound harsh, but a very easy way to make a bad impression with me is to repeat my first name over and over during a conversation. No one actually talks like that!

    1. I take tea*

      I intensely dislike people repeating my first name over and over. It puts my hackles up immediately. Just speak in a friendly tone and be professional, that’s enough. Luckily I live in a culture where it isn’t a thing usually, unless some poor sap has been to a course on “how to influence people”.

  35. Andy*

    #3 Companies insist on scripting, because they don’t teach their call center people well enough for them to be able to solve problems independently and dont give them time to think, reflect or rest between calls. Where I have seen call center, it was low paid job with long hours, high turnover, a lot of pressure and workers treated quite badly (by both superiors and often also customers). Basically, the worker put down phone and is expected to pick another phone right after.

    I think that using names is supposed to be calming on highly stressed, annoyed or otherwise emotional customers. Many people who call are difficult to make to respond factually.

    1. ceiswyn*

      I am willing to bet that whatever research showed that was highly culturally specific, and does not generalise at all.

      If a stranger calls me ‘cei’ repeatedly, I am not calmed. I am mildly offended by the unwanted intimacy and irritated further by the unnecessary repetition. I am willing to bet cash money that this is true of the vast majority of my countryfolk as well, and that use of this strategy actually backfires.

      1. OP3OP3*

        OP3 here, thank you for your perspective, it’s definitely one I agree with though unfortunately there isn’t much I can do about it in my workplace.
        The role is actually debt collections, so you can only imagine how much worse it can be for a customer who has missed a payment to be constantly called by their first name repeatedly.

        1. Allypopx*

          Curious – if a customer says “please don’t use my name that’s weird” would you be allowed to go off script?

        2. RabbitRabbit*

          I will admit I saw this response without seeing the discussion that came before it, and mentally conflated this issue with the aggressive workplace collectors. I was thinking, no wonder it’s so hard to dodge colleagues wanting money if you actually work in a debt collection call center… /facepalm

        3. Nupalie*

          OP3 …I was also in collections for a few years and names could be a curse. I would have to psych myself up for 5 minutes to call Mr. Harry Pitts each month when his payments were late. You have to verify that you are speaking to the debtor…and asking “is this/can I speak to?” people with unfortunate names requires iron self control to prevent giggles. We also had to call Warren Peace as well as a number of men with names including a diminutive of Richard combined with unfortunate surnames.

  36. Sleeping Late Every Day*

    LW#2, I always found a cheerful “Oh, no thank you!” with a big smile confused the hell out of the envelope-rattlers. Repeat as needed, escalating to “I SAID, no thank you!” sans smile, and then omitting the “thank you” right before I’d ignore them.

    1. WellRed*

      Oh this is great! I actually use this at the grocery store when they ask if I’m a rewards member or whatever.

    2. infopubs*

      This is my go-to response to panhandlers, too. Hard to argue with a cheerful “No, thank you!”

  37. Sleeping Late Every Day*

    Exactly, gifts and hospitality are personal and interviews are business. Back in the olden days when I worked, if a candidate sent a thank-you, we’d think, “Ew, what a suck-up.”

  38. Grayling38*

    I really don’t get this thank you note after interviews thing, in the UK we don’t do it at all. In fact as a recruiter I’d be quite surprised to get a thank you note after an interview. I wouldn’t say I’d look on a candidate negatively because they sent one, but I definitely wouldn’t look on it positively. I’ve never sent a thank you note after an interview in my entire career (34 years) and I’m pretty sure it’s made no difference whatsoever. I don’t plan to start either, unless I apply for a job in the USA which doesn’t seem likely at the moment!

  39. I'm just here for the cats*

    I’ve worked in call centers for 5 years. We were never so formal to call someone Mr or Ms. How are you supposed to know what their gender.is?
    However there will be the whole problem when you call someone by their first name and the prestigious jerk says it’s Doctor so and so!

    I can understand of you have to use the name x amount of times (been there!) But I think it is a little natural to use someone’s name. For example, coming back after being on hold, or when you have bad news.

    1. CountryLass*

      If I call a client and I am not sure whether it is Mr or Mrs I’m speaking to, I just ask “Is that *mumble* Jones?” and pray that the rest of the conversation gives me enough clues as to if I am speaking to a man or woman.

      1. CountryLass*

        And I also learnt the hard way not to presume that their partner is a specific gender, so now I just ask if they are looking by themselves or with a partner, then ask the partner’s name. I have had a few names where they were not immediately obvious to me if it was male or female, so last time I just said that I was sorry to have to ask, but was her partner Mr, Miss or Ms? She was really happy, and said that I was the only company she had spoken to who had no presumed it was male, and confirmed that it was actually Mrs, as they were married.

        1. Onomatopoetic*

          So nice when people don’t default! I usually just talk about my partner, and then I always have to think about correcting or not, when people assume, and then it’s suddenly A Thing. And sometimes I notice afterwards, as in checking the doctor’s notes and seeing that they defaulted to the opposite gender… Sigh.

    2. quill*

      It’s also discreetly double checking that you have the right account / Problem report / callback number pulled up.

      “Hello Esmerelda Weatherwax, thank you for holding…”
      “This is Nanny Ogg.”

    3. CaVanaMana*

      Are you calling me because you’re a doctor or because you need help with whatever service? It’s Karen not Dr. Jerkface. Your level of education isn’t relevant to the context.

      I use first names in my call center job because it gets someone’s attention. It isn’t about rapport or being friendly. Most people aren’t listening and ask questions already answered. Saying “Karen,…” gets attention so I don’t have to repeat myself a third time.

      And no, you cannot speak with my manager about that.

  40. Akcipitrokulo*

    About asking to use a first name –

    “nine out of ten times, they were told it is okay”

    … that does NOT mean 9 times out of 10 it *IS* ok.

    Many people would feel rude…

    “May I call you Jane?”

    So now you have people who are not only feeling disrespected, but also annoyed that they have been manipulated into agreeing.

    1. CountryLass*


      My husband is called Marcus, and someone once asked if they could call him ‘Mark’? “No. My name is Marcus.” was the response! We didn’t buy from her.

    2. No Tribble At All*

      Agree, plus I want to get through their spiel as fast as possible so I can ask my actual question. If I say “no, please call me Ms. Tribble,” then I’m sure we have to go through a scripted apology, a reminder that the company values my time and my business, and another 30 seconds before I can ask my question.

    3. Qwetry*

      And then there are some people who would be OK being called Jane after being asked, but not out of the blue.

    4. meyer lemon*

      When it comes to artificial forced intimacy, there isn’t really a solution that doesn’t risk annoying someone. You’re trying to pretend that you know the person, but every time you do something that jars them, it’s a reminder that you don’t know them. Of course, it usually comes down to the requirements of the company rather than the employees who actually have to make the calls and who probably realize from experience that these tactics will often backfire.

  41. Freya*

    If sending a thank you note is *that* important to the people you’d be working with/for, and so very much not for you, do you really want to be working for a place with a values mismatch like that?

    1. Allypopx*

      Ehhhh hiring values aren’t always a corrolary to cultural values as they can be very specific to HR or the hiring manager (who may or may not be your manager). The individual vs the collective basically. It’s not as indicative as most of the red flags we see here.

  42. Skippy*

    “Plenty of excellent candidates have never been trained to do it, and making it a secret requirement screens out people from less advantaged backgrounds, or whose parents weren’t office workers, or many immigrants (since thank-you notes seem to be mostly a U.S. thing). If you care about diversity and equity in your hiring, it’s a terrible practice.”

    Thank you for saying this. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how some aspects of job searching etiquette can easily become a form of gatekeeping, and this is a perfect example.

  43. agnes*

    Lw #1 It is entirely possible that you are being given a reason that isn’t the “real reason.” Despite the fact you have friends on the inside, you are an external candidate and companies generally don’t divulge specifics about why a external candidate was not selected. I would not assume that your friends are fully briefed on your interview process, in fact, I would be very concerned if they had been.

  44. JustJustin*

    “ life got in the way of me doing a real follow-up, which I told her”

    This is a telling comment. If life gets in the way of you writing a few sentence email thanking someone for in interview, life is very likely getting in the way of your other job-related actions.

    Also, you’re saying that you’ve read here that thank you messages are nice but not required – but your comment above indicates that you knew it was important and wanted to write one, but just… didn’t.

    Sure it’s absurd that the company rejected you for this reason, but it sounds like you’d have had the job if you’d just spent five minutes on that thank you message. It’s worth considering your failing here so you follow through on things like this in the future.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      Sometimes if you’re not all that interested in the job not sending a thank you note is an unspoken way to bow out gracefully.
      I think if you really want a job you’ll send one just in case, even if it’s a perfunctory one.

      1. JustJustin*

        Agreed. OP clearly wanted the job, even long after the initial interview. I think it’s time for self-examination when we start making excuses like “life got in the way” for something so easily done, or else our behavior never changes.

      2. meyer lemon*

        This is pretty crappy for everyone who hasn’t been made aware of the thank you note custom, though! If a manager wants to avoid bias in the hiring process, they should really filter out unspoken rules and expectations. If thank you notes are really that important to them, they can just say so directly.

        1. JustJustin*

          “Please send me thank you notes!” probably wouldn’t go over well. It’s up to job seekers to educate themselves.

          1. meyer lemon*

            But it’s up to employers to hire the best candidate for the job, not just the ones who have been made aware of this kind of unspoken expectation. If you really want to evaluate whether a candidate can write a tactful letter, ask for it as a writing sample. Otherwise, what is the purpose of expecting one–screening for candidates who had access to good career centres, or whose parents have white-collar jobs?

      1. JustJustin*

        Maybe. But maybe it’s one minor strange behavior from an otherwise great manager. Or maybe it isn’t but the job is still worthwhile, or you get a promotion to move to another department, or your manager leaves. Or whatever. One way or another, OP 1 wanted this job and apparently lost it because they couldn’t be bothered to write a short email.

    2. Esmeralda*

      “If life gets in the way of you writing a few sentence email thanking someone for in interview, life is very likely getting in the way of your other job-related actions.”

      Not necessarily. Recently I was dealing with some “life gets in the way” issues. Things that were absolutely necessary for work — I did them and did them well. Other things, some of which would take literally five minutes to accomplish, I didn’t do. (I’m doing them today, as a matter of fact) I needed the energy and focus for more important work actions. Sometimes, that one little thing is just too much. But that doesn’t mean one’s totally incapacitated.

      1. quill*

        The entire last year and a half has been a poster child for “life gets in the way.”

        Also, the vast majority of interviews I have personally had have NOT been organized enough to give me contact information, so I’m going to assume that they’re not too bothered by whether or not they get a thank-you email, if they can’t be bothered to at any point write out the full names or email addresses of my interviewers.

          1. quill*

            Last job I was told (external recruiter did the arranging) “we don’t give out full names of interviewers” (Probably because they want to make sure all communication goes through the recruiter) this job, which was both direct hire and actually organized, told me the full name of the interviewer in the email that scheduled the interview. I’ve both asked and not asked in the contexts where it hasn’t been provided and most of the time it really does feel like an artifact of whether or not some recruiting company is controlling the flow of information (or has no organizational skills.)

              1. quill*

                Yeah, just… I’ve had a non-contract job for three months and yet! I still have feelings about how scummy all processes within contract-to-never-hire positions are.

    3. Spencer Hastings*

      I don’t know about that time estimate — a message that I spent only 5 minutes on would probably be pretty terrible…

      1. JustJustin*

        Copy/paste this for next time and fill in the missing info:

        Subject: Thank you!

        Dear [interviewer name],

        Thank you for meeting with me on [interview date] to discuss the [position title] position. I enjoyed learning more about [company name] and the role’s requirements. I hope to hear from you in the future.

        take care,

        [your name]

        1. BigHairNoHeart*

          Sure, but this is exactly the kind of perfunctory message that Alison has argued against in other posts. See her responses above for examples of more useful, detailed “thank you” notes that are memorable and build upon the conversation from the interview. Those will take more than 5 minutes.

          1. JustJustin*

            I’m not Alison. OP 1 was not hired because they didn’t write a thank you note, not because they didn’t write an original, groundbreaking thank you note.

            1. BigHairNoHeart*

              Of course, but as you can see, a lot of people are pushing back against what you said. And a big reason why that’s happening is because you’re advocating for something the owner of the site says specifically not to do.

              But you’re entitled to your own opinion of how useful/important those kinds of basic Thank You notes are. I actually think it’s very interesting to look at the usefulness of basic notes VS. Alison approved amazing notes. Because the really strong ones that take time are what you should go for if you can at all. But if you only have time for a very simple one, is it still better to send that VS nothing at all? I guess in this case it would have been! But most of the time? I’m not so sure.

    4. D3*

      No, just no. That’s an unfair assumption. Many, many people are doing their job searching *while holding down another job*
      Once they are hired, they will no longer have that other job and will have more time to focus on the new job.
      Also, PEOPLE GET TO HAVE LIVES OUTSIDE OF WORK. And yes, sometimes those lives get to “get in the way of job-related actions”
      We don’t know what was going on at that time. OP used “life gets in the way” as shorthand, probably because they didn’t want people going off into the woods about whether or not what was going on was “good enough”
      It could have been March Madness basketball watching.
      Or it could have been a cancer scare that dominated their thinking until the test results came back.
      They could have been focused on making it to the next level of Candy Crush.
      Or they could have had a big deadline at their current job and had to work a 70 hour week that week.
      We don’t know.
      And it’s really, really unfair to jump to the conclusion that this is at all “telling” about someone’s dedication to their job or calling it a “failure”.
      Simply put, making a thank you note such a critical thing is really odd and disproportionate. It assumes that applicants should have to somehow KNOW and submit to the whims of the hiring manager. It’s a failure on the side of the hiring manager, not the applicant.

      1. JustJustin*

        Yes, simply yes.

        If you want a job, skip Candy Crush, basketball games and all the other inconsequential stuff. It’s your career – stop making excuses.

        Stay up five minutes later or take those five minutes from the other nonsense you’ve convinced yourself is important and write that thank you note so you can stay in the running. You want to not work 70 hour weeks? Put in the extra five minutes.

        And it’s absolutely absurd to throw in an imaginary cancer scare. My god, This person took the time to write into this website to get a response to the question. Do you really think they don’t have time to write a simple thank you note?

        1. Jennifer Strange*

          Your comment is dripping with unnecessary judgement and doesn’t make you look good.

          My god, This person took the time to write into this website to get a response to the question. Do you really think they don’t have time to write a simple thank you note?

          Considering the OP says “Many moons later…” it’s clear that quite a bit of time passed between when they interviewed and when they wrote in. Their situation very well could have changed in that time. I think you need to calm down.

        2. Observer*

          If you want a job, skip Candy Crush, basketball games and all the other inconsequential stuff. It’s your career – stop making excuses.

          This has to be one of the most ridiculous assumptions I’ve seen on this site, and we’ve seen some doozies. If these are the only things you can think of when people say “life got in the way”, count yourself VERY fortunate. Because for most people “life got in the way” is absolutely NOT about “candy crush, basketball games and inconsequentials”!

          1. JustJustin*

            I was responding to the person who suggested that the reason OP 1 couldn’t be bothered to write a thank you note was that they were playing Candy Crush or watching March Madness. You’re criticizing D3, not me.

            1. Observer*

              That’s actually not what they said. They said it COULD be that. Or it could be some really serious stuff. YOU were the one who decided that it’s GOT to be the former, and implying that the OP is just lazy and can’t be bothered.

              1. JustJustin*

                I was responding to the most ridiculous concepts that were put forth. Though in that case I should have included the cancer scare.

      2. JustJustin*

        I’m not in charge of the hiring here. I’m saying – do what you have control of. Write a thank you note, stop making excuses and maybe you would have had the job you wanted instead of regrets.

    5. Observer*

      If life gets in the way of you writing a few sentence email thanking someone for in interview, life is very likely getting in the way of your other job-related actions.

      Absolutely not. Because you do job related actions while on the job. The thank you note is not while on the job.

      Beyond that a decent thank you note could easily take more than a few minutes. And “real follow up” is definitely more than a few perfunctory sentences.

    6. The New Wanderer*

      It is possible to both want the job (even want the job a lot) and still not prioritize the thank-you note over other things taking up their time. In many, many cases it will not matter because it will be as low a priority for the hiring manager/interviewers as for the candidate. It happened to be the case in this instance that the interviewers put so much weight on the TY note as to give it as the reason to reject an otherwise qualified applicant.

      Characterizing this as a “failure” on the LW’s part is not accurate, especially when the reason for rejection was absolutely absurd. LW made a pretty common choice not to write one and had a reasonable expectation that it wouldn’t matter because it’s usually such a minor part of any interview process. When it is considered a requirement of consideration for employment, that needs to be explicitly stated (just as cover letters are explicitly requested) – otherwise it’s totally a game the HMs play that, as Alison notes, disproportionate benefits certain demographics.

      1. JustJustin*

        I agree with your the idea that that it was optional. And I agree with the idea that rejecting someone for it or not writing a thank you letter is not wise.

        And yet as someone who applied to over 200 jobs early last year, and he interviewed at a few and got one, I always wrote thank you notes. Mine were custom designed and printed and took a ton of effort. I don’t know how much of a difference it made but I did it primarily so I would not have to wonder if one extra steps that I skipped would have cost me a job. And I’m glad I did.

        How about we just say this: it’s a very good idea to write thank you notes after an interview.

  45. CatPerson*

    LW2, I stopped contributing to donation requests a long time ago. The final straw was getting the third request for the same person within a several year period (marriage and two babies, one right after the other). We have a lot of young people on our team now, many have gotten married, had babies, several of them have had second babies, and it’s been a never-ending cycle of envelopes being passed around. Don’t let them guilt you into buying things for people that you are not friends enough with to do it anyway. Certainly I have given gifts to people, but I do this on my own for people I consider to be friends in addition to co-workers.

    1. Obscure*

      One thing I do like about my current employer, they have a strict policy on staff gifts, the company pays (we also have a set amount, i.e. £15 for birthdays, £50 for marriages, birth of a child etc. It works, and the worst you will get in turns of being chased, is for you to sign your name on the card.

      1. CatPerson*

        Some companies prohibit solicitation as a union avoidance tactic. But how my co-workers get around that is by saying that the contributions are voluntary. Apparently our legal department thinks that makes a difference.

        1. allathian*

          Probably does, but when does voluntary turn to voluntold donations?

          My team mainly asks for donations when employees go on maternity/paternity leave, retire, or a temp is hired on full-time. But there’s 15 of us, so most of us usually give 2 or 3 euros. When we were mostly working at the office, this was easy, just a few coins in an envelope. Now it’s MobilePay or bank transfers. The card is “from the team” so no hard feelings about who’s contributed and who hasn’t.

  46. CountryLass*

    #3 I have a client that has an honorific in front of his name, think ‘Lord’, rather than ‘Doctor’. A contractor was in touch with him over some work that needed doing, and addressed him as his first name, rather than using his title. I then got a shirty email about the contractor’s rudeness. Based on my relationship with him, I pointed out that when we first spoke, I would probably have done the same thing as he is the only person I know with a title, but I was briefed by a colleague. He accepted the premise, but still said that he likes to choose who calls him by his name. I’ve been working on his account for 3 years now, and I still use (title) First-name, and even when he refers to his wife to me on the phone, he refers to her as (Title) First-name. I think it’s a generation thing with him…

    1. quill*

      I mean, as a person who has read many fantasy historical novels, I do understand that this has at some point been the thing that was done.

      As an American? I have trouble not laughing.

      1. UKDancer*

        I think I’d laugh too and I’m British.

        I mean I know a couple of people with hereditary titles and neither of them uses them in day to day life. The one I know best (old family friend with a baronetcy) just goes by Ned. I mean he technically could make us all use his title (Sir Edward Smith) but he doesn’t and most of the time doesn’t mention it (unless he’s writing to the council about potholes). That’s why we like him.

        By and large I think if you’ve had a title all of your life you’re a lot less precious about it than if you acquired it later on in life. Although there are exceptions.

    2. Heidi*

      He could have just told the contractor, “Please call me Lord Puffenstuff,” and that would have solved the problem instead of stewing over it. How else is contractor supposed to know?

  47. MissDisplaced*

    Thank you notes: Well, given we have four generations in the workforce right now, opinions will be mixed on post interview thank you notes.

    I personally think it’s not critical to do, but you probably should do it. It does seem off to me that this particular company was SO SHOCKED! that you didn’t. IDK, maybe because it was sales? I guess that’s a warning that if you do really want the job, make sure you send a thank you note.

    I admit that with Zoom interviews, I’ve skewed to sending thank you notes less often. It’s because Zoom feels more like a phone call, not the full in-person interview/tour of the office. Also, with panel interviews it gets harder to track who’s who on the calls and thank each one personally.

  48. CatPerson*

    LW2, one time we had an admin who was particularly adamant about collecting money–she would sit down in your cubicle, holding the card, and wait for you to hand her money to ensure you didn’t just sign the card. One time, I didn’t have any cash on hand–literally I had spent my last dollar on coffee and had not had time to go to the bank. When she sat down to collect my money, I told her that I didn’t have any cash. She stalked off with the card. The next day she was back. I still hadn’t gone to the cash machine. I said “I still don’t have any money! Look! And I ripped my wallet out of my purse and opened it up and showed her that I literally didn’t have any cash. Then I opened the change purse. Let’s see, I have 35 cents. Do you want my last 35 cents??

    She went away and never came back.

    1. Super Duper Anon*

      This always saves me, I never carry cash with me. Stores/vendors that have debit machines are so common where I live that I never need to, even the ice cream truck that was near a local park last weekend took debit. Every time I run into someone collecting money at work I can legitimately say I have no money on me. If I do want to contribute, I go to the bank that night and get some money out, but otherwise I just “forget”.

      1. CatPerson*

        Well, my incident was a long time ago. Now, where I work they’re accepting electronic payments via paypal or venmo!! There’s no escaping the officer collection, unless you put your foot down, like I did!

    2. I'm just here for the cats*

      Good for you for standing up for yourself! I love how you did it too!

  49. MMMMMmmmmMMM*

    I just haaaaaaate writing thank you notes. Seriously. I understand its to build the conversation past the interview, but frequently I’m at a loss as to how to even begin the note because if I have a question about the position, I’ve asked it!

    I’ll just never leave my current job, and then I’ll never have to do it! (/s)

    1. Panny Fack*

      Many sites have examples. The basic format is, “Thank you for the ____. I [something about the gift or experience]. I look forward to [some reference to a future interaction.” Three sentences does it in almost every case.

      1. Nanani*

        That’s a thank you note for a social occasion.
        This has nothing at all to do with the notes used for job interviews. Search THIS site for explanations, don’t google generic thank you notes or you’ll look silly.

  50. HailRobonia*

    I just interviewed for a job yesterday afternoon, and I was going to send a thank you email later in the day… but the interviewer sent me a thank you email first! It was pretty positive (definitely not a brush-off “thank you for interviewing (you will never hear from us)” message, more of an honest thanks for the interview and “here is the approximate timeline for our decisions… you should hear from us within a week…”). So I felt a bit awkward sending them a thank you right after but I think I managed to respond appropriately (thank you and the rest of your team for taking the time to meet with me…let me know if you have any additional questions about my background or experience, I look forward to hearing from you soon…)

  51. foolofgrace*

    #1: It would be a lot easier to send a thank-you if the hiring manager would, you know, give you their card or something. Most of the interviews I’ve been on have ended without this and I was too flustered / scared of being thought of as too pushy to ask for one. And when there is a whole panel of interviewers, who do you ask?

    1. Panny Fack*

      Ask for their contact info. You’re not going to get in trouble. In many cases it’s expected, so not doing so will hurt your chances of moving forward.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      As I commented above, as a panel member, I had candidates go on a stealth mission to figure out each of our addresses. (Apparently something candidates are told to do nowadays.) While not rocket science, it did feel weird and invasive to me to receive an email from someone I’d never given my contact info to.

      One candidate, however, stood out by creating a Word file with a thank-you note inside for each of us, naming each file by the name of the person it was addressed to, and emailing the whole batch to our corporate recruiter that had been working with the candidate; who then forwarded them to us. I’ve got to say that to me, this made the candidate stand out, and while we offered that specific position to someone else, we did offer a paid internship position to this candidate a couple of month later, which they accepted, and were able to leverage into a job offer from a large company that they were a great fit for. I thought it was a very well-thought-out and professional thing to do! So, when our boss asked, “Do we want to call Tangerina back for the internship?” my answer was an enthusiastic Yes!

  52. Art3mis*

    Every single time I’ve sent a thank you note after an interview, I’ve been rejected. Every job offer I’ve ever received has been after not sending a thank you note. So I know that it’s recommended that you send them, but I personally don’t believe in them.

  53. Engenuity*

    Re LW2, is it normal in other workplaces to do collections for things like home improvement projects? Or were these shared cabinets in the workplace (in which case, shouldn’t that come out of the office budget)? I’m very confused how this one was even a thing.

    The only thing my coworkers ever collect money for is legit hardship like losing a close family member or serious illness. Maybe awhile back, there was a collection for someone’s first baby, but usually for babies, we all just ooh and aah on Slack for a good 24 hours after the baby is born and pictures are posted. I remember collecting money to send my boss flowers when her grandmother (that she was very close to) died, but in general, we follow Allison’s rule that gifts shouldn’t flow up, so just a random gift to the boss isn’t something we’d collect for either.

    So I’m wondering if even some of the things money is being collected for is worth pushing back on if LW decides to speak up? I’m really curious about how this works in other workplaces, and if you have a culture of communal gifts, would scaling back be seen as disruptive to the community vibe or a welcome change?

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      It sounds like a few of the coworkers repainted the cabinets in the break room. You are right that this should have come from the office budget.

      1. Boof*

        It sounds like it may have been unnecessary and the coworkers just wanted to – maybe that’s why the office didn’t approve it…

  54. AthenaC*

    You know, I’ve always been weirded out when people drop my first name into conversation. It’s totally unnecessary (yes you already have my attention since we are in the middle of a conversation), and also totally unnatural-sounding. It sounds as if they are trying to manipulate me, so even if they are totally sincere, I automatically trust them even less.

    Please, PLEASE for the love of God, stop doing this!

      1. AthenaC*

        Maybe for some people, but I recently attended a training where the instructor explicitly said, “Use their first name in conversation to build rapport.” I know that many of my colleagues had attended this training in years past, so now I know why they were all skeeving me out every conversation we had.

        1. allathian*

          Did you tell this instructor that the advice doesn’t work for everyone, and that some people find it awkward, manipulative, and intrusive? Have you told any of your colleagues that you’ve attended the same training and realize why they’re doing it, but that you’d vastly prefer them to stop repeating your name unnecessarily in conversation?

  55. OP3OP3Annie J*

    @LW3: i’m sure you know this already but please don’t believe the nonsense about there not being a hierarchy, so many managers in all workplaces like to proclaim this very rarely true, especially with debt collections. W

  56. Mental Lentil*

    If somebody came around and shook an envelope full of money in my face, I would reach in, squirrel around for a couple of newish feeling notes, pull them out, and then say “Thanks, I’ve been running a bit short on cash this week” and then turn back to my work as if nothing unusual had just happened.

  57. Dr B Crusher*

    Full name is the way to go, if a name must be voiced at all. “May I speak to Jean-Luc Picard, please?” And then stop. No need to continue. He knows you’re talking to him. He’ll probably not be pleased if you call him Monsieur Picard instead of Captain, and he’ll really hate it if you call him Jean instead of his full name.

  58. Ginger*

    I think OP#1 was more about the lack of follow up than the thank you. It’s a common sales interview strategy – they want to see you “close” the interview and follow up like you would in your role.

  59. bwyse917*

    As a long time call center supervisor I can tell you that some call centers participate in programs that grade them on manners and call control. Saying a person’s name or at least calling them sir or ma’am through out a call is a requirement to achieve these “secret shopper” type scores. Nothing about the way you are expected to speak is natural and it takes a lot of training to break people of certain habits. Words like “ok” are considered slang and should not ever be used in a conversation! I don’t agree with all of the requirements but we’ve scouted many programs and they are all similar in this way. On a side note, in today’s world you can no longer judge if someone is a sir or ma’am by the tone of their voice or their name so it’s a safer bet to use their first name than risk offending them by calling a sir ma’am or vice versa.

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      I know exactly what you’re talking about. One of my old jobs had these “secret shopper” scores and we had to use the customer’s name at least once. They are so stupid and make no sense. Like I’m supposed to have a “real” and “natural” conversation but I’m supposed to say certain things like “It is my goal to give you exceptional customer service today”.

  60. Bookworm*

    I slightly disagree with the answer: it’s not BS. This is what made you stick out from the rest and NOT in a good way.

    I do agree that it’s absurd to hold this one thing over a candidate, but there’s always a chance they’re not telling you the truth and there’s more to why they rejected you. I personally suspect I’ve been subject to the same thing: not wearing a jacket when it’s 8o+ degrees and humid outside, not bringing a paper copy of my resume along (it’s rare that I’ve been asked if I brought copies now) but I’m aware it’s a risk. Now you know the same.

    Is it your fault you’d never been formally taught this? No. But I’d also wager this isn’t the entire truth from them, either.

    1. WellRed*

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the thank you wasn’t the reason but it’s something that the friend has a personal pet peeve with.

  61. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

    I tend to have a case of the “sorrys” in situations like LW4. It is partially habit, since way, way back in the day it was the way I was taught to handle missed communications (e.g. “sorry I missed your call”, “sorry for the the delayed reply I was in a meeting/out of town/squirrels ate the internet”). I’m trying to use it less, so I use the “Am I really sorry?” test. In some cases I am, because it is a person I really like/to whom I owe a favor/that I know is on a tight deadline and the request was urgent, and will say “sorry for the delay, I was X”. It isn’t that it was my fault, it is more a “sorry I couldn’t help out when you needed me” thing.

    For the ones where I don’t feel sorry, I realized what I want to communicate “I wasn’t blowing you off, I promise” so I use:
    * I was out of the office/fighting in the Llama Wars/wrangling cats and just saw this
    * I just returned to the office and [reply]
    * Been offline since [date] and just saw this
    It seems to go down exactly the same as a “sorry” and usually gets the reply, “Oh yeah I saw your out-of-office message”

    1. Allypopx*

      I’ve also been trying to unlearn the sorrys, it’s hard! ‘Thank you for your patience’ has been my go-to when I feel like I have to acknowledge it.

  62. Rez123*

    Thank you notes. The reason I found this site. I had read somewhere about people sending thank you notes after interviews. Decided to google it and ask a manager popped up and from then on I was hooked <3

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I found this site when someone on a now-defunct etiquette advice site linked to it. Goes to show you that Alison’s advice is solid etiquette advice that is respected in the etiquette-advice circles.

  63. AnonPi*

    I’ve been at two places now that constantly pressures employees for “donations” to it’s chosen charity. It’s really annoying, especially right now with the pandemic and everything, since they like to target those in lower level positions that don’t have as much money to spare. At my current employer they had done away with their committee members being able to go around one by one pressuring people to donate, but they’re talking about reinstating that. They will be getting a door in the face if that happens. Of course I’m sure I’ll be told on to management, along with anyone else that doesn’t donate (as it is they offer an automatic pay deduction for their charity, and periodically send emails around to those not signed up for it asking us to do so). They don’t even consider that not everyone agrees with their charity of choice, they are more worried about the “optics” and “bragging” about the percentage of employees donating.

  64. Dorothea Vincy*

    I wish you luck in getting out of the donation requests, LW 2. My previous work was terrible with them, and it was always asking for absurd amounts of money for weddings and baby showers for people who had these absurdly inflated ideas of what they “deserved”. (No, you don’t need a $60,000 wedding paid for entirely by your coworkers. You really don’t. No, I don’t care what “you’ve dreamed of since you were a little girl.” It’s a little girl fantasy that it’s time to grow out of). But people were afraid to tell them to stop asking since these were people related to the president of the company. We all got good at excuses instead.

    At my current job, a VP did try to ask for absurd donations for a baby the first year I was here. Apparently, her daughter had quit her job the minute she found out she was pregnant, believing that the mother should stay home with the baby, and my coworker’s idea was to replace her daughter’s salary for the year by getting hundreds of employees to donate several hundred dollars each. One person at her level told her straight up, in public, that if someone was going to pay for her daughter to be a SAHM, it should be her, and that was the end of that. It didn’t create good feeling between the two of them, but with something that extreme, I don’t know that there was any other choice.

    1. Boof*

      Whaaa… ok, that is bizarre to expect coworkers to fund a whole expensive wedding, and someone’s someone’s year off work… like what even?!!
      New general professional rule: no solicitations at work. Just none. Sorry!

    2. Engenuity*

      Yeah, I think you’re right upon rereading it. Which is even more puzzling because I can’t imagine a couple of coworkers doing this sort of redecorating going over well in any of the companies I’ve worked for, but maybe LW is in a small business/startup environment or an industry where this would be more normal (like they’re all painters

    3. Engenuity*

      That is truly wild! I’m not hugely in favor of workplace collections nor have I ever worked in an office where it’s a huge part of the culture, but as I understand it, usually the idea is everyone throws in some token amount and you get some cake or a gift or something to mark the occasion – that is, it’s more about showing you care than actually funding things. The idea that you’d as coworkers be paying for someone’s wedding or basic needs is just all kinds of nope to me.

      This makes me grateful for my own workplace where we just offer congratulations, encouragement, condolences, etc for each other’s personal events.

      1. James*

        Where I work we all chip in like $20 if there’s a birth, a death in the family, or some major life event. Enough to buy a tray of food from someplace, or something nice for the mother and baby. Some of our teams also may buy a cake for someone’s birthday as well, but that’s on a team-by-team basis.

        The idea of paying someone a year’s salary via donations is insane.

      1. Dorothea Vincy*

        That part made it even weirder! I asked around after the fact, and only one of my coworkers, who had been there for 15 years or so, had ever even met the daughter. The VP certainly wasn’t inviting people to the daughter’s wedding or anything like that.

  65. Beth*

    PAINTING CABINETS?!? Seriously?!? The BUSINESS needs to pay for its own damned physical plant. This is BS writ large and flaming.

    Push back, LW #2, and never doubt your right to your own money.

    1. quill*

      I know, right? If this is like, a small trendy home design office, the painters demonstrated terrible judgement in terms of amount spent and the business is not doing it’s job in coherently allocating it’s budget.

      If it’s NOT some DIY home design office, why the heck are the employees randomly deciding to paint the cabinets?

    2. Old Cynic*

      Yeah, it really irks me when employees pay for something that’s clearly company purview.

      One place I worked the company provided a fridge and stove. The employees chipped in for microwave, pots & pans, dishes, silverware.

    3. GreenDoor*

      I worked in an office where the donation envelope got ridiculous, too. Think Coworker Mary’s uncle’s best friend’s neighbors house burnt down – let’s all chip in! There were never any thank-you’s posted or even a follow up like “we collected $x and here’s what we did with it on behalf of the team.”
      The collectors would come to my cube and literally shake the envelope without even a “Hello” much less an actual request of “are you willing/able to contribute to this?” I would routinely say “I’m not giving to that” with an absolutely no F’s given tone. They’d be ticked, but I didn’t care. If there was a co-worker who I knew was truly grieving/in a bind/genuinely turning funds over to a charity I would write them a note or card and put in money or a gift card and personally deliver it. Shake that envelope in my face all you want, but I won’t be guilted or intimidated into giving to every cause under the sun.

      And since when do you spend money….and then demand a chip-in after the fact from people who never agreed in advance to help fund your project?? That takes a lot of audacity!

      1. Colette*

        I once worked with a woman who was pregnant with her second child. The team took her out for lunch and contributed to the gift. And then she had the baby, and her work friend took it upon himself to send flowers “from the team” and then tell us we could chip in (copying the entire department, and the woman who received the flowers). I replied to all (except the recipient) saying “I agree this is an important occasion that we need to recognize – and we did, when we bought her the gift/lunch. I won’t be contributing.”

  66. Boof*

    I am sometimes involved in hiring/selecting applicants and I actually don’t really like thank you notes (though if there’s further questions/conversation after the interview, that’s fine! That being said pretty sure I did write some, although if I recall it was more to let my top picks know they were my top picks (last time I applied for things it was medical fellowship and involves rank lists and a bit of guessing on both who you want and who’s likely to come). Just when it seems like an obligatory box check thing I feel like it’s a waste of time – but I would never hold them for or against anyone.
    Anyway, I guess thank you notes are a thing though I think ideally they communicate something more than just “thanks again!”

  67. Anon for this, colleagues read here*

    OP #2: I finally just made a policy: I do not donate to anything except the holiday envelope for the housekeeper. And I say that to everyone who asks. Fortunately, our office no longer is pushy about this sort of thing.

    When they *were* pushy, many years ago, I would initial the routing slip with “$0” next to my name. And then I’d state my policy when asked. Repeatedly. Occasionally with a statement that “my family’s finances are none of your business.”

    But I’ve always been a tough dame lol.

  68. funkydonut*

    What do you do when you met with four people via a zoom interview but didn’t receive contact info for any of them? Do you send the thank you note to the HR person that organized the zoom? I have searched but can’t find email addresses for all four of them. I found a couple on LinkedIn, but I don’t have premium so can’t send them messages that way without connecting first, and it seems presumptuous to request a connection based on one interview.

    1. anonforthis*

      IF you met with them in a group, you can do a group follow-up facilitated by the zoom organizer. Just write “Could you kindly forward this to <>?”

      1. quill*

        I’ve definitely interviewed with people whose names I don’t know how to spell because recruiters, or more infrequently HR, never gave me that info. (I mean, another check in the “avoid jobs where you have to apply via overworked external recruiters” column…)

  69. Esmeralda*

    I do always send a thank you. Permanently ingrained into me: my mom would not allow us to use any gift until we had written a thank you note and she had checked it, watched us put it in an envelope, addressed, stamped, and walked out to the mailbox. LOL, that’s because one or another of us kids had omitted one of those steps, not necessarily accidentally.

    1. Nanani*

      You do realize following up after an interview is -called- a thank you note, but is not actually the same thing as a social thank you note? A perfunctory obligation-filling note is not going to do much for your chances. The idea is to follow up with some substance relating to what happened in your interview (which is not a gift but a part of doing business)

  70. I should really pick a name*

    I’m not clear if LW #2 has actually been giving them money all this time.
    If you have been, please stop. If no one challenges them, they won’t ever think that there’s anything wrong with what they’re doing.

  71. Beth*

    LW #3: “half the team asked customers if they were allowed to use their first names and the other half didn’t, and nine out of ten times, they were told it is okay”

    “It is allowed” (= “I won’t forbid it”) is not the same as “it is okay” (= “I’ll put up with it”), and NEITHER is the same as “it is preferred” (= “I want you to do it”). The call center used its “informal experiment” to justify the stupid idea they wanted to do anyway.

  72. anonforthis*

    OP 1 – its strange to get such specific feedback that you were excluded because of not sending a thank you note. I do a lot of hiring, and when I think back, I honestly can’t remember the last time we hired someone that didn’t send a follow-up note though. If a position is competitive (we’re getting hundreds of applications, screening 10% of applicants), a follow-up note can usually reinforce a candidate’s interest in the job. If we don’t hear from a candidate post interview (which is rare), we don’t exclude them from the candidate pool, but we usually assume they just aren’t that interested. I’ve not had Alison’s experience with follow-up notes only being a US thing – we hire in 20+ countries and its pretty common to have interested candidates following up post interview with an email to their interviewer. Anyway, I guess I am not as quick to say “this is BS.” I think it should be seen as a valuable relationship building tool, and just know that – especially in certain industries – this is something other candidates are doing and if the position is competitive, you’re smart to write one.

    1. Blondie99*

      Same here, I have interviewed close to 100 candidates and it’s the norm to get a thank you. I suspect though that there were other reasons they did not want to hire her, they just used that as an easy out. Plus if you cannot take 10 minutes to send a thank you, I would question how much time you have for the job.

  73. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    Many jobs ago, I contacted HR to update my benefifts info as I had just gotten married. The HR person got excited and told me that I was entitled to $300 from the company just for getting married.

    I had no clue.

    A progressive company could do that instead of getting employees to nickel and dime other employees: have a small fund set aside for babies, weddings and flowers.

      1. Beehoppy*

        My Mom and StepDad lived together for years before they got married. He jokes that the only reason he did eventually propose was that his employer was offering an extra week’s vacation to anyone who just got married.

  74. Van Wilder*

    OP#3 – to answer your first question, I do think that you’re a little out of touch. But clearly some others above disagree. I think this varies widely by age and by region of the country. Like the year-round pantyhose debate from a few years ago.

    I did some phone banking before the November election and I always defaulted to last names because I was calling older people in Texas.

  75. NowWhat?465*

    I am in one of those industries where Thank You Notes are SUPER important (fundraising/development) and can be the thing that pushes one candidate over the other.

    It is always a huge red flag if we’re interviewing for a fundraising position, and we don’t receive a thank you note within 3 days. It’s something our donors expect, and it’s an industry standard after meeting someone for the first time, so when it doesn’t happen it’s a “what else are they unfamiliar with/not doing that they should be doing.” We’re a little lighter on those coming from another industry, but if you’ve been in the game for 1+ plus and you’re still not doing it there is something wrong.

  76. quill*

    “My office of 15 people collects money at least twice a month. There is no discussion. Most recent was everyone owes $10 for the paint two of my coworkers decided to use to paint perfectly fine cabinets.”

    They spent $150 on paint for what I can only assume is less than 50 square feet of cabinet coverage? I have questions about how the money spenders of this office are doing any form of budgeting. At the VERY least, DIY changes to the workspace like new furniture / spending over a hundred dollars on renovations should have an approval process that you clearly don’t have, and an acknowledgement that the budget for it needs to be an actual office budget discussion, not “two DIYers spent a work afternoon rollerpainting the kitchen instead of doing their jobs and massively overestimated the amount of paint thy were going to need.”

    For the curious, I just quickly calculated that one gallon of paint will cover approximately 300 square feet, so say they got a gallon of primer and a gallon of paint at $30 apiece…. you’re still being ripped off.

  77. Blondie99*

    I am in the private sector on the hiring committee of a pretty large law firm, female, lawyer, 44. Not sure if age or demographics come into play sometimes people say boomers expect thank you letters more. I have probably interviewed 100 candidates at my current firm, from file clerk up to partner, along with others and maybe 10 did not send a thank you? None of the 10 got hired. I don’t recall that it was due to the no thank you though. The best ones would follow up immediately with an email and then with really nice cards of stationary by mail, which is a nice touch in this day and age. Would I discount a candidate solely because they did not send a thank you card, no, but if I was on the fence already that would be the nail in the coffin. Also if it was between two people I would pick the one with the thank you. I suspect that the company really did not like OP and that was just the icing on the cake and the excuse that her friend was told. But not sending one is just lazy, it’s so easy to do and it pushes your name to the forefront of the interviwer’s mind again. It may not matter to some, but you never know whom you are getting.

    1. Lotus*

      Personally I don’t factor thank you notes into my decision making at all. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe that ty notes indicate how “polite” a candidate is. I have hired perfectly polite candidates who didn’t send ty notes. There is a time and place to thank people, but job interviews are not it! That being said, as I mention down thread, I recommend people send them because I think I’m in the minority lol

    2. Loredena Frisealach*

      I’m in tech, and while I’ve sent thank you notes a few times I’ve not done so consistently, and it has zero impact on my hiring rate so far as I can discern.

      Of course, a quick doesn’t take long email saying thanks is easy – but not useful. I’ve honestly rarely found an interview where at the end I’ve had something that makes sense to continue the conversation on, which would make the thank you note seem less performative. But I’m a software consultant, and a lot of the norms talked about here don’t seem to apply – no one expects a cover letter, I’ve not had references checked by my last 3! jobs, and even the ‘magic question’ rarely works to give interesting info. Day in the life questions sometimes do though.

  78. Rml*

    #3. The alternative to a first name is Mr or Mrs or Ms. Forces call center to guess based on voice pitch and name…and offend customers when they guess wrong….or even be accused of some type of gender insensitivity. I have yet to hear any form of generic neutral salutation (Valued Customer, Citizen, Dear Reader, Your Highness, End User) that would not sound ridiculous in a call center conversation. Is there one?

    1. Lana Kane*

      Right. I think using Mr /Ms types honorifics nowadays is opening you up to tricky territory. In my industry there is a huge push to refer to customers by their preferred name precisely to honor any kind of gender insensitivity. Adding honorifics to the mix is just adding an unecessary landmine to what should be a fairly neutral conversation.

    2. Nanani*

      No it isn’t? They can just not call you anything, as per Alison’s reply.
      It’s a conversation, just say “you”.

      Stop inventing imaginary offended GSMs to justify weird things.

  79. Sled Dog Mama*

    Well I was today years old when I learned that I am the 1 of 10 customers who responds to “May I call you Sled?” with “No, I prefer Ms. Dog Mama.” I respond this way because I was asked a question and a question means I have a choice. I do know that this particular question is actually meant to get me to say yes but I’m apparently that kind of jerk.
    I would completely prefer that we drop the names all together in these one-on-one conversations and just fix the issue. Now when you’ve got more than 2 people on the line that’s different sometimes you need to state who you are directing a comment to. I’ve also noticed that if I specify I prefer Ms. Dog Mama the CSR will just totally leave out the name.

  80. Old Cynic*

    One company I worked for was recruiting an HR Manager. I can’t recall how many candidates sent thank-you notes, but one sent a huge basket of muffins from a local bakery with a card attached thanking us for the interview. Guess which candidate was hired?

    1. Nanani*

      That’s not how anything is supposed to work.
      For one, “thank you notes” are supposed to be follow-ups on what was discussed and not just a literal thanks.
      For two, bribery and gimmicks are just, just don’t.

    2. New Jack Karyn*

      The one whose application materials, interview, and references suggested they’d be the best fit for the job?

  81. Nupalie*

    #1. I worked in one of the less progressive sectors of utility services (average age of frontline employees in this industry and state was around 50). I participated in two hirings in the past 5 years…and heard my then-boss mock applicants for sending thank you notes.
    On a side note,in many organizations HR sets up the screening and interviews – while the department specific managers visit the HR site when the interview occurs. In two of my positions, applicants were directly told NOT to contact department managers after the interview. Managers were told under no circumstances to speak to or respond to any contact from applicants post interview with threat of disciplinary action. This was in both cases a heavy handed approach to curtail nepotism or cronyism. An applicant at either of those workplaces who reached out to a manager post interview would be viewed with suspicion if not dropped from serious consideration. Note that these were governmental and quasi-governmental employers

    1. GNG*

      I’ve also worked at government employer with the same strict approach. Same in my current private sector organization. All hiring-related communications need to go through HR. If any candidate want to communicate after the interview, they have to go through their assigned HR contact. If candidates sent thank you notes to their HR contact, they are not forwarded to the hiring managers. If any candidates went around the process and sent the notes directly to the interviewers, we were told not to respond. My understanding of the primary purpose of this set up at my organization is to make sure hiring managers don’t mis-convey anything or inadvertently break the law.
      As someone on Team Anti-Thank You Note, I greatly appreciate this set up.

  82. Qwetry*

    A focus group discussion by my local government showed that people receive rejection, denial, bad news, etc. better when addressed Mr/Ms LastName, especially when situation is sensitive. “Brenda, we’re not going to install a ramp for your disabled child” feels personal – “Ms Brendason, we’re not going to install a ramp for your disabled child” feels like the government being the government.

    Some reported feeling angry at the informality (buttering up while giving bad news), others more hurt (the person must have understood the situation, but just didn’t think my pain mattered). Formality was considered frustrating and a little angering, but was far more neutral than the informality.

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      These kinds of studies are so strange. Of course I like to be treated respectfully when I receive any kind of news, but ultimately the bad news itself is going to far outweigh how someone addressed me.

      1. Observer*

        In real life, that’s not the whole story. Obviously if you don’t get the ramp your kid needs, you are not going to be happy. But HOW the news is delivered generally has a definite effect in how people handle that news, in the moment and going forward.

        So, the more formal approach might get an internal eye-roll and a thought “Gah. These government bureaucrats!” while saying “I see” and hanging up. Followed up in many cases with plan be, or another attemtp to get that ramp.

        The less formal approach could easily change the first part to a tirade, and further attempts to get the ramp could be far more hostile or angry.

    2. Don P.*

      This just adds to how everyone responds differently to things. This very sentence:

      “Brenda, we’re not going to install a ramp for your disabled child” feels personal – “Ms Brendason, we’re not going to install a ramp for your disabled child” feels like the government being the government.

      See, I would complete that with: “Brenda” etc feels personal….in that it’s a personal, arbitrary rejection. “Ms Brendason….” feels like the government being the government…in that they have a procedure for deciding who gets a ramp, and their procedure produced a “no”; nothing personal, and nothing much to do about it either. So even with your premises in place, I respond the opposite of how your group thinks people do.

  83. Lotus*

    #1 – personally I don’t give an F about thank you notes one way or the other and it doesn’t factor into my hiring decisions at all, but a lot of hiring managers do care (esp older ones) so I definitely recommend job candidates send them.

    The only time I find thank you notes somewhat useful is if the candidate confirms their interest in the position after the interview, but I don’t rely on it for that information. Also, you don’t need to send it exactly within 24 hrs!

  84. Alexis Rosay*

    I’ve hired for dozens of positions (most very low level) and very few candidates have sent me thank you notes. The few who did often happened to *already* be the front-runner! While I appreciated the gesture, it’s definitely not what got them the job.

  85. HannahS*

    For OP3, I feel the least bad about CSR calls when they say something like “I’m looking for Hannah [Lastname]…This is Blennifer calling from Alpacas Inc. about your order,” and then there’s no cause to use my name again in the conversation.

    Formal salutations are too complicated and too easy to get wrong. My real name is foreign and not obviously female, so I get mildly annoyed when I get called Mr. [Lastname]. My last name is not my husband’s name, so I get mildly annoyed when I get called Mrs. [Lastname]. I’m a doctor, so I get mildly annoyed when I get called Ms. [Lastname]. But I’d be mildly annoyed if a CSR rep was calling me [Dr. Lastname], because it’s likely not relevant to what we’re doing and would feel weirdly obsequious.

  86. Pam Poovey*

    Making it a requirement to send a thank you saps them of any meaning. They become perfunctory instead of an indicator that you’re truly excited about the role.

  87. That One Person*

    #4 – As someone prone to apologizing a lot, one thing that helps is a mix of reorienting your thought process and having contingencies in place. For instance having a coworker or manager’s contact information in your auto-reply can help if they’re willing to help with anything while you’re away. That way if there is an emergency people know who to contact rather than wait. At the same time that auto-reply is like a pre-recorded apology and explanation anyways, because it lets them know you’re unavailable and will be back on X/Y date. Granted you won’t want to keep people waiting, but sometimes people have meetings and appointments scheduled for when they get back and they’re catching up on emails/getting back up to speed on projects so it may take a day or possibly two. I’d try to get back to people no later than the second day though, emergencies/crazy life happenings permitting.

  88. Uranus Wars*

    I have to agree with Alison on #3 – why use a name at all. I don’t have advice for OP; if it’s the policy it’s the policy. But I did cringe as I remembered a time when I called and the agent used my name so many times I was having a hard time even following the troubleshooting instructions. Think “Ok Uranus, let me look at your account Uranus. I see the issue Uranus. So, Uranus, just find the reset button and Uranus you’ll want to find a paperclip or pin Uranus to….”

    Finally I had to stop them and ask them not to use my name anymore in the conversation. I felt so bad but I seriously could not follow the instructions.

  89. nnn*

    A possibility for #2 (depending on personalities and context) might be to pitch the idea of collecting money first, and then buying a gift that is within the dollar amount collected.

    That way, you aren’t asking them to stop with the collections or drastically change culture. If anything, you’re making life easier for the collectors, sparing them the task of following up and making sure everyone contributes or the burden of eating the cost if not everyone contributes.

  90. Nicole*

    I’m wondering, with a thank you note via email, is it okay to just reply to the interview invite, replying to all, and say something like, “Thank you (both/all) again for your time today. I really enjoyed talking with you, and look forward to the next steps.”

    Is that sufficient?

  91. Catherine*

    #3: I was told in multiple jobs to use the customer’s name a couple times when helping them because it made it more “personal”. Once I was on the receiving end of that, I realized how incredibly annoying it was. I also ran into the issue of people getting offended by first names, last names, honorifics they didn’t care for, etc. (And let’s not get started on the amount of women of a certain age getting unreasonably angry at the word “ma’am”!)

  92. StudentA*


    I wish people just wouldn’t make a big deal about any of this. CSR’s jobs are hard enough as it is. Do we really need to stop and tell them to call us by our first or last names? Or not to call us ma’ams or sirs? Or not to say our names at all?

    Some people really need to flex their muscles elsewhere. This short call is not where you should be taking out your frustration. If they are repeatedly mispronouncing your name, tell them if you want. Otherwise, it’s really not that important. Move on with your day.

    1. 1.0*


      A fair few commenters here either are unaware of, or actively hostile to, the requirements put on people working service jobs, and it’s deeply unpleasant.

      1. Nacho*

        I doubt most people here have any idea what it’s like to work in a call center. I remember asking for advice here once and 80% of the responses were people outraged that my boss makes me change my status when I go to the bathroom, as if that was a huge violation of my privacy and not the only way to make sure I don’t get any calls while I’m not at my phone.

      2. allathian*

        My annoyance is never with the people working these jobs, it’s the corporate requirements that they need to follow that annoy me. I’ve worked in enough CS jobs when I was in high school and college, and as a recent graduate, to know that they’re just following orders. That doesn’t mean I don’t get to have a preference, and in my case that is to just use my full name at the start of the call, without any titles, to confirm you’re talking to the right person, and once more when we’re ending the call. Never during it, unless you need to put me on hold to check something and need to ensure that I’m paying attention again when you get back to me. Any more than that and you’re extremely unlikely to get me to buy from you ever again.

  93. NancyDrew*

    As someone who hires writers — I love a thank-you note. It’s an opportunity for the candidate to show off their writing skills again. And, as people noted above, sometimes when candidates are “tied” for an open role, I absolutely will consider their thank-you note in my assessment.

    So, I get that some people here find them useless, but for me they’ve been incredibly helpful. I don’t or won’t hold a non-thank-you note against a candidate! But if I get one, it’s more evidence of their writing and communications skills, and that’s evidence I need!

    Something to consider for the communications, marketing, social media folks out there.

  94. GreenDoor*

    I worked in an office where the donation envelope got ridiculous, too. Think Coworker Mary’s uncle’s best friend’s neighbors house burnt down – let’s all chip in! There were never any thank-you’s posted or even a follow up like “we collected $x and here’s what we did with it on behalf of the team.”
    The collectors would come to my cube and literally shake the envelope without even a “Hello” much less an actual request of “are you willing/able to contribute to this?” I would routinely say “I’m not giving to that” with an absolutely no F’s given tone. They’d be ticked, but I didn’t care. If there was a co-worker who I knew was truly grieving/in a bind/genuinely turning funds over to a charity I would write them a note or card and put in money or a gift card and personally deliver it. Shake that envelope in my face all you want, but I won’t be guilted or intimidated into giving to every cause under the sun.

    And since when do you spend money….and then demand a chip-in after the fact from people who never agreed in advance to help fund your project?? That takes a lot of audacity!

  95. Wisteria*

    I have read your website and knew a thank-you was nice but not required

    Yo, Alison is an advice columnist, she is not the Arbiter of Workplace Expectations. Alison thinking something should be the case does not means every single other person on the planet thinks the same.

  96. lcsa99*

    So, my husband read this this morning, and had a totally different reaction than most – now he’s worried that sending thank you notes signals that he’s privileged (since those with less advantaged backgrounds wouldn’t know to send one). He happens to work as a librarian, specifically helping people with resume and interview advice so I told him that instead of worrying about signaling that he’s advantaged he should concentrate on leveling the playing field and just give everyone advice on sending one; but would love more input on this view.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Lots of people from disadvantaged backgrounds end up with good mentoring or a site like this or so forth. The point is for employers to recognize that not everyone does; it’s not that no one does.

  97. DollarStoreParty*

    I like the idea of not using names at all because 9 times out of 10 they’ll call me Mrs. Party, or Miss Party, and I’ll say no, it’s Dollar, and then they call me Mrs. Dollar or Miss Dollar, to which I say no, it’s just Dollar. A good 5 minutes wasted every single time.

  98. jcarnall*

    “Personally I don’t know why call centers insist on using people’s names with them at all!”

    I’ve worked in two or three call centers. For some calls, we are required to ensure that we are talking to the correct person – and for some calls, we’re explicitly forbidden to talk to anyone except the named person. (Imagine we’re getting feedback on a llama grooming service where the person might not have told any other member of the household he ever owned a llama.)

    Even where the rule isn’t so stringent and we might be allowed to speak to a spouse or a parent or the adult child of an elderly person, in general, it’s good practice to get on the record just who I (the call center employee) am speaking to at the other end of the call. So yes, names – we use names. The script we’re reading from usually requires us to ask and check names, and in one call center, we were dinged for not using the person’s name at the end of the call as well as at the start of the call.

    In all call centers, more experienced employees get better at tweaking the script just enough to sound more human but still fall within the very rigid rules about what we are allowed to say. The rule about making sure we really are talking to the right person, on the record, is as much for our own/our emloyer’s legal protection as it is a faux-courtesy.

  99. Lorraine*

    Ah – I was once rejected for failing to send a thank you after I was ambushed with a panel of 7 interviewers. Joke’s on them though – the person that got it over me still has that same job 10 years later, I got a different role and three promotions since then.

  100. Nacho*

    OP#3 Using a customer’s name when talking to them has been shown to help personalize the conversation, which in turn helps increase tips for servers and customer satisfaction survey scores for CS agents. Obviously, you don’t say it at the end of every sentence like some kind of verbal tick, but mentioning it a few times in the conversation can really help.

  101. Fiddlesticks*

    Huh… My 30+ year career has been spent in state and local government. I’ve never sent a thank you note after an interview, and I’ve received most of the jobs I applied and interviewed for (not counting those interviews which were clearly “we are interviewing everyone who meets minimum qualifications so as not to trigger a discrimination claim, but we already know who we’re hiring/we’re promoting from within”). If I were among the finalists for an executive or director level job, I would probably send a thank-you after the interview, but for a routine interview for a mid-level government job? It’s just not something that most people seem to do, at least not where I’ve worked.

  102. ThePear8*

    #5 – I agree with Alison, you should mention your offer to company A. You might not get anything, but if you handle it well they might be able to speed things up for you. I had a situation a while back where I had an offer but was still interviewing with another company – I had a call with the recruiter to schedule my next interview, and I explained I had just received an offer and a few days to accept it (it was a Thursday and they wanted my response by Monday), and I understood that was short notice but I was still extremely interested in what their company had to offer and asked if it was at all possible to speed things up. Wow did it light a fire under his butt! 15 minutes later he called me back with an interview scheduled for the very next day with the hiring manager, and after that interview I heard back within a few hours with an offer. Not all companies will move with such speed – but you will never know if you don’t ask! Good luck OP!

  103. SkyeMiller*

    Unless you are applying to and interviewing at so many jobs that there is just not enough time in your day, then write the thank you note. Heck, you can even do it online I hear. LOL. But seriously, no matter how busy you are, a thank you note is always the right thing to do. It shows that you are a person who has gratitude and is thoughtful, and I would imagine those are qualities an employer looks for. And, if it’s between you and another very similar candidate, but you’re the one who wrote the thank you note, guess who gets the call back?

  104. Chris Hogg*


    OP-2: Hi Jamal. What’s up?

    Jamal: We all chipped in and bought a pot of petunias for Paul’s pet poodle (handing OP-2 an envelope) and it comes to two dollars a person. I didn’t see your name crossed off, so I thought I’d bring the envelope to you.

    OP-2: That’s nice of you to do that (handing the envelope back) and I won’t be contributing.

    Jamal: Uh, we already bought the petunias … and if you don’t contribute, all the others will have to pay more.

    OP-2: Yes, I understand that (pause, smile slightly, friendly face, expectant look).

    Jamal: Well, you could contribute, it’s only two dollars.

    OP-2: You’re right, I could contribute, and I won’t be contributing … but thanks for asking.

    Jamal: You’ve always contributed before.

    OP-2: You’re right, I have (pause, smile slightly, friendly face, expectant look).

    Jamal: Well, may I ask why you don’t want to contribute this time?

    OP-2: Certainly. I prefer not to.

    Jamal: That’s not a reason.

    OP-2: You could be right, and I prefer not to.

    Jamal: I’ll put two dollars in for you, and you can repay me later.

    OP-2: That’s nice of you, and I won’t be contributing.

    Jamal: Look, you know everybody contributes to these collections. It would look bad for you if you don’t contribute.

    OP-2: Yes, it could look bad, and I won’t be contributing.

    Jamal: Do you know what people will say if you don’t give?

    OP-2: No, I don’t. What will they say?

    Jamal: Actually, I don’t know, but it will probably be pretty negative.

    OP-2: Uh-huh (pause, smile slightly, friendly face, expectant look).

    Jamal: Just give this time, it’s only two dollars.

    OP-2: You’re right, it is only two dollars, and I won’t be contributing.

    Hopefully, at this point, Jamal will run out of things to say, but if he doesn’t, just keep on script and eventually he’ll get tired and give up.

    And by the way, this pattern works for paint, a boss’s gift, memorials, special food days, going away presents, wedding gifts, lottery tickets, and just about anything else one can think of.

    Will you get pushback? Sure.

    Will it be worth it? Could be. Might save you the time it takes to write to AAM for help. Will definitely save you a little money. And if 3 or 4 other people see how courageous you are, it most likely will give them the willingness to say no, and maybe in a couple of months forced donations will be just a dim memory.

  105. Lauren Ipsum*

    Ugh. Thank you notes. My company has interview panels and everyone on the panel needs to pass the applicant in order for the person to get the job. I was hiring for a jr position and almost couldn’t hire the most highly rated candidate because they didn’t send thank you notes after the interview and one person on the panel was withholding their “pass.”

    I asked the recruiter to give the candidate the tip that they should send a note. Candidate was reportedly mortified. They had always heard not to bother people doing the hiring and didn’t want to be annoying.

  106. Generic Elf*

    I’m not going to go out of my way to thank a potential employer – the party with far more power than I in the whole process- with buttpats for giving me the gift of their time. I’ve already thanked them for their time after the interview concluded. You know, like how human beings do. How insecure does a group of people have to be to deny employment over something so minor and insignificant, but then again…worse can happen.

    Also, collecting money because someone decided paint a breakroom cabinet? Why in the hell should any employee pay for that?

  107. Marjorie*

    Many years ago, I worked for a retailer that was a supporter of United Way. The first store made “drive week” a fun, carnival in the break room, bake sale, auction event. As a 20 something, I didn’t mind doing my bit with the recommended minimum of $1.00 per week. The second store, in a different region, made it a forced march. The form was handed to me with a stern “why haven’t you contributed” lecture. I was a young married who had just purchased a house and a new car; United Way was not in my budget. Plus, I preferred to contribute directly to the organizations with my time and money. I didn’t make many friends with management. The third store (yet another region) brought in a speaker from an organization that the store had decided to sponsor for their United Way drive. Helpful, but I still wasn’t in a position for the forced march. Fund raising like this a work is a nightmare. Now… let’s discuss the my child is selling stuff people……

  108. DrunkAtAWedding*

    I used to work in a call centre, and, while I was there, we went from only using last names to asking if we could use first names. I can only recall one customer who said “no” when I asked if I was okay to use her first name, but I hated asking every time. I don’t know those customers and they don’t know me. We have a formal relationship. Last names are fine.

    Also, I really like pronouncing new and interesting names, and at least one customer said they really liked that I actually said their name rather than not even trying. I felt bad when that customer called in again and I had to ask to use his first name, because he probably thought I was a different person who didn’t even want to try to pronounce his last name.:(

  109. Anonymous Today*

    A little late for this one, but I think that OP #1 dodged a bullet. This sounds like the sort of place that has a bunch of unwritten rules that you only find out about when you violate them. At that point, everyone looks down their nose at you and sort of sniffs their displeasure. And it’s always about petty, BS stuff that has nothing to do with the work itself or if you are doing a good job at your actual job.

  110. CatLadyInTraining*

    At my office it’s not donations for stuff, but co-worker’s kid’s fundraisers! It seems like every other week some employee is going around asking people if they want to buy cookie dough, chocolate bars, jerky, candles, aprons, NFL themed pasta, coupon books, wrapping paper, you name it for their kid’s school, sports team, band, etc. Sometimes the kid comes in and tries to sell stuff. And this is isn’t even counting Girl Scout cookies. Is it like this in anyone else’s office? There is no pressure to buy, but it’s the amount of times people’s kids are selling stuff…when I was kid, it was just Girl Scout cookies and the once a year wrapping paper sale for the PTA.
    Nowadays it’s like three times a year for school, plus a couple of times for extracurricular activities, once a year for scouts: about 200 employees, about 60% of whom have kids: if you said yes to everything you could be paying thousands a year, even more if you also buy from kids you know outside of work! It’s astonishing!

  111. Anonypantsish*

    #4 I know I am late to the party, but I wanted to add an experience that didn’t seem to get touched on. While I learned about the importance and role of thank yous from AAM, I didn’t send one for my most recent interview. Why? *because I was literally on vacation and forgot*. Honestly, it didn’t matter because before I made it back to my car after the interview, they offered me the job (pending salary negotiation etc) and so it wasn’t truly necessary. Regardless, I am human, so it happened. I did end up accepting, and had even told them I was heading out of town, so I would have been DEVISTATED if someone held it against me!

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