how to write a thank-you email after a job interview

Thank-you notes are a surprisingly controversial part of job-searching.

Some hiring managers are staunch advocates of thank-you notes, to the point of insisting they won’t hire candidates who don’t send them. Others couldn’t care less, and will barely glance at thank-you notes that arrive. On the job seeker end of things, some people write them religiously after every interview, swearing by their efficacy, while others find them an annoying inconvenience, and still others have never heard they’re expected to send them at all.

At The Cut today, I’ve got everything you need to know about post-interview thank-you notes: when to send them, how to send them, what they should say, and more. You can read it here.

{ 77 comments… read them below }

    1. Lisa*

      Unless I have a specific reason, like if I have a question, I don’t send notes for HR screens.

    2. Beth*

      I send them because it’s less effort for me to send a quick “It was great to meet you, thank you for sharing more information on this role, I’m excited about the opportunity” email than it is to evaluate whether I should send a note or not. But it’s a form email, basically. With later stage interviews, I try to personalize it at least a little to the discussion–reference something we talked about, ask a follow-up question, etc–but a phone screen is usually too low-level and routine to have anything to personalize to.

  1. Hiring Mgr*

    I always send them as a candidate, but if I’m hiring I don’t care if I receive one.

    And agree, they’re better thought of as “Follow up” notes

  2. Nonprofit queen*

    When I am hiring thank yous after an interview are not make or break, but I do pay attention. I work in nonprofit fundraising and it does give me some insight into a candidate’s ability to follow up an interaction positively and to build a relationship.

    1. Beth*

      This is why I send them. Relationship building is a key part of my role/career track, and sending a follow-up note is an opportunity to prove I have the soft skills needed for it.

    2. jasmine*

      Tbh I think it’s primarily an indication of whether a candidate has heard/been told that thank you notes are required for job searching, or if they’ve been told about them at all. I don’t think it’s a good indication of whether a candidate would follow up with folks in their job.

      1. Lurker*

        I disagree — if you are interested in, or have experience working in fundraising you should know that following up and cultivating (donor) relationships is something that is expected. I would not hire someone applying for a development/fundraising role who didn’t send a thank you note. For other types of roles, I probably wouldn’t hold it against the candidate. It’s a good way to address/follow up with something you forgot to mention during the interview, or reiterate your excitement about the opportunity, re-emphasize your qualifications, etc.

        I’m kind of surprised the number of people who have never heard of doing this. I was taught to do it way back in the late 90s at the same time I learned to use action words/bullet points on my resume, and follow a three paragraph cover letter framework. (This was through my college’s career center.)

        1. ecnaseener*

          Well, not everyone was taught how to write resumes at all — there’s a lot of variation in how much white-collar-relevant stuff get taught in different communities. I for one got the white-collar education but I don’t think I was ever taught a three-paragraph cover letter structure!

    3. Fundraiser Duchess*

      Agreed! In fundraising/development I think a thank you note/follow-up note is a great litmus test for a candidate’s soft skills. I’ve been in several hiring teams where the manager was literally waiting around for the thank you email from a candidate to come through before starting the offer process with HR. I personally like to send a brief email the same day as my interview and put a handwritten note in the mail the same day, making sure to include some little personal detail from the conversation (movie they’ve seen recently, story they shared from the org, pet’s name, etc.) to highlight that personal relationship building skill-set.

    4. cubone*

      any job where thank you notes are PART OF the job (eg. fundraising), it makes sense to consider them as part of the process IMO

  3. A. Nonymous (on phone)*

    Have never and will never send a thank you note as a candidate. What a complete waste of time.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      There are fields and locations where that is the norm.

      Other fields and locations where the note is expected, and calling it a “waste of time” calls into question why you are putting time into all the other parts of the application process.

      1. Fluffy Fish*

        while perhaps “waste of time” is a strong statement, there’s lots of us who do not and will not.

        the relationship is a business one and thank you notes symbolize imbalance between potential employer and employee – if the business isn’t sending me a note thanking me for applying, why would i send them a note thanking them for interviewing me? i thank them for their time t the end of the interview and that’s sufficient. any place that would not hire me because i didn’t send a note is exactly the kind of place i dont want to work.

        then you start getting into the ethics of having “unwritten” rules of engagement – if you require something or consider something form candidates than businesses should be up front about it. which is closely tied to not everyone grows up with the same exposure to “business norms”

        different strokes for different folks.

        1. Duke*

          I agree with them being worthless from a personal standpoint, but some people do care, so by never sending them you’re sort of shooting yourselves in the foot.

          1. Fluffy Fish*

            im not shooting myself in the foot. i do not want to work at a company that plays gotcha games including ruling people out who do not send notes for all the reasons i listed. if im rejected for not sending a note then thats perfect – exactly what i would want to happen.

            if YOU want to consider it shooting yourself in the foot – by all means send all the notes you want.

        2. Hydrangea*

          I have to say, the one person who urged me to send a thank you note to his team after my interview did indeed think it was a privilege to work for him. He was always friendly but it became clear he did not respect anyone with less than a VP title. He also dramatically underestimated what good pay was.

          So I’m inclined to agree. That said, I do send them if I really want a position.

        3. Stipes*

          Did you read the article at the top of this page, which is largely in response to the common points you raised? Or did you, by any chance, just see the words “thank you note”, think “oh yes, I have opinions on those,” and head to the comments to express them?

          Alison is saying they’re not actually “thank you” notes when done well, and that helps with the power-imbalance factor. Like, I’m probably never going to write follow-up emails after interviews because it’s not a norm in my industry (and I’m thankful for that). But this article makes them seem less ridiculous than I previously thought.

        4. 34avemovieguy*

          To be fair, companies do send a “thank you for applying.” A lot of these are auto-generated of course but so are most thank you notes. And sometimes a recruiter will send a neutral but friendly “it was nice to speak with you too thank you for your time”

    2. Jenna Webster*

      Same here – I’ve never understood why candidates should feel like the organization is doing them a favor, when in fact, both the candidate and the organization are trying to figure out if the other is a good fit. I just reject the power dynamic, I guess. And when I get them, I don’t even always open them – they certainly don’t impact my chance of hiring you at all.

      1. AnotherSarah*

        It’s not a favor. Do you also not say please and thank you in routine transactions because everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to? It’s polite and it’s also, as AAM points out, part of how you present yourself as a candidate. Also…cool that you reject the power dynamic but if they have a job and you want that job, there IS a power dynamic.

        1. Fluffy Fish*

          yes I say thank you at the end of the interview as i would imagine most people do, and i find that sufficient.

          hiring should be two way – they’re evaluating you, and you should be evaluating them. its a mutually beneficial relationship. im perfectly fine with not working for a company that uses thank you notes as an unwritten hiring gotcha.

  4. Small mind*

    As someone outside the US, this is not a thing. so please don’t hold it against a candidate. they might be from a different country/culture.

    1. jasmine*

      It’s just one of those corporate expectations that don’t really indicate how good of an employee someone will be.

    2. ferrina*

      Really good point. This is cultural capital that can say more about the cultural background and information that a candidate has, rather than anything about how the candidate themselves operate.

      My mom drilled into me to always send a thank you note, but I have worked with people that were never told this until they were in their thirties. Their parents either never did this or never told them, their school’s career counselors never said anything, and no one had ever said anything to them about it. It didn’t make them any less wonderful at their jobs!

    3. LadyAmalthea*

      The prep information for my civil service job said that any attempt to contact a candidate would be considered canvassing and would exclude me from getting hired.

      1. LC*

        Definitely not a thing at all in Australia. Would probably back fired because you’re seen to be trying too hard to circumvent the hiring process.

    4. Lilith*

      In the UK, when I was working admin and staffing the generic email mailbox, we once received a post-interview thank you email that confused quite a few of us.

      As this was before I started reading AAM, I didn’t know it was a convention in other parts of the world so I took it my line manager, who’d also never heard of it as a thing. It was eventually shared with the recruitment panel, and while I don’t think they marked the candidate down for it, it also definitely did not help – as LC said, it was seen as buttering up to get round the normal process.

      1. londonedit*

        I think you’ve perfectly summed up how thank-you notes after interviews would generally go down in the UK. I don’t think it’d harm a candidate’s chances, necessarily, but it definitely wouldn’t help. The reaction would be ‘Eh? What’s this? Why have they done that?’ and ‘Bloody hell, this one’s a bit keen’ – I think you could liken it to someone sending in a CV on pink scented paper or doing one of those ‘quirky’ applications where they print their CV as a label on a bar of chocolate, or something. It would definitely come off as trying to butter up the interviewers and/or get round the usual processes.

        At the end of an interview you do the mutual ‘Thank you so much for coming in, it was lovely to meet you’ / ‘Thank you, great to meet you too, hope to speak soon’ thing, and that’s seen as enough – you don’t need to then thank people again. It’s just not a thing that’s part of the normal interview process here, so it’s going to come off as odd and possibly vaguely suspicious.

  5. jasmine*

    I’m sure this varies by industry, but I’m so glad I’m not entry level anymore and don’t have to worry about these things. My first two job searches involved so many niceties and the level of effort really outstripped the rewards and any effort from the employer side.

    Thank you notes were just one of those annoying things I had to dedicate a little extra headspace too. I don’t do them anymore and I’m sure that no hiring manager cares. It’s wonderful.

  6. H.C.*

    and don’t forget to do a manual read & edit before sending it out (i.e. don’t just rely on the word processor’s spellcheck feature); I say this as someone who has received more than one thank you note for openings in the “pubic relations” sector.

  7. Media Mouse*

    I just did an interview yesterday and followed the detailed thank you note. Actually got a reply! Was surprised, but it felt pleasant (and gave me good vibes that carried me through the rest of my work day).

  8. BBB*

    I’d never even heard of the concept until this blog. I find it stupid and performative and a bit classist.
    as a hiring manager, I’ve only received one so far and I refuse to let it factor into my hiring decision. candidates have enough hoops to jump through, can we please let this practice die out?

      1. PercyJax*

        I assume they mean in that it’s one of those conventions that people just “know” if they were brought up in a family/environment that’s in more white-collar roles, which could put people with different backgrounds at a disadvantage, simply because they didn’t have the internal knowledge of other candidates.

        I don’t know for sure if that’s what they meant, but that’s what makes sense to me (and certainly can be an issue for that reason.)

        1. kiki*

          Seconding this. My parents were both professionals who had a hand in hiring processes. They knew thank you letters are a thing and when I applied to my first internships, they told me I should write them and gave tips on how to write them.

          Now there are forums like Ask a Manager where folks of all backgrounds can learn about these hiring norms. The internet has helped distribute this knowledge somewhat, but it still is a bit of an in group/out group effect.

      2. BBB*

        yes, what percyjax said.
        it’s an unspoken social rule that only really gets learned through word of mouth. the job posting doesn’t stipulate you need to send a thank you note but if you don’t you apparently won’t get the job. it essentially means the job requires a privileged upbringing (where you would learn these unwritten rules and expectations) just to get in the door to begin with. ie classist.

  9. Aggretsuko*

    I will say it’s been nice to interview at state organizations because thank you notes aren’t A Thing there and wouldn’t help your candidacy whatsoever because all they do is score your answers. Also I have no way to find out all of these people’s contact information when they don’t provide it and I can’t Google search on their work emails.

    No thank-you note ever got me a job, unfortunately.

    1. FricketyFrack*

      I work in government and I’ve received one, ever, from a candidate (we’re a public facing office, so the person who sent it was able to pull our contact info from the website). The group reaction was, “Huh, that’s…nice? Kind of weird though.” It didn’t give the candidate any advantage because A) we want someone who can do the job well, not just the person who can do the “right” things in the hiring process and B) we really can’t give much, if any, extra weight to that kind of thing.

      When I’ve been the candidate, I’ve never sent one. Hasn’t held me back as far as I know.

  10. Tammy 2*

    I’m not sure sending thank you notes has ever impacted whether I got a job, but I have found that they can be a nice start on relationship-building if I am hired.

    I did have an odd experience last year where I got a handwritten thank-you card from a candidate with her current business card included in the envelope. We’d already made our decision, but that was A Choice.

  11. Vique*

    I’m from Europe and it is not a thing in my country. Similarly with cover letters (nobody reads them). This is coming from being a candidate AND someone who is part of the hiring decisions for may department.
    Add this to the fact that you usually apply online, and get invited to an interview in a phone call, you don’t really know the hiring manager’s e-mail. It would almost seem weird for the candidate to do this which would indicate that they went deep internet stalking for the contact information.

    1. Mouse named Anon*

      I am from the US and rarely write a cover letter anymore. I know AAM is very pro-cover letter, but so far so good for myself and work. I do write them, if the position clearly asks for one, or if its a smaller company and you apply via email. Right now I work at a very large corporation. I am not even sure anyone would even see a cover letter in an application.

      1. Vique*

        Mouse, thank you for your perspective. If someone applied with a cover letter it would be skimmed at best, and commented possible negatively if there were many mistakes or if it was like 3 pages long (both of these things have happened).

        1. LunaLena*

          Depends on where you work, I guess. I’ve served on several search committees and cover letters are always read and weighted just as much as a resume (to be fair, though, cover letters are a required part of an application at my workplace and we will ask for one if it is not provided).

          Personally I like reading cover letters. It gives better context and almost always tells me more about the candidate than the resume does. There have definitely been times when a well-written cover letter has gotten my vote to move an otherwise-mediocre candidate to the next stage.

    2. TechWorker*

      Yes, I’m not sure I agree with the advice to guess your interviewers email if you don’t have it. Someone did this to me once & it was honestly a bit offputting (not that we would have hired from the interview anyway) – in my role I receive next to no external mail and do not expect to be talking to candidates directly.

      (Also, don’t add your interviewer on LinkedIn, especially if you gave a fairly poor interview.. :))

      1. Vique*

        In our company the emails of a hiring manager would be NameSurname@company and this information is not public knowledge. The whole home page has one generation inquiries email.

  12. Mairead*

    Add me to the list of those who never heard of such a thing until I started reading AAM. I’m not in US, which probably explains it.
    The whole notion makes me cringe – I cannot imagine it’s going to change anyone’s opinion (whether it was good, bad or indifferent).

  13. Peche*

    I worked in government and often needed to interview for my own job or for a promotion with my own managers. My manager, who saw me as a bit of a “project” out of slightly misplaced and patronizing but not evil reasons, mentioned follow-up emails to me. (Which is weird because gov’t hiring is not like private industry.) You can be sure I always sent one. And I did once add some additional info since I wasn’t as articulate as I wanted to be in the interview.

    Just the same as when I took heed when she saw my interview outfit and told me I should dress that way more often (never mind that if I did that I would be overdressed for our casual office).

    It wouldn’t have made or broken anything, but with this manager it made sense to kiss up a little. It certainly is completely unnecessary to send a follow-up email for a routine gov’t job if you don’t know the manager!

    1. Fluffy Fish*

      im also government and we explicitly can not consider anything outside our the hiring process – interview and background checks. ensurign all candidates are evaluated by the same rules and standards is a big deal in government.

      so that means no consideration of thank you notes, no fancy resumes, nada.

      1. Peche*

        Yeah, she had a bit of the “grooming me to be a professional” thing going on, but you’re right that it shouldn’t have made a difference.

        Sometimes they ask for a cover letter as a writing sample but indeed, everything else is standardized. I recall I was between gigs at her workplace, and she offered the follow-up email advice for my interview at another department. I don’t remember if I did it or not (I got the job) but knowing the culture there, it would have marked me as a bit “extra” at best and a bit of a weirdo at worst.

  14. theletter*

    In my last big job search, I was not given contact information for the people who interviewed me, and the turn around time was pretty quick. I’ve gotten notice of decisions while typing up the thank-you note. Fun!

    Since then I’ve been a bit more lax about thank you notes. If there’s more conversation worth having, I’ll reach out on linkedin.

  15. PercyJax*

    Question: How do you handle thank you notes if there are multiple interview rounds?

    It makes sense to send one after the first interview with the hiring manager, but what about after the second or third interview? It feels so weird sending multiple to the same person each time… would you recommend sending one after the first interview? Or later on in the process once you know you’re closer to the end?

  16. H.C.*

    I agree that “follow up letter” is a more appropriate description than “thank you note” – as a candidate, I have sent them on occasion to, literally, follow-up or elaborate on topics that were not discussed or slipped my mind during the interview.

    As a hiring manager, it’s appreciated (and I do try to respond to follow-up Qs when possible) but not really taken into consideration in ranking candidates to move on.

  17. mlem*

    When it comes to guessing email addresses … maybe avoid that. My company’s default format is flastname@company … unless that’s already taken, at which point you get assigned fmlastname@company — and everyone trying to email *you* by guessing your address instead emails the incumbent.

    (I’m one such incumbent. I’m the only … Frances Arbuthnot at my company and have been for over 20 years, but we’ve had a Francis Arbuthnot for about ten years. They changed his display name to Frank Arbuthnot so I get fewer *internal* emails meant for him than I used to, but his customers frequently send me support requests that I can’t do anything about.)

  18. musical chairs*

    My company is large enough that when I’m doing routine hiring for entry level positions, I am not the one setting up the appointment at all. They don’t have my contact information, but they can likely guess my email if they really believed in themselves. At the end of interviews, I let them know to reach out to the person they’ve been talking to if they have any other questions or anything else that they want us to know. I have zero expectation of follow up and I don’t factor the follow up into my hiring decision.

    It’s such a small thing; I just can’t imagine a situation where I somehow got so little information about a potential hire in their interview/materials that a thank you note would make a meaningful difference in my assessment of their candidacy. Not if I’m focused on the right things.

    I have found, though, in recent years, that the younger folks who do send thank you notes (not meaningful, logical follow up, just thank yous) have been hires who generally follow outdated/gimmicky advice about professionalism and correspondence in general. It’s become a little bit of a yellow flag for me, actually, that I’ll need to watch out for any other habits that may be at odds with how our specific workplace actually functions and what matters in our context. A slight pattern I’ve noticed. Small sample size, though.

    1. mango chiffon*

      I’m often the one setting up the interviews for folks like you and often get asked by candidates to pass along a thank you note, or to provide email addresses. How would you react to getting a message forwarded by the scheduler or getting a random email? I always feel a bit uncomfortable when I’m dealing with those thank you message/email requests since no one ever told me if they wanted these or not.

  19. JT*

    I’m one who finds thank you notes silly, but recently got the feedback after an “informal” discovery conversation with a hiring manager I *have an existing relationship with* for an *internal role* that I should have sent a thank you note. fwiw, my company does define itself as relationship-heavy.

    I can still feel the flames on the sides of my face. This 100% feels like improper wielding of power/way of brushing me off for this role.

  20. mango chiffon*

    I do scheduling for interviews and often what happens is the candidate emails me asking to pass on a thank you note, or asks for the email addresses for the interviewers. It’s always felt a little like I’m doing something wrong when I give the email addresses to them, but idk why.

  21. Cruciatus*

    I hate that we’ve created this monster regarding these, however, I still do them and the follow-up note I sent after my interview last year didn’t make or break me getting the position (though I did get it), however, my supervisor said it WAS noticed that I sent one (and who didn’t). I’m glad in the end I decided to send it, even if I roll my eyes a little as I write them.

  22. Just another librarian*

    I find thank you notes important and always make an effort to send them after an interview myself.

    At my current employer (a university), we are not supposed to take them into consideration. When I receive them as a search committee chair, I’m not even supposed to forward them to the rest of the committee. While I appreciate receiving them when they are substantive (as suggested in the article), I understand that the university sees it as an equity issue – it’s one of those unspoken rules that some folks don’t know about, so we shouldn’t hold it against them. On the one hand, I appreciate that we’re thinking about things through an equity lens, but on the other, I do feel that a strong candidate is one who has made an effort to research – not just the position and employer, but also the interview process more generally.

  23. Greg*

    I always send them and I always expect to receive them, and judge the candidate at least somewhat if they don’t.

    Thank-you notes allow you to restate your most important qualifications for the role and also your observance of professional norms, but IMO the single most important aspect of a thank-you note is that it signals the candidate’s continued interest in the job. I once interviewed a candidate that I really liked, so even when he didn’t send a thank-you, I rationalized it and advanced him to the next round. When I contacted him, he told me he had another opportunity and was withdrawing from the process.

    That said, I don’t think the actual content of the note is really all that important, since most people won’t do more than skim them. If you’re taking all night and sweating over every single word choice in your thank-you, remind yourself of the famous James Thurber quote: “Don’t get it right, get it written.”

    Pre-Covid, I would have advised considering writing a hand-written thank-you note if the interviewer was older or seemed more conservative. There is definitely a subspecies of manager who particularly values an old-school gesture like a written note. But these days, as Alison says, I wouldn’t bother. No one checks office mail anymore. I spoke at one of those “future leaders” kind of programs a few years ago and they clearly encouraged all the attendees to send me written notes. I didn’t even see them until weeks later and couldn’t have cared less what any of them said.

    1. ecnaseener*

      That’s an interesting perspective – I wouldn’t think it matters much to signal continued interest in the job, especially within a day or two of the interview! People withdraw from hiring processes, it happens, you’ll find out when you find out – and sending a thank-you note doesn’t guarantee you won’t still withdraw.

    2. k*

      Interesting to see how different norms are! If I received a handwritten thank you note rather than an emailed thank you note at any time in the last 10 years, it would have raised a small flag for me about the candidate’s familiarity with current hiring norms. I wouldn’t consider it disqualifying, but it would seem odd.

  24. Bookworm*

    For the no email: There is a site/bot called Skrapp (Google should be able to point you there) that can scrape email addresses if you have the right information. For small companies it might not be able to pull anything but overall I’ve had decent success (sometimes the info is outdated).

    I write a thank you unless in rare cases where I’ve had a hiring manager follow up within hours to set up another interview (!), which I fold in the thank you with the YES, I am happy to keep going reply. It does take time to set up the process of the interview and all and there are plenty of times when I really did enjoy talking to the person even if I don’t get hired so I don’t mind thanking them for the time they used.

    I do think it’s a bit much to automatically throw out a candidate if they don’t, though. You don’t always know what they’re going through and there’s always the possibility they came from a background where this wasn’t taught or whatever and they are new to the workforce or new to the country, etc.

  25. Scarlet ribbons in her hair*

    I started working in 1973, way before there was email. I did not send a thank you note via snail mail if the interviewer said something like, “We are going to decide tomorrow whom we will hire” or “We will call you tomorrow if we want you to come back for a second interview” because I thought it would be silly to send a thank you note that wouldn’t arrive the following day if, by the time it would arrive, they had already decided that they didn’t want me.

    One time I was called and told that they didn’t want to hire me, although I was told that it came down to one other person and myself, and they really liked me thank you note. They had decided on the other applicant, because the interviewer knew one of the people she had put down as a personal reference, but the interviewer didn’t know any of the people that I had put down as a personal reference, so of course they went with her. I said that she must have written a really nice thank you note, but the interviewer said that she hadn’t sent them one. But still, they knew her personal reference, and that was enough for them.

    Another time, I was called and told that they weren’t going to hire me, and I was told that I had wasted my time sending them a thank you note, because they didn’t want to hire me. Thanks for letting me know.

    There were a number of times that I did send snail mail thank you notes, but I was never hired for any of those jobs. I called the thank you notes the “Kiss of Death.” But that changed when I went into a bar after an interview and asked a stranger to write me a thank you note to mail. I copied his note and sent it, and what do you know? I got the job!

  26. Ghee Buttersnaps*

    I’d probably have 2 employees if I held to the thank you rule!! I rarely get them.

  27. Angstrom*

    I’ve used them as follow-up notes. I always walk out of interviews with thoughts of better ways I could have said something. A follow-up note is an opportunity to strengthen or clarify one’s message.

    1. Late Bloomer*

      My approach exactly! Yeah, I’m probably old school, but I find it an interesting thought exercise to go through this method of decompression/reflection after an interview: assume I’ll write a thank-you, think about what I’d say that’s truly substantive to follow up on (usually something that didn’t get said or elaborated upon in the interview), and write a letter IF it’s more like an addition to the conversation rather than a pro forma thank you. I’ve done it twice in my past three jobs; got all those jobs. Of course I have no idea if it made a difference.

      1. Late Bloomer*

        Duh: past three interviews, which turned into jobs. Though I will say that I’m currently in the running for a new job but am securely employed, and the new job would be a step up from an already OK job. I’m looking at it differently and have only done the warm thank you in emailed reply to invitations to next step of hiring process. [Scenario email to me: “I enjoyed our conversation yesterday. We’d like to invite you to. . . .” My follow-up: “Yes, it was a pleasure to talk with you about X, and I’m available. . . .”]

  28. Mimmy*

    This is the first time I’ve seen varying stances on thank you notes. I’ve always thought they were important because it makes you stand out since many other candidates don’t send them. Plus, as someone noted above, it confirms your interest in the position. That said, I don’t expect to get a response (I’ve only gotten one response ever and it was pretty much “it was a pleasure”) and I don’t know that any of them affected my candidacy in any way.

  29. Led Tasso*

    I used to write them for every job earlier in my career. Now I haven’t written one in about two years. I can’t say for certain whether my decision to write or not write one has ever negatively or positively affected my candidacy, but I hate the idea of these things for several reasons:

    -Most of the time, it came out as generic and you could tell I was only doing it because of the “rules.”
    -I got very few responses to them from the recipients.
    -Companies are not doing me a favor by interviewing me. I don’t believe either side is doing the other a favor, but I’d say that, as an employed candidate, I’d be doing them a favor more. If they don’t hire me, I still have a job. If they choose me and I reject them, they have to find another candidate.
    -I already thanked them in the interview. Why do I need to thank them twice? If it’s “to show interest”, I was interested enough to interview. If I’m no longer interested, you’ll find out if/when you invite me to the next step.
    -As a candidate, I’m the one taking the risk. I have to find a way to make the interview happen without my employer finding out or without raising suspicion. In some places, it may mean trying to come up with an excuse or using vacation time. The interviewer is just doing their job and doesn’t have to find a way to get out of work.
    -It just feels awkward and like I’m sucking up. It probably doesn’t help that I’m a male.

    I do occasionally follow up on a job via email if I’m genuinely interested, but I don’t believe in just sending a whole email to say “thank you.” I’ve never been on the hiring side, but I’d think that if I received a thank you note, it wouldn’t change how I felt about a candidate, with a few exceptions (i.e. if it came across as truly desperate).

  30. Dodubln*

    In all of my years of hiring, I have received exactly one physical ‘thank-you” note, and it was after a phone screening interview. While I ended up not going with the candidate for other reasons, their note did not do them any favors. Even worse, they were using a job placement center, who should have been screening things more carefully. The note I got from the candidate started out with “Dear Smith”, (let’s say my name is Jane Smith) and just went downhill from there.
    I find that I do like getting a brief email from a candidate thanking me after an interview, because I tend to feel like they are more invested in the hiring process.

  31. Perihelion*

    My brother once got me an interview at his workplace. His boss was very rude to his staff and just monologued at me without asking questions, after I spent hours in traffic to get there. I had no interest in the position based on the “interview” but my brother strenuously insisted that I send a thank-you note. I found this pretty annoying since I’m the one who took time out of his day to get ignored, but my bro seemed genuinely concerned about consequences if I didn’t so I sent the note.

    I suppose requiring thank-you notes is a way of screening out people like me who refuse to play office politics of any kind.

  32. RedinSC*

    when I was leading a fundraising team if I didn’t get a thank you note after and interview I would count that against a candidate. Donor stewardship is so important that I did want to see that behavior modeled through the interview process. I might now count it enough to not hire a top candidate but I would notice it and it would be the tie breaker between two similarly skilled candidates.

    Now that I’ve transitioned out of development it doesn’t matter to me if I get a note or not, but it’s always a really nice thing when I do.

  33. Librariangirl30*

    Interestingly enough I was just wondering about this because I did an interview on Monday (now granted it was an internal interview just a different department that I’m unfamiliar with) had a really good time talking with them, felt really positive about the organization and the role in general, so I wrote both my interviewers handwritten notes.

    They haven’t made a decision yet, and I sent the notes out of a place of genuineness rather than trying to get an edge up anyway, but it was interesting that after receiving my note one of my interviewers said they wanted to meet for coffee because they wanted to continue some of the conversations we started in the interview.

    More broadly, I’ve only written thank you notes when I felt sincere about it. If it was a role that I could do but wasn’t passionate about it almost felt dishonest to them go, “well this was great.”

    For me it’s less about brown nosing and more about being polite; and I’ll probably be teaching my son the same.

  34. EmmaPoet*

    I’ve sent a thank you note for a job, which I did get, but that was in 2004 and it was a private library. Since most of what I apply for now are county/state/federal jobs, they’re not situations where a thank you should be sent, as you’re normally dealing with a panel who aren’t allowed to take outside factors into consideration.

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