The Recruiter Roundtable is a monthly feature that collects career and job-seeking advice from a group of recruiting experts throughout the US.
The question we put before our panel this month is: "How much do thank-you letters from candidates influence your hiring decisions?"
Market Yourself Well
Thank-you notes are a nice gesture, and I would always encourage candidates to follow up with one after an interview. However, as far as influencing a hiring decision, I have yet to see someone being extended an offer because of it. The strongest candidate will get the offer. Every little bit helps in marketing yourself as the best and most enthusiastic person for the role. If you do send a thank-you note, always check for spelling and grammar.
-- Bob Hancock, senior manager of global talent acquisition, Electronic Arts
No Question About It
Sending a thank-you note is a must. When a job candidate sends me a thank-you note, it shows me the person is truly interested in the opportunity. This simple gesture can distinguish one applicant over another. In fact, when considering multiple people for an open position, I typically recall who has and hasn't sent a thank-you note.
The thank-you note is valuable for job seekers beyond demonstrating their interest in a position. This also is an opportunity to re-emphasize the skills and expertise they would bring to the role and address any outstanding concerns they may have from the interview.
The best strategy is to send a quick e-mail shortly after the interview followed by a handwritten note. Whether you choose to send a thank-you via e-mail or in writing, the key is to send one.
-- DeLynn Senna, executive director of North American permanent placement services, Robert Half International
A Good Way to Stand Out
While my hiring managers or I would not make a hiring decision based solely on a thank-you note, a short and well-written note from a candidate following an interview will certainly not hurt their chances. As most candidates don't follow up this way, you will automatically stand out if you do, and this can set you apart from the crowd in a positive way.
For example, a tasteful handwritten card sent to your interviewer is thoughtful, and will probably end up on their desk or bulletin board for a while, further reminding them of you when they see it. An alternative is to send an email note, which may appear more professional, will arrive more quickly and has the advantage of being able to be forwarded on to other interested parties within the company.
-- Suzanne McFadden, senior technical staffing consultant, Wells Fargo
Boost Your Impact Easily
According to surveys, about 85 percent of executives say that a post-interview thank-you note has some influence on the hiring decision. While only half of candidates send thank-you notes, it seems to be an easy gesture everyone should use to greatly impact the hiring process. Surveys also suggest that hiring managers are divided in terms of preference for receiving thank-you notes by email or letter. It is therefore up to you to decide which method best fits the culture of the organization.
-- Yves Lermusi, CEO of Checkster