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Should You Send a Thank-You Letter After an Interview?

Should You Send a Thank-You Letter After an Interview?

Should You Send a Thank-You Letter After an Interview?

Does sending a thank-you letter after an interview really make a difference? Could it possibly influence the hiring decision in a positive way? Should you even bother? We asked several experts for their thoughts, and here’s what they had to say.              

Point: Interview Thank-You Letters Have Impact

“Sending a well-crafted and timely thank-you note can add a positive impression to an already positive connection,” says Jennifer McClure, president of Unbridled Talent, a Cincinnati firm specializing in talent acquisition, recruiting and staff development. “While it won't likely make the difference in getting hired, it can help them to remember you in the sea of people that they interact with on a daily basis.”

Ken Goldman, a partner with ImproSells, a Jersey City, New Jersey-based communication training company, agrees. “If you're not going to take the extra steps to get the job, what will you be like six months in? I think it reflects poorly on the candidate.”

The extra effort on the part of one candidate made a difference to Carol Galle, president and CEO of Special D Events, an event-planning firm in Royal Oak, Michigan. “I recently filled an open position for which I had two highly qualified candidates, but it was a thank-you note that made the difference,” she says. “[One candidate] took the time to create a custom two-dimensional note card with our company's logo and a sincere, handwritten message of thanks. I want to hire people who genuinely want to work for my company, and it was clear from her effort that was the case.”

Counterpoint: Notes Don’t Make a Difference

“A thank-you note is seen as good taste and polite, but I’ve never seen it come close to making a difference in a hiring decision,” says Sharon Siegel, a recruiter and career coach with a 140,000-employee organization in the New York City area and owner of SharonCC, a career-consulting company. “If someone meets the credentials and has a great interview, we're not going to change our minds on making an offer if a thank you isn't received. On the other side, if someone has a terrible interview or would not be able to do the job, sending a beautiful thank you doesn't make me change my mind.”

Some folks feel sending a thank-you letter after an interview can actually hurt your chances under certain circumstances. “It is better to not send one, especially if you are not a good writer or [if you] have really poor handwriting,” says Kristine Dunkerton, an attorney and executive director of the Community Law Center in Baltimore. “Even if you are a good writer with good handwriting, I don’t think it is a great idea because it makes you seem a bit desperate.”

The Final Word

While a thank-you letter may or may not make a difference in hiring, it’s still probably a good idea to send one. “While many recruiters and hiring managers say they don't care about thank-you notes anymore and don't pay attention to them, you never know if the person that you're interviewing with does care,” McClure says. “So it's best to make sure that you check the box and send the note. If they don't care about it, then it didn't hurt. If they do, then you met their expectations.”

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