In a recent story for Insider, executive managing editor Jessica Liebman made one thing clear about her hiring practices: You better send a “thank you” note if you want the job. “When I first started hiring, I came up with a simple rule: We shouldn’t move a candidate to the next stage in the interview process unless they send a thank-you email,” she wrote. This rule, however, wasn’t so well-received on social media.Â
“This is an arbitrary bit of gatekeeping that is both culture- and generation-specific,” one user tweeted in response to Liebman’s story. “… A thank you is classy, but not a disqualifier.” (In a follow-up story, Liebman later clarified that it is not a deciding factor in the hiring process, but merely a “rule of thumb” for etiquette reasons.)
A thank you note generally can’t hurt, unless you somehow misspell your interviewer’s name or come across as too needy. According to G/O Media Group’s very own Senior Talent Acquisition Partner, Ali Stelzer, it’s also an indication that you’re actually interested in the job. “It tells the interviewer and team that you cared to follow up and are interested after meeting in person and getting a better feel for the position/team.”
Personally, I don’t believe that thank you notes are absolutely necessary unless it’s a job I want, though I might write a quick “Thanks for your time” and not much else to a job I’m on the fence about. (If I have mixed feelings about an opportunity and not sending a thank you note discounts me from being considered, then I wouldn’t mind missing out on the chance to work there.) On at least two occasions, I didn’t send a follow-up email and received an offer or went on to the next step anyway.
It also depends on the company itself. If you’re applying for a corporation that interviews hundreds of applicants a week versus a small company with no HR department, a thank you note to your interviewer might carry more weight in the latter situation. A friend of mine even sends handwritten thank you notes via mail; in one instance, months after she received a job offer and already began working for a company, her interviewer-turned-supervisor finally found her card while rummaging through her mail”so it’s safe to say the card had little impact on her being hired. (Again, it just depends on the company.)
As we’ve written before, a good note should be short and to the point; thank them for their time and be specific about what you discussed or perhaps referencing other small-talk you may have had.
Do you send thank you notes after a job interview? What do you include in yours? And to the hiring managers out there, does it have any impact on who you decide to hire?