Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

The Thank You Note Debate

There is a lot of debate surrounding the practice of sending thank you notes after a job interview. Should it be done? Will it make you memorable to an employer? Will it be passed over in the fast-paced work day? Should you send something handwritten or can you write a quick email? Does the note show genuine appreciation for an employer’s time, or will it simply clog their mailbox?

On one side, some hiring managers and job search experts believe sending a note is an absolute must. A well-written “thank you” can put you ahead of the competition and is another opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the position as well as highlight your qualifications. The key is to write a thank you note that is specific and authentic. A thank you note should be more than just a thank you note, as CNN Money suggests. It “should build on the conversation from the interview and explain why you’d be a good fit for the job.”

On the other hand, some believe that thank you notes can be an insincere way to push your name in front of other candidates. It can clutter an employer’s mailbox and be an unnecessary attempt to make a second impression. An individual with hiring power may simply depend on the outcome of the job interview to determine your worth and nothing else. They’ve most likely formed their opinion of you based on the questions they asked and the impression they received. However, short of asking whether or not a thank you note would be appreciated while still in the job interview, how are you, the humble job seeker, supposed to determine whether or not sending a note will help or harm your chances of getting a job offer?

Perhaps a better determination for sending a thank you note comes from your personal measure of how the job interview went. Most job seekers leave an interview with a certain feeling about the position. Often times, a job interview can incite excitement about the job and make a job seeker want it more than when they walked in the door. Other times, an interviewee has a definite sense that the employer was not very impressed, or they leave with a sense that this position doesn’t fit into their long-term plans. If the job interview went particularly well and you can’t wait to hear from the hiring manager, send a thank you note to let them know. If you didn’t perform as well as you would have liked, send a thank you note to highlight your marketable qualities and make yourself a more memorable candidate.

However, if you can tell from the job interview that this is not a place where you would fit, don’t bother to hamper your other progress by spending time crafting a thank you note. Furthermore, don’t waste an employer’s time by sending them a thank you note that isn’t genuine. Since the necessity of a thank you note depends on so many unpredictable factors, as a job seeker the effectiveness of the practice is up to your determination. Use your knowledge of the company and your honest evaluation of the job interview to help guide your next move. Good luck!

Do you always send a thank you note after a job interview? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by lindsay.dee.bunny

Kailyn Baum

Kailyn is a recent college graduate with degrees in English and Political Science. She is currently working in the publishing industry, where she loves the fact that she is paid to immerse herself in talking and thinking about books all day long. When she isn’t working, she enjoys reading, cooking, line-dancing, and writing short stories and poetry. Her sincerest hope for contributing to Spark Hire’s job seeker blog is to provide job seekers of all ages with the tools and sense of humor necessary to stay calm and carry on.