The Lost Art of Thank You Notes?

July 11, 2014

Christie Bell
Human Resources Director

As the HR Director of a public accounting firm, my job involves on-campus recruiting as well as recruiting experienced hires.  I frequently go to college campuses to attend Beta Alpha Psi meetings, career fairs and conduct on campus interviews.  We also host students in our office for our summer leadership program as well as office visits/interviews. While I have accepted that the students look younger every year due to the fact that I am getting older, I refuse to accept that the follow up email or thank you note after an interview is a lost art!  I have noticed a decrease in the frequency of these follow up emails and letters in the five years that I’ve been in this role.  While it was once a standard practice in the hiring process, I continue to be surprised when I don’t receive a follow up after a phone interview or face to face meeting.

I came across the following article in Forbes that I think addresses the topic well:

Maybe I am old fashioned, but when a candidate who is interviewing for a job does not send me a follow up email or thank you note, that will affect my decision about hiring the individual.  It does not matter to me whether they choose a follow up email or a hand written note, either are appropriate.  In fact, since an email is timelier than “snail mail”, I encourage students to send a follow up email within 24 hours of the interview.  I also recommend customizing your thank you note/email to address the specific conversation you had with the individual.  Many times, students will send an identical thank you email or letter to multiple people within the firm.  Believe it or not, we share those notes with each other so it is obvious when there is not a lot of thought put into them.  Even worse is when I receive a thank you email addressed to the wrong firm!  Simply cutting and pasting an employer’s name into a form thank you letter leaves a lot of room for error.  The Forbes article gives advice regarding specific information to include in the thank you note which is useful.

Due to the fact that some people do not realize the importance of the follow up email or thank you note or choose not to invest the time to send one, it has become an easy way to differentiate you from other candidates.  Spending just a little extra time to send a well thought out thank you after an interview can be the difference in landing your dream job, so get writing!