Thank you notes AND e-mail follow ups after a job interview?
September 15, 2009 5:37 PM   Subscribe

Thank you notes AND e-mail follow ups after a job interview?

Usually after job interviews I like to send handwritten thank you notes, but in this case I think they might make a decision before handwritten ones would get to them via the mail.

I am considering saying thanks by e-mail and ALSO sending handwritten notes. Any advice on how to smoothly do both and not seem desperate?
posted by AceRock to Work & Money (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If I interviewed someone and received a handwritten note from them I would question their professionalism.

I suppose the answer to your question depends on the industry you're interviewing in and whether such a personal thing as a handwritten note would be considered appropriate.
posted by dfriedman at 5:39 PM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

E-mail only here, but I am in the tech sector.
posted by jkaczor at 5:41 PM on September 15, 2009

Strongly agree with dfriedman. Also, it is rare that deliberations will take long enough for the thank you note to arrive before a decision has been reached -- more likely the interviewer will decide about you very shortly afterwards, but might need to confer with other people or something of that sort before getting back to you (hence the appearance of a longer lag time before a decision).
posted by telegraph at 5:47 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

If I interviewed someone and didn't receive a handwritten note from them, I would question their professionalism.
posted by decathecting at 5:52 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just to clarify, I am not asking about whether or not a handwritten note is appropriate. Assume that in my industry that it is not only appropriate, but preferred over e-mail.

Ideally I would send a handwritten note and that's it, but I am afraid that it will take too long and they will think that I didn't send anything at all. I am considering e-mailing as well just so that they don't think that I didn't send anything at all. My question is more about what to say in both the e-mail and the handwritten card so that its not overkill and I don't come off as trying too hard or as desperate. Thanks.
posted by AceRock at 5:57 PM on September 15, 2009

Regarding the content of a thank you email:

Here is the sneaky thing I do on job interviews. Actually, I shouldn't call it sneaky, because I do it in good faith. Think back to the interactions you had and see if you can pull this off. I always keep some of these in mind, but before an interview, I review and/or ferret out a few interesting articles or websites that I know will be relevant to the person or people I'm interviewing with (or that at least might be relevant to some of the things I might say when answering particular types of questions). I ask them if they've heard of it or read it. In my experience they never have, but the usual response to that question is "I haven't, but it sounds interesting!"

This is win for so many reasons:

1.) You did your research, it shows.
2.) You seem very savvy and informed about the nature of the business you're interviewing for.
3.) You can send an email immediately afterward thanking the interviewer for their time and send the link along. This makes it almost impossible for your thank you email to sound awkward.

Of course, the link/article/website DOES have to be genuinely relevant and interesting!

Regarding your thank you note, send it anyway. Keep it VERY succinct. Just a thanks. Even if you didn't get the job in the interim, you'll be remembered as someone who's thoughtful and classy.

As for the tone (not sounding desperate) -- just remind yourself in all of your communications, when forming it -- you're not desperate. You know you'd be a good hire. You're enthusiastic about this opportunity. That's all.
posted by pazazygeek at 6:31 PM on September 15, 2009 [14 favorites]

As long as you sound confident and still interested in the position, there is nothing wrong with sending an email immediately after the interview. Major bonus points if there is something substantive in the email, as pazazygeek has described, instead of just a professional thanks.

I don't see anything wrong with a handwritten note also, as long as it's not just the exact words of the email.
posted by meowzilla at 6:52 PM on September 15, 2009

I usually drop off handwritten thank-you notes with the receptionist that day or the next. Follow up with an email to check status a few days later (rather than a thank you email) or whenever they said to follow up.

For an interview you traveled to another city or state too, that's a bit tougher. If you can do the notes before you leave, great. If not, send an email "thank you for having me in to discuss this opportunity. I am definitely interested in pursuing it and ....etc. If you have something as pazazygeek suggests to follow up about, all the better. And then, a short handwritten note:

Dear Jim,

Thank you once again for the opportunity to interview with you regarding the engineering director position at Acme. I appreciate your time, and hope we have the opportunity to work together in the future.

posted by txvtchick at 7:47 PM on September 15, 2009

A hand-written note thanking me for the interview is nice, but it's not what gets you the job. I'll know almost immediately after the interview if I'm interested in following up with you further. You may be the most wonderful, nicest, classiest person I interviewed, but if you don't have the right stuff in the first place, the hand-written note is moot.

That said, I always do appreciate getting a personal mailed response thanking me for my time, but don't be hurt if I send you a perfunctory "we'll be in touch" email in response.
posted by HeyAllie at 9:24 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

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