Post-interview thank-you note ... without contact info?
September 23, 2010 6:22 PM   Subscribe

I just had an interview, and I know standard post-interview procedure is to send in an email thanking them for the opportunity. But ... I don't have my interviewer's contact info. In fact, when I asked for an email address at the end of the interview in case I had more questions and so on, his reply was "Best go through your HR contact; they'll pass on anything relevant." What should I do - should I send a thank-you note to HR? Send a note and ask them to pass it on? No thank-you note?

The interviewer did say they'll contact me again within a few days to tell me if I've made it through to the next round or not, so I'm not sure if there's a "Don't call us; we'll call you," subtext here.

Yes, I'm probably overthinking this. A lot. But I really want this job, and I don't want to blow my chances by failing to do something trivial like this. In all previous interviews I've had with other companies, interviewers were either willing to give out or volunteered their contact info, so it's never been an issue before.

Relevant details: the job is a graduate position with a consulting firm in Australia.
posted by Xany to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Send a thank you note to HR.

Yes, there is always a "don't call us, we'll call you subtext" but what's going on here is that the interviewer has probably been in the position of getting a few too many follow up emails from interview subjects so they're fobbing it off on to HR. It's HR's job to handle that.

For all you know this is company policy. Just send a thank you note to HR.
posted by micawber at 6:37 PM on September 23, 2010

When I've been involved in hiring, the deciding factor was purely interview performance (after CV and reference checks, of course).

I don't ever remember a thank-you/follow-up email being a deciding factor. I have however been in a position where constant repetitive follow-up emails and phone calls made us decide they were an obsessive pain-in-the-arse and we were better off without them.

I vote for no email, unless you do have another question about the position. Then just tack on a 'thanks for the opportunity to prove how well I fit this position' sentence at the end.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 6:39 PM on September 23, 2010

Best answer: Send a thank you note and ask HR to pass it on. There's no harm in doing this, and it's better to be over-polite than not.

I was recently involved in the interviewing process for an open position at my company, and while the decision of course wasn't based on who did and did not send thank-you emails, I did hear one member of the interviewing committee make note of the candidate who did not send one. YMMV of course, and if they don't give you contact info it's probably not expected, but better safe than sorry.
posted by katopotato at 6:42 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

An alternative is to mail (or hand-deliver) an actual thank-you letter. If you know the hiring manager's name and physical address, you have enough to deliver a thank-you message.

Such a hardcopy letter would be conventional business etiquette in the USA; I can't speak for Australia.
posted by Dimpy at 7:22 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Send a card - not an email.
posted by serazin at 7:38 PM on September 23, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah part of my problem (and hence the question) is Googling "post interview thank you note" throws up only US results. It doesn't seem to matter as much in Australia, and yet ...

I think I'll err on the side of politeness and send a thank-you email (albeit a non-obsessive-pain-in-the-arse one: check) to HR. Thanks for the input guys!
posted by Xany at 8:08 PM on September 23, 2010

Oh dear, I think I sounded a bit harsh up above. But when one applicant rings day after day after day after day, asking if we've decided yet... it really ruined any chance they had, when we were seeking an employee who could handle pressure.

One single follow-up thank-you email won't do you any harm at all. It's good manners, after all, and as katopotato says, better to be safe than sorry.

Best of luck!
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:28 PM on September 23, 2010

Send a thank-you note to HR and make sure to say, "Please pass along my thanks to [name]. It was nice meeting with him/her," etc.
posted by elpea at 10:58 PM on September 23, 2010

The interviewer told you what to do. Contact HR, and get the address. What is the problem? Sure it may have been a brush-off, but you have to follow up on that request.
posted by Gungho at 3:38 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I was doing interviews a year ago, I was the interviewer you're describing: I didn't want your little note, and I was NOT going to give you my contact info. I used almost the exact "talk to HR" line that you mentioned. That IS NOT a bad sign at all; it's just how this particular interviewer works.

You're definitely overthinking this, and I would not try to send them a note. At best, it won't help you: they have decided they don't want to see notes, even nice ones, from interviewees. At worst, it will be an aggrevation: "I purposefully didn't give away my email address - so this candidate begs HR for it?!"

Normally I would say YMMV. But having been the interviewer in question, this one seems pretty clear-cut. This person doesn't want notes, and will not be swayed by them. That's why they declined to give you an email address. It does not indicate anything about how well the interview went.

Also, thank-you notes are nearly standard in unique positions, but in a consultancy where they probably interview hundreds of candidates per month they have a process, and thank-you notes aren't really part of it.
posted by Tehhund at 6:40 AM on September 24, 2010

"Such a hardcopy letter would be conventional business etiquette in the USA."

Not true, except for director-level positions and up, or unique positions ("We've never had a web designer before!"). If I got a hardcopy letter from the prospective consultants I interviewed, I would have laughed and wondered a little about the candidate.
posted by Tehhund at 6:43 AM on September 24, 2010

We do the exact same thing as Tehhund. No contact info for the interviewer is given out to the interviewee. We don't hand out business cards, for example. All contact is supposed to be filtered through the HR contact so that it can be kept in case of complaints or other issues. This is standard procedure.

And frankly, when I'm hiring, I prefer it this way. I'd rather not get some of the replies we've had back from interviewees. A short note isn't a problem, but I've been badgered by desperate people, sent stuff that's sketchy, etc... I'd rather not have the hassle, particularly when we're doing a large pool of people with lots (several hundred) of applicants.
posted by bonehead at 8:35 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

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