Interviewing Etiquette
November 16, 2010 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Do you always have to follow up after a job interview? I do not have the interviewers email address.

I had an important job interview today. I was originally contacted by a recruiter who scheduled the phone interview for me, which I had earlier today. However, the person who interviewed me was not the recruiter I had been corresponding with. I have the interviewer's name, but not their email address.

I've been told to always follow up with a thank you email after an interview. Should I worry? Should I email the recruiter thanking them, even though they did not interview me? The interviewer told me the recruiter would get back to me tomorrow or the following day to let me know if I will be continuing to the next round of interviews.

This is for a position in a software/tech company.
posted by carmel to Work & Money (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
YMMV, but as someone who does interviews fairly regularly, I rarely note who did and didn't follow up (assuming by "following up" you mean sending a thank you email). Generally, the decision about whether or not we are inviting them back is made before I even get their thank you email 24-48 hours later.

In summary, I wouldn't worry about it - especially since they specifically told you when and from whom to expect the next contact.

Only at the point that it's next week and you haven't heard should you maybe reach out to the recruiter to figure out what is going on.
posted by CharlieSue at 3:44 PM on November 16, 2010

No, you do not "have to" follow up after a job interview. The post-interview "thank you" has always struck me as obsequious crawling, somehow; yes, even in this job market.

A raft of MeFites will now chime in insisting that you send a thank-you post-haste, complete with a blood sample and fifty dollar bill.
posted by BostonTerrier at 3:45 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

Things are a little different with a recruiter, since the basic idea is that the recruiter does all the work of dealing with the candidates. Still, you are aware that there wasn't always e-mail, right? You could always write an actual letter and mail it. That would probably make quite the impression, actually.

People at many companies also have fairly guessable e-mails if you can find at least one e-mail address of someone who works there.
posted by kindall at 3:47 PM on November 16, 2010

You know where the interview was, you could therefore send a lét.ter on pá.per which should be monarch sized and at least 100 gsm in weight.
posted by tel3path at 3:47 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Following up might make a difference. I've hired a lot of people and I can remember a time the thank you note was a tie-breaker. It also might make them more inclined to give you a better salary or just like you more when you start.

You could ask the recruiter for some contact info. The recruiter desperately wants to place you.
posted by oreofuchi at 3:47 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't think you have to "follow up." Like BostonTerrier says, if you don't hear anything in the specified time span, then send a query (in the guise of a "thank you," if you like).
posted by bluefly at 3:48 PM on November 16, 2010

I sent a thank you to only one set of interviewers in the flurry of my last job hunt. They called me back for a second interview well after I'd already accepted another job.

I recently interviewed for a position, and the hiring decision was already made by the time I got thank yous from candidates.
posted by Zophi at 3:51 PM on November 16, 2010

I've never actually done the follow up thing (I mean I responded to emails, but I never sent a random thank you or whatever, after the interview I'd wait for the recruiter/HR person to contact me). Not saying it doesn't help, but I've gotten offers from most places I've interviewed (also software/tech) so apparently it's not super-rude.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:53 PM on November 16, 2010

It would be courteous to do it if you get a call back to continue with next round of interviews. It certainly isn't required, and it isn't at all likely to affect the decision about whether you are called back.
posted by bearwife at 3:55 PM on November 16, 2010

You don't need to write thank you emails. Where I work we decide whether or not to bring somebody back in right after the interview and getting an e-mail from the candidate doesn't change anything.

In my own experience sending thank-you emails has had negligible effect. I typically sent them if somebody gave me their business card but didn't bother guessing people's e-mails otherwise. In general way too much overthinking goes on when you are an interviewee.

I would find it very strange to receive a thank-you letter on paper from an interviewee.
posted by pravit at 4:05 PM on November 16, 2010

Still, you are aware that there wasn't always e-mail, right? You could always write an actual letter and mail it. That would probably make quite the impression, actually.

For the record, I've had several people who work in tech/software and have been in the position of interviewing people for a job independently tell me that they hate getting paper thank-you notes. Not only do they seem old-fashioned in an industry where you always want to be on top of things, technologically, but they also created work for the interviewers (the candidate packets were all electronic, so they had to take the physical letter, scan it, deal with the file emailed to them, send it to the right people, etc).

As always, YMMV, but actual letter thank-you notes definitely made a negative impression on these interviewers. Of course, by the time the letter got there any relevant decisions that that person could make were already made, so it didn't affect hiring either way.
posted by brainmouse at 4:09 PM on November 16, 2010

Sending a thank you note is the polite thing to do. Whether your note, or the lack thereof, has any impact on your prospects with this company is entirely dependent on the nature of the person you interviewed with. You can't control their expectations or reaction, or even guess what it might be. But you can always be polite whenever possible, and politeness is often it's own reward. Send a note if you, don't sweat it if you can't.
posted by spilon at 4:39 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I once wrote a hand-written follow up note, drove the 20 miles north back to the High School I interviewed at, and personally just dropped the note off at the desk of the Principal's secretary. There were 12 others interviewing for the same spot, and I had zero years of teaching experience. Got the job.
posted by yoyoceramic at 4:41 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

As the INTERVIEWER, it doesn't matter to me if you followed up or not. If I want you, I will track you down and follow up with you as the next step in the interview process. The onus to follow up is on the company doing the hiring.

You could have the greatest social skills in the world, be polite and detail-oriented, but if you are not the right fit for the job, it's really not going to matter to me.
posted by HeyAllie at 4:48 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

See previously.

tl;dr: It would make no difference where I work and in similar places.
posted by Nomyte at 5:26 PM on November 16, 2010

Ask the recruiter for the intervier's email address for the purpose of sending a thank-you note!
posted by barnone at 5:28 PM on November 16, 2010

ask the recruiter. you might also ask the recruiter to review the thank you note as well (this worked well for me).
posted by kenliu at 6:09 PM on November 16, 2010

In my experience, a prompt follow-up is at least a tie-breaker and almost always more than that. For starters, it says something practical about your attention to detail. Also, I want to hire someone who's excited to come to work here, and I think that at some subconscious level I want to offer the job to someone who's not going to turn it down (most hiring managers are made of human flesh, after all). I would steer away from cheesy "thank you for your precious time" and more toward "after meeting with you, I am more excited than ever about the prospect of a career with [your company] and hope that we can live happily ever after".

In my experience, about 25% of applicants do some form of follow-up. In and of itself, it doesn't matter to me whether it's on paper or e-mail (though I am an IT manager), but e-mailed ones have a strong tendency towards being hastily written and not very thoughtful. If you're going to do it, do it well. Also, if you're going to do it, do it right away. The typical hiring scenario every place I've been is to try to do all of our interviews on the same day, tell any candidates who ask that they should expect it to be at least a week before they hear anything (because I don't want them calling me to inquire about the status of the position), sleep on it, and make a hiring decision the next day. If you're going to put in the effort of a follow-up, and I strongly encourage it, you need to do it immediately after the interview.
posted by LowellLarson at 7:09 AM on November 17, 2010

Not necessary. You don't want to work for a place that values ass-kissing and creating extra busy work for everyone. Make your impression when it counts, during the interview.
posted by gjc at 7:15 AM on November 17, 2010

No. As a hiring manager, I actually find the follow up thank you notes a little annoying and ass-kissing. They don't change my thoughts about the applicant one whit, and I'm never quite sure what to do with them? Keep them in a file for all eternity? Bronze them?
posted by purenitrous at 9:49 AM on November 17, 2010

A good thing about thank-you notes is that they automatically screen out the sort of employers who will be offended by a candidate's practising standard business etiquette. This is often a sign of a culture where you'll be expected to second-guess everything and be blamed for guessing wrong.
posted by tel3path at 5:47 AM on November 18, 2010

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