Job interview: too late for a thank-you note?
July 5, 2011 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Have I blown it for good? Interviewed for a job 13 days ago and then followed up with a different interviewer 5 days ago, and neglected to send thank-you notes both times. No decision has been made yet -- should I just let it go at this point, or would I still be better off sending my thanks?

FWIW, I am currently employed at the same workplace as the interviewers, though currently for a different contractor, and have exchanged brief casual greetings with both interviewers in passing since our formal meetings.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At the same workplace makes it seem weird to send a (paper) thank you note to me. I wouldn't see any harm in dropping a quick note by email though. If you're in the U.S., you could couch it as a casual post holiday weekend check in - ask how their Fourth was, thank them again for their time, mention to [person you spoke with 2 weeks ago] how much you enjoyed talking to [person last week]... here in my office everyone's catching up with projects, hiring and their colleagues after the holiday now anyway.
posted by deludingmyself at 2:44 PM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think it's too late, and they probably won't notice anyway. If it were the day after I'd say send them, otherwise, let it go.
posted by tel3path at 2:51 PM on July 5, 2011

Don't worry about it.
Sounds fine (particularly with the casual communication).

If they want you they want you.
Sometimes notes make you look desperate.
posted by Murray M at 2:57 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I am a lawyer, and the common wisdom in my field is that (1) thank you notes for interviews are a nice touch but by no means necessary, and (2) they are only effective if done correctly. To my mind, "correctly" means an appropriate tone, handwritten in reasonably nice penmanship, a personal touch if possible, and sent timely after the interview. When I conducted interviews for law jobs, I can think of only one time when a thank you note made a positive contribution to the hiring decision, and at least two (including once when they spelled my name wrong and once when they referenced a conversation that they had with a different interviewer as though it were with me) where they made a negative one. Most of the time it was a neutral thing.

Though you would likely not make an easy-to-avoid mistake like spelling the name wrong, there is a chance that a note arriving two weeks after the interview would leave the interviewer with the impression that you were disorganized or had forgotten to do it earlier. If I were you I would let it go and act as though you made that decision straight off.
posted by AgentRocket at 3:22 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Either you are the best candidate for the job, or someone else is, or it's a toss-up. The odds of it being so close that a thank-you letter is what breaks the tie are pretty slim. The odds that this is true and that your late letter nudges you ahead of your opponent are even slimmer, and this option carries risks per AgentRocket. Best thing to do is try not to worry about it.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:33 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I hire all the time and can't remember a case where a thank you note affected the hiring decision.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:48 PM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

Having interviewed a lot of folks (tech industry) if two or more candidates are virtually identical in qualifications, education and/or experience, I can't imagine a thank you letter would tip the scales for me, late or not.

The only time a thank you letter ever factored in a hiring situation was when this one candidate sent me a stuffed bear and a balloon after an interview. I did not hire her.
posted by SoulOnIce at 3:49 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think in some types of jobs a thank you note can be worthwhile, in others probably not so much.

For instance, it is good practice when interviewing for a sales position to write a note. I can tell you from first hand knowledge that this has made the difference in getting to the next step for many people many times. Of course, a note it is not an absolute determinant, but can assist you in differentiating yourself. I am not saying this is the way it should be, but I know for a fact that it can often make a difference.

At this juncture, I think I would not send a note, as its relative tardiness might underscore that you did not send one more punctually.

Good luck with your endeavor.
posted by jcworth at 4:31 PM on July 5, 2011

I would still send the note. Receiving a note has never affected a hiring decision, but it has made me more inclined to reach out on behalf of a candidate down the road...
posted by mozhet at 6:52 PM on July 5, 2011

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