thank you bad?
August 8, 2011 11:26 AM   Subscribe

I just had a job interview and sent a thank you email to each of my interviewers after. My partner poo pooed this saying it is not done in the UK (where we are). Is this a black mark for me in regards to my application?

It was an admin post for a university research group. The emails were brief and specific.
posted by By The Grace of God to Work & Money (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
He's right that it's much less usual in the UK, but I can't imagine that it would count against you.
posted by atrazine at 11:29 AM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can never say things like please and thank you enough. I am not in the UK but I think it's very unlikely any future employer would not appreciate this.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:29 AM on August 8, 2011

I can't imagine courtesy being looked at as a strike against you no matter where you are.
posted by inturnaround at 11:31 AM on August 8, 2011

You're being nice. There is nothing wrong with being nice. If it should keep your name active in their minds, or if it should tip the balance between you or someone else, well, that's fine too.

If someone thinks that you're not being nice, but suckholing, those aren't nice people and maybe you don't want to work with them anyway.

I've never sent a thank you which wasn't appreciated. I never got one which I didn't appreciate.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:40 AM on August 8, 2011

What good would it do if you were find out that it was? (A question your partner might well have asked.)

Anyway, hard to see how it matters much, so I wouldn't worry. And I'm not just saying.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 11:42 AM on August 8, 2011

My partner interviews people regularly as part of his job. We're in the UK and he's just confirmed that it's not usual to send thank-you notes. However he says he can't see how it would count against you if you did, just so long as you didn't send a gift or anything.
posted by hazyjane at 11:44 AM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your partner is right in that it is less common in the UK, but it is a nice gesture and shouldn't count against you.

I am in the UK and interview people as part of my job; I got a thankyou note recently and was pleasantly surprised. I can't imagine anyone holding it against you.
posted by plep at 11:47 AM on August 8, 2011

If anything this is going to benefit you.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:06 PM on August 8, 2011

The worse thing that I've heard with regard to sending thank you notes post interview in the UK is that it is considered somewhat as ass kissing type behavior. I came across this when I was looking at the discussion boards at the Chronicle of Higher Education regarding interviewing abroad for academic positions. There was a whole section on the UK and this issue came up and this was the explanation given. So take it with a grain of salt. This was also about 5 years ago, so even if this explanation was 100% correct, it might not account for current interviewing/job search practices. But that's just the worst case scenario, I think most people would be more likely to adopt the attitude noted above and accept your note as an unexpected, but pleasant surprise.

Worst case scenario and the people with whom you interviewed are somewhat suspicious of post-interview thank you notes, I'm sure that it was obvious that you weren't from the UK and they would just presume, if they weren't already aware, that you were following the standard practice of your home country (I'm assuming that you are from the US which may be way off base, but regardless, I'm assuming that your accent or your CV/resume would have made it patently obvious that you weren't from the UK).
posted by kaybdc at 12:07 PM on August 8, 2011

Assuming you are American/not British? They might think it's sucking up, they might chalk it up to an American idiosyncrasy rather than sucking up. Or they might think it's an example of Americans not knowing how to behave when in a foreign country.

In the interview, you probably already stuck out a bit, because you can't help it. Sending a thank you note against custom would only remind them of this, which might be slightly negative.

As a foreigner, the nice thing to do is make a concerted effort to conform to the local customs.
posted by AlsoMike at 12:12 PM on August 8, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, nobody here really helps me with Jack Shit, including my partner, although he is happy to criticise after. I wish I'd known people might consider it ass kissy.

I am definitely American.

Answers thus far are appreciated, and I'm glad some thought it was nice.

Sigh... Low ebb here, feel like I get punished for trying...
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:19 PM on August 8, 2011

Don't sweat this. Worst case scenario they chalk it up to you being American and that's that, best case they're pleasantly surprised. If they liked you for the job, receiving a thank you note isn't going to be the thing that loses it for you. If they didn't like you, well, moot point. On you go and now you know for next time.
posted by widdershins at 12:27 PM on August 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

The likelihood that this has any impact at all is really small. Negative or positive, who knows, but it's almost certainly not a big deal.

First, the people to whom you sent these cards would have to actually receive/read them. That's not a given. Second, they'd have to pay attention AND care. Third, any one person who is part of the hiring process who DID have a problem would then have to share those concerns with the other people in the process and have them deemed valid.

In short, it's clear that knowing what you know now, you'd not have sent the thank-you card, but it's unlikely to really matter much one way other. Don't beat yourself up, nor your partner--if it's really atypical in the UK, how would he/she have known to warn you against it?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:43 PM on August 8, 2011

Response by poster: They were thank you emails, if that makes a difference.
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:49 PM on August 8, 2011

To recap:

1. It's doubtful that it has any impact at all, and if it does have an impact, it's not clear whether it would be negative or positive. Unlikely that it would explain any negative reaction, should there be one.

2. You can't do anything about it anyway. It's not as though you can send an email saying "Oh, sorry if that last email sounded like I wanted 'snog' your 'arse,' I was just being American."

3. Next time, maybe do it different, or not.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 1:04 PM on August 8, 2011

I have had these once or twice. I note them but they don't really affect my judgement on whether or not to give an individual a post. The one long one I have ever received changed nothing because I had already decided against that person. Other people are different but I think most people just aren't bothered.

It may count a little bit in your favour - it's nice to be nice - or it might not. But if by some unlikely chance it has any seriously bad effect on the success of your application, just be grateful you weren't hired by a bunch of pernickity arseholes.

In short: meh. Not a big deal.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 1:43 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

On every job interview panel that I've been on in the UK we've made the decision immediately after interviewing everyone - literally, staying in the same room and coming to a final decision there and then. As such, the scope for post-interview notes or emails to have any impact on the process is nil.
posted by Jabberwocky at 1:48 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't sweat this. I'm seconding Jabberwocky's suggestion that the decision was certainly made long before the emails were ever sent. Let us know how you did!
posted by roofus at 2:32 PM on August 8, 2011

In the UK, de facto (and sometimes de jure) etiquette is based on the class system and one-upmanship. By thanking them, they may perceive you as smarmy and reject you on those grounds.

If so, REJOICE because that's how I got rid of all my snobbish hierarchy-obsessed unfriends. I now only have nice friends, who like to say please and thank you. Same applies to business situations. Stay away from people who would reject you for thanking them.
posted by tel3path at 3:09 PM on August 8, 2011

Dear Grace Of God - please don't worry. I'm an academic, and sometimes involved in hiring academic and admin jobs. The most serious thing that would have happened would be someone thinking "that's unusual - but sort of nice", or "aw - they sure are enthusiastic, those Americans". The most likely thing, by a mile, is that noone paid any serious attention to it at all.
posted by cromagnon at 3:16 PM on August 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

For what it's worth, when a British colleague of mine was interviewing in the UK, she was tickled pink and amazed to get thank-you emails following the interviews. As everyone else has said, I think you have at least a good chance that your interviewers will see it as a positive, or at least an American idiosyncrasy.
posted by solipsism at 4:46 PM on August 8, 2011

I am British and have sent thank you emails. And I got the job. People don't normally mind polite - I don't think it will hurt. They will probably assume they are genuine rather than courtesy.

(I also say 'you're welcome' frequently. Believed to be obnoxious to us Brits, yet always works well for me. YMMV.)
posted by plonkee at 12:48 AM on August 9, 2011

Response by poster: There isn't an answer that is a best answer in this sort of question, but as a whole this sampling is very beneficial. Thanks to all!
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:06 AM on August 9, 2011

Response by poster: Didn't get the job, I thought folk in the thread might want to know.
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:17 AM on August 10, 2011

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