Am I overthinking follow-up for a job interview?
February 20, 2013 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Last week I had an interview at a very small (less than 10 people) start-up. I had previously had a phone interview with the scientist who is doing hiring for the position, which is fairly entry level, and which I think I'm well-qualified for. The person who did the phone interview thought I might be a bit *over*qualified for the current job, but as a small company they have a lot of people filling a lot of roles. I really, really want this job, but I'm stressing over some things, and I was hoping AskMeFi could give some guidance.

I met with *everyone* who works there and was given their business cards. It's a very small friendly company, and I was thinking that maybe I should e-mail each person individually and thank them for the interview... but it's been a week already and I'm stressing that I haven't already done this. Is it too late or should I just do it now? Should I send an e-mail or a physical letter? I feel like a letter would maybe be better at this point, because it doesn't have the expected immediacy of an e-mail. Would it just seem like I'm irresponsible / bad at this kind of thing? What kind of thing should I say? Should I mention the lateness?

I already sent a follow up e-mail to the scientist who is in charge of the hiring process with my references and the answer to a question that had come up concerning my start date.
posted by sockpuppetofexistentialconfusion to Work & Money (9 answers total)
It definitely seems too late to send a thank you at this point--it's good to send them the next day or two after. Sending it now will just emphasize how late you are.

But that said, while thank you notes are a nicety, and I'd always recommend doing them (tailored to the specific conversations you had with each person), not sending one is not the end of the world, in my book. I've interviewed dozens and dozens of people, and most did not follow up. I'd send them via email.

Good luck!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:55 AM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you have something constructive and specific to email to a few of the people you met with, that would be great ("This is the article I mentioned when we were talking about widget optimization." or "This is the chocolate chip recipe I was talking about during our chat last week."), but don't email blast the whole company.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:58 AM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't think a week is bad. If it's a startup they have 10,000 other things to think about and other people to interview for the job. Sending an email might bring you to the forefront of their minds and that's not a bad thing at this point, especially if they're winding up the candidate rodeo.

Keep the email SHORT and simply say "Just checking in to see if you had any other questions or concerns since we met. Thanks again for your time last week." and that's it.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:58 AM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I agree with Rock that it's probably not a great idea to email everyone. In a small company, someone will probably mention it, and when they realize they all got an email from you, it's going to seem strange. If you're going to do it, pick one or two people to contact.
posted by primethyme at 12:00 PM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I agree with Rock Steady. I think it would be odd to email a thank you to everyone who met with you. Just seems a bit over-the-top and a little ass-kissy (I'm sorry!) unless you have something particular, sincere and substantive to say.
posted by Katine at 12:01 PM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If it's been a week, I wouldn't send a thank you e-mail to everybody. I'd send a follow-up email to the person in charge of hiring, but you already did that.

Sending thank you notes to everyone, especially a week later, is unlikely to make any difference in their decision and could possibly work against you (e.g. if you make a spelling mistake or come off strange). And it's going to be really difficult to craft almost 10 individualized, genuine thank-you notes based on conversations that were held a week ago. I don't know about you, but I have a hard enough time writing those things on the same day.

I read somewhere that the main utility of thank-you notes is actually as a networking method if you don't get the job; the idea being that if you made a good impression on one of the interviewers and followed up with them, they might remember you for other jobs they hear about. So maybe in a few weeks or so, if you haven't heard anything, you could reach out to a few people that you felt you connected with.

But I wouldn't think too much about it. Anecdotally, I've gotten job offers after not sending thank-yous to everyone, writing individualized thank-yous, and CC'ing everyone in a thank-you (don't recommend the mass CC - looking back, I'm surprised I did it, but it was my first job out of school).

As for letter vs. email, I'm always really surprised that the question even comes up, but I guess it has to do with culture. In my industry, it would be weird for somebody to send a physical thank-you letter in the mail. But you're the best judge of what's appropriate in your field.
posted by pravit at 2:29 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

How long has it been since you followed up with the person in charge of hiring?

I've said this before, but thank you/follow-up notes/emails (I recommend snail-mail for pretty specific cases and this isn't one of them) haven't ever made a factor in my hiring decisions -- and I've not noticed it making one in my being hired either.
posted by sm1tten at 4:42 PM on February 20, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the great answers - the weirdness of whether or not to e-mail everyone or just a few people was a factor in my procrastination. I was always inculcated with the importance of sending a thank you note or e-mail to the person you interviewed with, but meeting 100% of a company threw me for a loop. I'm just going to let it lie and not worry about it.

I followed up with the hiring person the day after (and it's been a week since then), and she said she would call my references this week, so I'm going to wait awhile before following up again if necessary.
posted by sockpuppetofexistentialconfusion at 5:48 PM on February 20, 2013

It seems like you got your answer, but for others looking for guidance on this kind of thing, I just wanted to chime in from someone who has been participating in the hiring process that sounds very similar to the one you just went through. If you talked to lots of different people, it's likely they are also interviewing a lot of people and/or there are several slots and/or they are not quite sure how they are filling the slots exactly, so they will go through a bunch of people until they have some good fits for slots. There will be input coming from many sources (all the people you talked to) so it will take a little while to integrate and weigh the opinions. It is a good sign they're calling references, because they're not going to waste their time on everybody's references. But it may not be a done deal.

I get lots of thank yous after interviews - at this point, I kind of expect them and sort of make a mental ding in my head that the person went through the right steps. But if I realllly liked someone, it wouldn't matter if they hadn't sent me one; I definitely don't keep an official tally.

However, for followup, I would definitely encourage you to occasionally follow up with the company if you had a good feeling about the place, but not if you are just desperate for the job. Especially knowing they have called your references. I love my current job but it took them a long time to get to hiring me after I had two awesome interviews with them and a background check and they called my references. Maybe I wasn't their favorite. BUt I reallllly wanted the job. I sent thank yous to the people I had talked to pretty promptly (again, I don't think this was crucial), but when I hadn't heard anything for a month, I emailed only the person I had felt the best rapport with. He also happened to be the highest ranking person I talked to. [If this doesn't apply, I woud have picked the best rapport person plus a higher-ranking person I had had good rapport with]. Just a quick email to say I was still very interested and why and I'd be happy to provide more info, and would they be making a decision soon? He replied with a noncommittal we're-still-going-through-the-process and he'd let me know a month later, I got in touch again in a similar manner. ANd I think one more time. And a week after that I got hired. [It seemed like forever...I had other awful interviews going on at the same time...]

Being there now and finding out that they filled several people into slots the same as mine at the same time, and being on the other side of a similar process, I see that the company tends to procrastinate in hiring people, especially when there are several 'equal' candidates; they will thus latch onto some very small things in making the decision. I believe that my enthusiasm, communicated in a way that could have been ignored pretty easily if they weren't at least half into me, might have tipped them into finally making a decision. I wish you good luck!
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:03 PM on February 20, 2013

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