Should I send a belated thank-you?
August 30, 2018 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I had a couple of good interviews with a company that I know was looking to hire someone asap. Last interview was last Thursday/Friday, ie a week ago. I didn't send a thank-you note but now am going kind of nutsy waiting to hear back. Would it be advisable to send now?

- last week they told me the person who would do the final interview was out on travel and back this week, at which point they'd make decisions about who that person would interview, and they seemed keen for those interviews to happen right away (as the previous ones did) as they want to get someone in this position ASAP
- I left myself for work travel this week and have been busy and considered sending a thank you note after the last interview early this week but never did
- No word from their end and I'm starting to feel nervous. Was thinking about sending a thank you note to establish contact but now it seems kind of after the fact and I worry it would seem like I was just following up to - well, to establish contact.

Another option would be to just wait it out a few more days and then send an email touching base on the process and asking if there's an update and also probably thanking them (feels a little too soon to ask them right now outright if there is an update.) Thoughts?
posted by knownfossils to Work & Money (14 answers total)
I've never sent a thank-you note for an interview. I know people who always send them. I don't think it makes even the tiniest bit of difference to whether you get offered a job. On the other hand, there's no harm in reaching out to your interviewer and asking how things are going. But it seems to me you were expecting to hear from them this week when what they told you was that their process was definitely held up until this week, after which they gave you no clear time table, just the feeling they were keen. Personally, I would wait at least another week before sending a request for an update.
posted by ubiquity at 2:07 PM on August 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

It was my understanding that the entire point of a "thank you note" in this context is 100% the professional way to say like, "hey, haven't heard back!"

Seems entirely appropriate for you to do so now.
posted by GoblinHoney at 2:21 PM on August 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

In my experience as a hiring manager, thank you notes matter. Since they are so common, it stands out when someone doesn't send one. I do think this is generational, though. I'm in my 40's and for positions in my age group it's expected; YMMV. On one occasion a particularly good one helped make a decision between two candidates. They take virtually no time and can only help, so I see no reason not to do it.

That said, I see no upside in sending one now, a week later, because it is clearly a ploy for a status update. So I would wait until it's been 10 days or so and then follow up with the HR person to ask where they are in the process.

I'd recommend sending one going forward, though. Just a quick note, nothing too long. Bonus points if you're able to reference something you discussed, particularly if you're able to include a link. 'This is the article about widgets that I mentioned when we spoke; point x might be of relevance' - that kind of thing. Again, there is no downside to doing this and can only help, so - why not?
posted by widdershins at 2:22 PM on August 30, 2018 [9 favorites]

I've never sent a thank you note. On the occasions I haven't heard from an interview and had to ask for an answer then it has been a rejection. If you've gone through a recruitment agent then they can be good to do chasing for you.
posted by JonB at 2:34 PM on August 30, 2018

Former recruiter here - thank you notes do matter. Not enough to hire someone we wouldn't have otherwise, but shows professionalism and interest in the company.

Never to late to send one - brief and to the point are best.
posted by Twicketface at 2:36 PM on August 30, 2018 [6 favorites]

I don't see the point in prevaricating when what you want to know is the status of the job. Say thanks for the interview, say something nice about the company or whatever, and then tell them you're looking forward to an update on the hiring status.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:47 PM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

I rarely hear about jobs I don't get, even after an interview. Thank you notes feel suck-up-y to me, and Nope. Employers expect way too much of our souls already. I will be dependable, competent and go above and beyond the job description. You need a note, too?
posted by theora55 at 3:47 PM on August 30, 2018

I'm kinda with widdershins here. I send thank-you notes, although I guess I never really thought of them as an expression of gratitude before. More just a way of not letting the interview slip out of their minds right away. A quick email along the lines of "Hey, it was really great to meet you all, your company seems like an awesome place and I'd be super excited to work there [lie if necessary, you can always decline the offer if you get a better one], looking forward to hearing from you soon!" does the trick. I never literally say "Thank you, O Corporate Masters, for granting me an audience with your most exalted hiring manager!" It's not about gratitude, more about getting the last word in.

At this point though, you should straight-up just ask what their timetable is. Except you shouldn't, because you're still inside the timetable they gave you. Possibly the person who does the final interviews isn't even back yet—it's still "this week" after all—and even if they are genuinely keen to move things along once they get back (which might not be as true as it sounded during the interview, that kind of thing happens a lot for mostly quite innocent reasons) it could easily take another week to start lining things up depending on how busy that person is and how organized they are.

I get that you're nervous, this is a sucky limbo period to be in. But you need to play it cool for now and wait until middle of next week (Wednesday or Thursday, given Labor Day weekend) at the earliest before you reach out. And when you do, act calm. Be polite and professional and interested, but don't overdo it.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:13 PM on August 30, 2018

I’d say that if it’s a large company, or one that is staffed pretty leanly, it is entirely possible that the person who was out last week has spent all this week catching up and will not have made any progress on their hiring process. I’d send a thank-you note reiterating that you enjoyed your interview and are looking forward to hearing back about their decision; someone’s personal feelings about your thank-you note or lack thereof are out of your control anyway, so you may as well send one just in case it triggers an “Oh yeah, tell Charlene to schedule another interview with this person” response.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:49 PM on August 30, 2018

If someone doesn't send a thank you note I assume they are not interested anymore. Interviews are a two way street, so if you are still interested let them know.
posted by KMoney at 6:12 PM on August 30, 2018

I like the take Alison Green (AskAManager) has, which is that thank you notes are really follow-up notes. I'm also in a field where thank yous are expected.

If I read a perfunctory "thanks for taking the time" note, it doesn't make an impression. If sent a week later, it looks pretty transparent and actually leaves a bad impression on me. An email that continues the interview conversation/points me to a relevant book or paper/is actually human? That tells me the interviewee was paying attention and cares about collaborating either on this particular job or in the future. Bonus, you can excuse the lateness by saying "I just saw this article on teapot design and was reminded of your company's work in teapot painting. What's your take on the new design machines they talk about?"
posted by basalganglia at 6:14 PM on August 30, 2018

Hah, I just came in to second the AskAManager opinion, so yes, I don't think just the act of thanking an interviewer has landed someone a job, but in a close competition, a well-thought-out follow up that makes you sound more interested and thoughtful than the other candidates might.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:31 PM on August 30, 2018

I hate the thank you notes, but as hiring managers pointed out above, you should do them.
However, doing it after a week, I dunno. I think you've already lost the bonus points you would have gotten if you'd done a note within 24-48 hours. And it does come across as a nag/poke now.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:11 PM on August 30, 2018

It's too late for a thank you note. Wait until next week and send a normal follow up note which also expresses your continued interest in the position.
posted by like_neon at 2:07 AM on August 31, 2018

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