The Job Interview Isn’t Over Yet

A journalist by training and for a good part of my career, I always enjoy interviewing job candidates. But it’s a completely different story when it comes to job candidates following up with a thank you note, post-interview. Currently we’re interviewing for a position for a sister brand of PR News. About half of these candidates have followed up with an email or letter (a letter in the mail!!) thanking us for taking the time and expressing interest in joining our team. The other half? No word, except some have called in to see when we might be hiring them.

Follow-up: Is this an outdated notion? Has its time come and gone? Isn’t this Communications 101? Or Personal Branding 201? Maybe I should check my Twitter account to see if these thank-you notes are hiding there, within 140 characters.

It could be that these candidates just don’t want the job. But why burn bridges? Could be that they missed the etiquette class on writing thank you’s? Could be that they are taking good old-fashioned manners for granted?

For us, the job interview is not over until we see a thank-you note.

What are your experiences with interviewees and other colleagues following up after a meeting?

Thank you very much for listening and I look forward to hearing from you.

– Diane Schwartz

  • Brian B


    Very interesting post. As a recruiter, I highly recommend sending a thank you note after an interview.

    The job search is “all about sales” and a thank you note is a great way to differentiate yourself from the pack.

    Many candidates send very bland notes. I encourage candidates to take the time to draft a well-written note that is tailored to your conversation. Make mention of insights, suggestions and anecdotes from the interview…

    Re: email vs. letter. I am fine with either as long as the content is great. But… usually the only mail I get at the office are bills! So a nice letter would really stick out to me…


  • Josh Morgan

    There are two complete deal breakers for me:
    – typo in the resume (if you can’t spend the time to get this document right why should I hire you?)
    – no “thank you,” or appropriate follow-up.

    The thank you note serves multiple purposes.
    – express your continued interest in the position
    – get your name back top of mind
    – demonstrate you know how business (heck, society) works

  • Jeff McCloud

    I always write a thank-you letter. I do have one question — what about a call back for a test where you don’t have an interview, per se, but just a writing test or some other quiz of some sort. Do you write after that, “Thank you for the test …”?

  • Jacqueline Condie

    We are currently recruiting for two positions, an entry-level spot and an executive assistant for the President.

    No cover letter? In the bin. Worse, an obvious one-size-fits-all cover letter? In the bin. Typos? In the bin. No thank you note? Out of the running.

    If a candidate doesn’t take his/her own career seriously enough to take such basic steps to leave a favorable impression, why on earth would we expect they’d be any more diligent when it came to managing our clients’ reputations?

  • Mike

    Acknowledging someone for their interest, time and attention is a two-way street. Perhaps when corporate America returns to the simple practice of sending out form letters to notify job seekers of their status, the standard will be reinstated and the favor returned.

  • Taylor C.

    I agree with all the replies so far. Job seekers should definitely send thank-you notes following an interview. But more importantly, recruiters MUST return to the practice – or at least embrace it for a change – of being courteous enough to notify applicants of their status in writing. I find it appalling that HR staff neglect this simple manner of courtesy all the time. Even if it’s a form letter, i.e. “We regret to inform you…” Despite sending a thank-you note, there were times I didn’t get a call or letter until weeks and in some cases, months later. Corporate recruiters also need a reality check in this area of etiquette.

  • Matt

    As a current job seeker I am glad to hear my competition is failing the follow up thank you. But I want to echo the lack of similar consideration by employers.
    At one national nonprofit organization I had three interviews (each followed up with a thank you letter)… and still never heard whether I got the job.
    I recently got a rejection letter in the mail and felt like sending a thank you for that.

    I realize there is a cost involved but even an email (cut & paste) is cheap — or a phone call. Are employers that busy and my time so worthless?