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Some interesting statistics on the power of thank you notes, at Taleo today:

http://www.taleo.com/talent-management-blog.php/2007/08/16/insights_into...

Wendii

juliahhavener's picture

Interesting article, Wendii!

I wonder how influential they truly are. I don't think I would hire someone just because of a thank you note. I do think if I had two ideal candidates and followed up this way it may be the last thing to tip the scale. At the executive level, I suspect that is very much the case.

WillDuke's picture

Interesting, but my gut says their statistics are questionable. They never mention their sample size. Consequently, how significant is the difference between 88% and 86%? Then they cite an average interview time rather than a mean. Maybe I'm just grumpy from all the smoke around here, but that article reads like it was just tossed off.

wendii's picture

Will

if you click through to the data from Accoutemps it implies (but does not state explicitly) that the sample size was 150. So the change from 86-88% (frowns intently maths not very good) is about 3?

Not very statistically revealling - but the fact that it was so high surprised me. Especially as my gut reaction to most thank you notes is: smarmy, jumped up, over american, trying too hard, didn't like you anyway.

But that's probably just me. And I'm NOT a hiring manager.

Wendii

WillDuke's picture

[quote]my gut reaction to most thank you notes is: smarmy, jumped up, over american, trying too hard, didn't like you anyway. [/quote]
That's interesting. When I get one I think that here's someone who's done the research about how to be a good applicant. I don't think they're necessarily a better candidate. But I do think they might want the job more than the others.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]That's interesting. When I get one I think that here's someone who's done the research about how to be a good applicant. I don't think they're necessarily a better candidate. But I do think they might want the job more than the others.[/quote]

Maybe it's a cultural thing. Wendii and I are both from the UK.

If I'd taken someone to dinner or given a talk to a group and they sent me a thank you note then I'd think they were polite. If I'd busted a gut and worked over time to dredge a project from doomed failure (something I've had to do more times than I like) and the project manager sent me a thank you note (hasn't happened nearly as often as I'd like) then I'd think "At least my efforts haven't gone unnoticed." If I'd interviewed someone for a job and they sent me a thank you note before the outcome had been announced then I'd most likely think "Smarmy git weirdo, what are they after?" If I'd interviewed someone for a job and turned them down and they sent me a thank you note (e.g. something like "Thank you for the interview. Sorry I wasn't quite what you were looking for but I hope that you'll keep me in mind for future roles.") then I'd probably fish their CV out of the bin and take another look to see if may be there was a role coming up I could consider them for.

Stephen

wendii's picture

Stephen,

maybe it is a UK thing. My head thinks thankyou notes are a great idea (and my canadian coach is ALWAYS telling me to follow up!) but my gut just hates them.

I've been feeling bad since I posted about being heretical and blasphemous so I'm glad someone agrees with me, but the stats (at least these stats) agree with M&M.

Guess I'll just have to swallow my pride! :-)

Wendii

ccleveland's picture

[b]Splitting hairs:[/b] Flexing an old statistics muscle, the 95% error rate for that survey is +/- 7%...if I did my math right. In other words, there's a 95% chance that the actual % of all senior execs represented by those asked consider thank you notes a plus is between 81% and 95%. [i]The change from year to year is not significant.[/i]

[b]The real point:[/b] What [b]is[/b] significant is that a significant number of execs that think it's a plus.... so why not do it?

To Stephen... What are they after? A job! ... ... Maybe it is a cultural thing.

CC

asteriskrntt1's picture

150 responses is not enough to make the survey statistically significant. However, that does not mean it is not of any value. The fact is, people generally like receiving thank you notes and positive affirmation.

I find it odd that this survey says 50% of candidates provide a handwritten note vs. M&M saying in the interview series that maybe 10% of candidates follow through with the thank you card.

I would rather the number stayed lower. Makes you look (as a candidate) more professional and shows that you understand the relationship aspects of management.

*RNTT

terrih's picture

Does it depend partially on the type of position? The level? Just wondering.

Peter.westley's picture

I think the cultural environment and the mood of the recipient are critical to determining how a TYN will be received. We don't have control over the recipient's mood but we can pay careful attention to the cultural norm.

Australians have what I term finely tuned "bullshit" meters. (Please excuse the colloquialism). The TYN must be seen as [i]truly genuine[/i] or it will have the reverse affect.

[quote="Wendii (putting it very well)"]My head thinks thankyou notes are a great idea ... but my gut just hates them. [/quote]

I also thing the content can make a big difference to how it's received. Being extremely careful not to imply the expectation of anything in return is critical. For example, not asking any questions and not writing in a tone that suggests 'now you owe me a second look'.

Hmmm tricky.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Peter

In the How to Write a Thank You Note podcast, there are explicit instructions to simply write the note as a thank you note. You are not to include a request or favour for anything. That eliminates the bias you mentioned.

*RNTT

Peter.westley's picture

Yes thanks *RNTT, that's exactly what I was trying to emphasise - that it's not necessarily an outright question, it can be a 'tone' to the message which implies the same thing. That's why it's tricky - it may not be obvious to us when we write a note...

ccleveland's picture

[quote="asteriskrntt1"]I find it odd that this survey says 50% of candidates provide a handwritten note vs. M&M saying in the interview series that maybe 10% of candidates follow through with the thank you card.[/quote]

Since a typed, hand "signed" note sent via snail-mail isn't included in the options, I wonder if it was lumped into the pile "handwritten note." I've sent a few of those before my time with M-T...but never a hand-written thank you card for an interview.

CC

vinnie2k's picture

[quote="stephenbooth_uk"]Maybe it's a cultural thing. Wendii and I are both from the UK.

If I'd taken someone to dinner or given a talk to a group and they sent me a thank you note then I'd think they were polite. If I'd busted a gut and worked over time to dredge a project from doomed failure (something I've had to do more times than I like) and the project manager sent me a thank you note (hasn't happened nearly as often as I'd like) then I'd think "At least my efforts haven't gone unnoticed." If I'd interviewed someone for a job and they sent me a thank you note before the outcome had been announced then I'd most likely think "Smarmy git weirdo, what are they after?" If I'd interviewed someone for a job and turned them down and they sent me a thank you note (e.g. something like "Thank you for the interview. Sorry I wasn't quite what you were looking for but I hope that you'll keep me in mind for future roles.") then I'd probably fish their CV out of the bin and take another look to see if may be there was a role coming up I could consider them for.

Stephen[/quote]
Same here, and I'm not from the UK (Italian born in Switzerland, also lived in France and now in the US, if you might ask). I had *never* heard of thank you notes before, and I've worked with people from over 20 different countries.

I think it is a US (North American?) thing. It probably ties to the very polite & formal nature of official life in the US. Think sending out a card to someone who had you for dinner, for example. Think constant positive feedback that makes you think you're Jesus Christ when in fact, people are just excited to have someone new on board (not necessarily *you* :lol: ).