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Are there risks to sending hand-written thank-you notes?

I just finished an interview, which was a conference call with 3 interviewers, who are scattered all in different cities throughout the US.  I don't have their addresses, so I was planning to just send email thank-you notes.  But when I mentioned to the recruiter that I usually send hand-written notes, he said "I can't remember the last time I've heard of someone doing that" and went on to say he would never recommend sending notes through the mail because email gets right to the person (without going through an admin or getting lost by USPS, etc.) and gets there much faster.  He strongly discouraged it.

I guess I agree with M&M that a hand-written note is much more memorable, and I typically write them in my car right after the interview so I can mail them immediately, even so it could take a few days to get there and there's a chance it doesn't get there.  Do these potential downsides

Especially in this case I'd have to agree with the recruiter -- it could take 4 or 5 days for a hand-written note to get to them (even if I had their addresses).  It's very possible they'd already make a decision for 2nd round interviews before they even received it.  And what if 2 get there and one doesn't, etc.?  Wondering how others have resolved these pros and cons.  It doesn't seem like you'd ever do both, so it's either one or the other?

I always assumed you'd get the best of both worlds by sending the first one written and then follow-up by email (or by phone -- either way immediate), but I'd hate to miss a chance to have them receive it before they make decisions about moving to the next round, etc.

timrutter's picture

Email is efficient, it gets there fast. Does it achieve the objective though?

The recruiter hasn't seen it before because it doesn't happen often, therefore, if you do it, you'll stand out for all the right reasons.

Be brave, be different, be more so much more than the average candidate and let yourself excel! The rewards await you if you do.

Tim

SamBeroz's picture

You should be able to find the satellite office address on the corporate website. I once got a thank you email in response to just such a thank you note. Good luck - Sam

buhlerar's picture

I try to follow MT guidelines whenever possible.  One reason we got on the subject with the recruiter is that he thought I should address a particular issue in the thank you note.  I am moving from a very large organization with a staff working for me, and this company is pretty small and I might not have any directs at all.  This seemed to be a point the interviewers were probing (i.e. would I be willing to get back into the details, etc.), so the recruiter recommended the thank you include something to specifically highlight my willingness to do this.  By the way I wouldn't be blowing hot air -- I'm very comfortable with the details (have clear high-C tendencies: 7-1-1-7 DiSC).

So I agree with the recruiter that my thank you note could include something that touches on this point.  I know the goal is really to just say thank you, but I might as well be strategic in the wording if the "known" concern has to do with my interest level.  However, as I mentioned before, I only have one address (company HQ in Dallas) but none of the 3 are from Dallas from what I can tell, and I can safely assume at least 1 or 2 of them travel a good deal, so who knows how long this thing could bounce around before it finds them.  I know it still might be worth sending -- hopefully it gets to them before they make a final decision -- but if I've underestimated their apprehensions about my willingness to embrace this role, perhaps time could be of the essence (before they decide on 2nd rounds).

I'm assuming sending both an email and a handwritten note would stand out, but perhaps over-rotating into the realm of goofy.

By the way, the sentence I came up with was something like: "In my previous roles I was often consulted as a subject matter expert because of my ability to translate overarching concepts into detailed processes.  I can see my hands-on approach would serve me well in this position."

mukamal's picture

As a manager I have received both and not once did I think it was "goofy."  In fact, I did receive the written note after the email and thought "wow, that was thoughtful."  

I had one candidate send two cards as she was not sure the first one was addressed correctly.  A slip up on the research/preparation side of things, but a plus on the "making sure it gets done" side.  She got the job. :-) 

Good luck,

mukamal

DISC 4-5-4-3

gpeden's picture

Have anyone else started to see business cards with no mailing address at all?  I was about to write a hand written thank you note and the persons business card had 3 phone numbers and an email address.

so email it is for this thank you!

Thanks,

George

DiSC 7511

kmccrosk's picture

Yes, I have seen business cards without mailing or physical addresses too. But I'd check the Web site or Google – or even just call their receptionist or swing by the front desk – to see if I could track down the address before resorting to e-mail.

I think it's always preferable to send a hand-written note as an immediate follow-up to an interview. E-mails are better suited for subsequent follow-up efforts.

JRMoreau's picture

On the subject of thank you notes, do people have an opinion on the stationary they are written? I recently went through a (very long) series of interviews for an internal promotion. Along the way I sent thank you notes to all of my interviewers. I'm not saying that's what got me the job, but it certainly didn't hurt. By the end of the process I could tell the reputation I had gotten was the guy who did his homework and would do the legwork needed for something. 

Once I'm in the position, I'll need to rely on personal relationships across the company to make my projects successful. I'm planing on sending thank you cards as a part of building and strengthening those relationships. Does anyone have an opinion on receiving an internal thank card on corporate logo stationary versus a more personal card?

mattpalmer's picture

I think the important thing with the thank you note is that it is gets written -- you'll get most of the effect simply by it existing.  I think I would feel slightly more appreciated if it were on personal stock, simply because that way it's clearly coming from *you*, and isn't in any way coming from "the company".  But it's a minor distinction.  If you've got some company notepaper to hand, better to get the note out in a timely fashion on that than wait a week until you get classy personal notepaper.  Hell, scratch it on the back of a restaurant bill if that's all that's handy.

Smacquarrie's picture

Economie,
I would prefer, and use, personal stock over company stationary.
Much like Matt, I think this makes it more personal for the person receiving it.
With that being said, if all you have is company letterhead, use it. The most important part is to write them and get them out.
Mac

cruss's picture

I once interviewed for an internal position and was told that the decision would be made that afternoon. I still sent a hand written thank you note knowing it would arrive after that. I didn't get the offer, seems the decision was really already made and I was padding out the required interviews. Yet that manager still remembers me and I have a better relationship with him than most of my peers do.

Canyon R

campbellronald7's picture

 A Thank you not could be written in a following way.

It was very enjoyable to speak with you today about the Business analyst position at the smith agency, the job seems to be excellent match for my skills and Interest .The creative approach to Business Analyst that you described confirmed my desire to work with you

 In Addition to my enthusiasm, I will bring to the position strong skills and ability to encourage others to work cooperatively with the department

I appreciate the time you took to interview me ,looking forward  hearing from you regarding the position

Sincerely

Campbell Ronald.

duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

Campbell - I may be in the minority on this but I believe the purpose of a thank you note is ONLY to express gratitude. You should not create an obligation for the receiver.  

If you ask for something, or make the receiver feel like they need to respond, it ceases to be a thank you note.   Which is why people do not say thank you for a thank you note - they should just accept the appreciation.

 

tedtschopp's picture

Campbell,

I have not done a ton of interviewing, but I have perhaps given 30 or so interviews over the course of the last decade for individuals I would be mentoring as the technical lead on a team.

I have received notes like the one you write above.  It was a lot more effective when the the note thanked me for the opportunity to interview and then followed Dale Carnegie's advice and talked about me and how I did something for them instead of how they were going to do something for me.  

How about:

----------
Thanks for taking an hour out of your busy schedule last Thursday to interview me for the position of a Business Analyst in your customer support department.  Your description of Smith Agency's approach and your way of thinking about customers is something that will I will use from now on even if I am not the successful candidate for this job.  Again, thanks; your level of professionalism and friendliness through out the process was refreshing and unique.  You should be proud of how your company stands out from the others I have interviewed with in this field.

I am looking forward to hearing from you as soon as your decision has been made.

Campbell Ronald
--------

Ted Tschopp
เท็ด ชอปป์  - टेड चप - ثڍودور تشوب - Թէտ Չըփ - Ted Çeöp - தெட் த்சப்

Consultant2001's picture

 
I can’t  love this suggestion enough, it feels far more genuine to me than the standard: “Thank you now lemme convince you more that I’m awesome” note ... in my opinion I should have knocked it out of the park in the interview... and the mere fact that I wrote a thank you note confirms that I am indeed awesome... but that is just my opinion...
 
My note from yesterday’s meeting went as such... and I believe I made a further great impression based on her quick note back saying it was a pleasure for her as well. 
 
Hi INTERVIEWER, 
 
Thank you for taking an hour out of your busy schedule to meet with me about the opportunities at ABC COMPANY. I appreciate you letting me know the ins and outs of a successful JOB TITLE HERE. After reflecting about "describing what I do",  I have made a commitment to myself to watch 'Scandal'. (This was something we discussed in the interview). 
 
Again, thank you for your level of professionalism and friendliness through this process, it is refreshing and unique. You should feel proud with how ABC COMPANY stands out with other companies I have interviewed with. I am meeting with JOHN SMITH (HER BOSS) on June 20th. Regardless of the outcome. I truly enjoyed our conversation. 
 
Kind Regards, 
 
ME
 
BTW - I immediately sent a handwritten note. And the recruiter contacted me within the hour of the previous interview to schedule the next round (thank you interview series!)... so I didn’t feel that trying to further convince her was prudent. But even if he hadn’t I’d probably do the same... 
 
 

m2xah_fan's picture

Why couldn't I have found this post before I sent  my thank you note?  
 
I was having the same issue.  I knew this company was making a decision quickly.  I still opted for an incredibly short, handwritten note.

 MarkMT thanks for the reminder that a thank you shouldn't create an obligation.  My boss thanked me for a thank you note that I gave to him.  I guess that proves how special they are since it isn't common these days. 

Ted Tschopp and Campbell Ronald thanks for providing the examples.  

 

dmulcor's picture

In my organisation, there is one group/panel interview only and the decision is made in the immediate aftermath of the interviews.  (They don't even leave the interview room).  I had been called to interview but was unsuccessful. Is it still appropriate to send a thank you card to each of the whole panel, which includes my boss, or what are other good options.  My work brings me into contact with all of them so I want to make sure I don't do something inappropriate and damage future opportunity.

Dave

 

mkirk's picture

There's a cast on this - even if the note arrives a few days after the decision has been made it will create a good impression.

Look, at the time of writing the note, you do not know if the decision has been made, all you know is that you have not yet been ruled out. So if you are serious about wanting the role, you owe it to yourself to do everything you can to increase your chances and a good Thank You note is something you can do to influence the outcome in your favour.

I don't see any downside to sending the note apart from my time and the cost of a stamp and I am absolutely willing to risk that small cost against the potential impact of getting an offer.

There are only upsides to saying Thank You and doing it well. It will make the other person's day - you should absolutely do it every single time. I'm happy to debate other aspects of the MT guidance but this? No, no excuses - just do it.

dmulcor's picture

MKirk,

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. Thank you notes sent.  One recipent came back to me already as was clearly very pleased to get the note.  Your note was the spur I needed.  

Much appreciated. So anyone else reading this, even if you know you haven't got the job, it is still the right thing to do.

D