Q: I participated in a Zoom interview last week. It is not my first-choice job. I am still chasing my “dream job” at another company. I know there will be stiff competition for my “dream job” and many candidates will apply. The interview last week went really well. I like the company but the role is not ideal. I really hit it off with the hiring manager. My question is this – should I send a thank-you note saying that I am interested when I am really not that interested?
A: Full disclosure – I am writing this response on Mother’s Day! I am grateful that my mother raised me to send thank-you notes. You can and should write a note (or an email) thanking the interviewer for their time. You do not have to focus on your interest in the role. I recall what my mother suggested to me years ago. The thank-you note is not just about the gift or the job, but sometimes about the thought or effort. You can thank someone for taking the time to interview you and that you felt like you built a rapport with interviewer.
Write the note. This person gave you a generous gift – her time! So many of us are running 1000 miles per hour and struggle with focusing on the person in front of us. She gave you the gift of her time, her energy and what sounds like her genuine interest in you as a candidate.
Show that you respected and valued her time. Thank her. Your actions will be memorable to her. I remember those that thank me for my time. I remember those that don’t too. Be the person that lands in that first bucket!
You can write the note in a way that is sincere and gracious. You can mention that you felt like the interview went well and that the two of you were able to build a rapport. You can also write that the company is of great interest to you. You never know when you and this woman may cross paths again. You may not know what other roles may be available at the company. Leave a positive impression. It can’t hurt you.
Some “dream” jobs are not as dreamy as you think. Every role has positive attributes and negative attributes. You may value different attributes differently. You may connect with the mission of one company, while the mission of another company make you yawn. You may value the flexibility provided by one employer but another employer is much closer to your home. There are trade-offs with every offer and every role. Be careful not to assume a dream job is your ideal role, when you may not have a complete and accurate picture of the dream job.
Writing a thank-you note has become a lost art. I am glad I was taught by my mother early. It has stuck with me many years later. My mother was right. Again.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.