To thank you or not?

posted in: Job Doc Blog | 0

Q:   I am job hunting and it is the first time I have ever had to look for a new job.  In the past, I was recruited and placed by a headhunter.  The other way I found a new role, was while I was working and a friend referred me into their company.  Now, I feel like I am at a loss.  I don’t know where to start.  Also, someone told me it is “old school” to send a paper thank-you note.  Is that accurate?

A:   Thanks for your question.  Let me first address the thank-you note.  I was encouraged to read that you are asking about the practice of sending a thank-you note to interviewer.  Sending a thank-you note is a dying practice.  Many of our clients notice when a candidate sends a thank-you note vs. when a candidate who does not.  It should be your immediate thought post-interview.  In what format?  Email or paper?  I think it is typically an outdated practice to send a hand-written and postal delivered thank you note.  However, I always encourage a candidate to follow an employer’s practice.  If the employer corresponded with you via snail mail, it might be a good idea to send a paper thank-you note.  However, in our world of technology, speed often matters.  I would estimate that 90% plus of employers find an email thank -you note acceptable.  The thank-you email should be sent ideally within 24 hours of interview, even if it is an informational interview.  Try to customize your thank-you note and give some thought to it.  Instead of “thank for you for the interview,” the note should be more descriptive and detailed.

On a related point, I should mention that thank-you notes and/or emails should also be sent to any person who spends time with you, even if it is not a “real interview.”  If your neighbor meets you for coffee, send a thank-you note (and pay for the coffee!).  If your former college roommate connects with you via Zoom to discuss your job search, send her a thank-you note.

Job hunting strategies may have changed since you last searched for a new role.  However, some of the same principles likely apply.  Your professional network will prove to be valuable.  Even though we have a lot of technology into the job search process in 2023, a well-established network is the number one way to avoid the unemployment line.  However, it is important to give and take in that networking process.  Try your best NOT to reach out only when you are in need.  Instead, nurture the relationships throughout your professional career, not just when you need something.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.