“Shame on you.”
Decades ago, I sat with my wife on the floor of our studio apartment and wrote, by hand, over 150 thank you notes to our family and friends for their wedding gifts. We had taken far too long to complete this time-consuming yet simple task.
After the wedding, we had returned to our college apartment to continue our lives, officially together. After about a week of wedded bliss, we received calls from our mothers about the thank you notes. Where were we with them? Had any been sent out yet? Why not? Aside from your college classes and part-time jobs, what else did you have to do?
Mom: “I saw my friend Pat yesterday, and she hadn’t received her thank you note for the lovely set of glassware she and Larry gave you for your wedding.” This was my mother telling me that she was both embarrassed and disappointed. “Have you guys sent out any thank you notes?” Silence. “Shame on you.”
While visiting my parents one weekend, I ran into Pat. “Your parents would probably appreciate it if you sent thank you notes the people that attended your lovely wedding. I know you both appreciate what we gave you, but I am sure there are some people who would love to hear how much you appreciated their gifts.”
Pat was right. We were wrong. Being young had nothing to do with it. We got lazy. We became just a bit wrapped up in ourselves and neglected one of the most important and simplest of things— expressing gratitude.
“Just let it go, man.”
In the past few years, I’ve not received one thank you note (or email) from a candidate. I often ask our clients if they typically receive thank you notes or emails after interviews. “Not in a long time.”
When did this change? The lesson I re-learned years ago has informed my interactions with friends, family, and business partners nearly every day. When I have expressed my concern over the lack of grateful follow up communication, I am usually met with “Like cover letters, thank you notes are no longer ‘a thing’.” Or “Just let it go, man.”
With our technological conveniences, an email will cost you nothing but time, and only a few minutes, at that. We’ve heard job seekers complain about the lack of follow up communication from prospective employers. This communication goes both ways. It may be a “candidate market,” but I don’t think that means it’s acceptable to be lazy when it comes to emailing a simple note of thanks.
From a job seeking perspective, I highly recommend sending a thank you email for these reasons:
- It sends a clear message about your interest in the job. Think about it. You’ve left the building or hung up the phone, and you are only going to be at the top of the interviewer’s mind for a short time afterward. Then, later that day, an email from you pops into their inbox, thanking them for their time and consideration. Along with the brief expression of gratitude is a reminder of why they should hire you.
- They likely won’t be expecting it. So, trust me on this one, you WILL stand out from the other candidates. By and large, people just don’t do it anymore. It will be a pleasant surprise, so don’t be surprised if you receive a response, thanking YOU for the note.
What kind of person are you?
If your interviewer doesn’t give you a business card, ask them for their email address. As soon as you can after the interview, send an email to them, thanking them for their time and consideration. If you are really interested in the opportunity, tell them this, and tell them why you are interested. It’s your last opportunity to demonstrate how well you communicate and, quite frankly, what kind of person you are.
In fact, your simple thank you note could be the deciding factor in you getting the job over someone that otherwise stacks up equally with you on the qualifications. And, because it’s not 1992, you don’t need to handwrite a note and buy a stamp. Your interviewer will get your note the same day you send it, on the same day of your interview. How about that? Mom would be proud of you. And so would Pat.
We can help! If you struggle with writing anything, from your resume to a thank you email, reach out to us. You may not know this, but you can schedule time with one of us to help prepare you for your job search. If you don’t know where to start, start here!