Am I taking crazy pills?

In the last several months, I’ve interviewed approximately four people — three for a position at my firm, and one as a prospective student at my law school. None of them were total social misfits — for the most part, in fact, they were very personable.  All of them had achieved success in more than just academics — they had held clerkships or done interesting public service work, for instance.

And none of them — NONE — sent me a thank you note afterwards.

I can’t chalk this up to regional differences. Sure, I grew up in the South and we send thank you notes for everything. But the career services office at my Midwestern law school also encouraged us to send thank you notes after interviews.  We were told that email was OK (and possibly preferable, at least in law firm interviewing) but that the key was to get a thank you note to everyone you met with within the next business day. And I have always done this.

So it annoys me when I take time out of my day to meet with someone for their benefit and yet don’t get any kind of acknowledgment. It’s not like these people didn’t have my email address or other contact information — every single one grabbed one of my business cards. And it’s not like any of them were new to the interviewing thing — all of them had had jobs, good jobs, where interviewing (and presumably sending thank you notes) would have been the norm. No college students in the bunch. No, just a bunch of people who were either too lazy or just plain didn’t think a thank you note was necessary.

So some advice for all you job seekers — send thank you notes after interviews. They don’t have to be long or involved (though a personal note about whatever you talked about is a good thing, and they should be carefully proofread), but you really should send them. They really do make a difference.


4 Responses

  1. I’ve had the same experience — I’ve interviewed probably 20 people for summer associate positions over the last month, and I’ve received only 2 paper thank you notes and 2 emailed ones.

  2. You know, to be honest, I think the thank-you note thing is kind of confusing. My school tells us to send them, but I have run into people whose schools have said not to. I’ve also run into people who say that it’s mostly women who send them (and implied that it looks “girly” to do so).

    I mean, I still send them, but people get told some weird stuff.

  3. Okay, so I just interviewed with two people (2 diff divisions). One guy was very quiet and doesn’t seem interested in me and was done in about 10 minutes (I was asked if I could come in for about an hour and at that time thought it was for only 1 position). The second person seemed to really like me and we talked for probably an hour. She asked for a writing sample by email so I sent her one and also thanked her for taking the time to meet with me and explain the position. Is that enough or should I still write a snail mail one? Also, there is a required test for both positions but the first guy didn’t say anything (which further makes me think he doesn’t think I’m a good fit). So what do I write to the second guy? A one sentence thank you for meeting with me and telling me about the position? Is there such a thing as a bad/crappy thank you?

  4. I think that you covered “thank you note” in the email sending your writing sample to the second lady. Snail mail not necessary.

    For the first guy, I say still send a thank you note (by email), reiterate your interest in the position, and note that you meant to ask about the required test, and could he provide some information about it?

    I think there is such a thing as a bad thank you note, and those notes are the ones that are just rote, and don’t include any context from the meeting. Even if you don’t think you want the job, you should never send a canned thank you.

    I personally think that the best thank you notes serve as opportunities to actually thank someone for taking time out of their day to talk to you as well as to do post-interview follow-up.

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