Should you thank an interviewer with an email or a card? We’ve wondered about this for a while as well, so reader J’s question strikes us as particularly interesting…
After an interview, everyone knows that it is good manners to send a perfunctory “Thank You” note. However, is it still recommended that the “Thank You” note be a hand-written note sent through snail mail or is it equally appropriate to send a “Thank You” after an interview via email? I am old-fashioned and still send a hand-written note on nice Crane & Co. stationary, however, an email “thank you” would certainly get there faster. I am not sure what is considered appropriate these days!? Any thoughts??
First, we would say that the thank-you note should be far from perfunctory — it reinforces what you spoke about in the interview, why you’re qualified for the job, and allows you to clarify anything that you worry came across poorly. (Pictured: Orange notecards, 25 thermographed notecards for $152 at Fine Stationery.)
That said, we’re sort of torn on how to send your interviewer their thank-you note. For us, it mostly comes down to a question of time (we are masters of the 7th-day thank you, which is just about the longest you can wait to send one). For the most part, then, we have done e-mail thank yous at least since 2003 or so. We have made exceptions for that, however. For example — a few years ago this author had a coffee catch-up with a man who has been a guiding force in my career since before grad school, the uncle of a friendly colleague, who happened to be working in my dream job. He and I have only met a few times over the past decade — I doubt he would recognize me on the street, even! — but his advice has not steered me wrong. We met for coffee, and again he gave invaluable advice, and I decided to send him a personal, hand-written thank-you note. As I was writing it out, it suddenly felt weird — my handwriting looked so messy on the page. My personalized stationery, normally reserved for Grandma and aunts, suddenly felt too “too.” It all felt maybe a little too… emotional. Girly. Not professional. Still, I struggled past these concerns and sent him the thank-note by mail.
Cut to 2 years later and I was trying to find our last correspondence to meet with him, and was alarmed to find no thank-you note in my e-mail files. Had I not sent one? It was only a very visual memory of dropping the note in a mailbox that jarred my memory. He never mentioned the note, so I have no idea what he thought about it (if anything). Still, that was the experience with the note. So our $.02 is to send the thank-you note by e-mail: gets there quicker, you know it was received, and you have a record for your files of what you sent.
But readers, what has your experience been? Let’s take a poll… and please comment below.