Dear Hiring Manager: Perhaps You Should Write the Thank-You Note

You should always write a thank you note after a hiring manager takes her precious time to step down from the clouds above to allow you to beg her for a job.

Or something.

Look, I hate this. Just what are you exactly thanking the manager for? Taking the time to talk with you and consider your application for the job, right? But, what were you really doing? You were taking your time out of your day (and often using vacation time from your current job to do so) to try and solve a problem for the hiring manager.

See, just as much as you need a job, a hiring manager needs someone to fill that job. It’s not a situation where the hiring manager gets to feel all warm and fuzzy about being so gracious and kind as to actually hire someone. You won’t be hired unless you bring (or rather, you are expected to bring) value to the company.

job interview should be a two-way street. The hiring manager and the job candidate both have a problem and the relationship should be one of mutual exploration to figure out if you can solve each others’ problems. The job interview should be a whole bunch more back and forth and a lot less deference to the hiring manager.

When managers expect thank-you notes–or even punish candidates who don’t send them–it’s an indication that they see themselves as the benevolent ones. They aren’t.

But it’s polite to send a thank-you note! Miss Manners probably even said so! It is polite. But the job candidate has used up a ton of her time, often at great sacrifice, to come in to meet with you. Maybe you should be polite and send her a thank you note as well.

Really, I don’t care who sends a thank you note to whom. What I care about is flipping the current paradigm on its head. Recruiters and candidates shouldn’t be enemies. Hiring managers and candidates should be trying to figure out if the position would be a good fit for all concerned. It’s a discussion of equals.

When we think of all the things we demand of job candidates, we should realize that they are the ones doing the hiring managers big favors. You need that position filled, and these people are graciously helping you to do so. So, send them a thank you card.

This article, Dear Hiring Manager: Perhaps You Should Write the Thank-You Note, originally appeared at Inc.

Related Posts

6 thoughts on “Dear Hiring Manager: Perhaps You Should Write the Thank-You Note

  1. What this article points out is that when the interviewing process ( in today’s world is mostly computer evaluated) gets into the actual person to person correspondence ( even if it is via video chat) then there should be a standard response of thanks from both individuals ( the interviewer and the applicant), as nothing is worse than being left hanging in a maybe situation. Unfortunately there’s no real address to send any correspondence on the applicant side, unless that interviewer sent a thank you for the interview because of the lack of clear information on who is doing what in the interview process. Even interviews are possibly subcontracted out to an outsider source who are relying on computer generated responses to continue the interview process. Sorry we are all just numbers not actual people for most employers.

  2. I agree that hiring should be a 2-way street. However, most job applicants aren’t going to hold their breath waiting for a thank-you note from an interviewer; the reality remains that interviewees still feel lucky if they’re not ghosted! 🙂

  3. I like to follow up with a request for references. I ask for contact information for three people that have worked for the manager in the past.

  4. This seems to be of a piece with your “4 Lessons” yesterday. The world of employment has been so skewed in favor of employers for so long that there’s a sense that employees are somewhat less human than their employers, more like donkeys. They’re just bundles of obstinacy. So it’s no surprise that interview processes often include hoop-jump tests like thank you notes, personality tests, evaluation of how well they complied with the office dress convention, whether they concisely hand typed the attached resume into all the boxes in the app, and so on. Employers who are afraid of getting obstinate employees use obedience tests in hiring.

  5. “It’s a discussion of equals.”

    That’s the soul and center of the issue.

    I remember watching McClintock with my dad. There’s a scene where a young man wants to date his employer’s daughter, and asks his employer if he’d be comfortable with it. The employer (the titular McClintock) asked why he should care, and told the young man that everyone works for someone, so working for him wasn’t something that made you a lesser being. That’s always stuck with me. The ideal is that the employer and employee are equals, making a fair trade–my money for your labor. And that’s how I try to run my jobs–none of us are more important than the other, we just have different roles that we need to fill. Sure, my job has some perks theirs doesn’t, but it has responsibilities theirs doesn’t as well, so on the balance I think it works out evenly.

    As for Thank You letters, I think the trends towards less formality over time that dominates our culture has made them outdated. It’s not wrong to send them, in the same way that it’s not wrong to wear a suit and tie to an office–some office cultures will require them, but most would view it as somewhat outdated. There are some rational objections to the trend, but ultimately I think the trend to wards less formality will dominate and Thank You notes will fade into history. It always has.

  6. And let’s please get rid of the marathon six hour interviews where you meet everyone in the entire org whether you’re working directly with them or not!! Stop making it so difficult on job seekers! Let’s try to find the right person for the job, without abusing people!

Comments are closed.

Are you looking for a new HR job? Or are you trying to hire a new HR person? Either way, hop on over to Evil HR Jobs, and you'll find what you're looking for.