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How About HR Sends a Thank You Note?

Terence Channon
8 April 2019

How About HR Sends a Thank You Note?

“It sets them the connection, both ways!”

Today, I came across “I’ve been hiring people for 10 years, and I still swear by a simple rule: If someone doesn’t send a thank-you email, don’t hire them”. If someone provides you the courtesy of their time, a thank you is in order. However, I result to the trite adage summed up best by the zany, contractor in Pacific Rim — “BOTH WAYS!”.

I performed a cursory Google search to see if there are any advice articles written to HR professionals about sending thank you notes to their potential hires and there aren’t many. And I am not surprised. In all the job interviews I have been to — and of all the thank you notes I have written — I have received thank you replies or feedback from less than 2%. How about you? Job seekers — have you received thank you notes most of the time? Hiring managers — be honest — how may candidates have you sent a personalized thank you note to?

I get it HR and hiring managers — you are busy. You know who else is busy? Probably the person that has taken time out of their day — and likely on the hiring company’s time — to travel to the location, answer questions for 60–120 minutes and then travel back. All while taking time away from their independent consulting projects and clients, family responsibilities and other job search prospects. Perhaps some mutual gratitude is in order?

Why should a candidate be expected to do something that the other side is not willing to do? Or even able to do? Isn’t that equally disrespectful, rude and non-considerate? Now, imagine how that company will treat you when they are holding a bi-weekly paycheck, retirement contributions and benefits over your head? It won’t get any better.

First, no matter what the company is offering as a salary — whether $10/hr. or $500,000 per year, if the company has any form of business intelligence, whatever it is the position offers, is worth more to the business than to the potential employee. That is, if the salary is $50,000, then the company believes that position will generate at least $50,000 — and perhaps even upwards of $100,000-$500,000 of incremental value to the business. If anything, the company should be willing to showcase its eagerness to immediately start realizing value from their investment in this position. Why are the roles reversed? Particularly if the hiring team will not send a thank you note, why should the candidate be judged because he or she did not send a thank you note when the transaction clearly has more value to the company?

Not receiving a thank you note as a hiring criterion? Imagine not buying a car you really wanted and needed — and at the price you wanted — all because the salesperson did not offer you a cup of coffee. Imagine visiting a restaurant, spending an hour of the staff’s time asking about the menu, realizing its exactly what you want to eat and at the price and level of service you want. Then, you say, “this is great, we are thinking about coming back on Friday for our anniversary dinner” and then decide to not make a reservation because the manager did not send you a thank you note. In both scenarios, who is getting hurt? Everyone — and especially the buyer.

What will a thank you note accomplish — apart from just playing by the rules of etiquette? Very little. Imagine the hiring manager saying to his or her boss “well, we went with our 2nd choice, who is half as qualified as our first 1st choice because the 1st choice did not send a thank you note.”

If receiving a thank you note is a difference maker to you because it showcases positive traits from the candidate, maybe the candidate is looking for the same from the company? A 2-way thank you note stream is professional, courteous and provides valuable feedback to both sides. Thank you notes to candidates that have not been selected helps frame up future job searches and skill development for that person — immeasurably helpful — perhaps even to the hiring company (maybe the candidate will blossom to what the hiring company needs?). Articulating exactly what it is that the hiring company did not find attractive helps to re-engineer or modify the job description and initial screening to get more qualified candidates from the onset — it may even result in a referral from the unchosen one’s network.

Imagine making the candidate feel valued immediately after the interview. Who does that help during negotiation time? The hiring company — entirely. If the hiring company’s first 8 offers were rejected by the candidate, now the company has to go to #9, I imagine that candidate will be far more welcoming to revisit if a thank you note was sent to the candidate versus not.

I challenge all job-seekers — send a thank you note post interview, absolutely — and showcase your value to the organization. And if you do not receive a reply, follow-up with the hiring manager expressing your disappointment with not being equally thanked for committing the time. Hiring managers — send thank you notes to all candidates, even if they are not chosen — and watch your talent pool and morale thrive — and you may get more replies like this from rejected candidates:

“Wow, thanks for reaching out — I am so appreciative of this feedback. While I am disappointed things did not work out, now that I have a deeper understanding of the needs of the position, I have a colleague that I feel would be exceptional for this. May I introduce you?”

About This Blog

For the past 3+ years, I have been rigorously ‘looking for a job’ — and well, despite the claims of lowest unemployment rate in history, here I am still on the sidelines. With a new found appreciation for humanity and existence, I have begun to inventory many of the disrespectful, disingenuous, comical and completely ludicrous situations I have encountered during my job-seeking stint — and now wish to share. My hopes? Provide some real hardcore, realistic feedback to job-seekers and hiring managers, perhaps get some things off my chest, bring to light how broken the hiring process is, expose the fundamental problems in the USA economy that nobody is talking about and perhaps become the next YouTube sensation. Ok, I will be honest — the latter it is.

How About HR Sends a Thank You Note? was originally published in Terence Channon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.