Are Thank You Notes a Thing of the Past?

Jul 05 2018

Hiring has changed and we’re seeing fewer thank you notes and emails from applicants. Why is this practice losing its popularity, and does it matter? We think the increase in casual working environments is largely to blame, but we also feel that expressing gratitude, communicating effectively, and going the extra mile are traits that matter more than ever to employers. Here are 4 things to consider when debating on whether to hire someone who didn’t send a thank you note:

1. Job Level & Generational Gap
Millennials aren’t sending thank you notes. Unlike their parents, they aren’t being taught to do this. Instead of a thank you note, evaluate your applicant’s overall potential and level of propriety. If you’re hiring for a mid-level or executive role and you don’t receive a thank you note after an interview, this is more of a problem.

2. Sense of Urgency
We love to hire candidates who display a sense of urgency—meaning they answer their phone, they respond to emails quickly (and professionally), and they are eager to get things done. This is a sign that they will do the same thing when working on projects or when responding to clients.

3. Communication Skills
Evaluate your candidate’s communication skills during other forms of correspondence like emails, voicemails, phone conversations, and interviews. If you receive thoughtful, well-written emails and the conversations you have with your applicant display an engaging, and polished communication style—then you can safely assume they know how to communicate articulately and professionally.

4. Company Culture
In companies with relaxed dress codes and environments, candidates will assume your hiring process is similarly laid back. Informal interviews can give the impression that your expectations are lower—and this is something to watch. Similarly, an intimidating interview can leave candidates feeling strongly that they didn’t get the job, so they think extra steps aren’t necessary. Aim to strike a balance between being friendly and welcoming, but also displaying some formalities—like standing up when someone you haven’t met before enters a room, giving a firm handshake, and thanking someone for their time.

Ultimately, we think thank you notes still matter. However, making them a deal breaker means that you’re going to reject some great entry-level employees. So, we operate with a certain degree of leniency for millennials because we hire more for potential than for current skillset, and those who display the traits outlined above are still considered. However, we feel that mid-level professionals and executives should send thank you notes, and not doing so is a red flag. For example, how will they treat your customers and employees if they overlook a detail like this? What kind of behavioral example will they set for others? How invested are they? These are more questions to explore.

Ask us questions about your hiring process via the online chat tool in the lower left corner of your screen. We are passionate about helping companies hire, develop, and retain smart employees and we love to share what we know!

Amanda GuzmanGuest Blogger: Amanda Guzman
Bio: Amanda is an HR Consultant with Peoplr. She has a degree in Psychology from the University of Florida and loves being able to help employers hire and retain top talent. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her dogs, Khaleesi and Starke.


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