Ask the Expert: Should You Expect Candidates To Send You A Thank You Note?
It’s an age-old debate, and a hot topic in 2019. Should candidates be eliminated from consideration if they don’t send a thank you note? Tracey Parsons shares her thoughts.
The Twittersphere revolted in full force, with pushback ranging from job seekers who were upset that something as arbitrary as a thank you note could override their job skills and qualifications, to D&I professionals who argued that the policy discriminates against candidates without the job training or cultural context to know that a thank you note is expected.
And I’m with them. I mean seriously, you won’t hire someone who doesn’t send you a thank you note? Good luck. It’s going to be pretty hard to sustain or grow a business that says, “You know what…this whole thank you note thing is THE deal breaker.”
“If a candidate is expected to follow up after an interview, the hiring team should be held to the same standard. How quickly is a representative of the hiring team following up with a candidate?”
— Adam Baumgartner, Product Designer
Should hiring managers expect a thank you note from candidates? Absolutely not.
Now, that’s not to say there’s no value in showing gratitude. I’ve written countless thank you notes to people I’ve interviewed with, both hand-written and via email. But here’s the problem: not once did the employer write back to thank me for my time.
That’s why this whole kerfuffle is a metaphor for all the things that are broken in the hiring process. We consistently expect more from candidates than we are willing to give them as employers. It’s not only absurd, but hypocritical.
We expect talent to do the most insane things for the chance to get a job. Sift through disorganized career sites. Fill out lengthy applications. Set up and remember a username and password. Give up their social security number, date of birth and phone number. Answer question after question. Clear your calendar for a phone screen. Take time off of work for a day-long interview. Meet with six people in six hours, and don’t be late.
And for the love of God, send me a thank you note.
Basically, we’re asking candidates to give us everything they have, and then maybe we’ll give them a job. And if we do end up extending the offer and our employee experience doesn’t match what we communicated during the hiring process, too bad. Employees will have to stay for two years, or they’ll be labeled as a “job hopper” and will be scrutinized even more.
What are we offering candidates during the hiring process? Do they get a real picture of what it’s like to work for you? Do they make the employer cough up their financial records or manager mental health records? Do they get a thank you note?
Nope, they just get the job.
“If you’re waiting for a thank you note in this market with this low unemployment, you’re probably missing a lot of good people that have busy lives.”
— Sean Freiburg, Senior Software Engineer
I often hear from companies who claim they just can’t seem to find the “right people.” It seems to me like the problem is a poor candidate experience — that quite frankly, the right people wouldn’t voluntarily subject themselves to.
So what can we do to show our gratitude to candidates, instead of vice versa?
Create moments of delight throughout the hiring process. Be honest about your employee experience. Make it easier for candidates to apply. Offer resume and interview feedback.
And maybe, just maybe…send your candidates a thank you note.
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