I remember growing up if I asked for something and didn’t say “please” my parents would ignore my request. Once I restated the question and added that little word, they would honor the request and we would carry on. After the request was granted or acknowledged, it was a given there would be a follow up “thank you.” This was for everything. Can we go to the park? “crickets….crickets…crickets…” Can we go to the park please? Even though my mom was probably dying to get my brother and me out of the house to run off some of our energy, she still managed to hold off and make sure we used our manners.
I would like to believe many other parents did their children the same favor and we as a society are well mannered. Unfortunately, I would be delusional if i thought that to be the case. I don’t know when in time the shift occurred, but “please” and “thank you” seem to be heard less and less. Why is that? Did it decline as technology has increased? Doubtful, some of the highest level people in the IT world I know feel the same way as me so that’s not it. Is it a generational gap between the boomers, gen X or Y? No again, I have seen it across the board. Is it because we are used to bossing Siri around saying “Siri tell me…” This could be a possibility, but Siri was programmed by someone else so not there either.
I’m not one to do a lot of research for my blogs nor am I one to think I can change the world with my bi-weekly ramblings. I do however believe I can help some people and hopefully change a few lives for the better in the process. I also try and be as simple as possible so it can apply to as many people as possible. (the 15 or so people that read this anyway). I would like to let you in what apparently is a little known secret to job seekers out there.
One of the easiest ways to eliminate yourself from the running for a new position is to neglect sending a follow up email. Within that email “thank you for your time” should show up at least once, if not twice. You could be the number 1 candidate, go through multiple interviews and all but have the job, but if you don’t send an email to thank your interviewers for their time and the opportunity to speak with them and learn about their company, you could very easily lose the position to the number 2 or number 3 candidate.
Don’t believe me? I have spoken with 4 different hiring managers within the past few weeks who commented on the lack of a follow up email. 1 candidate was very well qualified, but do to her lack of follow up, she was set to the side as we searched for others. Another candidate for a different position had a great interview, was qualified, and we would have moved her on to the next steps in the process, but she didn’t follow up within 24 or even 72 hours for that matter so we assumed she wasn’t interested. She called me yesterday to see if we filled the position! She interviewed 3 weeks ago!!! Usually I speak with candidates fairly soon after they interview so I can hear their thoughts, but this particular position would require great follow up skills, so I wanted to see how hers were by not calling or emailing.
You might be saying you would like to send a thank you email, but don’t have the email addresses of those you met with. Do you have 1 address? I bet that person would be happy to pass along your appreciation. Don’t even have 1? How about the person who set up the interview, did they send you pre-interview paperwork or directions? I bet they can help direct you. Still nobody? Call the main number, explain to the person you speak with who you are and let them know you would like to send a thank you note, but was so wrapped up in the interview you forgot to get a card and need an email address. I am willing to bet between those options, SOMEONE would be able to help.
Want to take it a step further? After you write a brief two or three sentence email thanking each individual person (if possible) for their time, send a handwritten thank you note as well. Do the email within 24 hours if possible, no later than 48 and do the handwritten note literally right after the email so it’s still fresh in your mind. The email will show your interest and also allow you to add something else you may have forgotten to mention in the interview. Most people are doing this or should be doing this, so in order to take it even 1 step further, sending a handwritten note could help you rise to the top.
These might seem like little, trivial ideas, but appreciation is becoming a lost art and those who are able to hold on to it will have the appreciation reciprocated. It may not be immediately for this particular position due to other circumstances, but I can promise it will help you stand out and will not go unnoticed.
Have you had a similar experience where someone “forgot” to send a follow up email? Have you had someone recently send a handwritten thank you note that caught you off guard? Please tell me about it and what your thoughts are! Thanks for reading!