Job hunting is hell. When you search for a new perfect person to fill a vacancy, remember that your candidates go through hell to find a new job. Who should be grateful that they are willing to do it?
Yes, as a hiring manager, you should be grateful that any candidate is willing to go through the job search nightmare to find a job.
This is why two recent posts on LinkedIn prompted me to write this little rant.
Michelle A. Costa, Assistant Vice President at Robert Half, Permanent Placements, wrote this:
“I just wanted to come on here and remind everyone on the importance of thank you notes. When I was on the job search myself, I would leave every interview and immediately start crafting a thank you note as soon as possible. I always made sure I sent one, regardless how good I thought it went/ how interested I was in the position. And now as a Recruiter, I know a thank you note can make or break a hire. To the younger generation and recent grads who are entering the workforce and conducting most of their interviews on phone/video, PLEASE SEND THANK YOU NOTES. We can’t lose touch for showing gratitude to a busy person taking time out of their day to meet with you!”
Let’s break down why this is not the attitude you should have toward your candidates. Here are three glaring problems with Costa’s post.
- “I always made sure I sent one, regardless how good I thought it went/ how interested I was in the position.” Why should you encourage a candidate to lead you on if they have no interest in the job? If the candidate is not interested in the job, perhaps better advice would be to let the recruiter or hiring manager know they are withdrawing their candidacy.
- “And now as a Recruiter, I know a thank you note can make or break a hire.” Unless the job involves writing thank you notes regularly, that’s not a necessary skill and should have zero impact on the hiring decision. The only question you should ask is, “Out of the candidates for this job, who would do the best job?” Not, “who sent me a thank you note?
- “We can’t lose touch for showing gratitude to a busy person taking time out of their day to meet with you!” There are a minimum of two people in an interview. You can sometimes have five or more interviewers and one candidate in a panel interview. Do you know who had to take unpaid time off work, drive across town, pay for parking, and have an incredibly stressful day? Hint: It’s not the interviewers. This is part of the hiring manager’s job. They are paid for this. The idea that the candidate should be grateful for the hiring manager taking time out of their day is utterly ridiculous. The hiring manager should be thankful that the candidate is taking time out of their day.
The second post, which has since been taken down and the writer changed her name on her profile, included this phrase in her attack on candidates who don’t write thank you notes: “And I know it’s not a me problem because I’m very enjoyable to interview with.”
From a candidate’s perspective, no matter how much fun you are or how great of a boss you are, you’re not enjoyable to interview with. Interviews are rarely enjoyable. If you build rapport with candidates, that’s great! But you should be thankful because you’ll fill your open position!
Plus, let’s keep in mind candidates are working hard to get you to like them. Just because they laugh at your jokes and agree with your plans for the future while in your office doesn’t mean they don’t walk out of there thinking, “what a horrible person this would be to work for, but I desperately need a job.”
Now, as far as candidates go, both these women are correct: Candidates sometimes get jobs because they wrote thank-you notes when no one else did. So if you’re a candidate, write that thank you note. But if you’re a hiring manager or a recruiter? Knock it off. That candidate is doing you a favor. You write them a thank you note.