How do you thank a candidate or client?
Should you thank a candidate or client?

When offering thanks to anyone in business, what is the appropriate approach? My local Chamber of Commerce allows for "testimonials" during our networking luncheon, they can be tedious and self-indulgent. Do they work? Manners seem to be regionally-defined as well as industry-distinct, but should they be? I mean, it's not as if a "service tip" can be written in and added to your invoice or paycheck. What is an appropriate thank you for a candidate or a client to offer you, the service provider?

A few years back, I interviewed a young man for a position within my company. I liked him instantly over the phone and invited him on-site for an interview. He wasn't exactly right in the position for which he had applied, but given that we were hiring for many newly-created positions, I kept him on the line for another req I knew would soon be opening up. Two days after our interview, he sent me flowers. He also sent them to the Vice President of Corporate Services - my boss. Despite the fact that I felt it was inappropriate, I enjoyed the flowers and I did end up hiring him - but not because of the flowers. As a matter of fact, the flowers hindered his candidacy and almost cost him the job.

Another candidate sent me a thank you note with a Starbucks card tucked inside. He didn't get the job but I did enjoy the coffee. I guess every position comes with perquisites of some sort or another, right? Still not sure how I feel about it. Is it taking a bribe if I don't allow it to influence my decision? Should I return the gifts that sometimes come my way? Is this at all related to payola or campaign contributions?

One of the search firms I worked for always sent a plant to our placements on their second day on the job. "Thank you for securing us a large fee." It is a fine line, and one worth considering. Business is business - Service provider to client and vice versa. This doesn't exactly fall under the Holiday card exchange category. More "above and beyond..." We also sent Thank You cards on vellum to individuals interviewed as Professional References - in other words, "We treated you nice and you were nice back, do you want to buy our services?" Do we think they will not see past the gold-embossed Thank You?

The fee paid in full and in a timely manner would be thanks enough for me. A pretty-near perfect placement/job should be thanks enough for them. But it doesn't seem to be. Do we require endorsements, testimonials, or recommendations? Shouldn't our work and referrals stand for themselves? Again, ego gets in the way. Perhaps the id is where we should meet. Where the two lines cross. When the rubber meets the road. Where you put your money where your mouth is...

So..., is a job well done thanks enough?

by rayannethorn


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Interesting stories, Rayanne! As a recruiter, I had flowers, chocolates, gift cards, gift baskets, etc. sent to our office from people I had placed, NOT just from candidates. I did have one candidate send me a Starbucks gift card and with a note that said 'I heard there was a Starbucks in your building, enjoy!'. Unfortunately, there was NOT a Starbucks in the building. It's not that I wanted the coffee, but rather it puzzled me as to why she wrote that! Did she just assume there was a Starbucks? Does that mean she would assume other things incorrectly as well? I know it's a stretch, but even two years later, that sticks out. As for clients, we always send thank you cards. It could be thank you for meeting, hiring, referring, whatever, but we don't do anything else. Well, we had a client that moved to a new location they built and we sent a plant for their new front office. But, they invited us for a tour of the new facility and we didn't want to go empty handed! Anything more than that, it creeps me out to do it. It seems unnatural and makes me feel like a slimy sales person. I'd take a hand written note (not an email!) any day.
Any type of thanks is graceful and appropriate. We don't know another's value system, how they were brought up, so a Starbucks card for five bucks might seem huge to one person, while an enormous boquet of expensive flowers might seem small to someone else. Who cares! There are not enough thank you's in our roles. I receive minimal thank you follow ups from candidates in years of late. There used to be more. Perhaps it's generational or depending on social media technology which appears to de-personalize our lives. I'll take a thanks no matter how bestowed any day over absolutely nothing.

Great post! I enjoyed the topic.

It's good to hear your feedback seeing as you are internal/corporate...As an agency recruiter, I feel very grateful for every opportunity given, and I like to say thanks...Even though they are small tokens of appreciation like gift baskets and such, I still feel if I can brighten someone's day for a couple minutes, then why not...I don't feel it's slimy, these are people in HR that I have a ton of communication with throughout a search.

And I get the feeling that a lot of internal HR people do not get enough recognition within their particular companies.

I just feel thankful for the opportunity and want to show them.

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