Hand Written Thank you notes? Unique and different or cheap and unprofessional

Recently, I read a blogpost on a jobseeker site asking on advice on interviews. This candidate mentioned that s/he wrote a handwritten thank you note to each one of the hiring managers after the 1st interview process. S/he thought it was a nice touch and made his/her candidacy different than the other candidates that interviewed for the same position. Did it really or did s/he just ruin his/her chances at the job? S/he knew that most job candidates will write a generic quick e-mail to the hiring managers thanking them for their time. This person was applying for a job in Marketing.

With today's day and age of computers, Internet and social media, I believe the days of hand-written notes looks cheap and unprofessional. Sure, some might consider it creative and unique, but most of the candidates that I have placed have either still got the job with just a quick e-mail thank you or follow up. Recently, I did recieve a hand-written thank you note from a Financial Advisor after I talked with him (or shrugged him off) briefly over the phone. I immediately thought that this was unprofessional and threw his note right in the garbage. Maybe he was providing a service I didnt need at this time? Most importantly, I thought it looked cheap and that the Financial Advisor can't afford a computer.

Maybe my view is skewed on this - since this world is moving towards technology and being more internet friendly. Maybe there is a place for hand written notes in different industry sectors (Marketing being one of them). What I've found is that hand written notes are not useful in any way and just makes the candidate look cheap and unprofessional.

Views: 526

Comment by Suzanne Levison on August 3, 2010 at 9:23am
In my opinion, if anyone takes the time to write a "real" note, he/she gets my vote..the exception would only be in one of the "geeky" types of positions/departments/companies! Then, I would expect my candidate(s) to be geeky creative with follow up notes.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 3, 2010 at 11:55am
When a hand written, personal thank you note becomes cheap and unprofessional our society has indeed become a herd of digit heads. The most unprofessional thing in the world is slapped out email thank you note. At very least a thank you note in my opinion should be an attached word doc ,well written, personally signed short letter.

I have never had an employer comment that a hand written thank you note was either cheap or unprofessional. Some people feel they are not necesary. We insist that a candidate always follow up with a thank you note of some kind preferably attached or hand written even if it is emailed.

I would suggest that you take that thank you note out of the garbage and rethink the fact that the person thought enough of you and your interaction to personally write you a note. Good Grief!
Comment by Brian Pho on August 3, 2010 at 12:14pm
@Sandra - thank you for your comment. I agree that a well written personal thank you note in a *.pdf or *.doc format detailing personal queues discussed in the interview is the right approach to follow. But once again, this can be typed up in a MS Word document and e-mailed over the hiring manager rather than writing in some scratchy handwriting where nobody can read with a dated postage on it.... sent over in snail mail..

Who knows? Maybe the hand written note might be mistaken for the numerous amounts of lame advertising I get in my mailbox on a daily basis....
Comment by pam claughton on August 3, 2010 at 12:54pm

I don't share your view on this. George Bush and Ronald Reagan were both famous for sending hand written thank you notes. If anything, I think they are perceived as upscale and elegant and show professional respect and courtesy. A handwritten note on quality paper can make an impressive impact, and stands out among a sea of free form-email thank yous.

As an fyi, my recruiting focus is on high level marketing searches and in over 16+ years of recruiting in this space I've never heard anything negative regarding a handwritten thank you note. If anything, I think it's even more appreciated by marketing folks, who tend to be more creative and look for ways to stand out of the crowd.

Just my two cents....
Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 3, 2010 at 1:44pm
My mother, my mentor, my attorney and my CPA , my physician and the mayor all send personal hand written thank you notes. As do I. My marketing candidates seem to be the ones who most often send hand written notes as they know more than most the value of a personal connection.

My mother told me at an early age that unless i wanted people to think i was raised by wolves and had no sense of propriety, i would write a hand written thank you note to anyone who took their time to interact with me in either a business or personal situation.

I will tell you that in over 30 years as a recruiter i remember the candidates who sent me a personal, hand written thank you note. In my opinion it indicates a person i will try harder to place as it indicates a sincerity not expressed as well in an email or a pdf. Not expected or required but certainly appreciated and remembered.

I agree with Pam and Rayanne. A much more elegant and sophisticated response as well as one used more by top executives and senior leaders than by the rank and file who do not have top social skills.

Your attitude surprises me in that anyone would take a thank you note as cheap and unprofessional even if were written on a big chief tablet with a number 2 pencil or scratched into the side of a watermelon rind. A thank you is a thank you and should be graciously acknowledged in my book.

Unless of course you were raised by wolves. :)


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