I recently read an article published by Jessica Liebman, an Executive Managing Editor at Business Insider. According to Business Insider, Jessica has hired hundreds of people into their company. Jessica’s article was titled “I’ve been hiring people for 10 years, and I still swear by a simple rule: If someone doesn’t send a thank-you email, don’t hire them.” In the article, Jessica states “as a hiring manager, you should always expect a thank-you email, and you should never make an offer to someone who neglected to send one.”
I firmly disagree with Jessica’s stance. A thank you note in no way should determine whether you hire a candidate or not. If anything, it should be accepted as a nice gesture from an eager potential employee. Hiring managers should make their decisions based off of relevant work experience, company leadership principles, company culture and the bar they’re looking to set for the role. I believe that allowing candidate’s offer/no offer status to depend upon a thank you note is a discriminatory practice and could land you in hot water.
Even though I find Jessica’s stance problematic, I’m glad that she wrote the article. I say that for one simple reason: she isn’t the only executive that thinks this way. In some way, shape or form, someone else as Jessica’s company taught, cosigned or went along with this behavior. This practice didn’t just come out of thin air.
I am confident that there are other people in positions of power that exercise these kinds of discriminatory hiring practices. The difference is that many people wouldn’t admit to doing such a thing. Instead, they will continue to discriminate against applicants behind closed doors, within the confines of their workspace that allows them to do so.
Going forward, I will encourage my clients, friends and family to send a thank you note when they really want the job. If there are employers that could potentially use this as a deciding factor when making offers, why risk it? In my experience, I’ve never seen a thank you note hurt someone’s chances of getting a job. If anything, it may just work as a last-ditch effort to show the employer that you really want the position.
At this point, you may be thinking to yourself “Tyler, why would I want to work somewhere that exercises these kinds of hiring practices?”
I understand that 100%! No one wants to work at a company that isn’t fair or consistent in their approach to assessing potential employees. But the truth is that some employers find ways to screen out candidates that aren’t always fair and consistent. Unfortunately, some companies don’t take an organized approach to assessing talent. It’s a harsh truth. With this being the case, you should do everything in your power to ensure you are taken seriously.
In my experience as an interviewer and hiring manager I have never (and will never) allow a thank you email to determine whether I give someone a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”. After interviewing a candidate I carefully asses their responses, my notes, their experience and my companies hiring bar along with the expectations for the job before making a decision. I believe my method to be sound, but not universal. By this I mean that there are human resources professionals and hiring managers throughout the U.S. that go about this process differently.
In closing, I firmly believe that a company should strive to have fair and consistent hiring practices that revolve around their business needs and culture. These practices should be clear and communicated efficiently throughout the business.
For job seekers, adopt a new rule! If you really want the job, send a thank you note after the interview. It’s hard for you as an outsider to really know the hiring practices of a company. Jessica’s article shows that some companies may see this as a “must have” when assessing talent. I say new rule because in the past a thank you note has been seen as a nice gesture but now I think job seekers should make it a rule to live by. If you want the job and have the time, send the note!