Thank You Card or Email?

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Dear Lola*Cat,
I schedule many of the interviews and receive many of the email thank you messages and cards from candidates and recruiting agencies. It got me thinking – when is it appropriate to send a written thank you card compared to an email? We’ve worked together for so many years; I was hoping you could share some of your expert advice on the matter.

Best regards,
Curious Client

Dear Curious Client,

What a delight it is to receive a question from you, one of my oldest and dearest clients! Thank you for your inquiry.

It can be a curious thing, these proffers of appreciation, and the timing is crucial. Here are some guidelines that will help clarify things.

Keep it short and to the point.
The most important thing about any thank you note is that it is brief and to the point. I know I am a wonder to meet, so one doesn’t need to spend half a page telling me how wonderful it was to meet me. The note should be no more than four lines long.

Consider the type of company.
An email thank you note would be more appropriate for technology companies or a green company where they are used to communicating via email, or saving paper.

You would be a misguided kitty to send a thank you note on bleached non-recycled paper to a green not for profit organization. Bleached anything is a yawn anyway.

Make sure you PROOFREAD before you send it.
Now this subject is a thorn in my paw! You cannot believe the number of times I have received a very nice email or thank you card that had simple spelling mistakes. It’s always worth having another set of eyes proofread the message before you send it.

Written cards
I suggest a hand written card if you have neat handwriting and are interviewing with a well established and more traditional type of company such as a Foundation Office or Private Equity Firm. The card should be simple and elegant (like me) and not something that explodes with confetti and sings Yankee Doodle Dandy when they open it.

You humans seem to rely on technology for spell correction far too much these days so it’s even more important to check hand written notes. Perhaps hand writing a draft or two ahead of time would be wise.

Timing is everything.
You should send a thank you note no later than 24 hours after interviewing.

If the interviewing process is longer, a card received a couple of days after you interview is a nice reminder that you remain interested in the position.

If the company wants to make a quick decision, it would be best to pounce immediately and send an email. I haven’t pounced in years. I prefer a nice leisurely roll. Then again, I am not the one looking for a job.

Thank you for your time and for reading my little column. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to answering your next question.

See how easy that was?

Yours truly,
Lola*Cat

Do you have a job seeking or office etiquette question for Lola*Cat? Send her an email: DearLolaCat@alanjblair.com


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