If This Is Your Thank You Note, Don’t Bother Sending

December 29, 2011 at 6:49 PM (work) (, , , , )

I was digging through some old work Emails and found a thank you note from an entry-level candidate I interviewed a few months back. Give it a read and tell me the exact same note (with a few strategic substitutions, I imagine) has not gone to every other person who has ever interviewed her, ever:

Hi Brittany,

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. My interest in Racepoint Group is certainly solidified, and I am came away from our meeting knowing that the company would provide a great environment for me to utilize my skill sets while gaining a tremendous amount of experience. You provided me with a much better understanding about the agency, and I enjoyed learning more about the primary responsibilities of an account coordinator position. 

Best Regards,

[Named withheld out of pity]

Memorable? No. Cliché? Oh, yes. Terms I never want to see violating my inbox include “I came away” (or “I am came away,” whatever that means), “utilize” (ugh, it just sounds so dirty), and “best regards.”

At least my name was spelled properly, as was my company’s name, and I received the note within a reasonable amount of time following the interview (I received another thank-you for an unrelated interview more than a week after the fact, and it took me a while to pair a face with the name). However, neither spell check rectifies the fact that 1.) I have no idea what we talked about that may have been of interest, 2.) there wasn’t so much as a question or call to action that might encourage me to respond, and 3.) she actually sent the exact same Email to at least two more of my colleagues (we literally compared notes) – really?

We all know how lousy the job market is. Generic materials (résumé, cover letter, thank you note, et al.) aren’t going to catch anyone’s attention, and I think in PR, being genuine and memorable in your own unique – and workplace appropriate, I suppose – fashion is crucial in getting the vote of approval from your interviewers. I may be screening you for what I think is necessary to thrive in an agency environment, but more importantly, when I’m having a conversation with you, I’m deciding if you’re someone worthy of being called “my colleague.” Are you someone I can work with every day – not only professionally, but socially? Hint: a thank you note like the one posted above did not come from that someone.

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7 Comments

  1. Jason Fidler said,

    “Solidified”…”utilize”…”skill sets”…”primary responsibilities”…I dunno to me it sounds like she perfectly suited for PR, or at least as soon as she learns how to repurpose some basic outlines into high-level deliverables

    • Brittany Falconer said,

      It burns, it burns!

      Well, let’s circle back with her in a couple weeks on those deliverables and we’ll move forward from there. Was there anything else you wanted to discuss today before jumping into the agenda?

  2. Jason Fidler said,

    As long as you’re continuing to leverage trends and nurture relationships, then we can jump right into the action items.

    • Brittany Falconer said,

      Of course. We’ll also continue to follow up aggressively with all of our top-tier targets and keep you in the loop regarding any updates.

  3. rachelhelen said,

    Thank you so much for posting this. It’s hard to know what the best way to thank interviewers is. I will definitely change the way I approach my thank you notes from now on.

    • Brittany Falconer said,

      Hi Rachel, happy to help! That said, I am speaking from a PR perspective. If one is interviewing for a more regulated industry (insurance, legal, medical), perhaps a more formal tone is still the way to go… but I’d still hope that there was something unique to the interviewee’s conversation within the note. Best of luck to you!

      • Rachel E said,

        I am 100% looking for a PR perspective, so I really value your opinion. I have done research on Racepoint Group and am so impressed by your company’s “resume,” if you will. I always like to believe that I say something interesting and notable when I interview – reiterating it in the thank you email is a wonderful idea.

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