What NOT to do after an interview

Recently I spoke to a friend of mine who has been applying for various jobs. She was very excited about one in particular that she had reached the 2nd round of interviews for.  She mentioned that the interview went well and that she was hoping to get to the next round.

She also showed me the email she sent to the interviewer… I wish I had seen her note before she hit “send”…

Her “Thank You” email read as follows:

Subject: Thank You!


It was a great pleasure speaking with you yesterday. Once again, thank you for your time.

I am glad we had an opportunity to connect regarding my strong interest in [my company’s name] and the [Name of the program]. I am confident that my professional and leadership experiences, as well as my solid interpersonal, strategic thinking, and analytical skills would make me an invaluable asset to your company. Throughout the course of my interview process, I’ve only grown more enthusiastic about [my company’s name] and the [Name of the program].

It was great to learn about your experiences and the unique opportunities that the program has provided your career thus far. This reaffirms [my company]’s commitment to developing aspiring leaders, and providing its employees the flexibility to apply and hone their skill set in diverse business areas, to support the professional and personal growth of its most important assets, its people.

I look forward to hearing from your team within the next week.  Additionally, please look for an email from Starbucks with a $5 gift card in appreciation for your time. Enjoy!

Kind Regards,

While yes, this is a nice gesture, the message behind it could be totally taken wrong. And actually was taken wrong by the interviewer. When my friend received a response she was horrified…


Subject: RE: Thank You!


Thank you for your email below.

If I may, I wanted to provide you with a little feedback.  Please note that I am passing along this message after having already submitted my decision to the recruitment team.  That said, my reaction has no positive or negative effect on your candidacy (as I saw this after submitting things).

Your note was fine. It had some detail to it and both mentioned your strong points and referenced me as an interviewer.  However, in these notes you may want to be more specific, not generic like it appears below. Reference something specific that we spoke about (a job I had or something we talked about so it makes it appear that you were engaged in what I was saying about my background and experience), any job would have “unique opportunities” and anyone who interviews you will have had “experiences” at their company.  Be specific.  This point is only a side note to my main thought, though.

The gift of a Starbucks card is thoughtful however can come across as inappropriate, which is how it came off to me. While I am sure that your intention was to thank me, if you take a step back I think you can see that the gift comes across like you want to influence my decision. Therefore, I cannot accept this gift. I would urge you not to do this in the future.  A thank you note should be fine on its own.  And actually getting my address to send a handwritten note is a much better idea since most people do not do that anymore- a handwritten note makes you seem unique and has a good touch to it.  It is much easier to shoot off an email to someone than to actually write something out by hand.

If you are set on giving a gift, here are a couple thoughts: (1) Give the gift AFTER the decision on your candidacy has been made.  You are currently still amidst the interview process.  If it was really about your appreciation of my time (like you said) you would want to give the gift if even if you did not get the job. Sending it before makes it seem like a bribe.  (2) Give a gift that is personalized to the person. If we had talked about coffee during our interview that is great, but I strongly dislike coffee and have actually never really had a cup of coffee in my life. This specific gift seems impersonal for me.

When I was promoted earlier this year I owed a great deal to one of the human resource managers.  What I did was investigate what she liked, and I gave a gift accordingly (with a handwritten note). This was also done after I signed the offer letter, not before.




Luckily my friend took this experience as an important lesson: recognizing and thanking someone is a key part of the interview process. In fact I know some people that would not hire someone who did not send a follow-up note or thank you.  That said, be careful of the message a gift sends. Gifts are great, but they need to be done at the right time and in the right way.

Mr. Biz, OUT!


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About Young Professional's Edge (YP Edge)

Aaron McDaniel is a corporate manager, entrepreneur, author, public speaker and community leader. Aaron has held numerous management roles at a Fortune 500 company, being appointed Regional Vice President at the age of 27, and is the founder of multiple entrepreneurial ventures. He is also the author of the book, The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World (http://www.amazon.com/Young-Professionals-Guide-Working-World/dp/1601632428). Aaron instructed a highly rated student-led course on leadership at UC Berkeley’s Haas Undergraduate School of Business and has a book, The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World: Savvy Strategies to Get In, Get Ahead, and Rise to the Top, due to be out later this year. Aaron offers advice that helps young professionals build the foundation for a successful career. Visit his blog, http://www.ypedge.com to learn more.

Posted on November 10, 2011, in Resumes & Interviewing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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