Thank You Email?

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Thank You Email?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:50 am

I know the common thoughts on thank-you notes and/or emails is typically "no," but just wanted to get some confirmation. Biglaw midlevel here, been interviewing for in-house gigs for a couple months. Had a couple of rounds of interviews with a potential employer over the last month, really really liked everyone - but I never sent any thank you emails. Just had a final round interview with the top person in the group at the end of last week.

Worth it to send a quick "thank you - really enjoyed meeting everyone, etc." to just her? (considering I didn't send anything to anyone else I met with?). I guess my real motivation would be to reiterate that I really want the job, etc.

I'm leaning towards not sending anything, but just wanted to get some additional thoughts.

Thanks

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:13 am

Common thoughts on thank-you notes are no? I thought it was basically assumed, and it was a negative if you didn't send it.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:Common thoughts on thank-you notes are no? I thought it was basically assumed, and it was a negative if you didn't send it.


Through my years of law firm interviewing and reading TLS and working with recruiters, etc. I've always been told that a thank you note will never get you a job, but it can surely lose you a job. Open to hearing others' thoughts though.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby 1styearlateral » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:53 am

No.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:31 pm

There are a lot of threads on this, and I agree with you that the majority of people here have recommended not sending such emails.

However, I've been in two previous positions (one a law firm, one a clerkship) where (1) a candidate was interviewed, (2) that candidate was really well liked, (3) that candidate did not send a thank you email/letter, (4) the person who did the interview (one a judge, one a partner) commented to me that they found the failure to send an email to be a negative. The judge, in particular (who was an incredible judge to work for, and was extremely nice, albeit old-school) really seemed to harp on this because sending the email is such an easy thing to do, and he felt that failing to do so showed a lack of interest (especially because, according to him, so many other people did send such emails).

Maybe I just wound up working for the 0.001% of employers who care about this, but it has left an imprint on me such that I will absolutely always send thank you emails.

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TooMuchTuna

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby TooMuchTuna » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:36 pm

I always send thank you notes and when I interview candidates for any type of position (whether attorney, paralegal, secretary, or intern) I expect a thank you note. It would be a big negative to me if I didn't receive one after I interviewed someone.

ETA: My experience only comes from working in-house and for government agencies. I have never applied to, or interviewed with, a law firm or judge, and I have never taken part in OCI (as either an interviewer or interviewee).
Last edited by TooMuchTuna on Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:39 pm

OP here - would love to hear more opinions on this, as I'm surprised to hear such pro-thank you note comments.

That said - considering I didn't send anything to the first couple of rounds of my interviewers (which were a couple of weeks ago) - should I send one to the last-round person I just interviewed with (she's the leader of the group)? Or would that look bad / highlight the fact that I didn't send anything to the others?

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:01 pm

I would send one to judges for the reasons above, and frankly I'd also send one if I were lateraling because there aren't usually many other candidates so it seems a much more personalized experience. I get not doing it for OCI because that's such a machine.

But it's absolutely true that you do run the risk of screwing things up more than helping, so I get the "never send one" arguments, too.

OP, I think it's completely fine to send one to the last person, asking her to thank everyone else. But I'd decide pretty quickly and do it today if you're going to.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The judge, in particular (who was an incredible judge to work for, and was extremely nice, albeit old-school) really seemed to harp on this because sending the email is such an easy thing to do, and he felt that failing to do so showed a lack of interest (especially because, according to him, so many other people did send such emails).

The lesson from this anecdote isn't "always send thank-you emails"; the lesson is that judges are idiosyncratic and that it's always a good idea to learn about a judge's quirks before you go through the interview process. Just by way of example, there was an old judge on the court in which I clerked who had the following preferences:

1. Hand-written thank-you note: good
2. No thank-you note: neutral
3. Thank-you email: bad

So, while this judge appreciated hand-written thank you notes, he found thank-you emails to be rude. A thank-you email was worse than doing nothing.

OP: All I can tell you is that I interview associate candidates all the time, and maybe 25% of them send thank-you emails. I have never received a thank-you email that helped a candidate, but I've received at least a couple that made me question the candidates's social judgment.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:16 pm

Thank you notes are usually expected. I remember when I did OCI callbacks, I would make sure I sent a thank you email to each lawyer who interviewed me. And I'd do it as soon as I got back to the hotel, before even changing. I'd send two or three sentences basically saying thank you, I appreciate the opportunity, and I enjoyed hearing about [enter some specific thing that interviewer mentioned]. When I interviewed other people, I sometimes got physical thank you notes. I don't think those are needed (although more conservative lawyers might prefer them) because it forced me to throw them away, which made me feel bad (as opposed to just sending a reply email with "no problem"), and because they take a while to get there so by the time they do the interviewers might assume you didn't send anything.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:19 pm

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:Thank you notes are usually expected.

I disagree with this. All of us are relying on anecdotal information, but--at least for big law firms in major markets--thank you notes are not generally expected.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby 1styearlateral » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:26 pm

Thank you letters seem desperate. They thought you were qualified enough to bring you in for an interview, and they have to interview you. Why thank them for something that they absolutely have to do? If you didn't convince the interviewer during the interview, follow up correspondence is not going to move the needle.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:38 pm

1styearlateral wrote:Thank you letters seem desperate. They thought you were qualified enough to bring you in for an interview, and they have to interview you. Why thank them for something that they absolutely have to do? If you didn't convince the interviewer during the interview, follow up correspondence is not going to move the needle.

I get a lot of the arguments against thank you notes, but not this one. You thank people for things they have to do all the time; it's a cashier's job to ring up my purchase but I still say thank you. I don't think the point is to gain an advantage, but just politeness (and maybe not lose an advantage if people expect you to send one. Again, the whole point is that expectations vary).

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:37 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I would send one to judges for the reasons above, and frankly I'd also send one if I were lateraling because there aren't usually many other candidates so it seems a much more personalized experience. I get not doing it for OCI because that's such a machine.

But it's absolutely true that you do run the risk of screwing things up more than helping, so I get the "never send one" arguments, too.

OP, I think it's completely fine to send one to the last person, asking her to thank everyone else. But I'd decide pretty quickly and do it today if you're going to.


OP here - I've always generally agreed with posters above re not sending them. I went through OCI and lateraled firms (all NYC biglaw) without ever sending a note, and I don't think I've ever received one after interviewing incoming associates or summers (and have never thought twice about it). I guess since this in an in-house gig, I'm second guessing my normal stance.

Now I'm leaning towards sending a very brief thank-you email to the last person I interviewed with as Nony Mouse has suggested.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I would send one to judges for the reasons above, and frankly I'd also send one if I were lateraling because there aren't usually many other candidates so it seems a much more personalized experience. I get not doing it for OCI because that's such a machine.

But it's absolutely true that you do run the risk of screwing things up more than helping, so I get the "never send one" arguments, too.

OP, I think it's completely fine to send one to the last person, asking her to thank everyone else. But I'd decide pretty quickly and do it today if you're going to.


OP here - I've always generally agreed with posters above re not sending them. I went through OCI and lateraled firms (all NYC biglaw) without ever sending a note, and I don't think I've ever received one after interviewing incoming associates or summers (and have never thought twice about it). I guess since this in an in-house gig, I'm second guessing my normal stance.

What kind of in-house gig is it? Is it a small company with one or two in-house lawyers where your interviewers included folks on the business side? Or is it a larger company in a major market where the in-house lawyers generally worked in big law before joining? If it's the latter, I would apply big-law norms.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby elendinel » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:43 pm

IME a thank you can be nice but is more likely to make me dislike you than to make me like you. It's not unusual to get one (so it's not a special surprise if you send me one); because of this, there's not a lot of room to have typos/poor grammar/send me a letter that sounds like a copy-paste job without me thinking you may as well have not sent me one at all.

If you actually remember enough of your interview with a particular person's interview to point to specific things you two actually discussed, and triple check the email to make sure it doesn't read like something you wrote on the way to the train, then it may be worth sending one. If you're just going to send a generic "Thanks, I enjoyed talking about the position and speaking with you" (or worse, "Thanks, I enjoyed talking to you about the position, let me summarize my resume again to make sure you remember me/in case you already forgot why I think I'm qualified"), it's generally not worth doing. If you don't have time that day to review the letter before sending, it's probably going to hurt you to send it.

Outside of that, I'd echo the importance of learning who your audience is; if the people in question would rather get the generic thank-you than nothing at all, then you send the generic thank you, even if no one else would want one, and vice-versa. Find out as much as you can about where you're applying and the kinds of people who work there, and you should be able to figure out one way or another what to do.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:48 pm

rpupkin wrote:
What kind of in-house gig is it? Is it a small company with one or two in-house lawyers where your interviewers included folks on the business side? Or is it a larger company in a major market where the in-house lawyers generally worked in big law before joining? If it's the latter, I would apply big-law norms.


OP here - its def the latter.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby 1styearlateral » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I would send one to judges for the reasons above, and frankly I'd also send one if I were lateraling because there aren't usually many other candidates so it seems a much more personalized experience. I get not doing it for OCI because that's such a machine.

But it's absolutely true that you do run the risk of screwing things up more than helping, so I get the "never send one" arguments, too.

OP, I think it's completely fine to send one to the last person, asking her to thank everyone else. But I'd decide pretty quickly and do it today if you're going to.


OP here - I've always generally agreed with posters above re not sending them. I went through OCI and lateraled firms (all NYC biglaw) without ever sending a note, and I don't think I've ever received one after interviewing incoming associates or summers (and have never thought twice about it). I guess since this in an in-house gig, I'm second guessing my normal stance.

Now I'm leaning towards sending a very brief thank-you email to the last person I interviewed with as Nony Mouse has suggested.
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:Thank you letters seem desperate. They thought you were qualified enough to bring you in for an interview, and they have to interview you. Why thank them for something that they absolutely have to do? If you didn't convince the interviewer during the interview, follow up correspondence is not going to move the needle.

I get a lot of the arguments against thank you notes, but not this one. You thank people for things they have to do all the time; it's a cashier's job to ring up my purchase but I still say thank you. I don't think the point is to gain an advantage, but just politeness (and maybe not lose an advantage if people expect you to send one. Again, the whole point is that expectations vary).

Saying "thank you" to a cashier or someone you interact with during normal activities is different, though. You say thank you because it literally takes zero effort and is the polite thing to do.

You should apply interviewing with a firm liking courting a guy/girl. Do you drop your date off at his/her apartment and then immediately text them "had a nice night" or "thank you for taking me out"? Yeah, you could. But to say nothing speaks volumes and playing hard-to-get is almost always the best strategy. Being overly-interested comes off as desperate and makes you less desirable even if you're a more qualified candidate. When it really comes down to it, people want what they can't have. Not saying you should approach your interview like James Spader in the Office, but your interviewer is human and will be susceptible to normal social interactions/expectations.

To both the interviewing and dating scenarios up top, why not just say thank you while you're there? "Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to meet with me" or "thank you for having me back" or "thanks for having me." The after-interview e-mail just seems like a last-ditch effort that can, as many have pointed out, can only hurt you in the event you make a mistake or typo or whatever. The goal of the interview should be to make them want to e-mail/call you. Once you leave the room nothing you do is going to change their evaluation.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby lolwat » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:06 pm

After being on BOTH SIDES my general preference is to not send anything. Thank them in person at the end of the interview and leave it at that.

Yes you might miss out on some of the particular people like judges etc.... who happen to really like thank-you emails or letters. But theres a risk to everything and it's probably, on average, a greater risk to send the email than not.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:36 pm

I really really really disagree with dating analogies applied to job hunting (and frankly also really disagree with playing hard to get in dating, too. I am way too old to have done the post-date texts but I don't think I'd have any problem with a text saying "I had a really nice time tonight" - it's not going to make me like you if I don't already but if I do like you it's going to be nice to get).

Again, I'm not saying thank you notes are necessary and I'm good with people not sending them, just not for the reason that they look desperate and people will look down on you. (Unless of course you're interviewing with 1st year lateral, I guess.)

I don't think the OP has to send one here at all (by this point I probably wouldn't), but I don't think a thank you to the person in charge of hiring after a multi-round process of meeting lots of people looks desperate.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:48 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I really really really disagree with dating analogies applied to job hunting (and frankly also really disagree with playing hard to get in dating, too. I am way too old to have done the post-date texts but I don't think I'd have any problem with a text saying "I had a really nice time tonight" - it's not going to make me like you if I don't already but if I do like you it's going to be nice to get).

Again, I'm not saying thank you notes are necessary and I'm good with people not sending them, just not for the reason that they look desperate and people will look down on you.

I agree with this.

I mentioned upthread that I've received thank-you notes that made me question an applicant's social judgment. Those thank-you notes included a sentence or two like this: "I really connected with your description of your experiences with X," where X was misdescribed or was some minor thing than no one could plausibly feel a "connection" with. The applicant was obviously following some thank-you letter template and apparently couldn't judge for themselves that the template didn't apply to the context.

Also, a not insignificant percentage of thank-you emails have typos and/or grammar errors. That's really bad.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby JenDarby » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
What kind of in-house gig is it? Is it a small company with one or two in-house lawyers where your interviewers included folks on the business side? Or is it a larger company in a major market where the in-house lawyers generally worked in big law before joining? If it's the latter, I would apply big-law norms.


OP here - its def the latter.

Both my in-house jobs have been the former, and I sent thank you emails to a couple of the people that I really connected with. In both instances it was specifically brought up as a positive (by either business side MD equivalents, the recruiter and/or the GC). Most recently with the firm I've been with about 1.5 years, a managing partner IMMEDIATELY engaged me in a long back and forth about what I brought up in my "thank you," and I got an offer an hour later.

Gettting that anecdata out of the way, I never sent thank you emails for larger firms/companies, or for smaller places where I didn't have a specific connection with the person.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby WalkingContradiction » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:15 pm

Does no one do handwritten thank you notes anymore? Or is that just not a law thing? Thought that was just something people made sure they did after job interviews, informational interviews, etc.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:23 pm

The only time I've done handwritten thank yous was for interviews with judges, and even then maybe once when I was a 1L. Obviously this is all personal/idiosyncratic (see rpupkin's account of a judge for whom no thank you note was worse than an e-mailed thank you note), but I feel as though handwritten thank-yous take on too social/personal a tone (since you send them for things like wedding/birthday presents). I suppose if you've only communicated via written letter and phone, a written note makes sense. If you've been arranging everything via e-mail (as tends to happen these days) it seems weird to me to send a handwritten note after exclusively electronic communications.

But I'm not claiming that's universal or correct, just that that's how I feel. (I could maybe see sending one for an informational interview since that's got a slightly more social element to it - you're not trying to get a job from that person anyway.)

Also I feel like there was a discussion about this once here that suggested women were more likely to send handwritten notes than men were.

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Re: Thank You Email?

Postby mjb447 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:48 pm

I'd vote no, mostly for the reasons described by elendinel and JenDarby. If you had a specific connection with someone or particular things you talked about that you wanted to emphasize I might feel differently, but it sounds like you don't, really. (And, of course, you'd still have to avoid typos and not focus on something weird, plus there's a small chance you interviewed with someone like 1styearlateral or the judge on pupkin's old court who might hold a thank you email against you for some other reason.)

Re: handwritten notes, my experience is about the same as Nony's - I hear about people doing it for interviews with judges but not really for anything else.



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