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October 20, 2011

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I would use extreme caution with the thank you notes sent to the hiring manager. As a hiring manager I often take this as a negative item when received via email. Direct communication is discouraged to a hiring manager as we often are interviewing dozens or more candidates a thank you letter more times than not leads to continued emails that tend to be unprofessional.

Almost every time I have received a thank you note via email post interview, that same candidate then continued to send emails for weeks, months or even years. Desperation and disrespect for the hiring managers time is what comes through. If a manager freely offers up his business card or email address then by all means send the note. If you were not given their email address from them directly, do not abuse it.

What about after a phone interview that you know will be followed by an in-person interview if they are interested?

@Josh
I'm pretty sure that U.S. News isn't asking its readers to ferret out confidential e-mail addresses. It seems more likely that U.S. News assumes that its readers have been given the manager's information.

I 100% agree that email is acceptable - here's why I think it's actually preferred:

1. For Time-Sensitive Positions: Very often the interviewers are trying to fill an open position ASAP. Snail mail may not get to them before they make a decision.

2. For Practicality: When you interview with someone...how often are you given their home or actual mailing address? In my experience, the address on their business card is their company (corporate) address. There's a good chance sending a letter to that location will never be seen.

3. For the Future: Once you initiate , they immediately have all of your information (making you easily accessible to all interviewers for future jobs if the job you're applying for isn't a good fit).

Thank you notes are an important step, in my opinion. In this economic climate, many positions have a number of qualified candidates. People need to work harder to stand out above the crowd, in my opinion. A thank you note should be sent.

Personally, I think an email thank you note is most appropriate. Might not have been the case a decade ago, but it is now. Email is a standard form of business communication. I know that some people suggest old fashioned thank you letters as a way to stand out, but I might look at that as a detrimental step. Maybe not with the older hiring managers, but maybe so regardless. Still go with email. Plus, with the speed at which some decisions are being made, snail mail doesn't help. Email it is.

Now, having said this, I do think that a thank you note could actually hurt you if it's not done right. If you spell words incorrectly, or do a sloppy job, you could be shooting yourself in the foot so to speak. But as long as you do it properly and double/triple check it, a thank you note is usually a smart move in my view.

A brief, hand-written, thank you note that says something specific about the interview that day (so that they know it isn't a template) can do wonders in setting you apart from other candidates. I've been called in for other positions at the same firm, because the hiring manager REMEMBERED my thank you note. Now, that I'm in show business, it REALLY sets me apart for other more "me centric" personalities.

My experience has been if the company is going to make an offer they usually do it within a day (sometimes hours) of the interview anyway.

Most interviewers may not bother with giving you their business card as they may not be doing business with you (or they didn't carry one). In such cases a thank you note shows that you had the planning and the tact to procure the email id and send a note.
be sure to send a thank you note to the work email id. Most recruiters might not appreciate a linked in mesaage thanking them for the interview.
Although Linkedin is a professional site it is used for seeking work, not for doing actual work for your current employer (unless you are a recruiter ofcourse).

When I was looking for a job during/after graduating, I sent a hand-written thank you to every person/company that interviewed me. The one time I didn't is the company that offered me a job

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