Job Interview Etiquette

A member of the New York Company of Friends group emailed members late last week inquiring whether it was appropriate to send a thank-you gift along with the customary thank-you note following a job interview. While many weighed in saying a thank you is indeed acceptable, people cautioned against the giving of gifts. “Forget the flowers,” writes Anne-Marie Ditta. “Instead, send a powerfully written thank you letter focusing on how what you will do to help the organization achieve their goals.”

Francois Basili went even further. “During my corporate career, I hired
close to 100 people. I must have interviewed over 500 applicants in the process,” he says. “I’m glad no one sent me a gift or flowers because I’d have had to look with suspicion at such act and question the sender’s sense of appropriate business bahavior. Sending a gift or flowers is definitely overkill, an unjustified act that just doesn’t appear professional. An interview is not a favor or a kind act the interviewer has done for you.”

He goes on to suggest what a thank-you note might address:

  • Address issues or questions raised during the interview that needed more clarifications.
  • Add information that was not in the resume the need for which had surfaced in the interview.
  • Describe why the chemistry of working together promises to be great. Talk a bit about the interviwer’s skills or qualities that you liked and thank him/her for a good interview.
  • Reaffirm your interest in the job and your enthusiasm for adding great value to the work.

Good advice, but do you agree that a thank-you gift is out of line?