This week we asked people who hire librarians
What value do you place on the post-interview email or mailed thank you note? What advice do you have for individuals interviewing with large committees–do they contact everyone they meet? Or what about other libraries that may not make email addresses easily accessible online–should candidates call and ask for an email address? In short, does sending a note (or not sending one) make or break a candidate’s chances?
In my 10+ years of hiring, I’ve only received thank you notes twice and they didn’t have any bearing on my decision-mostly because the decision was already made by the time I got the note. When we interview here, we usually interview all the candidates on the same day and make the decision quickly. For me, the deciding factor is the interview. A note is nice, but not as nice as a good, solid interview. Say thank you and shake hands at the end, that’s sufficient for me. I think I’m detecting a theme in all my replies to these Hiring Librarian questions: interview well. It’s not an easy skill to acquire, especially if you get nervous or flustered easily, but I can’t stress it enough.
– Margaret Neill, Regional Library Branch Manager, Main Library, El Paso Public Library
If you don’t catch all of the names, it’s perfectly okay to email the chair of the committee – especially if the chair is the one with whom you’ve been communicating. I personally prefer email, but if you don’t have an email address, it’s fine to mail. Keep in mind, though, depending on where you are in the process, we might have already made a decision about your candidacy before we get a mailed thank you note. I like getting follow-up notes from candidates myself. That said, I had one candidate who shot himself in the foot in his thank you note to me. He was fairly aggressive in recommending a course of action with a project we identified for the position and he continued to make recommendations in his thank you note. He knew very little about our situation and, honestly, it wasn’t that we didn’t know how to handle the project. We just needed someone to do it. So I would say, yes, send one, but don’t be obnoxious in your note.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans
It’s not make or break, but it will be noticed. It’s one of those things you should do regardless of whether or not it “gets you the job.”
-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus
I think sending a note (whether by mail or email) is thoughtful and a nice gesture, but it in no way makes or breaks a candidate’s chances. Usually I’ve made a decision based on the content of the interview, application, and information from references.
– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library
I think that it’s important for a candidate to send a thank you note to the members of a search committee after their interview, but whether it’s sent by email or regular mail does not matter. I’ve been on committees where I have received both and either has been fine with me. If you are interviewing with a large committee, I think that it would be appropriate to send one note to the search committee chair and extend it to the other members of the search committee. If email addresses are not readily available, then I would advise to call and ask for the email address of the search committee chair and send a note to that person. They could then forward that email on to the other committee members. Sending a note or not sending a note does not make or break a candidate’s chances at a job but it shows respect and appreciation to the committee for taking the time to meet with you.
– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library
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