Sending a Thank You Gift? No, Thank You

Posted by The Editors on July 7, 2011
Sending a Thank You Gift? No, Thank You

It’s a given that you should always send a heartfelt thank you note after an interview, but it’s also possible to express a little too much gratitude. When I was talking with ConAgra recruiter JoDee Klinker a few months ago, she mentioned that she received a bouquet of flowers from a candidate after an interview. Klinker said the candidate went “above and beyond any expectation.” But it made me wonder: Should you shower your interviewer in gifts?

A quick Google search reveals it’s not all that uncommon for candidates to follow up with tokens of their appreciation. I found stories of interviewees sending flowers, chocolates, gift baskets, and even a 25-pound box of Omaha steaks.

But before you dial up Edible Arrangements, consider what kind of message sending a gift after an interview conveys. For one, it’s pretty aggressive—the gift may be seen as a bribe to consider your candidacy over other applicants. It’s also a little desperate. If you’re an impressive candidate, you shouldn’t need to woo anyone with gifts.

Finally, it’s inappropriate. Following up with flowers after a date is smooth, but not after an interview. Flowers, chocolates, cookies, and many other gifts have romantic associations, which can provide fodder for the office rumor mill if you’re a female sending to a male and vice versa.

So what is the best way to follow up? By and far, recruiters I’ve talked to say a thank you email gets the job done. Through an email you can express your appreciation, establish a direct connection after the interview, and provide the opportunity for them to respond with follow-up questions or thoughts.

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