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Thank you notes after interview?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 glow_gene

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 01:27 AM

I apologize if this thread has been duplicated elsewhere. I assumed someone would have asked about this by now but I can't find it anywhere so:


Do you think it's appropriate to send thank you notes to interviewers? If so, what should they say?

I have to assume that these PIs are going to talk to each other after my interview and the content of the thank you note could come up in conversation. If the thank you notes are all the same, this might pose a problem (I would think) but I can only personalize them so much without coming across as egotistical or like I'm trying to compliment them into an acceptance.

Any advice?

EDIT: Bah...just found my answer on the "Applicant Profiles" thread. **facepalm**

Edited by glow_gene, 25 January 2012 - 01:29 AM.

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#2 coonskee

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:22 AM

Eh, doesn't hurt to repeat the advice here :P

In my (completely personal) opinion, I think thank-you notes are necessary just because profs are taking time out of their day to speak with you. I also think that it's good to reiterate your interest in their labs, if that's the case.

In my case, I had four interviews; two were excellent, one was very close to excellent, and one was so-so. The length, tone, and content of each of the four cards varied by my excitement about their research and my general impressions for the interview. The lab that I ended up liking the least was polite and relevant (I mentioned things that we'd talked about, etc), but not gushing - why would I say that "zomg i absolutely love your research, i would give both my kidneys to work in your lab, etc etc etc' if I don't mean it? But for the labs that I did love - damn straight I expressed how interested I was in what they did!

I think general content should be this:
Dear ____,
  • Thank them
  • Mention what in particular you enjoyed about the conversation (hearing more about research? discussing an issue relevant to science and science policy?)
  • Follow up on any advice (did the PI tell you to contact someone in particular? Tell them if you've done so or when you plan to do so)
  • Any other pertinent details (especially ones that will remind them of you specifically), if such details are natural in the flow of the card
  • Thank them again
Sincerely / Best regards / PLEASEACCEPTMETOTHISPROGRAM*,
-Name


*I'm joking, don't actually include that.

Don't write them a letter - I doubt they have the time for more than two paragraphs of writing. Keep it as short as you can while keeping it meaningful, but more importantly, keep it to the point. It's much easier to read 500 words of concise prose than it is to read a paragraph of writing in the style of a philosopher. If the program has multiple interview weekends (especially one after the other), you might also find it helpful to include the date you met somewhere in the card.

If there's a graduate secretary or somesuch who also helped you out in the process (i.e. you sent him/her emails outside of what was necessary or asked multiple questions), it may also be worth sending them a thank-you card :)

Just my two cents! (again :P)
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#3 SandyFitch

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:42 PM

It is always appropriate to send thank you notes after an interview. I personally think that I've gotten jobs simply because I was the only one who had the manners to send a thank you card. The above advice is perfect. Be succinct, state what you enjoyed about the conversation, state how you think you'll be an asset / add value to the company, and everything else stated above. An easy way to do this is electronically, and no, I don't mean emails. I mean creating an account with a company such as Shutterfly or TinyPrints and developing a business appropriate thank you card template which will allow you to easily login, write your note, print, then send. This takes the hassle out of handwriting every thank you note, which you may put off and eventually fail to do.
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#4 spew

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:53 PM

Interviews:

School #1 - Thank You's sent - ACCEPTED
School #2 - No Thank You's sent - ACCEPTED
School #3 - No Thank You's sent - REJECTED
School #4 - Thank You's sent - REJECTED
School #5 - No Thank You's sent - ?????

As you can see, profs don't care about Thank You letters.

Edited by spew, 21 March 2012 - 10:46 PM.

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#5 virion

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:16 AM

After my first few interviews I sent thank yours, and then kind of ran out of steam. Responses varied from nonexistent to a quick, 'it was very nice to meet you to', to very long, thorough responses. I got two unsolicited thank yous (1 email, one snail mail) from professors I met with, hoping that I'm giving their programs serious consideration.
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#6 glow_gene

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 02:06 PM

In the end...I never sent a thank you note...and was accepted everywhere I interviewed.

The second I accepted, I e-mailed everyone with thanks and questions (which I planned to do regardless of acceptance or not). Yay networking? :)

Thanks for the advice, everyone! I drafted so many letters and your input made the process much less stressful.
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AttendingAcceptedDeclined Interview

WashU (DBBS-MGG), Duke (Genetics and Genomics), Emory, Johns Hopkins (CMDB, HG and CMM), Vanderbilt (IGPBS)University of Chicago (MolBio) UPENN (CAMB) and UNC-Chapel Hill (BBSP)


#7 Marius

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:45 PM

I did it out of courtesy at each school I interviewed at. I think it may have helped get me an admit at one of them. I had a good email exchange with one faculty member that ended in a hint that I could probably write a grant looking into the questions I had asked about his research. Ultimately I chose to go with a different program that was a little better fit. So yeah, I think they can definitely help. Although if you're like me you'll feel bad turning a program down after you've just had a nice communication with them, but oh well we can only choose one school after all!
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"Imagination and memory are but one thing, which for diverse considerations have diverse names" - Thomas Hobbes

#8 messki678

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 11:00 AM

hi,
Nice thread and there is no need of apology as anything can be copy and pasted anywhere!
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