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Great advice from The Lawyer Whisperer

August 2, 2018
Question

I want to send thank you notes after my job interview, but I don’t have the email addresses of my interviewers. What should I do?

answer
Julie Q. Brush

Sending a written expression of thanks after a job interview is a must if you want to be an A-Player professional. But in today’s market, a surprising number of legal professionals still forego the thank you note. Others have the best of intentions, but find themselves without the proper contact information for their interviews. Without a plan of how to proceed, time slips by and the follow-up falls through the cracks. Given what’s at stake (your candidacy, personal impression and overall reputation), this omission can be costly. For those who find themselves in this situation, I encourage you to go the extra mile to ensure your expression of gratitude is received.

So what’s the best way to collect the information you need? Below are several options:

Your Recruiter.

If you are working with an external recruiter (aka headhunter) who is representing you to the organization, send him/her a note and ask for the information. Your recruiter should have this information or will contact the employer directly on your behalf to get it. Should you ask your recruiter to send your thank you notes on your behalf? No! Delegating this important task will reflect poorly on you to the employer…and the recruiter. In the event you are not working with a recruiter or s/he is not being responsive…

Your Contact In The Organization.

Chances are high that you have interfaced with one or more people in the organization regarding interview logistics. This person will typically be an HR professional. Contact him/her and request the email addresses of the individuals with whom you interviewed. Be specific as to why you are reaching out. Example email:

“Rory, Many thanks for your efforts scheduling my interviews and making sure I felt welcome. My meetings with the executives yesterday were terrific and my interest in the opportunity remains high. I plan to send a note of thanks to everyone, but I need their email addresses to do so. At your convenience, could you provide me with this information for Tony Jones, Barbara Harris and Pat Rogers? Many Thanks! Julie”

Some HR and/or other internal employees will not disclose this information. In the event you hit a wall, ask your contact to pass along “the following note” to the people with whom you interviewed. Example:

HR:“Hi Julie, I’m so glad that your interviews went well. Unfortunately, I cannot provide employee email addresses. So sorry.”

Candidate:“Hi Rory, no problem at all – I understand. If you would be willing to pass on my thank you note below to my interviewers, I’d very much appreciate it.” [Include a brief thank you message below]. 

If you want to do some sleuthing on your own before contacting your recruiter or the employer for help, try the following:

State Bar Websites.

State Bar websites vary from state to state/country to country with the level of detail they provide on their admitted attorneys. Some are anemic; others provide a treasure trove of information…including email addresses. So this resource is a good one to check when trying to uncover the contact information of your interviewers.

Law Firm Websites.

If you are interviewing with a law firm, the overwhelming majority of firms list their attorneys and contact info on their website. While this may seem obvious to most of you, some candidates benefit from the reminder.

Professional Organization Websites.

If you are a member of a legal professional organization, log in to its website and check the Membership Directory for the names of your interviewers. Some organizations list their members along with their contact information.

LinkedIn.

Even if you are not “linked in” with your interviewers, you can still send them a message through the platform. Either through an invitation to connect (which allows you to send a brief note with your Linked-In request) or if you have a premium service, you can send a message directly through In Mail. Here is a sample message:

“Hi Leslie, Thank you for taking the time to meet with me about the opportunity with Employer X. I appreciated your insights and my interest remains high. I didn’t have your email address so wanted to reach out via LinkedIn to say thanks. Best, Julie”

One approach that some attorneys take is to reverse engineer an email address based on known addresses of other employees in the organization. This often results in an email bounce back or an erroneous recipient. So before going this route, try the suggestions above first.

Sending thank you notes after an interview is the final high quality effort for a candidate in that lap of the process. For those dedicated to the highest level of professionalism, it is a must. But when contact information for interviewers is missing, it can create frustration and serve as a disincentive for follow up. The guidance above will help fill in the blanks and make it easier to collect the information you need. While it will take a little more effort, it will be well worth the time invested.

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