A post on Thom Singer’s Some Assembly Required blog last Friday challenged in detail the assertion by Jessica Liebman in a post on Business Insider Blog that email “Thank You” notes after an interview are better than handwritten ones. Her reasoning is that the latter:

  • Take too long to get there (and letters could get lost in the mail);
  • A handwritten note “feels old,” even “ancient” to her; and
  • E-mails have many advantages, including:
    • Sent the same day shows how eager you are for the job,
    • “you know it will at least find its way into the interviewer’s inbox” (I wonder if she has heard about spam filters),
    • If the interviewer ever searches for your email, it’ll “just pop up and remind them” about your thanking them (of course, assuming that the interviewer is into searching for thank you emails),
    • “You can easily tailor (thank you note) to the vibe of the interview” (and in a handwritten note you can’t?); and
    • Interviewer might “write back to you” (okay hitting the Reply button is a possibility).

Singer challenges Liebman point by point, and quite frankly makes a much stronger case for the handwritten version. If it is a matter of choosing one over the other, I completely side with Singer. Far too few people take the time and trouble to write a handwritten note, and even hand-address the envelope. That in itself can set you apart, and why it is more memorable and personal than an email ever will be.

However, I see no reason one can’t do both, which I have on numerous occasions. I have send a quick e-mail thanking the person for: lunch, interview, their suggestions or comments, the tour of their outhouse….whatever. Then, I would send a handwritten note to take the thank you a bit further. That note can even refer to the e-mail and say “Again, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for ………..” whatever. I look at it as an opportunity for a double whammy, and the chance to be remembered even more. That’s a good thing.

So, the solution to my question in the title:  send both.