November 16, 2023

Giving Thanks and Getting Hired: The Art of Gratitude in your Job Search 

Lauren Kemp

As the holiday season draws near, the topic of gratitude floods our conversations. While expressions of thanks and appreciation are common this time of year, there is an area where the practice of gratitude is notably lacking—the job search process. From the initial interview to securing a job, cultivating gratitude should be an integral part of the journey.

First impressions are crucial and, oftentimes, formed rapidly. Incorporating gratitude into every step of the interview process can make a significant difference. A simple acknowledgment to kick off an interview, such as "Thank you for your time today," sets a positive tone, and following up with a simple thank-you email not only reflects courtesy but also initiates the construction of a positive reputation grounded in appreciation.

Gratitude extends beyond mere words; it involves responsive and professional conduct throughout the job search process. Ways you can show gratitude and appreciation throughout the job search process include: 

Being Responsive:

Timely communication with potential employers is imperative. Forbes shared a report in 2021 that stated 28% of job applicants had ghosted a prospective employer over the past year, which is up 10% from previous years. Communication is kind, whether you are planning on pursuing a job or not. Responding promptly not only displays ongoing interest but also exhibits respect for all parties involved in the process. 

Being Professional: 

Professionalism is a fundamental aspect of any interview process. Elevate yourself above other candidates by preparing through thorough research on the company, the position, and even the interviewers. Asking thoughtful and relevant questions demonstrates genuine interest and awareness of the role, and personalizing questions is key for a successful interview. 

Consider the following recommendations from Harvard Business Review below. 

  • Insert yourself: Instead of asking, “What is a typical day like in this role?” consider asking, “What would a typical day look like for me as a __position title__?”
  • Ask job-specific questions: “What is the most important thing I could accomplish in the first 90 days?”
  • Questions about the team: “What skills is the team missing that you are looking to fill with this hire?”
  • Culture-focused questions: “What is different about working for __company__ vs other companies you have worked for?”
  • Final question: “Do you have any questions that I can answer to give you a better idea of myself or my background?”

Refrain from asking the following questions prematurely in the process: “What is the starting salary?” or “What are your PTO policies?” These questions will unfold in due time and should not be rushed. Also, refrain from asking any questions you could have discovered by researching the position ahead of time. 

Considering Appearance:

Dressing appropriately for interviews highlights your commitment to the process. Consistency in professionalism across different settings is crucial, especially in virtual interviews. In virtual interviews, pay attention not only to personal appearance but also to the background; opting for a plain and professional setting enhances your overall presentation.

Showing Grace: 

Acknowledge that life happens and unforeseen circumstances may arise. Demonstrating understanding when an interviewer is running late or needs to reschedule reflects maturity and professionalism. Avoid letting isolated incidents tarnish your perception of the company or position, and focus on what you can control - your appearance and preparation. 

Caution around Compensation Conversations:

If you find yourself presented with a conversation surrounding compensation, identify compensation that is realistically based on your worth, approach conversations concerning compensation with kindness and respect, and set appropriate boundaries for role considerations. If the target salary advertised for a role is far below what you would consider taking, do not apply. When you say “no” you give someone else the opportunity to say “yes” to a role that is not the right fit for you but could be the perfect fit for them. 

Weaving gratitude into the fabric of the job application process is courteous and strategically beneficial. Employers appreciate candidates who exhibit gratitude, professionalism, and a genuine interest in the position, so as you navigate the intricate stages of securing a job, remember that expressing thanks is not only a seasonal practice but a year-round consideration.