This article was originally posted in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin on December 7, 2012
PUBLISHER: MICHAEL B. KRAMER | EDITOR: OLIVIA CLARKE
I’m writing this article the day before Thanksgiving – a time to cherish what we have and participate in the season of giving and giving thanks.
In my experience, while many of us are thankful, most of us do not take advantage of giving thanks often enough.
I have three young children and for the most part, they are pretty good at minding their manners. They say “please” and “thank you” where appropriate. Sometimes, of course, they need the proverbial reminder of, “What do you say?” Sometimes I wish this prompt was more appropriate to give to adults. A scenario where this phrase especially deserves to be used is during the interview process.
Since the beginning of my legal career, I have been involved in the interview process at all the places I worked at, including my own law firm. I’ve interviewed dozens of people for a variety of legal positions.
I’ve never hired someone on the spot, even if that person flat out nailed the interview. I always wait to see what they do after our meeting, i.e., do they reach out to express appreciation. Heck, that’s How to Interview 101 stuff, right? You would think, yet most of the interviewees I’ve come across over the years do not follow up with a thank you of any sort. Some candidates call within due course to ask if they got the job. Others do nothing. Surprisingly, only a small percentage follows up with a thank you.
As a person looking to hire I am not fishing to be thanked for egotistical reasons. I am always looking for people, regardless of the position to be filled, who understand the importance of graciousness. Without the sense to reach out after an interview to say thank you in some way, a potential hire sends a message that that he or she lacks basic manners. In a service business where relationships are so important, a person who doesn’t send thanks isn’t the right fit for me or my business.
When thinking of someone who is grateful, I often find myself thinking of someone I admire and that I’m proud to call a friend. His name is Richard and from all outward appearances, he is a very successful business and family man.
Richard buys nice pens by the bushel. They are not super fancy, but nice enough to make an impression, probably about a dollar-per-pen nice. When someone does something nice for him or gives him good service, he, along with a thank you, gives them one of these pens as a token of his appreciation. Many of these pen recipients are thrilled, tickled pink, to be genuinely thanked for whatever reason. It is clear that the receipt of the pen is not the reason these people are so humbled, but the fact that they are being shown appreciation, that they are being truly thanked, something that clearly doesn’t happen enough for them.
I often wonder if I am thankful enough to those around me: to my family, friends, employees, clients, business partners or even to the guy behind the counter at the restaurant who makes sure that my sandwich is just right. I do consider myself a thankful person, but always strive to be more thankful, not only because it’s polite, but because it spreads a genuine and positive message to the people around me, who I am truly grateful to have in my life.
Thank you for reading this article. If you are grateful, but don’t say “thanks” often enough, don’t write it, don’t convey it in one form or another, then your graciousness just may be going unnoticed. I say if you’re thankful, show it in every which way possible. Say it. E-mail it. Text it. Handwrite it (remember handwriting?). Make it a permanent habit, not just a Thanksgiving Day ritual.