Sending Successful Job Interview Thank You Notes

WorkCoachCafeA recent study conducted by CareerBuilder indicated that NOT sending a thank you note will hurt your candidacy with over twenty percent (more than one in five) hiring managers. So, skipping sending a thank you note is potentially a high-risk practice.

Clearly, thank you notes, done well, can’t hurt your job search, and they may help you to succeed. 

Hopefully, you collected business cards or wrote down the name, title, and contact information for every person who interviewed you. Together with your notes from the interview, the contact information you help you write a very effective thank you.

Now, here’s how to send thank you notes that support your job search and will help you become more effective.

Write a Thank You Note after Every Job Interview

Even if you really aren’t interested in this job, writing a thank you note will probably not be a waste of your time. Write it very promptly, within one or two days of the interview.

Write a separate, unique note to each person. Do NOT write one email message with all of the interviewers in the distribution. Craft a different message for each interviewer, and send it separately.

Possibly this employer will have a job open at another time that is a better fit for you, and you might be interviewed by the same people. Much better to have left a good impression and to go into the interview feeling confident – not uncomfortable about your own past behavior and wondering how (or if) you might need to work harder to overcome any negative impressions from that last interchange (or lack).

3 Reasons Thank You Notes After Job Interviews Help Your Job Search

There are a whole bunch of very good reasons to write a thank you note to each person who interviewed you, but these are the most important:

1. Differentiate from or meet the competition.

Many people blow off writing thank you notes after their job interviews. Let them. Sending the thank you note makes it clear that you are interested in the job, and most employers are very tired of job candidates who don’t seem to be interested in the job or who apparently believe that a job interview guarantees a job offer.

On the other hand, if you are the only person interviewed who does not write a thank you, you put yourself at a disadvantage with most – but maybe not all – of the people who interviewed you.

2. Demonstrate your ability to communicate in writing.

All of your interactions with a potential employer are viewed as demonstrations of your work. Writing good thank you notes (customized and unique for each person who interviewed you) is an important opportunity to demonstrate your “work product.”

Your thank you notes provide examples of how well you communicate and how you will communicate with your managers, co-workers, and, possibly, customers or clients.

3. Show that you follow up.

Like your ability to communicate clearly in writing, following up on an important meeting is necessary in most organizations. People who don’t follow up on the job aren’t usually great employees, and most employers want to hire the best job candidates they can find.

Choosing Email or Pen and Paper for Your Job Interview Thank You Note

These days, with most organizations, email is an acceptable way to communicate. Even though you are using email, write a  formal – not an informal – message.

If the organization is very formal or traditional, or the person strikes you as being formal, send a hand-written (but legible!) thank you on very nice paper. 

Avoid the use of texting for 99% of employers. Stick to email or a traditional hand-written note rather than a text message, unless the job requires you to have skills in sending text messages, and, even then, I would do the text thank you in addition to a standard thank you note.

What Should You Write in Your Job Interview Thank You Note  

Keep in mind that your thank you note may be read many days or weeks later and by the person who did not interview you. Thank you notes, particularly those sent via email, may be shared and compared among the staff members, whether or not they met and/or interviewed you.

So, since the message may be read several days or even weeks after a number of people were interviewed for the job, don’t assume that you will be remembered. Include the following information: 

  • The job title of the job you interviewed for. Unless it’s a very senior or unique job for the organization, provide the job requisition number/identifier, too.
  • A reference to the date of the interview (“as we discussed yesterday” or “as we discussed earlier today” or whatever you feel comfortable with).
  • Gratitude for the opportunity to talk with the person and to  learn more about the job and the organization.
  • Mention a significant discussion point from your discussion with that person.
  • Highlight your qualifications for the job, particularly any that seemed to impress or interest the interviewer.
  • Briefly address anything you think needs clarification – perhaps you misstated something or didn’t answer a question as well as you could have answered it.

Be sure to:

  • Spell the person’s name correctly (demonstrating your attention to detail!).
  • Keep the thank you note short. It’s tempting to write long email messages, but avoid that temptation so that your message will actually get read.

Writing the thank you notes after job interviews is not usually fun, but they can help you “close the deal” to land the job offer or, at least, to make it to the next round of job interviews.

More importantly, you have nothing to lose by writing good thank you notes, and you have a lot to win.

More about thank you notes after the job interview

Cutting Off Your Thank You Notes to Spite Your Face

The First Thing You Should Do After a Job Rejection

Making Email Work for Your Job Search (Job-Hunt.org)

 ———————————————

About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 2011, Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then.  Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org, is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a columnist on HuffingtonPost.  Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.

Comments

  1. Very good advice of which I’ve just used. I recently graduated with my Masters Degree and I started to reach out an inquire with potential employers just after the first of the year. About a week ago, one late afternoon my phone rang. The call was about a job which I actually never did apply for! I sent this company my resume 6 months prior to my graduation and they apparently kept it. We scheduled a time for a telephonic interview which went extremely well. Within the hour, I sent a thank you email. The very next day, I sent a thank you note via snail mail. I was actually caught VERY off guard by the call and didn’t even know the position was open LOL. I’m just quite happy they kept my resume on file and was rather shocked that they did.

    Now the wait begins and like anyone else, I am very curious but I understand there is a process they must go thru so I will wait it out another week for a total of two weeks after the thank you note that I sent via US Mail to follow up. Time will tell but thanks for the tremendous information.

Speak Your Mind