The resume and cover letter – both crisp and clean – were a big hit with the company’s HR department. The interview – properly prepared for – is finally in your rearview mirror. Many job seekers exhale as they walk out of the interview room, head home, sit by the phone and wait for a call with the job offer. Those job seekers missed a key step in the process, something overlooked now more than ever before. You take time at the conclusion of an interview to thank an interviewer for his time. But it’s just as important to spend time after you arrive home to craft thank you notes which reinforce your appreciation for their time and helps you stand out among the crowd. It makes a true impact and may be the difference between a job offer and a canned email response relaying the company’s pursuit of other candidates.
Don’t forget the business card! As your interview wraps up, make sure to ask for a business card or contact information. Getting an email address before you leave the interview room does multiple things for you. It tells the interviewer that you’re interested in the position and it removes the challenge of tracking down contact information at a later time. Without this vital piece of information, this step in the interview process becomes increasingly difficult.
Time is of the essence. Obviously stated, right? But time-after-time, people make the mistake of waiting a couple of days to finally sit down and write out thank you notes. The days leading up to the interview are stressful and taking a day or two to unwind afterwards is common. But when a prospective employer receives a thank you just hours after an interview concludes, it’s just another reason to bubble you up to the top of the candidate list. The shell of your thank you note will already be written before your interview begins. It’s certainly feasible to personalize it and get it sent out within 24 hours of the meeting’s conclusion.
Be crisp, conscience and warm. You don’t have to be a published author to craft a well-written thank you note. You do, however, need to be original and thoughtful. Thank you notes are not memos or legal documents, be professional but conversational. Three or four brief paragraphs are enough to reinforce your interest and thank the interviewer. Anything more will land your note in their trash folder. If you met with multiple people, write one note per person and ensure each one is somewhat unique. After the standard headers – date, title of position, organization, address – let the person know you enjoyed the conversation and be sure to reference the position and the company’s name. Acknowledge that they’re busy and thank them for their valuable time spent speaking with you. Next, reinforce your interest in both the role and the company, as a whole. A one-liner about why you find the company desirable followed by a couple statements about how the position fits well with your background will do the trick. In your final paragraph, once again offer up your interest in taking the next step and then ask them to contact you. Be sure to provide a reliable telephone number and email address. As always, sign the thank you note with a ‘Sincerely’ followed by your full name.
The email versus postal mail debate. While the content of sample thank you letters is fairly consistent, the mode of delivery has been debated since corporate email became ubiquitous. Should you send an old-fashioned, handwritten thank you note via postal mail or fire off a professionally written email? A hiring manager at Business Insider believes email is the way to go. I tend to agree with her for a variety of reasons. Email is now considered a formal communication tool. It’s how business people interact and it’s acceptable for anything from project sign-off to scope discussion. While no one would suggest texting a thank you to an interviewer, email is certainly acceptable. The U.S. Postal Service is painfully slow. The intention of a thank you note is to remind the interviewer right away of your interest and qualifications. To keep you on top of their mind as the choices are whittled down. The business world moves quickly and a reminder three days removed from the interview is no longer acceptable. A well-crafted thank you email will show your follow through and be unobtrusive enough to make your points without wasting a prospective employer’s valuable time. And who knows… you might receive a reply to your email, unthinkable if you sent a note through the mail.