As executive search consultants, we are often asked by candidates if writing post-interview thank you notes are recommended. In all cases, our consultants would agree that sending a thank you after an interview is appropriate, courteous and beneficial. It provides another opportunity to differentiate yourself among other prospective candidates, which is the goal of any interview process.
To show your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and interest.
To demonstrate good manners and extend a professional courtesy.
To reiterate your interest in the organization and the position.
To recap the interview, reminding the interviewer(s) of your qualifications.
To follow up with any information the interviewer(s) may have requested you to provide following the interview.
Backing up our perspective of the above points are the results of a CareerBuilder 2011 survey. Results revealed that 22% of hiring managers are less likely to hire a candidate if he/she does not send a thank you note, even though the individual may be a good fit for the position.
86% of hiring managers say not sending a thank you note shows a lack of follow through.
56% say not sending a thank you note says sends the message that the candidate isn’t serious about the opportunity.
Personalize your note. Just as you do not want your resume to blend in with others, do not use standard content in your post-interview thank you note. For example, share particular things from the interview that you found interesting and insightful. This will show that you took time to really consider the interview, making you come across as being genuine and likable.
Make your note most effective by briefly reiterating the reasons for your interest in the position and the company. For example, you can explain how the role fits in with your career motivations, how your experiences and skills could be of value to the company, or the impact you feel you could make. If possible, use specific examples from the interview.
Send a thank you note to all interviewers. If you were interviewed by multiple people, you want to show equal respect to all by sending individual notes to each. By 'individual', we mean make each note a little different from the others. If you write them all the same, they will lose their effect and genuineness. Also, be sure to get the correct name spelling and title of each interviewer.
Send thank you note within 24 hours.
This is a question that many candidates ponder and there is no simple answer because it can depend upon the interviewer’s personal preference, the formality of the interview, and the level of the position. In general, a handwritten thank you note gets more attention than an email with the same content. However, if the hiring process is moving quickly, then you will want to expedite your thank you and send an email. However, if you do email the note, we recommend you follow up with a handwritten one via regular mail.
Remember that, even though you want your thank you to have a ‘personal’ feel, all grammatical rules that apply to professional correspondence also apply to thank you notes.
First, make sure your subject line is appropriate and concise. It can be as simple as “Thank you” but we recommend you also add your name to the subject if your email address does not have your name within it. Otherwise, the interviewer will not know the email is from you and may overlook it.
Second, consider your email address. Ask yourself if it is appropriate and professional. If it’s not, then create a new one to use only for business / employment correspondence.
Lastly, do not use email stationery – just use a plain email format. Stationery is not necessary and it can make your email file larger. Furthermore, it may cause the email to not open correctly on the interviewer’s end and, if they’re viewing it on their mobile device, the stationery will not come through.
Now that you understand the basics of why, when and how to send post-interview thank you notes, let’s talk about ideas on content. Typically, post-interview thank you notes are three concise paragraphs:
Paragraph 1 explains why you are writing – to thank the interviewer.
Paragraph 2 reminds the interviewer why your experience and skills are a match for the position and how you will add value to the organization. This is the paragraph where you will want to add specifics from your interview.
Paragraph 3 emphasizes your interest and closes the thank you note.
First Paragraph Options:
I would like to thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. It was a pleasure speaking with you and learning about COMPANY and its JOB TITLE opportunity.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today regarding the JOB TITLE opportunity at COMPANY. After speaking with you, I believe that my background and skills are an ideal match for the opportunity.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to discuss JOB TITLE with COMPANY.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me to discuss JOB TITLE with COMPANY. I appreciated the opportunity to learn your insight of the position and how it impacts your entire organization.
Second Paragraph Options:
As we discussed, I believe my experience and PRIMARY SKILLS would add strength to your team and allow me to make an immediate and positive impact. [Elaborate with 1 or 2 specific examples.]
I believe my experiences and PRIMARY SKILLS would prove to be valuable to your firm as these are necessary attributes to be successful in JOB TITLE. [Elaborate with 1 or 2 specific examples.]
Based on my experience and education, I am confident that I would make a positive contribution to COMPANY’S team in the role of JOB TITLE. [Elaborate with 1 or 2 specific examples.]
I am very interested in JOB TITLE and its objectives and I hope to have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the continued success of COMPANY. [Elaborate with 1 or 2 specific examples.]
Following my visit to COMPANY, I believe that your company atmosphere is one in which I could grow both personally and professionally. I am most particularly impressed by the company’s philosophy of [Elaborate].
I believe the combination of my skills and experiences would prove to be an asset to COMPANY and its objectives. [Elaborate with 1 or 2 specific examples.]
Third paragraph options:
I look forward to continuing our discussions and would welcome the opportunity to become a part of COMPANY. Thank you again for your time and consideration.
Thank you again for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
If you have any additional questions regarding my skills or experience, please do not hesitate to contact me. Again, thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to continuing our discussions.
After writing your post-interview thank you note, sit back and commend yourself because you can be confident that most candidates will not have done the same. By simply taking the time to write a note that extends your gratitude, demonstrates your courteousness, and reiterates your interest in the position and company, you still stand out and differentiate yourself among prospective candidates.