I can finally use my calligraphy pens!
December 2, 2015
So, you had an interview-- congratulations! After all of the searching for openings, sending in applications, and waiting to hear back, an interview is an awesome step forward. Pat yourself on the back! Now, you’re in a different kind of waiting period, this time hoping to hear back with an official job offer. There’s not much you can do at this point...but there is one thing that will go a long way, and it’s really something quite simple. Send a thank you note. In the mail is best, but an email will work too.
I speak from personal experience on this one, as I’m somebody who still holds on to the mostly lost art of letter writing. I’ve had three big interviews in my career so far, and I’ve sent thank you notes in the mail to the company after every one. I can’t say that it’s a guarantee, but I did get offers after all three interviews, so maybe that thank you note really did make a difference!
Here’s why our experts think thank-you notes matter (in any form):
1.They show that you are appreciative of the opportunity to interview and that you care enough to express that gratitude. Our society is riddled with a sense of entitlement, and many people leave college or start their working lives expecting that jobs will just fall into their laps. In the midst of that mindset, heartfelt gratitude and sincere appreciation are a refreshing change of pace that will stand out to employers and make a great impression on them. Many applicants will leave the interview and either say nothing, or follow-up to see if they got the job or not, so following up to simply say thank you will be well-received and welcomed. “It is courtesy to be thankful if you truly are,” Heather from The Hershey Company says. “It can show that you are thinking about the interview & expresses your excitement to work for the company.”
2.It’s a quick and easy action. “Make sure you do not wait too long to send a thank you note,” Ashley, hiring expert at Textron, Inc. says. “I suggest keeping it short (a few paragraphs) to communicate to your interviewer how much you appreciated their time, as well as why you would be a great fit for the position due to the skills you possess. I would not have a template thank you email; it is best practice to tailor each thank you note to each interview to ensure that it seems personal and well thought-out.”
3.You’ll be one of the very few that take this extra step. “Only a small portion of candidates send a thank you after an interview, it is those individuals that make it to the top of the pile,” Dan, hiring expert at Mutual Omaha says. If there’s something you know few people are doing that you know goes a long way in the hiring process, you definitely should make sure to do it! Give yourself every bit of help, especially easy ones like this that really do make a great impression.
4.They show that you pay attention to details. Hiring managers are looking for people who are conscientious, proactive, and responsible. Making the effort to write out a note after an interview proves that you are all of those things and more, which speaks highly of your work ethic and professionalism.
5.They keep your name in front of the hiring team and remind them who you are. Ashley, a hiring expert from Cardinal Health, recommends this: “In your note, I would recommend thanking the interviewer(s) for their time. Include a recap of the skills you have for the position and how those skills would relate to the position and make you the best candidate. I would also recommend expressing your genuine interest in the position and why you would be a great asset to the team/company.” Doing this is a great way to reinforce the things that you said in your interview in a way that is completely acceptable and appropriate. You aren’t being a bother (like calling or checking on the status of things repeatedly might be) but instead being professional. “The more contacts you make,” John, DuPont hiring expert says, “the easier it is for the recruiter/manager to remember you.”
6.They give you a chance to address any lingering things from the interview. One big perk of sending a follow-up thank you note? You can address things that happened in the interview, “such as address any mistakes that you may have made in the interview, revisit any unanswered questions, and most importantly show that you’re invested in the position and company,” Dan from Mutual Omaha says. Also, this thank you note gives the hiring team another reminder of how they can contact you. “You can close the note by providing your contact information and mentioning you are available if there are any additional questions,” Lori, hiring expert at Cigna, says.
7.It’s a great (and often overlooked) networking opportunity. Even if the interview doesn’t lead to a job offer, you’ll have put your name and information in front of crucial people on more than one occasion. Chances are, that thank you note will help them remember you later on, and you never know how they might be helpful in your career or your network.
So while a simple thank you note won’t guarantee you’ll get a job offer, it surely won’t hurt you in any way. Make sure to get the contact information of the person who will receive your note before your interview ends so you have it ready, and make sure to send the note within a week of the interview. You never know what little thing like a thank you note will make a big difference, so be one of the few who goes above and beyond!