After completing the interview process, candidates usually wonder what’s next. Will they call me? Should I call them? Should I send a thank you letter? The questions swirl around in your head like a Sharknado. Catching a case of the post-interview jitters happens to the best of us, but in order to put yourself a step ahead of the competition, you need to steady your thoughts and send a thank you letter to the interviewer.
Whether you consider yourself “old school” or part of the new school, decency never goes out of style. Survival tactic #5: Mind your manners. Being courteous, personable and polite throughout the interview process helps promote a favorable impression and may even keep your name on the hiring manager’s mind.
Some job seekers do not believe it’s necessary to send a thank you letter, but…
Let’s say you have just finished interviewing for a position you really want and decide not to send a formal “thank you.” The selection committee narrows down the successful interviews to two possibilities: you and another candidate. Since they believe you are both equally qualified, they start a point-by-point comparison to see who seemed the most interested in working for the company. Your competition happened to send a thoughtful thank you letter. Guess who they ended up choosing? Yep, not you.
This scenario may not be common, but it is possible. During the interview process, your goal is to stand out for all the right reasons. The slightest misstep can wipe out your chances of landing a new job. Sending a thank you letter provides an opportunity to:
- Strengthen your rapport or connection with the interviewer(s)
- Emphasize your interest in the position and the company
- Show your willingness to go the extra mile
- Demonstrate your appreciation for the interview
- Prove that you respect and value the interviewer’s time
Here are four tips for an effective thank you letter:
- Reference an interesting or noteworthy point made during the interview. This way, the letter sounds personal rather than a template you found on the internet. You want to be sincere and thoughtful in your communication.
- If you forgot to say something really important about your skills or experience during the interview, briefly mention it in the letter.
- Send a thank you note to each person you interviewed with and make each version slightly different for a personalized touch.
- Double-check for spelling and grammatical errors. Addressing “Jean” as “John” could be a problem. Make sure you review the letter for mistakes and typos before sending.
Remember, a hand-written thank you letter is nice, but an email will suffice. Ask for the interviewer’s business card so you have his/her current contact information. If you send a thank you email immediately after the interview, you may come across as desperate. It’s appropriate to wait a couple of hours before sending the email, as long as you send it within 24 hours of the interview.
Although a perfectly written thank you note may or may not make a difference in whether you get the position, knowing you did everything in your power to increase the odds of a successful outcome can give you some solace, regardless of the hiring manager’s final decision.
Bonus Tip: Be yourself. An interview is simply a conversation with another human being about a potential employment opportunity you are pursuing.
Voice Your View: Do you send a thank you letter after every interview? Do you think it matters anymore? Share your opinions in the comments section!