I’ll admit I hate writing thank-you notes for holiday gifts. It’s not like Grandma is going to take back the sweater she got me or Grandpa is going to take the $20 he snuck in the pocket if I don’t write it. But writing a thank-you note is far more important after a job interview, because the job’s not yours at that point—but it could be, and writing that thank-you note helps! I’ll give you a few tips on what should go into them. First, a few general pointers:
- Edit, edit, edit. Keep the language professional (no OMG or Thx or emojis), the paragraphs concise, and the spelling and grammar impeccable. If it’s written badly, it may hurt your chances even if the content makes you sound like an ideal fit.
- Send an email the day of your interview, or at the very least by the next morning. Timing is everything. You want to send this while you’re fresh in their minds, and before they’ve made any decisions. In 2019, that means an email is definitely preferable to a hand-written note just because it gets there faster.
- If you met with multiple people simultaneously, you can send one email addressed to both since they were both there the whole time and know what was discussed and how it went. If you met with a 2 or 3 people separately, send separate emails and personalize them based on the discussion. If you meet with a whole series of people, just send them to the people who would be the key decision makers. There’s no sense in writing 5 separate notes.
- Be genuine in your appreciation and enthusiasm, but don’t go overboard. There’s a balance that’s hard to strike and even harder for me to put into words, but try and gauge this as you’re writing.
- For my candidates: send this to me, not to your interviewer. This is my way of driving a response from the hiring manager with feedback and possible next steps. Address the note to them, but send it to me and I’ll forward it along. I’ll let you know what I hear.
Here’s what they should contain. I’m including an example of what a thank-you note might look like if I had interviewed you for a position on my team.
- Start with a simple introduction. For people who are interviewing lots of candidates, it helps them keep track of everyone.
Dear Perry, I want to thank you for the opportunity to interview today for the Junior IT Recruiter position with Anchor Point.
- Remind them why you’re a good fit—and what their “pain points” are. Companies don’t just hire people because they think you’re a fun person to be around. There’s a need that they hope you can fill. If it’s an additional position because of growth, or a replacement for someone who was (or wasn’t effectively) performing the job before, remind them of that need. Don’t just go off the job description. They probably told you why the position’s open, what’s most important to succeed in the role, and what a typical day looks like. Make sure you reiterate how your experience matches that.
It was exciting to hear (ANY CHANCE YOU HAVE TO SOUND ENTHUSIASTIC IS GOOD!) about the growth in Anchor Point’s Louisville office. I know it’s a lot for you to handle on your own, and I believe I can contribute well to the team. Between my sales experience at ABCDE Industries and my experience driving up membership of the Louisville Fluffy Dog Appreciation Society to record highs, I believe I would excel at the cold calling, relationship building, and customer service needed to succeed in this role.
- Show some excitement about THEM. They stated something that makes them unique—maybe their industry, or their culture, or their values. This makes it sound like it’s not just a form letter.
Anchor Point’s emphasis on building relationships with candidates fits nicely with the mentality I bring to my sales experience, and I’m particularly excited at the opportunity to learn more about the technology industry since I know how much it’s growing here in Louisville.
- Use this opportunity to clear up anything you feel like you could have explained better, or provide examples/samples of something you discussed. This gives you a chance to fix a time where you stumbled over your words or blanked out on an answer (which happens to the best of us). If you have a portfolio, work sample, or blog, this is the place to include it.
I know you had asked more about my strategy for organizing my time and prioritizing whom I call when. I feel like it’s hard to explain in an interview, so I’ve attached the training document I put together for the new hire I trained on this. Hopefully this clears things up.
- Reiterate your excitement and appreciation, and ask for the job.
I left our interview even more excited about the possibility of joining Anchor Point’s team. I appreciate your time and consideration and look forward to hearing about next steps. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions.
- When appropriate, you can add a personal touch. If there’s something you talked about that’s not pertinent to the job but made you stand out and seemed like a source of rapport, add that as a postscript. Just keep it professional
PS. It’s always nice to meet fellow dog lovers! Thanks for telling me about that hiking trail where you take your dog…I’ll definitely have to check it out!
Thank you notes are by far the best and most professional chance to bolster your candidacy after the interview is over. To (badly) borrow from Eminem, look. If you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize the job you wanted, with one note, would you capture it or just let it slip?
Now go write the note. You’ll thank me later.