A well-crafted thank you note after an interview could be the tie-breaker that sets you apart from your competition and helps you get the job. If you’re even remotely interested in the position, I strongly encourage sending a note. While it’s standard interview advice, most applicants still skip this step for some reason. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re crafting a note to the interview team…
Keep it professional
When you’re writing your thank you note, it might feel like you’ve made a great connection with the hiring manager, however, please keep in mind that this person isn’t your friend, and they aren’t even your boss yet, so maintain a professional tone and make sure you do everything possible to eliminate spelling and grammatical errors. Take the time to read it over before you send it. Do your best to ensure you’ve spelled the person’s name right – especially if you told the panel all about how you have great attention to detail!
You can find formulaic thank you note templates all over the internet, but the most memorable letters I have received from candidates were personalised. They spoke directly to me and mentioned specifics about our interaction that they appreciated. These thank you notes showed me that the candidate was paying close attention to what was happening in the interview and they felt much more genuine.
Granted, individualised thank you notes to a large interview panel can be tricky. You may need to do some sleuthing to collect everyone’s email addresses. First, try asking for their business cards at the end of the interview. It’s okay to tell them that you want to follow-up with a thank you note, provided you be sure to do so. If that doesn’t work, you can try to find them on LinkedIn and send the message that way instead. If you can’t get the emails to send a personalised thank you note, send one overall thank you to the team.
Send it within 24 hours
In my experience, 95% of the thank you notes I have received from candidates were via email. While email is a bit less informal than a handwritten note, it is much faster than sending it through the mail. When you’re sending a thank you note, speed is important. Make every effort to send it within 24 hours of the interview. At this stage in the hiring process, they’re looking to move quickly. They’ll make a decision soon after the last candidate, leaving a short window to influence their decision. To make things easier on yourself, start writing the thank you note before the interview. By having it written ahead of time, you’re not starting with a blank slate. You can fill in the specific details afterward and send it off quickly. Just be sure to give it a final proof before sending!
Ask for feedback
If you don’t take the time to ask for feedback on the interview thank you note, you’re missing a tremendous opportunity. First of all, when you ask for feedback, it shows the hiring manager that not only are you open to constructive feedback, but you seek it out. Know that in a lot of cases employers have pretty explicit policies about providing feedback, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking. Without asking, you won’t have any information on improvement.