Someone wise once said, “Saying thanks costs nothing but gives everything.” If you’re a jobseeker who’s currently going through the interview process, it can also help you to gain everything, especially that coveted position. Sending a job interview thank you note within 24 hours of a meeting isn’t just good manners; it can be the act that ultimately secures you the role. Not only do follow-up notes serve to remind hiring managers of your exchange, but they also show prospective employers that you really want the job and that you’re the sort of polite, committed individual they want in their workforce.
In other words, follow-up notes are a must-do, and with National Thank You Note Day coming up soon on December 26th, now is a particularly good time to start thinking about how best to express gratitude in a letter or email. Because to really have an impact, you need to go beyond simply saying, “Thanks for your time”. Let’s look at how to craft post-interview correspondence that sets you apart from the competition.
1. Lay the groundwork.
You should ideally write a personalized job interview thank you note to every individual who set aside time to meet with you – if there were five people on the interview panel, best practice would dictate that you craft five separate letters. To make this easier for yourself, try to get each person’s business card at the end of the interview, or if this isn’t possible, ask your main contact for the other interviewers’ full names and email addresses before you leave.
2. Make your “thank you” sincere and specific.
It’s important that your issue of thanks feels genuine and not like something you’re just checking off a list. To make it sound sincere, don’t stop at “Thanks for meeting with me today.” Rather, pick out and mention one or two specific things you truly appreciated about the exchange. Maybe the interviewer went out of their way to make you feel relaxed. Maybe they patiently answered all of your questions at the close of the interview. By calling out these particulars, you show that you noticed, and place value on, the effort they invested in the conversation.
3. Reference a unique, memory-jogging detail.
Hiring managers typically interview a bunch of candidates for a single vacancy, and they’ll likely receive a heap of thank you notes, too. So, when your letter appears in their inbox, they might not immediately recall who you are. Remind them by making reference to a part of the discussion that was (most likely) unique to you. For example, perhaps you discovered that you share a favorite author or attended the same university. Or maybe you found yourselves chatting about an exciting new industry development for a solid 10 minutes. Allude to this in your job interview thank you note to make sure that your face pops into the recipient’s mind when they’re reading it.
4. Show that you were really listening.
Employers want to hire someone who can hit the ground running – someone who really understands what the company needs and what would be required of them as an employee. In most interviews, hiring managers will cover these sorts of details. Show that you were paying attention, and that you genuinely care about the position, by speaking to a few of the key points that the interviewer shared with you. Illustrate that you’re familiar with the goals and challenges that the organization is currently facing, and then go one step further by highlighting how your skills and experience position you well to help them achieve their objectives.
5. Reiterate your interest in the position.
In the same way that you might leave a meet-up wondering what the interviewers think of you, they might walk away wondering how you feel about the role, now that you’ve learned more details. Use your job interview thank you note to reassure prospective employers that you’re still enthusiastic about the position. Express your genuine interest by pulling out specifics about the role and company that really appeal to you, but be careful not to overdo it.
6. Invite a response.
Close your note by encouraging the recipient to contact you if they have additional questions or need extra documentation from you in order to make a decision. You could also politely request interview feedback. This way, interviewers will be pressed to follow up, and you’ll (ideally) keep the lines of communication open and your name top of mind.
7. Pay attention to formatting and tone.
In today’s digital age, it’s absolutely fine to send your job interview thank you note in email form (unless the company you’re applying to is old-school, in which case a handwritten letter would be better). Either way, make sure the tone and language you use is professional, and format the note like you would a formal business letter, with appropriate opening and closing salutations. Remember to proofread for spelling and grammatical errors, and finally, keep the note as a whole succinct – while hiring managers will appreciate a “thank you,” they probably won’t take kindly to having to wade through an epic story.
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