Nailing the Interview Process, Part 7: Sending Thank-You Notes
Some job seekers believe the interview is over once they’ve shaken the interviewer’s hand and left the room.
“That went well,” they think. “Now, it’s time to wait for the decision.”
Perhaps it did go well, but perhaps one or two other candidates also had stellar interviews. Perhaps those other candidates followed up on their interviews with thoughtful thank-you notes.
So when is the interview really over? Not until you’ve sent a follow-up note.
If you don’t believe sending a follow-up note is important, you should know that:
- 22 percent of employers are less likely to hire you if you don’t send a follow-up note;
- 86 percent of employers will take your lack of a note to mean you don’t follow through on things;
- and 56 percent of employers will assume you aren’t that serious about the job.
If you’re wondering how to go about following up, start by considering to whom you’ll send your note and how you’ll send it.
Who Gets a Thank-You Note?
If you’re interviewed by five people, how many unique follow-up notes should you send? “Five” is the correct answer here. Take the time to write a unique follow-up to everyone with whom you interview.
How Do You Send Your Note?
You can send your follow-up note via email or hard copy. This depends on your preference and the industry. For example, someone in tech may prefer an email, whereas someone in marketing may prefer a thank-you card.
According to the article linked above, 89 percent of interviewers say it’s acceptable to send a thank-you note via email. My suggestion is to send two notes: an email immediately following the interview and a professional card a week later.
What Goes in Your Note?
1. Show Your Gratitude
Start by thanking the interviewers for the time they took to meet with you. After all, they’re busy folks, and they probably don’t enjoy interviewing people.
2. Reiterate You’re the Right Person for the Job
Explain again how your skills, experience, and accomplishments are relevant to the role and make you a good fit.
3. Cite Some Interesting Points Made During the Interview
Each person with whom you spoke mentioned something of interest or asked a pertinent question. Impress them with your listening skills by revisiting those interesting points.
4. Do Some Damage Control
How many candidates wish they could elaborate more on an answer or fix some mistake they made? Now’s your chance. Sure, your belated corrective action may be of little consequence, but what do you have to lose? Besides, interviewers understand you were under a great deal of pressure at the time.
5. Suggest a Solution to a Problem
During the course of the interview, you likely learned about a problem the company is facing. If you have a possible solution to this problem, mention it in your follow-up note or in a more extensive proposal sent along with the note. One of my clients is convinced she landed a previous job because she sent a four-page proposal on how to solve a problem the company had mentioned during the course of the interview.
6. Assert You Want the Job
You told the interviewer(s) you want the job. Reiterate this sentiment by stating it in you follow-up note. This can be as simple as asking about next steps, which shows your enthusiasm for and sincere interest in the position.
You’ve made it this far in the process. You’ve:
- mentally prepared yourself;
- come to know yourself;
- done your research;
- made a good first impression;
- and answered the difficult questions.
It would be a shame to blow it now by not following up.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.