Any time gifts are exchanged, I flash back to my parents’ familiar mantra: Now, what do you say? Did you say thank you?
To some extent, email communication has made the handwritten note obsolete. But one area of our lives that we should not forget proper etiquette is the job search. It is imperative that job seekers send a thank you note to potential employers after every interview to prove their interest in the position, their follow-through, and – most importantly – their good manners.
Why is the Thank You Note Important?
Sending a thank you note is a courteous and respectful way to emphasize your interest in an open position. Let’s face it: The job market can be challenging. Job seekers face stronger competition from prospective candidates who might have a similar or equal educational background, experiences, and areas of expertise. How do hiring managers determine whom to invite in for an interview – or to whom to offer that coveted job?
Enter the thank you note, a job seeker’s leg up on the competition. Sending a hiring manager a thank you note is critical to differentiating yourself after the interview. One main objective of the thank you note is to emphasize your interest in the job, deliver another positive impression to the interviewer, and finally, to take one last chance to reinforce your skill set and explain why you are a good fit for the company.
Can’t I Send an Email? Why Buy a Stamp?
Your thank you note will stand out from an email and may position you as an above-average candidate. Human resource specialists, recruiters, headhunters, company interviewers, and others suggest that even in this age of technology and social media, a hand-written and personal thank you note is key. A note with the right words, substance, and style is different from an email because it shows personality and communicates to potential employers that you, as a job seeker, are willing to put in more effort to score the perfect job.
In the age of email, one way to make sure that you’re being as responsive as possible after an interview is to correspond with the company in a way that approximated the manner in which they contacted you. For example, if the company initially contacted you via email, then you should send a short thank-you email after your interview to follow up on any actionable items or tasks you discussed with the hiring manager. But, be sure to also send a mailed, handwritten thank you note as well.
What to Say, What to Say . . .
Consider that your thank you note is a final opportunity to emphasize how your skill set matches with the potential employer’s expectations, reiterate the key points from your interview, and clarify any weak or shaky responses. In drafting your thank you note, keep it short and professional. Remember that the note is a representation of you in several ways. Interviewers read thank you notes for not only what they say, but also for what they don’t say.
Remember your A, B, Cs: Be Accurate, Brief, and Courteous. Indicate the specific role or position that you interviewed for, mention a highlight of the interview that you know the interviewer should remember, clarify any information that the interviewer requested, and then take the opportunity to state, in no uncertain terms, that you are perfect for the job, and explain why. A prompt and grammatically accurate thank you letter may be a powerful way to emphasize your genuine enthusiasm and interest in the position.
The thank you note never goes out of style. For some job seekers, it can mean the difference between getting the second interview (or even being offered the job), or being discounted from an increasingly competitive hiring process. Make sure that you send a thank you note immediately after the interview, and that it is personal, brief, and well-written.
Did you say thank you after your most recent job interview?