Don’t Forget to Give Thanks

By Joe Stein

To some, it seems quaint and unnecessary to send a follow-up note with a Thank You.  Sometimes, it even seems like providing simple oral thanks after meeting is becoming a lost art for people.  One area where giving thanks is definitely not an area to be missed is during your job search.

Why a Thank You Is Important:

• People Are Busy – Hiring Managers and Recruiters have busy workdays.  A Thank You note is a nice acknowledgment for them that you appreciate the time spent.  You may even help to make their day with your note.  Recruiters and Hiring Managers notice when you don’t send a Thank You, so failure to do so may just be enough to cost you the job.  It certainly can make a negative statement about your overall interest level.

• Displays Good Manners - In a time where good manners appear to be in short supply, a thank you differentiates you in a positive way.  Whether it is an oral thanks or a more formal note, almost everyone would like to hear someone give thanks.  The thought being that someone who gives thanks is someone who will probably treat co-workers and others with respect and be a good team player.

• Provides a Nice Reminder – A note received after an interview provides a nice reminder to the Hiring Manager regarding you and will finish the interview process on a high note. It should help them remember you.

• Show Off Written Communication Skills – Your note can help to display your ability to write effectively.  Be sure to check your spelling and proofread your document.  If you are not sure you have a name spelling or title correct, then call the office in an attempt to verify.  If necessary, have a friend or family member read your Thank You notes to ensure they are error free.

Keys to an Effective Thank You Note:

• Be Prompt – Don’t wait to provide your more formal thank you.  My recommendation is to complete it that same day.  The longer you wait, the higher the risk there is that it will be forgotten.  It is also just not as impactful once a number of days have passed.  The general rule is that no more than two business days should pass before it is sent out.

•  Determine the Format – This is generally driven by the timing of filling the open position.  The times have changed over the last several years and it is widely acceptable to now send your Thank You note via e-mail.  This allows you to get your note “in the hands” of the key decision makers quicker. If you have the time available to you, then you are good to send a letter or (even better) a Thank You card.  This type of note is a nice personal touch, but you run the risk of the note not arriving in time, or sitting in a persons’ mailbox unread.  If you send a letter, you can handwrite or type it.  If you do decide to handwrite, then make sure you are legible.  I personally would only handwrite on a card and type any Thank You done in a letter format. 

• Be Personal – Each letter/note should be individually sent (no CC or even BCC if e-mail) and should specially reference the conversation that was held.  This will help cement your name and face to the Thank You. Be sure to gather the necessary business cards while at the site to send individual thank you wishes.  Don’t become overly wordy, however, as your note should not be no more than three paragraphs.

• Do More Than Give Thanks – The key to giving thanks is obviously the Thank You; however, you can do more with the note.  Use it to provide a friendly reminder to the Hiring Manager about how your qualifications match perfectly with the qualifications needed for the position.  While doing this, you can reference something that was specifically communicated or discussed in the meeting. The note can also be used to once again share your contact information and your desire for additional conversation.  Finally, make sure you express your interest level in the position and how much you enjoyed the conversations.

• Not Just the Interviewer – Don’t forget to say (or write) thanks to everyone you connect with during the process.  This can be the person who gave you the referral, all the way to whomever you have as references (and everyone in between).  Also, if you are at a Career Fair and meet a Recruiter, then send a thank you afterwards to maintain contact.

Providing a thank you is an easy way to not only be courteous, but also to give yourself an advantage over those who do not feel it is important to do this.  A few minutes of effort can really go a long way.

As always, best of luck in your job search!