By Joe Stein
Perhaps it is just the change of societal norms, but there seems to be a belief that sending your Interviewer a thank you note after an interview, is something that is “out” and no longer needed. While the method may have changed from the delayed response of a mailed card or letter to an e-mail, sending a thank you is still an expected practice for a Job Seeker. The change in method, as noted above, was not driven by a lack of importance in the thank you, but rather symbolic of how fast paced work and hiring decisions can be in 2016.
Some Job Seekers struggle with writing a thank you note; they seem to be at a loss regarding what to write beyond giving thanks. Like most job search documents, you can pretty easily follow a standard template and add a touch of personalization to make the document feel customized.
Of course, the best written thank you e-mail is irrelevant if you do not have a person to send it to. So, make sure to obtain the e-mail addresses from everyone you speak to when you interview. They will almost always be happy to provide, and if you miss someone, just call the front-desk receptionist and explain your situation. I am sure she/he will assist you (especially if you made a point to be polite and respectful to them). If you do speak to multiple people, then send separate thank you notes to each, rather than one “batch” e-mail for distribution. Consider sending a thank you e-mail to everyone you spent time with, not just those you interviewed with. If you received a tour from someone or spent time with the Front Desk Receptionist, consider sending them a thank you, also. Thank you notes can be written well fairly quickly and with the method of e-mail, no longer even has to cost you the price of a stamp.
A good thank you e-mail should be short and to-the-point. Don’t make the reader re-read your work history, etc. Since this is a written document that will be going to others, make sure that it is free from grammatical or typographical errors. A thank you e-mail typically has four basic parts to it.
1. A “Thank You” – Thank the specific person for meeting with you (note when and for what position, in case it is a person who does a large number of interviews). Reference how you appreciate the time spent with you, out of what had to be a very busy day.
2. Make a Tie to the Conversation – Write a couple of sentences referencing the conversation held with this person and something important that you pulled from it. This is an opportunity to add a little customization to the e-mail. By doing this, you want to make a point with the Interviewer that the conversation was impactful and beneficial to you. This not only reinforces your thank you, but also serves to provide some recognition to this person.
3. Restate Why You Should Be Hired – State briefly that you feel you are a perfect fit for the role you interviewed for and that you are very interested in the role. If there was something that was emphasized greatly in the interviews, weave into the thank you how you are skilled or experienced in that area (if you truly are). There have been several times, in my career that I finished an interview with a candidate and I was not really sure how interested they were in the position. It was not until I received and read the thank you note (and sighed some relief) I found that the feeling was mutual.
4. Thank You & Next Steps – Close by reiterating your thank you and appreciation for the time spent with you. Finish by writing that you look forward to the next step in the process, provide (again) your phone number, and state that you are happy to make yourself available if he/she has any further questions.
I am not sure if anyone ever actually landed a position because they wrote a good thank you e-mail, but when considered as one piece of an overall process, it can prove important. I can tell you from experience as a HR Professional that not writing a thank you can leave a negative impression. Besides, when something is as easy and non-time-consuming as a quick thank you e-mail…why not do it? Finally, it is about being polite and the world needs more of that.