by Julie Watson, Head Editor, INALJ Pennsylvania
Think thank you notes are just for your grandmother?
Think again. According to a 2011 CareerBuilder survey, 22 % of hiring managers say that thank you notes matter. Why do they matter? Neglecting to thank your interviewers shows a lack of follow-through and sends the message that you don’t really want the job.
Not sure who to thank?
People like to be appreciated, so don’t be shy. You’ll meet lots of people on interview day. If you a conversation with someone, you should thank him. Often the hiring decision is influenced by many people and you want to make an impression on everyone.
Not sure where to begin?
In general, your letter should include the following elements:
- Greeting – Show that you understand the culture of the organization by addressing the person appropriately. Was the Library Director introduced to you as Dr. Babcock? Then address her that way in your greeting. If it was a casual place where everyone was on a first-name basis, you should feel comfortable address the reference librarian by his first name. You want to show that you’ll fit in, but use your best judgment. If you’re not sure, err on the side of formality.
- Express your gratitude – People took time out of their busy schedules to meet with you, and you should thank them for that. Did certain people do extras for you like pick you up from the airport or give you directions to the library? Thank them for that as well.
- Express your continued interest in position – You showed your interest in the job when you applied and interviewed, but are you still interested? They may not have gotten a clear sense during the interview, so make sure they know. Tell them which of their projects you are excited about and how you can be asset to them.
- Address your weaknesses – Correct any mistakes you made during the interview. Did you leave something out? Now’s your chance to mention it. Inevitably you will think of a better way you could have answered a question or remember something you left out. Briefly try to clarify.
- Ask for the job! – Well maybe not flat out, but consider concluding by telling the person why you’d really like to work with her and for the organization.
- Be graceful – Thank the person again at the end of the note.
- Regards – Stick with tradition and use Regards, Sincerely, Yours Truly, All the Best, etc.
- Signature – Let the formality or casualness of you sign-off match the greeting.
Wondering if email is appropriate?
Well…that depends. Time is of the essence. By now you should have an idea of their timeline. (If they don’t tell you their timeline by the end of interview, ask before you leave). If you need to get your thanks expressed ASAP, email is the way to go. Send each person an individual email and vary what you say — they might compare!
If you have a little time, send your note through the postal mail. Act fast though and get it out within 24 hours of your interview. You can handwrite it on good quality cardstock or type a professional business letter. Personally, I think a handwritten note adds a personal touch, but you may prefer to be more businesslike and type a letter.
Also consider the nature of job you interviewed for, if it involves a lot of technology skills, email may be the best way to go. No matter what method you choose, proofread, and proofread again!
More Than One-in-Five Hiring Managers Say… – 2011 Career Builder Survey
Nothing says “Hire Mire” like “Thank You” – Infographic from CareerBuilder.com
Your Last Impression: Saying Thank You after Your Interview – by Larissa Gordon via LIScareer
Listen: In Wired World, Handwritten ‘Thank You’ Still Tops – from NPR’s All Things Considered
Five Helpful Thank-You Note Samples (and Reminders) for Job-Seekers – by Kelly Blazek on MentorPatch
Sample Thank You Letter – University of Pennsylvania Career Services
Sample Thank You Letter – Monster.com
Julie is also leading a discussion on this topic at my LinkedIn page
Originally published on 1/17/12