by Lisa McGrimmon
A post interview thank you letter sent after your interview can be an extremely effective and simple tool to help you stand out from the crowd.
Sending a thank you note after a job interview makes a great impression. Surprisingly few people actually send one, so it is an extremely easy way to show that you will go one step beyond the average person to do a great job.
If the employer has decided you're not a good fit for the position after the interview, sending a thank you note will likely not change that decision.
On the other hand, if there's a close decision to be made between you and another candidate, sending a thank you note can be just enough to give you the extra edge over your competition.
Since you never know how you compare with the competition at this stage of the hiring process, it's always wise to take this extra step and send a thank you letter.
6 tips for writing a post-interview thank you letter that makes a great impression:
1. Ensure the letter is sincere. Avoid form letters.
Write your thank you note immediately after your interview, so you'll remember a couple of specific things you discussed with the employer that you can comment on in the note.
Do not write a generic thank you note before the interview and drop it off with the receptionist before you leave. You may think you're being efficient, but a generic interview thank you note will come across as being completely insincere and is unlikely to help you make a great impression.
You can't write a sincere thank you note about an interview before the interview has happened. You won't be able to be specific and make the best impression possible.
Which brings us to tip number 2.
2. Mention something specific about your interview in the letter.
In the note, mention something specific and positive about the company or the job that was discussed in the interview. It's smart to mention something you admire about the company, or a specific way in which you think you and the company are a good fit that was specifically discussed in the interview.
A personal letter can go a long way to making a good impression.
3. Do not mention any perceived negatives that may have come up during the interview.
Job seekers are often tempted to try to use a post-interview thank you note to explain issues they felt were negative in the job interview. This tactic is a mistake.
Do not mention or apologize for any perceived negatives that may have come up during the interview. If you didn't feel completely comfortable with your answer to a question, do not bring it up again in the thank you letter. You'd only remind the employer of the issue.
Besides, the employer may have been perfectly satisfied with your answer. It's typical to be highly self-critical about your performance in a job interview. Things you felt didn't go well might have been just fine for the interviewer. The best strategy when writing a thank you note is to focus on the positives.
4. If you forgot to mention an important relevant skill in the interview, you can briefly mention that in the thank you letter.
Of course, ideally, you will have described all of your most essential skills in the job interview. However, it's easy enough to miss something when you're nervous.
If you get home from your job interview and realize there's some key skill or experience you didn't highlight during the job interview, you can mention it briefly in your thank you note.
Imagine you're at an interview for a job at ABC Company (original, I know!)
During the interview, the employer briefly mentioned the company was launching a new project that involved online education. You have experience with online education programs, but you didn't highlight it on your resume because that wasn't a key aspect of the job you're interviewing for, and you didn't get a chance to discuss your experience in the interview before the employer moved on to a new topic.
In your thank you note, you could write something like:
"I was interested to hear your company has plans to launch an online education initiative. I was involved in developing online training programs when I worked at XYZ Company and would welcome an opportunity to support ABC Company in developing their online learning program."
5. Send your thank you letter by email, or hand deliver it.
People are sometimes surprised when I mention this tip. They feel that sending the note through the regular mail is more appropriate because it is more formal.
The problem with sending a thank you note through the regular mail is that it will not arrive in time to influence the employer's hiring decision. The employer could be making a decision within the next day or two following the interview, so your interview thank you note must arrive the next business day at the latest.
Sending your note by email or hand delivering it (when appropriate) will ensure that the letter arrives in time to influence the hiring decision.
6. Ask for the interviewer's business card before you leave the interview.
One question you should always ask at the end of a job interview is, "May I have your business card?"
If you're going to send a thank you note after your job interview, you'll need the correct spelling of the interviewer's full name, his or her email address, and possibly other contact information. If you have a business card, you'll have all of the information you need.
Sending an interview thank you letter after a job interview is an extremely simple and effective way to add to the employer's interest in you as a potential employee.
It's amazing to me that most people don't bother to use this job search strategy.
I've heard plenty of stories from employers who have been positively influenced by a well written, sincere interview thank you note. There's really no good reason to fail to use this proven job search strategy.
If you're not sure how to write a post-interview thank you letter, check out this sample thank you note.