So, if “just do it” is the byword, I don’t have to put that much effort into it, right?
Wrong. We’ve heard of candidates on the verge of being hired getting suddenly discounted from consideration because they sent sloppy, poorly written thank-you letters, riddled with typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Writing skills are important in many jobs, and employers don’t want to have to teach candidates remedial skills. Spellcheck, proofread, and have someone else read over your letter before you send it.
Can I just borrow a sample thank-you letter from a book and adapt it to my interviewer?
Well, “borrowing” is one thing. In fact we’ve provided some sample interview thank-you letters to show what thank-you letters should look like. But be sure to borrow just the basic structure, and perhaps a few key phrases; don’t plagiarize the whole thing. We know of one employer who instantly recognized that a thank-you letter he received had been taken word for word from a text he was familiar with.
If I interview with several people, do I have to send a thank you to each one?
That’s the best approach. You can make it essentially the same letter to each, but vary at least a sentence or two to individualize the letters in case your recipients compare notes.
How soon after your interview should you send a thank-you?
The rule of thumb is to send it within 24 hours of the interview.
Should I bother with a thank-you note if I know the hiring decision will probably be made sooner than I can mail a thank-you letter?
The key word here is “mail.” If mail is too slow for the hiring decision, find a faster way: e-mail, fax, air-express, or hand-delivery. In fact, if the interview was local, hand-delivery of the thank-you letter can make a super impression.
What if I do receive an offer faster than I can send a thank you?
Send it anyway to thank the employer for the interview and the offer. Your letter can also accept or decline the offer. An acceptance letter can re-state your understanding or the terms of the offer (salary, benefits, vacations days, starting date, paid training, etc.); that way any discrepancies can be red-flagged by the employer and straightened out before you start.
Is there anything you can do to make an even better impression with your thank you?
Find a way to personalize it. If you notice that the interviewer collects elephant figurines, for example, write your thank-you note on a notecard with an elephant picture on it. Or send a clipping of an article you think the interviewer would be interested in.