Does the idea of sending a follow-up letter after an interview seem a bit old-fashioned? Maybe so, but it's still an essential step in the hiring process. The thank you letter gives you another chance to show why you're an excellent fit for the job. It also indicates you're the type of professional, courteous person that an employer would want on its team.
Get in there and ace that interview – then close the deal with a well-crafted thank you note.
Understand the power of the follow-up thank you letter after an interview
Jessica Liebman sparked Twitter outrage recently when she posted: "I've been hiring people for ten years, and I still swear by a simple rule: If someone doesn't send a thank you email, don't hire them." (Check out her full Business Insider article for more information.)
Liebman offered two reasons for her rule:
- No thank you note indicates the person isn't interested in getting the job.
- A thank you note shows the candidate wants the job and has good manners.
Many on Twitter accused her of playing gatekeeper by imposing irrelevant, antiquated rules. However, a short follow-up thank you letter after an interview is still the best way to pitch yourself one more time. After all, you've invested a lot of time crafting the perfect cover letter and resume and impressed them at the interview. Why not seal the deal with the perfect thank you note?
Accountemps surveyed more than 300 human resources managers and found that 22 percent considered an interview follow-up letter very helpful, while 58 percent thought them to be somewhat useful. Only 8 percent claimed they weren't beneficial at all. Interestingly, only 24 percent of those surveyed reported receiving thank you letters after an interview.
A follow-up thank you letter after interviewing can set you apart from the sea of recent graduates vying for entry-level positions. The more competitive the job is, the more competitive you need to be. If you and another candidate are neck and neck and they neglect to send a follow-up letter, that may help you pull out the win.
Write the note quickly, but don't hit "send" just yet
The best time to start thinking about the thank you letter is during your interview or immediately after leaving. As you depart, thank your interviewer for the opportunity and be sure to take a business card, or ask for an email address, if you don't already have it.
Write a thank you note as soon as possible, so you don't forget pertinent points. Before hitting "send," give your note a quick edit, and decide whether you really want the job.
The handwritten thank you note vs. the short thank you email after an interview
While sending a handwritten thank you note after an interview isn't a bad idea, an email is better because it's faster. Send a handwritten note if you'd like, but first send a short thank you email within 24 hours, as they may make a decision before your snail mail arrives.
Another option is using an online stationery service like Paperless Post, particularly if you think the interviewer would appreciate this extra step. Choose a design that's simple and professional. You might want to consider a straightforward style that complements the design of your resume.
Have a strategy when writing a thank you note:
- Keep it short. Three to four sentences is enough. Thank them for their time and include a sentence or two about what you learned in the interview, why you want the job and why you are the perfect candidate.
- Send one to each interviewer. It's appropriate to send a thank you letter to everyone who interviewed you during the process.
- Make it formal. Use salutations and closings such as "Dear John" or "Dear Mr. Jones" and close with "Sincerely."
- Keep it personal. Our Thank You Letter Samples are great tools to get you started. Just make sure you include information specific to the interviewer and job opening.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. Spellcheck, print the thank you letter out and have someone else read it to avoid grammatical or spelling errors.
If you're applying to jobs but not landing any interviews, check out our Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder. These tools will help you make a polished presentation that will have job seekers taking notice and reaching out to you.