Writing a thank you note after a job interview is quickly becoming a lost art. Some surveys of Hiring Managers show only about 20% of candidates bother to send a quick note. In a competitive job market, an offer can be won or lost on little details. Sending a thank you note can be that little push that puts you ahead of the competition.
However, as positive as a thank you note can be, it could also be a deal breaker. Poor grammar, misspellings, sloppy writing, and even an unreadable signature may be a dagger. Here are some suggestions that might help.
Let’s face it, we’re living in a digital world (hence this web site), so it’s time to embrace electronics. While a hand written note may seem more personal, unless your handwriting is at a calligrapher’s level, email is probably the best way to go. The advantages are many:
- Easy to read
- Spell check
- Your note goes directly to the interviewer
- Your note gets to your target instantly
You should send your note the same day as the interview. Companies may interview all candidates on the same day with a hiring decision made just after the last interview. You want to make sure the interviewer gets your message as quickly as possible.
Make sure your note is brief, with no more than a couple of paragraphs. Too many words can be a turn-off. Give one or two reasons why you’re the best person for the job. This is your closing argument. Be compelling, but don’t beg. Express interest in the next step.
Once you’re done, read over what you’ve written. Use spell check, and if possible, have another person proofread your note. Once you’re confident, send it off.
Some people are taking technology a step further, by recording a thank you via webcam and sending it as an attachment to an email, or link to a social media site. This is a gutsy approach since you’ll have to rely on a flawless presentation with no visual cues from the interviewer. Remember, much of what happened during your interview was not only a verbal give and take, but also reading non-verbal cues like body language and facial expressions. If you see the interviewer looking at his watch, you immediately know your answer isn’t being well received and you change course. A webcam presentation is a journey into the unknown.
Of course, there’s always snail mail. And it may not be a bad idea to follow up your email with a hand written note. Just make sure it’s short, and readable, including your signature.
No matter how you approach a thank you note, it’s a very important part of the job search process. And in today’s world, you might be the only candidate using it to your advantage.