Today is Q&A Wednesday and the question reads, ‘Is it still necessary to write a thank you note after an interview?’ So, let’s dive into to the answer!
Millions of job interviews occur each year, and applicants fight hard to get the job in each one. Hundreds of applicants literally fight each other for the same job, each one trying outdo the next one. Only the applicant with the best “closing act” will win the job, so every trick and effort makes a difference. Some people still believe in the “thank you” letter as a way of sealing the deal if they didn’t seal it at the end of the interview. The following contains some information on the positives and negatives of the “thank you” note.
Why a “Thank You” Note Is Important
A “thank you” note is important for a number of reasons. First, it sets the one applicant apart from the others. Secondly, it places an invisible refresher in the prospective employer’s mind. Interviewers and hiring managers have to see so many people for each job requisition that they need mental refreshers. The “thank you” note could be just the right reminder that the interviewer needs.
Lori Kleiman, an HR Consultant stated in an interview with The Business News Daily the following: “I can tell you that only about 20 percent of the candidates send one, and it really brings those candidates to the top of the pile.”
The Benefits of a “Thank You” Note
The main benefit that the “thank you” note gives the candidate is a boosted spot in the prospective employer’s mind. That person may have been on the bottom of the list previously, but the “thank you” note caused an immediate upward boost. It lets the prospective employer know that the applicant is determined and motivated to win the job position. It shows effort and assertiveness. A business owner or supervisor may hire a person based on determination alone. The “thank you” note can be a powerful weapon when people use it accordingly.
Common “Thank You” Note Errors
A “thank you” letter can be a disaster and sabotage a person’s job if that person does not do it right. Many people make one or several of the five biggest “thank you” mistakes. The first big mistake is not fixing grammatical and spelling errors. Nothing turns off a potential employer faster than a “thank you” letter that is riddled with errors. Resumes, cover letters and “thank you” letters must be as close to flawless as possible because they reveal the candidate’s level of care and professionalism. All people who write letters are human, but they must pay careful attention when they are working on a letter that can sway the potential employer one way or the other.
Another common mistake that people make is that they write too much. A “thank you” letter is not a novel or an autobiography. It is a concise note that tells the potential employer that the applicant appreciates the self-marketing opportunity the potential employer gave, and the applicant is still interested and eager to start working. A “thank you” note should never be several pages long. In fact, it should not be a page long. The idea is for the person to make a quick impression on the employer’s mind and leave the employer wanting more.
“Thank you” notes should not be too personal either. The gist of the message should be “thank you” and “I hope to hear from you soon.” Nevertheless, many job applicants end up getting bumped from the “maybe” list because they went too far.
Timing is another way that people foul their “thank you” letters. The candidate has to have the timing just right for it to be effective. It is not good to send a “thank you” note too soon, like having one already written to give to the employer as they are leaving the interview. You can email a thank you within 24-hours after leaving the interview. You should send a letter one to two days after the interview and not any later than that. On the flip side, the candidate should not wait until a week later when the employer has probably already chosen someone else. Twenty-four to forty-eight hours past the interview is just the perfect amount of time for the information to grab hold of the prospective employer and move that organization in a positive direction.
Additionally, I’d encourage you to send both an email and a nice fold-over, handwritten card to cover your bases. Include a personal business card in the handwritten card that includes your name, email, and best contact phone number to reach you along with where the employer can see more evidence of your thought leadership and expertise on social media. VistaPrint and MooCards are both great places to get business cards for an inexpensive price.
The Right Way to Write a “Thank You” Note
The best “thank you” notes are concise and direct. A good note should be about half a page long with an attention-grabbing first paragraph. Three paragraphs are more than enough to get the point across to the potential employer. The first paragraph should explain to the employer that the individual:
- Enjoyed speaking with the potential employer
- Still has an interest in the position
- Hopes to hear from the employer soon
The person can also add information that positions him or herself as the best fit that he or she might have forgotten during the interview. The note should close with an appreciative effort. An applicant should fair well by following the previously mentioned tips.