Interview experts will tell you that it is critical to send a thank you note after every interview. Interview experts will also tell you that few jobseekers actually do it.
A recent survey by CareerBuilder.com found that:
• Nearly 15 percent of hiring managers would reject a job candidate who neglected to send a thank you letter after the interview
• 32 percent said they would still consider the thankless prospect but that their opinion of him or her would diminish
Beyond the professionalism factor, a thank you note will make you stand out. In sales, the common wisdom is that it takes multiple sales calls, or “impressions”, to close the sale. When you are interviewing, you are selling yourself. A thank you note is another sales call – another chance to make a good impression. Employers know that if you appreciate an opportunity, you will appreciate the job.
You can use the note to reiterate your interest in the job, reinforce your strengths and add anything you may have forgotten.
You should send thank you notes to every person involved in the interview- interviewers, managers, and even administrative assistants who were especially helpful. DO NOT send group thank you’s. Personalize the note by addressing it directly to the person you want to thank.
To be really effective:
• Send it immediately – a thank you note should be sent before the hiring decision has been made, so it is best to mail it as soon as possible after the interview.
• Send paper cards. Hiring managers get tons of email so you will stand out. The difference in impact could land you the job.
• Keep it short. The hiring process is long and difficult and hiring managers will not take the time to read a multiple page letter.
• Be professional – err on the side of formality, no cute cards, use business closings such as Best regards. See The chapter on writing Thank You notes.