Thanks! 22 Job Interview Thank You Note Tips

20 july 2016

Interviewing for your dream job? A thank-you note can mean the difference between receiving an offer and facing rejection. Thank-you notes may seem like a silly formality, but sending one seriously impresses employers

"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," said Lori Kleiman, a human resources consultant.

But you can't just send any generic thank-you note and expect success. A good thank-you note gives you the opportunity to assert yourself as the best candidate for the job, fix any mistakes you may have made during the interview, expand your responses to important questions, and show your enthusiasm for the position. And, even if you don't wind up getting the job, sending a thank-you note can be a great way to keep doors open for future employment. 

Ready to wow your interviewers? Business News Daily asked experts to weigh in on how to write the perfect thank-you note.

Take notes

"Be sure to take notes during the interview so that you can personalize the thank-you note. Include a tidbit from your conversation that you know will help the interviewer remember who you are, and use the thank-you note to remind the interviewer why you are a good fit for the position."

Don't write it ahead of time

"Do not prewrite the thank-you note before the interview. I've seen candidates interview and, at the end of the interview, hand the manager a thank-you note. Make it a genuine note."

Use the right kind of card

"You should send a fold-over note card, not use a correspondence card, which is a one-piece, heavy-stock card, usually accompanied with the sender's name printed across the top of the card. These cards are used for short notes and invitations."

Cover your bases

"In today's market, send both [an email and a mailed note]. The email gets there fast, in case the employer is making a decision right away. The snail-mail thank-you letter leaves a lasting impression that lingers longer. How you follow up with the interviewer shows the interviewer how you will communicate with co-workers, clients and other stakeholders, if you are hired. The snail-mail thank you showcases your writing and shows you will make the extra effort."

Make it personal

"Mention something that the interviewer spoke about personally that was important to them (fishing, golf, kids, etc.) and possibly some of the business initiatives that they brought up. It makes the note more meaningful."

Don't leave anyone out

"Get business cards from everyone you talk to, and don't forget to include the administrative assistant or secretary and/or person getting you water or coffee."

But don't thank everyone at once

"Write a thank-you note to each person with whom you interviewed, and make them unique. Besides thanking each of them for their time, include a reference to a part of the specific conversation you had with them."

Show your value

"Don't just thank your interviewer for the time they spent. Provide additional value by giving more details about why the employer should hire you. Be sure you use specific examples [of how] your past performance [makes you a] great candidate for this new job."

Include relevant content

"Sending a link to an article, video or podcast that complements the interview conversation impresses many interviewers."

Attach your résumé

"Be sure to express your interest in being considered for the specific position you interviewed for. Your letter should convey enthusiasm, intelligence and professionalism. Lastly, attach a copy of your résumé."

Slip in your business card

"Immediately after any meeting, our best practice is to send a personalized thank-you email to every person you met with. Following that, write a thank-you card, stick your business card inside and send it out ASAP."

Fix any interview mistakes

"Admit to an imperfection [and say] something like this: 'I wasn't completely satisfied with my answer to your question concerning my management style, and I'd like to take this opportunity to briefly readdress it.' This can be an effective way to redo an interview question that you mucked up during the actual interview."

Say what you wish you'd said

"Many candidates report that after they leave the interview, they think of all the other things they could have said during the meeting. Rather than labeling this a liability, turn it into an asset by discussing these points in the thank-you letter, and remind the reader of your ability to produce similar results for their organization."

Act like you already got the job

"My advice is to send them a proposal of the things you will accomplish in your first 90 days on the job. In other words, start working before you even get hired. Do not just say, 'Thanks for your time; I'm really excited, blah blah blah.' Everyone says that. Your goal is to stand out and be unique while showing your value. What better way to do that than to explain to the hiring manager exactly how you will do your job and do it well?"

Don't act overly excited

"You may be very excited and enthusiastic following a job interview, but you don't overdo it when you express it in the thank-you note. Writing something like, 'I would LOVE to work with you!!!' is a bit too much."

Proofread carefully

"Nothing turns off a recruiter more than finding typos in a cover letter or follow-up note, especially if they [the letters] are brief. The thinking is, if you can't write properly in a short note, you must be a disaster in a long document."

Practice on separate paper

"Write it out first. Take a piece of paper and write down exactly what you want to say. Keep it simple, thank them for their time, express interest in the job, mention an item that came up during the interview. If there is room, include a self-promotional reaffirmation of your qualifications versus what they are looking for. Make sure everything you want to say fits into the interior of the card. If it doesn't, edit until it does." 

Use it to follow up

"Let's say, for [the] sake of argument, that, at the end of the interview, the interviewer tells the candidate that she can expect a decision within two weeks. Two weeks pass, and no news. The candidate should wait a third week and then send what I call a 'thank-you rejection letter.' After three weeks, the candidate should write, 'Thank you again for interviewing me for the position. I realize you have probably decided to go with another candidate. While I am naturally disappointed, I do appreciate having had the opportunity to interview and look forward to seeing you in the future. Best wishes.'" 

Use it to soften rejection

"If you don't want the job, still send a thank-you note. Let them know why you're declining the job and what job would be a good fit. Things could change, and they might refer you to someone else. If they tell you they hired someone else, thank them for letting you know, and let them know you're still interested in a career with their company. Do not ask why you didn't get the job, which could put them on the defensive and make them uncomfortable. Always leave the door open for future possibilities." 

Send one even if you didn't get the job

"If they informed you that you won't be getting this job, send a thank-you note, and ask if there are other positions they recommend you apply for. Keep selling your strengths!"

Ask what's next before you send it

"It is important to ask, 'What is the next step in the process?' to determine the best timing. If the leaders indicate a decision to bring back a candidate for another interview or [that a] hire is going to be made later that day or the next morning, candidates have two options: send an email following the meeting, or write a handwritten note and hand deliver [it] to the office to ensure it is there prior to the decision making." 

Send two versions

"Send both an electronic version — immediately following the interview — and a handwritten thank you within 24 hours."