Interviewing Etiquette: Thank You Notes

by Don Goodman

Thank You Note

In today's electronic age, there is often some confusion as to whether you should send a thank-you note after a job interview. Some people believe it is not necessary and others think it is a nice touch. I will go beyond that and say it is a must!

Jobs have been won on the basis of a good thank you note. But it must be a good follow-up note. Although there is nothing wrong with saying "it was nice meeting you" and "I am excited about the position", that kind of message doesn't SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY a thank you letter offers. If you did your homework and CONTROLLED the interview, then you will walk out knowing exactly what they are looking for in a candidate and what the greatest challenge is that will be faced. Your thank you letter is your opportunity to emphasize your ability to overcome that challenge and deliver the results they are seeking. This little reminder can often tip the scale in your favor.

Imagine though that the interview didn't go as well as you wanted or you want to ensure that you have the competitive edge. Another smart tactic with a follow-up note is to add that you gathered a lot of information in your interview and will surely have some additional questions as you give some thought to how you would face the challenges the job presents. Add "I hope you don't mind if I give you a call in the next day or so to ask you some follow-up questions". This indicates that you are taking the job seriously and are thinking about challenges and solutions. It also gives you the chance to continue the dialog and build rapport with the key decision makers. Remember: people hire people that they like!

Here are my rules for a good interview follow-up letter. First of all, if you met multiple people, send each one a note and make sure it is different and reflects the conversation you had. I suggest you email them a note within 24 hours and then also follow-up with a mailed letter: handwritten is best. If you provide this kind of attention to detail and service, imagine what you can do for their internal/external customers? You can't lose by doing this and you have everything to gain. Bottomline: there is no downside and it might just be the reason you get the offer.

Note: These statistics appeared right after writing this and they confirm my thoughts: in a recent poll, 88% of executives said sending a thank-you note following an interview can boost a job seeker's chances and only 51% of applicants do so. They also said that 52% prefer a handwritten note and 44% prefer email. Need more proof?

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