Technology will continue to change the way hiring managers attract and screen prospective employees, but there are some things that stand the test of time, like the importance of a simple thank-you note after your interview.
It’s not just a polite gesture. A thank-you note can be the difference between landing the job or continuing your search.
3 reasons why you should always send a post-interview thank-you note:
- It keeps you top of mind with your interviewer.
- It provides you with another opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position.
- It adds a personal touch and makes a good impression.
There are several factors to keep in mind when writing an effective message.
That’s why we’ve put together a guide to help you get started.
Following this simple guide can help you get closer to landing that job.
Post-interview thank-you note best practices
When putting together a follow-up message, it’s important to be mindful of what you say—and how you say it.
Below we break this down for you.
How to Compose an Effective Thank-You Message
1. Personalize your message.
It’s easy to spot a generic message. Incorporate something specific from your interview: something your interviewer shared, an interesting takeaway, or a key topic that was discussed.
Be sure to reference the title of the position you interviewed for, express your interest in the opportunity and include your contact information. And of course, don’t forget to say, “thank you”!
2. Include as many names as possible.
Aside from including your interviewer’s name, try to acknowledge all the people you spoke with in your thank-you message. If you can remember the name of the receptionist, you’ll definitely earn some bonus points!
3. Mention anything you forgot to say in person.
It’s natural for people to forget to mention things they really wanted to highlight in an interview—no matter how many times you told yourself not to forget.
A thank-you note is your chance to say anything you wish you’d said. You don’t want your message to be too long, but don’t waste this golden opportunity.
4. Reiterate your interest in the job.
Thanking the interviewer for their time is polite, but remember: your goal is landing the job. Close your message by expressing your interest in the position once more.
Check the thank-you message for any misspellings or grammatical errors.
You’ve made it this far… don’t let a spelling error be the reason you don’t get the job! Treat your thank-you note with the same meticulousness that you would a resume or cover letter.
How to Decide Between an Email or a Handwritten Thank-You Note
Now that you know how to compose a great thank-you message, you need to ask yourself whether you should send a handwritten note or an email.
Yes, handwritten notes are still a thing. But they may not apply to everyone. There might even be a situation when sending both is a good idea.
Below we share some scenarios where one format may make more sense than the other.
When to Send a Post-Interview Email
1. The interview or industry is high-tech.
Handwritten thank-you notes are a nice touch after an in-person meeting. If yours was a phone or video interview, send a thank-you email. It’s probably preferred. A handwritten note to a high-tech company could give the impression that you’re out of touch or not the right fit for that industry or company culture.
2. You know the hiring manager is making a decision fast.
Sometimes you just don’t have enough time to get a handwritten thank-you note in front of a hiring manager. Emails make time-sensitive communication a non-issue because they are immediate. As soon as you click “send” on an email, it lands in the recipient’s inbox.
3. The interviewer expressed that email was preferred.
It’s important to keep your audience in mind when deciding whether to send an email or a handwritten note.
While a handwritten note gives a human touch, it might not be the right approach for every hiring manager. For example, if your interviewer mentioned that email was the best way to contact them, they may misinterpret your gesture as a sign that you weren’t paying attention.
When to Send a Post-Interview Handwritten Note
1. You want to stand out from other applicants.
Today’s world is digital. However, emails, while efficient, don’t particularly stand out. A nice letter or thank-you card is less common, which makes for a pleasant surprise. And because it’s not as easy or as quick as an email, the hiring manager will know that you spent time and effort in sending the message.
2. You know you have time.
The interviewer may have shared that they were planning to make a hiring decision by the end of the week, or later. If you know that you have a few days, a handwritten note is a great idea.
That said, don’t wait to send a thank-you card. Ideally, your interviewer should receive the thank-you note a few days after the interview.
3. Your penmanship is neat and easy to read.
The whole purpose of sending a thank-you note is to make a positive impression, express your gratitude for the interviewer’s time, and hopefully stand out among other applicants.
But if no one can read your handwriting, your good intentions may inadvertently leave a negative impression. Opt for a thank-you email instead if you know your handwriting is difficult to read.
To add another option, sometimes it may be beneficial to send both.
When to Consider Both a Post-Interview Email AND a Handwritten Note
You want to stay top of mind longer.
Interviewers typically meet with multiple applicants over the course of several days, or weeks, depending on the position. Sending both an email and a handwritten note after your interview helps keep your name on their radar longer. An email is an easy way to demonstrate immediate interest and follow-through. A handwritten note is a nice, personal touch, and piggybacking it to an email has the added benefit of bringing your name back to the forefront a few days later.
Whatever thank-you format you decide upon, make sure that it is clear and well-crafted.
At the end of the day, the format is up to you. What’s important is that you make the gesture and follow up with a thank-you note after your interview.
If you need help with your job search, consider partnering with a staffing firm. In addition to offering employment support, they can help you with your resume and share tips and best practices for post-interview follow up.
And if you’re looking for more information about job-searching best practices, check out the guides below.
- The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Stand-Out Resume
- The Ultimate Guide to an Effective Cover Letter
- The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Phone Interview
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