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Interview Tips for After the Interview: Thank You Note Etiquette

Saying thank you is an important part of the interview process. You are thanking your interviewer for being gracious with their time and considering you for an important role in their organization. Thank you note mistakes can ruin your chances to get that next job. Let’s take a look at some thank you note essentials.

Thank You Notes Must be Mistake-Free

Once you commit to writing a thank you note, it needs to be perfect. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are incredibly important. Have somebody else read it over if necessary. There are no excuses for mistakes on a thank you note and an error will hurt your chances of getting the job.

Thank you Notes Must be Unique to the Recipient

Writing a generic thank you note or the same note to multiple interviewers is tacky. At best, these notes fail to connect with the reader. At worst, your interviewers will share them and realize you didn’t take the time and effort to make them unique. Don’t fall into this avoidable trap. Instead, use the thank you note to forge a bond and give one last plug for how you think your skills fit the position.

Thank You Notes Must be Concise

While thank you notes are vital, avoid notes that are too long; it shouldn’t be a book. A few short paragraphs will suffice! Consider this easy template.

1) Thanks for spending the time with me
2) I am really interested for these reasons
3) I think I am qualified for these reasons…

Also, it’s important to mention something unique about your interview, a mutual friend, mutual interests, or something humorous that may have happened during the meeting. Finally, let them know you are looking forward to next steps and possibly try to overcome any known objections in a sincere and honest fashion.

Thank You Note Form, Handwritten or E-Mail, Must Fit the Situation

Let’s say you write a perfect and personalized thank you note. Does it matter if the hiring manager doesn’t read it in time?

One of our recruiters knows a candidate who did not get a job because her competition had sent a thank you note by email and she had mailed hers; the hiring manager thought she didn’t write a note. This isn’t to say that email is always the way to go, but you should be mindful of the timing of thank you notes in your particular job search. Hand written notes are appropriate for job searches that take a long time. Email notes are appropriate when you are interviewing for a temporary role that is moving quickly. A good rule of thumb is to send an email unless you can mail out your handwritten notes within 24 hours. Some people even do both.

Saying thank you is important, but it needs to be done the right way. Make your thank you notes perfect, personalized, to the point, and be sure to send them in the right format for the particular job. These details could be just the thing to get that next job.

Photo credit: Evelyn Salt, Ph.D.

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