You have just finished your interview…now what? You know you should write a Thank You note but what should you say?
Before You Leave the Interview…
Actually, let’s step back a second. Before you leave the interview you must ask a couple of really important questions!
1. What are the next steps in the process
2. What is your time-frame and if I don’t hear from you by then what is the best way for me to follow up with you?
These questions serve a couple of purposes. First, asking these questions show you are interested in the job and will take accountability for following up. Second, you now know when you should follow up and you won’t feel like a pest because you’ve gotten their permission!
The Thank You
The interview is a business transaction. It isn’t a birthday party, bridal shower or social event. That is why I believe your Thank You should be in the form of a letter with three paragraphs (just like your cover letter). Sure, one could make the argument for a handwritten note. I hear it a lot. But I am taking a stand on this. You have more to say than just “thank you” and that may be difficult to do in a handwritten note.
Paragraph 1: This explains why you are writing…thank you.
Paragraph 2: This explains how your specific skills are a match for the job and how you will add value to their organization.
This might also be an opportunity to address any of your areas of weakness during the interview or to improve upon an answer you gave during the interview.
Paragraph 3: This emphasizes your gratitude for the opportunity and states when YOU will be following up.
If you can accomplish this in a handwritten note, be my guest!
The Purpose of Your Letter
There is more than one reason you are writing this letter. You are being polite, yes. But above and beyond that, this is part of the selling process. You are convincing them that you are the right candidate. Additionally, sending a thank you helps make you memorable. Believe it or not, not everyone sends a thank you. When the organization is interviewing lots of people, it is very easy for them to mix candidates up or forget specifics. Your thank you helps remind them who you are!
Snail Mail vs. E Mail?
You know what their time frame is for the next steps so let that determine the sense of urgency and how you decide to deliver your Thank You. It isn’t about which is easier for you. Think about the impression you will be making on the other person.
Sometimes job seekers want to do both. If that is the case, then make the email different from the letter. Email, by definition, is shorter and a bit less formal. Go ahead and send a well crafted email thanking the interviewer(s) for their time and indicate that you have mailed them a letter as well.
- Use formal business letter heading and closing
- Don’t make this a cut and paste template.
- Customize your message and details for each and every interview and interviewer.
- Be as specific as possible when it comes to talking about how your skills/qualifications match the job and why that is of value to the organization.
- Interject the right tone/personality to fit the organizational culture and personality of the person interviewing you.
Quintessential Careers has a vast collection of Sample Job Interview and Career Thank You letters. I recommend you check them out!