After the Interview: Everything You Need to Know About Writing the Perfect Thank You

After the Interview: Everything You Need to Know About Writing the Perfect Thank You

Whether you just nailed your phone interview with a recruiter, or your panel interview with a potential employer onsite, your next step is a flawless thank you note. And there are no caveats or exceptions; you need to follow up with every team member you interviewed within a timely manner. In fact, hiring managers and HR departments alike sometimes filter out candidates who don’t send them as being less organized or invested.

Not convinced? Read this recent article from a hiring manager who will not bring on a team member who hasn’t emailed a thank you note. Twitter erupted over the post from Jessica Liebman, the managing editor of Insider Inc. who shared that sending a follow-up shows the candidate wants the job and demonstrates their on-the-job skills before the job.

Your note is the final box to check after your interview. And as Liebman says, “The thank-you email is a mark for the good-egg column.”

Twitter uproar or not, decision makers agree. In fact, according to a survey by CareerBuilder, almost a third of hiring managers think less of candidates who do not send a thank you note.

Now that we have your attention, here are five musts for sending out a letter that leaves an impression and helps you stand out from the other applicants:

1) Make it prompt.

Time is of the essence. You’ll want to send your note out to interviewers while your discussion is still fresh in their mind (and yours). Sending it out right away also shows you’re serious about the job and you know how to prioritize.

Have commitments right after your interview? Don’t sweat it, but make sure you send your thanks the same day, even that evening. It will show your commitment and a charming sense of urgency no recruiter or manager can resist.

2) Make it personal.

No one likes a canned message, right? Exactly, and interviewers aren’t any different. They want a note that connects directly to your conversation with them; it should be positive and personable. Not only is this a great way to give thanks, it’s prime time to show off your noteworthy intrapersonal skills—see what I did there?

Make sure your note is personal to the candidate, what they mentioned as their goals during the interview and how you can make their work life easier.

3) Make it real.

This thank-you email isn’t just a follow-up, it’s also a preview of your people style at work. Give them a glimpse into who you are, be genuine. When you proofread your message, if anything sounds forced or insincere, remove it. Instead, keep it authentic and focused on your takeaways from the hiring process and the interviews.

You don’t want to sound scripted. So ditch any lines that sound over the top or empty. Do focus on the positives that really jumped out at you and how you can contribute.

4) Make it specific.

Hopefully you were taking notes during your interview, and you know what traits the hiring manager is looking for and what goals they’re looking for this new hire to achieve. Make sure you list out those goals and traits specifically to cater to their needs and objectives for the position.

Here’s an example: With your upcoming rebrand, I understand you’re looking for a project manager who is deadline-driven, organized and good at keeping your whole team on the same page. I’d be happy to be that team member and I know my experience in project management and ability to prioritize could support your brand goals today and tomorrow.

5) Make it fun.

End it on a high note. Leave your interviewer with a positive or callback to something that came up during your interview. For example, if your potential employer was voted the city’s best employer you might end your thank you with: I’ve enjoyed this process, I can already see why [insert company name] has been voted one of the city’s best employers 3 years in a row. Or, I think my skillset aligns perfectly with this position, and I’m not just saying that because of your free-lunch Friday’s!

What if you are working with a recruiter and don’t have the contact details for your interviewers? Connect with your recruiter, send them the letter and ask them to forward it onto the hiring managers for you.

Remember, gratitude is important. Sending this letter shows you appreciate and want this opportunity. And it’s an essential first in building trust in a (hopefully) long term working relationship.

Meet the Author

Evelyn Vega is the Founder and President at Staffing Strong and the Past President of the Phoenix American Marketing Association. Since 1999, she’s made her career about supporting her clients in building meaningful careers and partnering with businesses in finding quality hires. In her free time Evelyn is a Girl Scout Troop leader and yes, she can help you order some cookies.

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