How to Write a Thank You Note (that will get you noticed)
I received the following thank you note this week from a candidate I interviewed.
Thank you for your time. After our discussion, I am confident I can contribute to your organization. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
While it’s not very impactful, I appreciate the time this candidate took to follow up with me. Truly. In fact, in this current candidate-driven market, I’ve seen a steep decline in what is typically considered professional and customary follow up. The best candidates know, however, every relationship and every contact is important. They also understand that just because they are no longer in the interview, how they follow up is still closely monitored and is an important part of the interview process. So, how could the note above be improved?
I’ve heard candidates state they wait until the entire interview process is complete before they send a thank you note. Don’t wait- send an email within 24 hours (ideally, the same day) to the person/people you met. Hand written notes are great and show additional effort, but also send an email. The written note may not be received until days later and not have the impact you are wanting. Your written note can then begin with something similar to, “As a follow up to the email I sent you…”.
Show your potential impact.
Briefly, let the interviewer know what you heard are their pain points or problems, and how your background and experiences are a solution. You don’t need to remind them of your entire resume. Show them (don’t tell) in a few sentences where and how you’ve done it before- and how you would work quickly to have an immediate, positive impact for their company.
Send a note to everyone.
Group thank you notes don’t allow you to connect individually. If you interview with multiple individuals, you should send a separate note to each person. And, it should be customized to their specific interview. Interviewers within a company often forward the thank you notes they receive to their colleagues. A note that looks exactly the same does not distinguish you from others.
Check and double-check for misspellings.
In addition to restating your qualifications, the note represents your written communication skills. This is an area to be careful. I’ve seen companies decide not to hire a candidate because of poor grammar or misspelled words. Ensure you spell the name of the interviewer and the company perfectly.
Send a note after every step in the process.
I recommend sending thank you notes after both a phone interview and an in-person interview. Remember, you are trying to differentiate your candidacy and it’s important to do it at every stage.
Even if you don’t want the job, send a note.
You may decide you are not interested in the position for a variety of variables (responsibilities, compensation, etc.). A company may decide to change those variables; or, have a position in the future that interests you. How you follow up may be remembered. Think about your reputation within the company and care more about the relationship and less about the immediate opportunity.
A well written thank you note is another opportunity for you to emphasize why you should be appropriately considered. Don’t miss it! What else do you do to separate yourself from other candidates?
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/janet_p/760666782