7 Tips: Writing Interview Thank You Notes

by Vault Careers | December 15, 2011

Now that you’ve gone through the interview process, it’s time to make a final impression with a big merci beaucoup. Thank you notes may seem like useless formalities, but sending a well-written thank you after your job interview is an important step toward landing the gig. In fact—as FINS notes in its recent post on interview follow-up—a 2011 Career Builder survey found that 22 percent of hiring managers would not pursue candidates who failed to send thank you notes. Inspired by FINS’ guide to post-interview follow-up, below are some tips for nailing your interview thank you notes.

1.Thank everyone.

If your interview was like a session of speed dating, you are probably wondering if you really need to thank each person that you met. You do. Don’t write thank you notes based on seniority—you don’t know how much input each person has on the hiring decision. And don’t write a general thank you note to the recruiter and ask him or her to send it to everyone—you risk looking like you don’t care or that you’re lazy. These people took time out of their schedules to meet with you; give them the courtesy of a thank you.

2.Personalize.

Writing post-interview thank you notes can be daunting, especially if you met with multiple people. But sending the same generic thank you to everyone is a big no-no. Don’t forget—your interviewers work together, and they may show each other your thank you notes. Your goal is to stand out. Be sure to tailor each note to the individual: thank him or her for sharing insights on a particular topic, re-express your interest based on a piece of information that he or she told you, etc.

3.Keep it short.

Don’t use the post-interview thank you note as your opportunity to write the next great American novel. While you want to re-express your interest and perhaps highlight a few reasons why you are a great fit for the position, you do not want to rehash your cover letter and resume; the interviewer already has your application materials. Show off your ability to be concise and focused while still delivering a quality message.

4.Don’t Delay.

You may have a lot of other tasks to turn to after you interview, but you shouldn’t wait too long to send a post-interview thank you note. As FINS indicates, you should try to send a thank you within 24-48 hours after the interview—tackle the note while the interview is still at the top of your mind.

5.Proofread.

How many mistakes can a three-line email have? A lot. Don’t press the “send” button on your thank you message until you have thoroughly reviewed it for any spelling and grammatical errors. You should also make sure that you haven’t accidentally included information from a different interview in the thank you note. This note may be the last impression you make before the hiring decision is made; don’t blow your chances because of laziness.

6.Be polite.

Your parents were onto something when they taught you manners. Don’t let your anxiety and nerves get the better of you when you write your thank you note. Maintain a gracious tone, and be respectful of the interviewer’s time and the decision-making process.

7.Don’t overdo it.

You wrote a brief, personalized, polished thank you note and received a rare jobseeker thrill: a response from the interviewer. The interviewer may have said something incredibly nice, and you would love to write back with an extra “thanks.” But unless the interviewer specifically asks you to send something additional to him or her, don’t continue to flood his or her in-box with small talk. Additional thank you follow-ups may be annoying or awkward.

FINS: Three Rules for Following Up After a Job Interview

Read More:
4 Things to Do at the End of a Job Interview
Interview Must-Haves
Tips for Following-Up After a Job Interview

Filed Under: Interviewing | Job Search


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