Do You Really Need to Send Thank-You Notes After Interviews?

by Mary Kate Sheridan | July 25, 2018

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thank you

Remember the agony of writing thank-you notes as a kid? Even if you told Aunt Doris how thankful you were for your new roller blades, you still had to craft a thoughtfully worded note on stationary that otherwise collected dust in your desk.

Perhaps these forced thank yous from our younger years have given follow-up notes in the job-search process a bad rap. According to a 2017 survey by Accountemps, only one-fourth of HR managers received thank-you notes after interviews from applicants. However, the same survey found that 80 percent of HR managers said thank-you messages were very helpful or somewhat helpful post-interview.

If that doesn’t convince you that you need to express written gratitude in writing more often, here are more reasons why a thank-you note is a must after any interview.

1. You Can’t Afford Gratitude Silence

If the above data isn’t enough to sway your pen to the paper—or fingers to the keyboard—a 2017 survey by TopResume found that 68 percent of responding recruiters and hiring managers consider thank-you messages in their decision-making processes, and 16 percent have rejected an applicant for lack of a thank you message. If even one employer turns you down for not sending a thank-you note, that’s too many. The risk of being blacklisted from a job is too steep, while the benefit of an HR professional gaining more insight into your strengths—or just developing a more positive impression of you—is too great to pass up.

2. You Get the Last Word

You’ve spent hours answering question after question. And you probably aren’t the only applicant they’re considering. Let’s be honest—candidates can start blending into each other after a while. It’s also possible that the questions asked didn’t touch upon your unique skills, even if you attempted to weave them into your answers. Perhaps you bombed the interview. Or maybe you did great, but you’d still like to emphasize why you’re the best candidate for the job.

A thank-you note can help with all of these areas by giving you the last word on why the company should hire you. Obviously, you want to keep the letter short and humble, but you can certainly include a sentence or two highlighting your strengths.

3. Show Your Specific Interest

Most employers don’t want a warm body at a desk; they’re seeking someone who’ll be dedicated to the company. In a thank-you note, you can demonstrate your passion for the company and its work by noting some specific reasons of why you’re drawn to the employer and position. You may have mentioned these points during your interview, but it’ll continue to resonate if it’s in writing.

4. Establish Connection

Connections are gold when searching for a job, and if you’re lucky enough to hit it off with one of your interviewers, capitalize on it. Refer specifically to memorable moments from your interview, your shared backgrounds, or areas on which you’d like to work together with the interviewer. Find a way to maintain and build on the connection that sparked when you met the interviewer.

5. Being Polite Never Hurts

Unless you craft a sloppy, unprofessional note (make sure to avoid typos, grammatical errors, arrogance, belittling the company, and droning on for pages), sending a thank you isn’t going to harm you. If a hiring professional is ambivalent to follow-up notes, he or she can just ignore it. Plus, with email, you don’t even need an envelope or stamp to send a thank you (although you can go the snail-mail route if you prefer). What do you have to lose aside from twenty minutes?

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Filed Under: Interviewing | Job Search | Resumes & Cover Letters

Tags: email etiquette | gratitude | interview advice | thank-you notes | writing

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