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To Thank or Not to Thank – That Is the Question

Dianne Nasiatka

by
Dianne Nasiatka, Director

There is one practice that is essential to obtaining and keeping the interest of potential employers. Sending a thank-you note is an important step in the hiring process yet very few job seekers actually do it. By sending a note post-interview you demonstrate your basic people skills as well as show your gratitude. It helps companies to remember you after you have interviewed and allows you to convey your interest in the position, especially if the interview went well. You can use this as an opportunity to discuss main points of the interview or you may want to add anything that you forgot to say. It tells the employer that you are serious about your career path as well as being organized and on top of details.

A note demonstrates that you went out of your way to show interest in the company and position. If they decide to pass on offering you the position, perhaps they may have another opportunity that suits you. You can suggest this as well in the thank-you note, asking them to keep you in mind. There are a few guidelines you can follow when sending this important note: You want to address the note to the person you interviewed with and make sure to personalize it. Try to avoid a mechanical tone and mention something about the conversation or how you were treated. It is essential to send your note the very next day, at the latest to avoid a lapse in time from the original meeting. The longer time goes by the higher the chances are the meaning will be lost.

The thank-you note can be critical in getting you noticed and lead to the success of your job search. Many people don’t bother to write a thank-you note after an interview. But you, as a wise job searcher, will and should always make sure you do. I like to think of it as an “influence letter” rather than a “thank you letter” as it can give you the edge over other candidates in contention. Another hint to clinching the hiring decision is to mention in your note something that was discussed during your interview. You may want to say that you have spent some time thinking about the position and how you feel you can bring added strengths to the company by addressing some of the problems or situations that were mentioned at the interview.

You might ask should you send a typed business letter or a handwritten note; the important thing here is doing it. You can tailor your letter to the culture of the company and the relationship you established with the person who interviewed you. If you feel that the interviewer and the company call for a formal business letter, send that. On the other hand if your rapport with the interviewer dictates a more personal touch, send a handwritten note. You may also send an e-mail, but again the company culture should guide you. If people in the company use e-mail heavily, your emailed thank-you will seem right in step. Another option is to send a fax. They are both a fast solution if you know the company will be making a decision quickly.

Here are some suggestions to assist you in organizing your note:

  • Express your appreciation for the interview, and for the opportunity to discuss it. You may want to mention the date of the contact.
  • Personalize it! For example you may want to mention something you learned that enhanced your interest in the position or a skill or experience that you were not able to discuss during your meeting.
  • If possible mention a person who was especially helpful and tell them why. Lastly reaffirm your interest in the position. Tell the employer that you look forward to hearing from them.

I would like to end by emphasizing the importance of writing skills. I have seen thank-you notes sent that were poorly written and riddled with typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Writing skills are very important in many jobs, and employers don’t want to teach candidates remedial skills. Spell check, proofread, and have someone else read over your note before you send it.

Thank-you notes are an important part of the interview and hiring process. Many candidates do not realize that something that seems as small and insignificant as a thank-you note just may give them that extra leverage they need over other candidates!

Thank You,
Dianne Nasiatka
Senior Recruiter
Executive Alliance


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