With everything shifting to the digital scene, including employment, one would certainly wonder if thank-you notes are still relevant. After all, it was an old practice by job applicants who used to send it via snail mail. Perhaps the newer generation of job seekers might not even be familiar with it. Maybe because applicants care so much about building perfect resumes and acing the interviews they tend to forget there are things they need to do post-interview more than follow up.
Here’s what. Thank-you note is still a thing”. And they are just as important as your resume and your job interview. They are so important that they can be the deal-breaker in your employment.
Hiring managers and business owners evaluate job candidates not only with their interview answers but also through the way they conduct themselves post-interview- whether or not they send thank-you notes. For instance, Jessica Leibman, Global Managing Editor of Insider, Inc., thinks that thank-you notes are deciding factors in hiring employees. In her article about hiring people published April 2019, she wrote that she came up with a simple rule: they won’t move candidates to the next stage of the interview process if they didn’t send thank-you emails. Though it sparked controversy and opposing opinions, one cannot deny that there are still employers who prefer candidates who send thank-you notes over those who don’t. After much debate by the public, Leibman later took to Twitter that she still stands by her rule of not hiring candidates who do not send thank-you notes. She even encouraged other hiring managers to do the same.
Moreover, according to a survey conducted by TopResume, 68% of participating recruiters answered that receiving thank-you notes from applicants after an interview matters in the decision-making of the hiring process. In addition, a survey by CareerBuilder revealed that 22% of employers are less likely to hire a candidate who does not send a thank-you note after an interview. Another survey by Accountemps showed that 80% of HR Managers take thank you notes into account when deciding about hiring an applicant.
All these data show how much a simple thank you can go a long way. You never know but this could be your finishing blow to taking over that vacant seat. Regardless of the other hiring managers who do not care about your thank-you notes, sending one shows character and civility.
Why You Should Send a Thank You Note After the Interview
There are several reasons why you should send a thank-you note after your interview with the hiring manager.
1. It Shows Courtesy
You should be consistently polite in your interview- from beginning to end. It’s basic manners. It also sustains or improves the good impression that the hiring manager already has of you. It expresses how you appreciate and respect the time and effort they spent during the interview.
2. It Sets You Apart From Other Candidates
In every job interview you go to, how many of your competitors do you think to send their thank-you notes after the interview? According to a survey done by Accountemps, only 24% of job applicants send their thank you notes post-interview. With so many who don’t care about sending a thank you letter, you can rise above the competition by being the one who does. It helps the hiring managers remember you and set you apart from all the other applicants vying for the same position. Moreover, showing your appreciation for the interviewer’s time increases your likability, even if your interview didn’t go as well as planned.
3. It Shows the Hiring Manager or Employer How Much You Want the Job
Hiring managers and even CEOs are people too. Your eagerness and determination may move them into hiring you. Thank-you notes allow them to see who wants the job so badly. It also shows them your sincerity in wanting the job.
4. It’s an Opportunity To Reiterate Why You Are Suitable for the Job.
You can use a thank-you note to draw attention to your strong points and emphasize the skills that make you the perfect fit. You may also use it to reiterate vital questions and your answers during the interview. Doing this allows the interviewer to remember your skills and abilities that are beneficial to the position.
5. It Showcases Your Soft Skills
Soft skills are intangible attributes you possess that allow you to interact and work well with others. Thank-you notes reveal important soft skills like your written communication skills, persuasion, and creativity.
Thank-you notes can demonstrate how well you articulate your words and sentences. You can mention highlights of the interview and even add humor by noting funny moments during the interview. But of course, you have to assess the personality or mood of the interviewer. While some can be casual, some would prefer formal. Additionally, Thank you notes can also display your professionalism and formality.
Furthermore, it helps persuade your employer to grant you the position. Unlike your cover letter, thank you notes are supposed to be brief and concise. Therefore, it will undoubtedly challenge your persuasion skills.
Thank-you notes display your personality and creativity. According to Accountemps, 94% of all surveyed hiring managers prefer thank-you notes sent by email post-interview, while 86% prefer handwritten notes. Creatively crafted thank-you notes with personalized handwritten fonts add personality. It helps you get remembered. You can write it on scented paper or custom stationery. But of course, going extra also depends on the personality of the interviewer and the overall atmosphere of the company. If the company is too corporate and bureaucratic, you can reserve your glitters first and choose a more formal method for your thank-you note. Don’t worry though, your common sense and sixth sense will tell you when to be formal or casual for the note.
When To Send Your Thank You Note
You might think it is fine to send a thank you note any time you feel like it. You might even consider sending one only when you follow up, maybe three days to a week later. However, when it comes to sending thank-you notes, time is of the essence. In Leibman’s article for Business Insider, she wrote that applicants should send thank-you notes within 24 hours. Doing otherwise can make hiring managers forget about you. This is true, especially when you have highly qualified competitors and your interview is just okay. Remember to send your thank-you note the soonest possible time after your interview, preferably within 24 hours, so that it will reach the interviewer in time for decision-making. It will not guarantee a “sure” spot, but it will help leverage your situation in the interviewer’s eyes. Maybe you’re head-to-head with another candidate for the position. Then, your thank-you note earned you the few points you need to beat him or her to the top.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Thank You Notes
Making a thank-you note after an interview is easy. After all, you’ll mainly base it on what transpired during the interview. But before you learn how to make one, you have to know the dos and don’ts of doing one. Here are a few easy-to-memorize tips and tricks to help you compose your post-interview thank-you note:
1. Be brief and concise.
Keep your thank-you note short and simple. State what you want directly and mean what you say. Do not be overdramatic or vague so that it won’t confuse the interviewer. Most importantly, do not forget the very essence of your thank you note- to show gratitude for the time and effort of the interviewer. Remember, it’s not a test- it’s just a thank-you note!
2. Highlight your points in the interview.
Take note of an important question asked during the interview and reiterate your points. But do not over-explain. You may also choose to emphasize the skills that qualify you for the job instead. Or a funny or essential event or conversation from the interview. In all of these, always consider the person who will read your note.
3. Read the room.
During the interview, you will know whether the person interviewing you is formal or casual, easygoing, or unfeeling. You have to be attentive to nonverbal cues. The interviewer would usually describe the company culture and overall atmosphere of the work environment. Reading the room means identifying the mood or character of the interviewer and the condition of the work environment. It is vital to know the tone you need to use in your note. For example, you can be friendly and casual in your note if the interviewer is easygoing and laid back. But not too casual to the point that you lose professionalism. You should sound formal in your note if the interviewer follows corporate decorum. You get the idea.
4. Find the best method to send the note.
This one depends on the kind of interview that took place as well as the interviewer. The older generation of hiring managers might still prefer snail mail along with email thank-you notes. Others might want it handwritten, and some might appreciate a little extra, like scents or a video-recorded one. Pay attention to the cues you picked up during the interview.
1. Do not apologize.
Interviews can be a tedious and nail-biting process. That’s why we tend to stutter and sometimes even go blank. It’s normal to make mistakes. But what’s a no-no is reminding your employer or hiring manager of the mistake you made during the interview on your thank-you note. Don’t do this unless you want to be remembered for something bad or displeasing. Instead, try to redeem yourself at the note by giving fresh and better insights on the questions you missed or haven’t answered well.
2. Do not make any grammatical errors.
This is to sustain the impression you made when you submitted your organized and perfectly written resume and cover letter. At the same time, it proves that you are competent for the job. It also highlights other points you might have, like being detail-oriented and organized. Proofread your note before sending and if words aren’t your strong suit, find someone who can help you edit and proofread.
3. Do not beg.
You might be desperate for a job but begging does not help for two reasons: First, it makes you look incompetent. Second, when you beg, you allow people to look down on you and take advantage of your situation. Other not-so-good employers might give you the job. But they would negotiate the offer to the minimum, knowing you’ll bite because you’re desperate.
4. Do not negotiate salary offers.
It can be off-putting for the hiring manager to find the thank you note with salary negotiations. It is supposedly a thank-you note, and you haven’t moved on to the next part of the process yet. As the accounting saying goes, “never assume unless otherwise stated.” They haven’t offered you any position yet, so negotiating will only make you look presumptuous and disrespectful. If you think you aced the interview, doing this will most likely disqualify you as a candidate for the position.
5. Do not wait too long to send the note.
As mentioned earlier, the sooner you send the note, the better it is for you. It’s because the note can rehash the interviewer’s memory, making you a notable candidate. In a day, at least three job applicants, who vie for the same position, will be interviewed by the same interviewer. Some of them are underqualified while some are better than you. With too many details to take into consideration, the fine points you have might get confused with the others. Worst, you might be completely forgotten unless you’ve impressed them so much in the interview. Better be fast and accurate than wait until it’s too late.
6. Do not use an unprofessional email address.
This is one of the basics. Use the same professional-looking email address in sending the thank you note as the one you used to send online job applications. You might be someone who has several email addresses used for different purposes. Some of them might be from way back when you were an emo kid and you only needed a random email to connect to other social sites. So be careful with the email address you use. Make sure that you input your work email address before clicking send. Otherwise, you might only realize later that you sent a thank-you note from the handle Godofsorrow_punk219 when it’s already received.
Steps in Sending a Thank You Note
Below is a step-by-step process of making a perfectly crafted thank you note and things you need to consider when writing one.
1. Put a Clear Thank You Subject Line
In the subject line of your email, clearly state the purpose of your email. In this case, you put “Thank You, [name of the interviewer]!”
A clear subject line also shows the interviewer that you pay attention by remembering their name.
2. Write a Greeting That Fits the Interviewer
Again, hiring managers are not the same. So, ensure that the greeting of your letter is appropriate to your interviewer’s personality and the company’s overall culture. Be casual when you know that the hiring manager is emotional and personal, and be formal when you know that they are extremely professional.
3. Thank the Interviewer
Of course, the purpose of a thank you note is to be grateful to the hiring manager. So thank them for their time and energy spent on your interview. Give them a little compliment too. But, do not overdo the thanking and complimenting. You will sound insincere. Show them only a calm and collected applicant who is grateful for their time.
4. Emphasize Your Points From a Noteworthy Question or Conversation
Mention a conversation from the interview that is related to the job. Develop the point or idea from the conversation. Make it an opportunity to show your interest in the position and why you are the best fit for the job. You may also bring up a funny conversation that will improve their impression of you.
5. Show Them You Are Willing To Cooperate With Their Additional Needs and Provide Other Necessary Additional Information
Provide the interviewer with alternative contact information, social media accounts that you feel are relevant to the job, and other websites.
6. State That You Are Waiting for a Response
Make it clear that you’ll wait for a response regardless of the result. Unfortunately, there are hiring managers and HR recruiters who take no responsibility for their applicant’s time. They don’t call or update other job seekers when a candidate has already been chosen. A thank-you note reminds employers about their accountability in updating applicants about the result.
7. Proofread Then Send
Of course, you don’t want a short thank-you note to sabotage your chances of getting a job. That’s why you need to proofread. Re-read it multiple times from the subject line down to your signature. Have someone read it too so you’re certain that there are no misspelled words or awkward grammar in your note.
In whatever medium or way you use to send your thank-you note, the steps above apply to all. Except, of course, the step discussing the subject line, which only applies to email. You can send your thank-you note via posts or email. You can also send a thank-you text (SMS). It also depends on how creative you want to be and if you think the interviewer will appreciate it. With the technological advantage, we have now, video thank-you emails are more convenient and more “in.”
Finally, to give you an idea of what a thank you note is like, here is an example:
[Assuming this is sent via email]
Subject line: Thank you, Catarina!
Thank you for giving me some of your precious time to talk with me about the [job position] earlier. I appreciate how much effort you took to prepare critical and thought-provoking questions. It made me think deeper about the value of my role. I realized how perfectly fit I am for the position, with my current skills and proven accomplishments in the same role.
I had a great time discussing the [position]-related ideas with you. I can already tell that I will love working with your team. Please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime about anything you still need. I am always a message away.
Again, thank you for the opportunity. I look forward to hearing from you. Please advise regardless of the result.