The impression you make when you interview for a job doesn’t end when you walk out the door. In fact, in a “Forbes” article, recruiter Steven Raz says “Just because the interview is over, don’t believe you’re no longer being interviewed.” Along with your qualifications and the rapport you established during your interview, employers may also evaluate you on how you follow up after you meet with them. Sending a thank-you letter after a job interview can set you apart from the competition.
Sending a thank-you letter after a job interview is more than just common courtesy. It shows appreciation for your interviewer’s time, demonstrates respect and professionalism and reminds the interviewer of your interest in the position. It’s also an opportunity to review what you discussed with the interviewer and remind her of your skills and qualifications, so that information will be top of mind when she compares you to the other candidates.
How Soon to Send a Thank-You Letter
Send the thank-you letter as soon as possible after the interview. In the “Forbes” article, Raz advises sending a thank-you email within 24 hours. The time frame also depends on how soon the company expects to make a hiring decision. If the employer says he plans to select a candidate by the next day, you’ll want to send a thank-you email as soon after the interview as you can so he will remember this extra courtesy when he’s evaluating applicants.
Sending to Multiple People
If you met several people during your interview, send each a thank-you letter, but don’t send the same letter to everyone. Recipients may be offended that you lumped them together instead of taking the time to personalize the letter to reflect what you discussed with each person. Career website WetFeet warns against sending “blanket messages or BCCs.”
What to Include
In the “Forbes” article, interview coach Pamela Skilling recommends thanking the interviewer for his time, reviewing what you discussed during your meeting, reminding him of your interest in the job and of your key qualifications, and then closing by including your contact information. The email should be succinct, with no more than three paragraphs consisting of two or three sentences each. In the WetFeet article “Writing a Thank You Letter the Right Way,” recruiter Steven Levy says he’s looking for thought-provoking content. “I’m looking for a note that makes me say ‘huh, I didn’t think of that,” Levy adds. If there’s anything you didn’t address during the interview, mention it in your letter. This could include ideas you have for the company or accomplishments you forgot to mention.
When to Send a Handwritten Note
Experts usually recommend email thank-you letters instead of hard copy or handwritten notes, because emails reach potential employers much more quickly, allowing you an advantage over candidates who don’t follow up as soon. However, even these experts sometimes recommend a handwritten letter for a personal touch. Recruiter Raz, in the “Forbes” article, advises sending a handwritten thank-you letter with a “more traditional hiring manager” or if you want to send a more personal message in addition to simply thanking him for his time. Send the handwritten note as a follow-up to the thank-you email, not as a replacement, and don’t send duplicate email and handwritten messages, Raz adds. The Virginia Tech Career Services office recommends sending brief handwritten notes to anyone you met during an on-site interview.