The value of a “thank you” note after an interview

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The value of a thank you note after an interview

The time has come for the hiring manager to choose between the final two candidates to fill an important role in the company. Both candidates are almost identical in skills and experience and are highly-qualified for the opening, so who came out victorious at the end? It all came down to one little detail – a detail that most applicants tend to forget while job hunting.

Carol Galle, the president and CEO of Special D Events, an event-planning firm in Michigan, USA shares, “I recently filled an open position for which I had two highly-qualified candidates, but it was a “thank you” note that made the difference,” she says. “I want to hire people who genuinely want to work for my company, and it was clear from her effort that was the case.”

It seems really simple, doesn’t it? Expressing gratitude can go far in the job hunting process. It’s something we were all taught to practice growing up (“Say thanks to the kind man, son.”) and it is still relevant now that we are all grown up and navigating the world on our own.

The power of gratitude

It all boils down to the lessons we learned in school while growing up: say “thanks” to everyone who gave you their time and effort to help you. It shows that you value what your helper has done to you. In the context of a job interview, it means expressing gratitude to the hiring manager for giving you the time to accommodate you into his/her busy work day. The fact that the company has extended an invite for you to come for a job interview is something you should also be thankful for – it meant they recognize your skills and consider you a valuable addition to their team. So don’t think twice about sending in that “thank you” card or e-mail – you would make the important decision makers feel good if you do and might just earn you points with them.

It’s not just a letter – it’s another shot at selling yourself

Perhaps there were a few things that you forgot to mention during the interview – use the letter to talk about those things you missed and sell yourself even further. Let this show of gratitude take you a notch higher amongst the other applicants, so highlight the areas that you think the job vacancy calls for in your letter. Think of it as an advertisement for yourself: it’s a chance for you to point out the qualities you have that they are looking for on paper.

Card, phone call or e-mail?

It used to be that handwritten cards were preferred by recruiters when it comes to receiving “thank you” notes from their applicants. Nowadays, it seems immediacy trumps the more traditional means of correspondence. A survey conducted by Accountemps revealed that 87% of hiring managers think that e-mail is an appropriate way to show thanks after a job interview, while on the same survey (multiple responses were allowed), 81% said they’re fine with receiving phone calls. Whichever method you choose to send your note, you must send it within 24 hours of the interview.

The 1-2-3 formula to crafting a great thank you letter

Here’s a simple format to apply whenever you write a thank you letter: 

Dear  Mr./Ms. <insert hiring manager’s last name here>,

1st  Paragraph – Here is the part where you express gratitude for the time given to you during the interview. Mention the things you’ve liked about the company and the job opening you are applying for – in short here is where you shower the reader with compliments.

Thank you so much for giving me your time to discuss this new job opportunity in your department. I was impressed by what I saw during the visit and it makes me want to get to know more about what the organization does for our country’s rainforests (we’ll use an NGO dedicated to environmental preservation here as an example). Seeing the passion amongst the team leaves me in awe and lets me know I’ve made the right choice to apply for the organization.

2nd Paragraph – The next part is where you can do your “sales pitch”. Remind the hiring manager why you are the right candidate for the role. If there were some things that you failed to mention during the interview, this is the right place to do it.

My dedication to the preservation of our country’s last remaining rainforests makes me a good fit with the rest of the Research and Development Department. I have years of field work experience under my belt which allowed me to know firsthand what needs to be done to get the organization’s projects to reach the grassroots level of our society. It would be my pleasure to share with you everything I’ve learned from working with the locals about their own conversation efforts.

3rd Paragraph – The last part of your letter should show your enthusiasm for the new role and company.

I look forward to working with you and the rest of the R&D Department. Thanks again for this wonderful opportunity.


Best regards,
Your name

Remember that the goal of every job seeker is to stand out from the pack. A great “thank you” note can help you do just that so keep these tips in mind when you go out for a job interview.


Further reading: 

Master your job interview effectively

4 top job skills hirers look for in a candidate

Increase your chances of getting hired. Create a jobsDB profile

Increase your chances of getting hired. Update your jobsDB profile

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