Writing a post-interview thank you email is an absolute must after every interview, and it may make all the difference when it comes to progressing to the second round. It will also be the simplest task in your entire job search. Here’s how to do it well.
Why Writing a Thank You Note After an Interview Matters
Some years ago, one of our current Hired Gun team members was managing a group of copywriters at a previous gig. The business was growing quickly, so the executives requested a couple new team members. After several rounds of interviews, she had narrowed down the list to a handful of very talented candidates. She was inches away from making an offer when the budget was re-forecast and a company-wide hiring freeze was instituted. She gave her interviewees the bad news and told them she’d keep them on file.
When the hiring freeze was removed and the need for talent came back to the forefront, guess who was the first person she called?
Months later, a Christmas card arrived at her desk. She opened it and was surprised to find a very kind, hand-written Christmas card from one of the candidates she’d interviewed. She found it so nice and earnest that she left it standing on her desk. Early in the new year, when the hiring freeze was removed and the need for talent came back to the forefront, guess who was the first person she called?
This is not to say that you should send everyone you interview a holiday card. Our point here is that this particular candidate followed up well and often throughout the process, and even after being told that the headcount for that position had disappeared, she still kept in touch in a very memorable way. And being memorable, as we’ve mentioned time and again, is one of the most important factors in getting yourself a job offer.
How to Do It
When we said that this was the simplest part of the entire job search, we meant it. Writing a thank-you note should take you all of 10 minutes for every interview you go on. The entire point here is to simply continue the conversation and keep you (and your story) fresh in the interviewer’s memory. The best way to do this is to make sure that each of your post-interview follow up notes does these three things:
Thank them for their time. Your interviewers are tired, harried people who took a chunk out of their day to meet with you. Show that you’re mindful of this by thanking them for meeting with you. Don’t be fawning or needy. Just let them know that you’re grateful that they made some room for you on their calendar.
Reiterate your value. Remind them of a few of the major discussion points that came up during your interviews. Stick with positive answers you were able to give, and don’t remind them of any negatives (“Even though I don’t have an MBA, I feel confident that…”). Tell them again how you can ease their stress and help their company.
Ask for a second (or third) round interview. Without being pushy or demanding, indicate your continued interest in the role and state that you’re eager to meet with them again as time allows.
When you put those three components together, the finished product should look something like this:
Thank you again for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. I am very glad that we had the opportunity to discuss the sizable contribution I could make as Editorial Director at Acme Consolidated. As a seasoned editorial professional, I am confident that my unique blend of news acumen, project management skills, and executive presence would benefit your organization greatly.
As we discussed, my award-winning series on action figure-related foot injuries among parents of small children is just one example of the value I can bring to your company.
Are you available next week to discuss your organization’s needs in greater detail? If so, please do not hesitate to contact me at 555.555.5555 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Multiple interviews? Multiple Interviewers?
Multiple Thank You Notes
Send a thank you note the day after each round of interviews. Be sure that you’re not sending boilerplate notes to multiple people, because they may share them. And don’t be afraid to send a quick email to people who you met with during earlier rounds to keep them updated on your progress.
The post-interview thank you note is a simple thing indeed, but it gets overlooked so often that spending 10 minutes on an email will go a long way toward separating you from the pack. It’s likely that you’ll be the only one who sends one, and even the busiest of hiring managers will appreciate the gesture.
At this point, you’re likely getting close to getting an offer. But before you even get there, you should determine how much compensation you need. We’ll teach you how to figure it out.
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