Imagine you’ve just walked out of a job interview. You made a great impression and really like your chances. Now, take it to the next level by writing a thank you note that reinforces why you are the right candidate. Here are some tips for creating the perfect follow-up note:
Email - In general, email is probably the best choice. Most hiring managers check their email at least once a day and probably expect to receive thank you notes this way.
Handwritten notes – These are still prevalent, but you are up against the timing of snail mail. Hiring managers are finalizing their choice in the time it takes to compose, send, and receive a handwritten card. In addition, you don’t know how often they are checking their mailbox – since it’s used so rarely anymore, some offices only deliver mail once a week. However, handwritten notes can be great if you can ensure quick delivery – such as applying for a role at your current company or in an office next door to yours. To avoid awkwardness, just drop the note under their door or in their mail slot.
LinkedIn direct messages – This isn’t a bad method, but again, timing may not be on your side. Remember that hiring managers may be on LinkedIn less than their business email, especially if they’ve wrapped up interviewing and are done looking for candidates. If you do choose this method, make sure to keep the tone professional and construct the note the way you would any business communication.
Quality is key
If you are going to choose a handwritten note, make sure you use quality stationary or a blank thank you card. And it should be in line with your industry – bright colors and a cool design may work well for social media roles, but neat lines and simple patterns are best for something like finance. And make sure your email signature and address are professional.
Make it memorable
A great way to stand out is to personalize the note with something specific you discussed during the interview. As candidates, we love a personal touch to the hiring experience and so will the hiring manager! Here’s an example:
Thank you for meeting with me to discuss the Financial Analyst role. I loved hearing about your team’s objectives for the year and discussing how we both share a passion for process improvement. Our conversation reinforced my interest in the role and I look forward to hearing from you regarding this position.
From there, you can wrap up with a warm closing. As you compile your note, make it conversational. To streamline the process if you’re interviewing for multiple positions, create a general template, then fill in the specific pieces for each separate role.
Send the note ASAP, but put some thought into it. One of the oddest things applicants do is hand the interviewer a thank you note during the interview. How can you write a thank you note if you haven’t been through the experience yet? This can feel disingenuous and rushed. You want to convey that this role is important to you and you are willing to take the time to sincerely communicate with the hiring team.
Are notes required?
A common question is, should you ever not send a thank you note? 99% of the time, you should absolutely send a thank you note. Even if you no longer have an interest in the role or company, felt the interview was particularly intense, or the interviewer wasn’t exactly friendly, still send the note. While you don’t need to share that feedback, you still want to convey your appreciation for their time and emphasize that you enjoyed meeting them. You never know when someone may share your name with a colleague and you want to make the best impression you can.
- Quality check the note before sending.
- Don’t look for a response. The offer or decline is usually the next communication.
- Send a separate note to everyone – recruiters and each individual hiring manager.
Devon Miller, Talent Branding and Recruitment Marketing at Vanguard, is a writer specializing in branding and marketing topics that create authenticity and engagement via social media channels. Vanguard is one of the world’s largest investment companies, offering a large selection of high-quality low-cost mutual funds, ETFs, advice, and related services.