Tips for Writing Strong Interview Thank-You Notes

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Spring is a great time to search for new jobs for a number of reasons. First, budgets are often approved around January/February to hire more people.  Second, the economy is pretty healthy right now and businesses are ready to expand and try to grow their profits. For some companies, this means new hires to support these growth efforts. Lastly, it’s also the time of year when companies often revisit their products, services and technologies, working on improvements to keep competitive in the market. Often, companies will hire new employees or teams to work on these changes.

If you’re ready to job search, or perhaps you’ve already started, here’s one skill you should sharpen: writing thank-you notes. A powerful thank-you note can land you the job — we’ve seen it happen frequently with the candidates we place. (And on the flip side, we’ve seen bad thank-you notes damage a candidacy.) Here are four tips from our recruiters for writing the kind of thank-you note that impresses hiring managers.

1. Take Notes in Your Interview

This tactic isn’t just about looking (and being) more engaged in the interview — though that certainly wins you points. It’s also about writing a better thank-you note later. Mark down important points you discuss in the interview. What imperative job functions do your interviewers bring up? Are there any problems they’re facing as a company that you could help with? Do they pose any questions that you might be more able to answer after a bit more thought? These are the kinds of things to add to your thank-you note later. Time and again, we find that a generic thank-you note — one that feels like it’s copied from a template — will never impress hiring managers like a thank-you note that makes reference to specifics from the interview. In fact, in some cases, a generic thank-you note will hurt your candidacy more than help it! There are hiring managers that think a generic, template-like thank-you note shows so little effort that they think less of a candidate.

2. Be Prompt

A thorough, detailed thank-you note that’s beautifully written will never make much of an impression if it’s too late. Especially in some fast-paced fields like the tech industry, healthcare or marketing, time is of the essence. When you finish your interview, head home as soon as you can to write your thank-you note. Sending it the day of the interview (if possible) or within 24 hours is ideal, although sending the note 48 hours later can be acceptable if you get really tied up. If you send the note late, you might find that the hiring manager has already assumed you’re not sending it and dinged your candidacy or rejected you for it.

3. Send Individual Thank-You Notes

If you interview with multiple people, try to get their individual contact info from your recruiters. Writing each of them a note will show a level of care that goes above and beyond what most candidates demonstrate. If you can add a detail to each note that really personalizes it, that’s even better. Especially today, the trend is for workplaces to be focused on building a great corporate culture, which often requires teamwork and strong interpersonal skills from all levels of employees. Showing off extra effort in your soft skills can be key for your candidacy. Individual, personalized thank-you notes could make you seem like the kind of team player that hiring managers will love working with.

4. Consider Addressing Weaknesses or Concerns With Your Candidacy

This may not always be necessary. However, if you felt there were concerns or weaknesses brought up in your interview, a thank-you note can be a great place to address that. The key is to keep things positive and, if possible, focus on how you’re already working to remedy these potential issues. If you can handle this right, your thank-you note can significantly strengthen your candidacy, as it’s your last impression that you leave on a hiring manager before they make their decision!

Samantha Keefe is an Interactive Marketing Manager at AVID Technical Resources. AVID Technical Resources is a leading information technology recruiting company with offices around the country.

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