A thank you note is an important follow-up after a face-to-face interview. In addition to being a polite acknowledgement to those who interviewed you, a thank you note also gives you one more opportunity to remind them what a stellar candidate they found in you.
Whether you are sending an email or writing a card, the note should reflect upon your goal. First, you want to express your appreciation for the team taking time out of their busy schedules to meet you.
Secondly, if you are really excited about this job, then share that. Gush a bit. Enthusiasm is a soft skill, and it’s compelling in a potential hire. The bigger goal, however, is to be gracious rather than solicitous.
Before putting pen to paper (or hands to keyboard), follow these three steps:
1. Prepare your mailing list.
Some companies invite interviewees to meet with only the managers to whom the open position reports. Others involve the entire team. In either case, you want to acknowledge each person who interviewed you, so make sure to get business cards as you go.
Also try to jot down a note or two as you speak with various team members so that you can include a specific detail in each of your correspondences.
[Related: 5 Tips to Researching A Company's Culture]
2. Decide: Go old school or new school.
Advice abounds about whether it’s better to send an email, mail a thank you card or do both. It’s considered more formal to send a card via mail, but increasingly job candidates are sending emails that if well-written are also well-received.
Different managers have different preferences, so there’s no one rule that applies across the board. In the same way, in some professional cultures, such as a non-profit organization, a thank you card may work perfectly. In others, like an engineering firm, an email does the trick.
Think about the team that hosted you and the communication style that you observed. Based on your assessment, what is the best way to follow up with them? Use your judgement and then be concise and strategic.
One thank you interaction per interviewer is sufficient. You don’t want to overdo it, appear too eager and risk beleaguering an already busy team. However you approach the task, make sure that the recipients get your thank you note within two-four days after your interview.
3. Stay on message.
Avoid making your note a commercial for your candidacy. That conversation has concluded and the interviewer has his or her impressions. Instead, use the opportunity to share your honest reflections about what struck you about the team and the environment. This kind of feedback will engage your readers.
Consider these examples:
· “I was so impressed with the professionalism and the internationality I observed at xyz company. It seems like such a vibrant and exciting place to work.”
· “I noticed the comfort and ease with which you and your fellow team members interact. That’s hard to fake, and there’s no better endorsement.”
· “The people I met spoke with passion and enthusiasm about the work they do. I found it so inspiring, and it gave me such a positive feeling about the culture there.”
Be specific and sincere. Then make sure to edit your work carefully and thoroughly. Spell check is your best friend!