Why Send a Thank You Note After an Interview?

Posted November 25, 2013 by Jill Vived in Career Moves

With this upcoming week of giving thanks, it seems apropos to discuss thank you notes as it relates to your professional interviewing.  Career Girls, sending a personal note to your interviewer(s) is not just a nice to do, it is a necessity. With the easy accessibility of email these days from your home, to your office, to your smart phone, there really is no excuse to not send one promptly after your interview.

Beyond the necessity of sending a note, what is the proper timing and format for sending a professional thank you note to an interviewer? Depending on whom you ask, you will get varying responses; at the end of the day, you should use the format you feel most comfortable with. After all, the note becomes a direct extension of you, and will be the last thing an interviewer recalls of you when making hiring decisions.

When is the best time to send a thank you note?

Time is of the essence when sending a post interview thank you note. Hiring managers typically make a decision about which candidate to bring back for a second interview very soon after meeting all the candidates, so don’t miss out on making the most favorable impression by waiting too long. Common etiquette states 24 hours, but most professionals in the hiring industry will tell you to send one by the end of the day. Sending off a quick thank you note shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, so there really is no excuse to delay. Never wait until the next day. You don’t want to risk losing out on a second round of interviews because you procrastinated.

Should I send a handwritten note or an email?

With the advent of so many electronic forms of communication, there is truly a lack of human touch these days and handwritten notes are very nice to receive. Unfortunately, in the case of an interview thank you note, sending an email really is your best bet. If the hiring manager interviews three candidates the same day he interviews you and you are the only one to send a handwritten thank you note, the hiring manager is going to receive your note one to two days after receiving the other candidates’ thank you emails. By then, she probably already decided whom to bring back for the next round. Don’t miss out by being traditional.

What should the note say?

If you ask a range of career advisors this question, you will get a range of advice. Personally, I think short and sweet is best. Let the hiring manager know you enjoyed meeting with her and hearing more about the position, and thank her for her time and consideration. You can add a sentence or two if something about the company or position really excited you, or you made an especially personal connection about something in particular, but don’t oversell here. You already gave your pitch in the interview; you don’t need to restate it in the thank you note.

In this busy electronic world of ours, more and more individuals are getting remiss when it comes to taking the time to send formal thank you notes. Don’t let our casual culture damage your future career opportunities—take the opportunity to shine by dashing off a quick note of thanks.

About the Author

Jill Vived

Jill Vived is a freelance writer and marketing communications professional currently working as the Director of Marketing for Vivalta, Inc., a recruiting firm specializing in placing finance and accounting professionals in Denver and San Francisco she co-owns with her husband. Working in the search industry has given Jill a distinct perspective on careers and job search that she is excited to share with Career Girls everywhere. When she is not reading up on everything marketing, branding, and career related, Jill spends her time chasing around her two young children, dreaming up DIY crafts, and enjoying the great outdoors.