Landing that job can be very competitive. You need every advantage you can get. Many candidates think the process is over after the job interview. The ones who get hired take it one step further. While the rest are waiting on the phone, they are writing a thank you letter to the recruiter.
What Is An After-Interview Thank You Letter?
The interview brings you a step closer to getting the job. It gives you the platform to state your claim as the best candidate for the position. The same can be said for the other candidates. Sending an after-interview thank you letter could nudge you a step ahead of the rest.
An after-interview thank you letter is a short note that expresses your appreciation to the recruiter for considering you for the job. Why is this important and how will sending a thank you letter work to your advantage?
Recruiters conduct several job interviews every day. Their minds are overloaded with information. A recruiter will take down notes but it will be hard to keep track of the stand-out candidates. Sending a thank you letter will help put you top-of-mind.
Even if you felt good after the job interview, it doesn’t mean the recruiter felt the same way. You will not know for sure that you did well until you get a formal job offer.
For this reason, you should not be complacent and assume you got the job. An after-interview thank you letter will punctuate your job interview on a positive note. At the very least, the recruiter will remember you for your courtesy.
How Should You Send The After-Interview Thank You Letter?
Before the Internet became a way of life, thank you letters were sent via regular mail. Today, you can send your thank you letter as an email. And it is perfectly fine. The great thing about emailing your thank you letter is that the recruiter will get it right away.
Why is the timing important?
The company may want the position filled out as soon as possible. You should make that final positive impression before the hiring decision is made.
If you want to be assured, send a quick thank you card to the office of the recruiter. A handwritten note on a store-bought thank you card will do just fine.
When it comes to the thank you letter, the message matters more than where you got the card from. A handwritten message is a personal statement. It can be perceived as a sincere gesture. Just make sure your handwriting is legible.
The email thank you letter will have more detailed content. This should be sent within 24 hours after the job interview.
Is sending two thank you letters overkill?
No, because you simply want to make sure the recruiter knows the interview was highly appreciated. Secondly, there is the risk of your thank you letter landing in the spam folder. Finally, sending two letters shows how polite and courteous you are.
What if you went through a series of interviews?
It is not unusual for candidates to go through a series of interviews in one day. If this happens, send a thank you letter to each and every one of them. Ask for a business card so you can get their contact details.
You can send them multiple thank you letters as we suggested earlier. However, make sure the letters are unique and distinct. Don’t use the same message for everyone.
What To Include In An After-Interview Thank You Letter
Another benefit of a thank you letter is that it shows the employer how much you want the job.
In ways, the thank you letter is like a follow up to a sales proposal. Remember that your resume is your marketing tool. It got you the job interview where you pitched your main selling points: your skills and attributes.
When you are following up on a sales proposal to a prospect, you would:
- Express your appreciation to the prospect for taking the time to listen to your sales pitch;
- Reiterate your interest in making the prospect a customer;
- Sum up the key selling points and how these would benefit the prospect.
Similarly, when writing your thank you letter, it should include the following:
- A statement expressing appreciation for the interview;
- A statement reiterating your interest in the job;
- Your top skills and how they could contribute to the company’s success.
The objective of the thank you letter is to generate recall from the recruiter. When he/ she reads the letter, it should spring up your name. There are a few more strategies you can use to trigger quick recall:
- Address a key topic of discussion from the interview. If you were not able to answer it as thoroughly as possible, the thank you letter will give you the opportunity to do so. However, keep it as brief as possible. Just state 1 or 2 salient points.
- Comment on a topic that was not raised during the interview. A good example would be to comment on how your soft skills would make you the perfect fit for the company’s culture.
- Briefly touch on a shared interest. For example, if you and the interviewer share a love for red wine, you could sign off with a statement that reads: “Good luck on finding that Montoya Cabernet from Napa Valley.”
You don’t have to use these three strategies in your thank you letter. Choose 1 or 2 tips that will help leave a good, lasting impression on your interview.
Do’s And Don’ts When Writing A Thank You Letter
A thank you letter may be small in size but when done properly, carries big value for your application. Even though it is considered more as a “note” than a letter, you should still put thought and purpose when writing it.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to remember when writing a thank you letter:
Do’s for writing a thank you letter after an interview
1. Content must be relevant to the job
Recall the job interview. Try to remember discussion points which touched on how your skills could fit the company’s goals and objectives. Was there a question asked where you wished you could have given a more detailed answer?
For example, the recruiter may have discussed the company’s latest projects. Pinpoint the project and identify which skills are relevant and could contribute to its success.
2. Keep it short but concise
Think of your thank you letter more as a note. It has detail but it should not be as comprehensive as the cover letter. Your purpose is to generate recall from the recruiter. Here are some tips on how to keep it short but concise:
- Get to the point right away; no need for long setups.
- Keep your sentences to 15 to 20 words.
- Keep the letter to 2 to 3 paragraphs, 3 to 4 sentences each.
3. Always lead off with a professional subject line
The subject line should state the reason why you are sending the letter. Start off with the words “Thank You” then you can either include your name, the details of the job or both.
Here are a few examples of subject lines you can use:
- Thank You – Robert Trower
- Thank You – Purchasing Manager Interview
- Thank You – Robert Trower, Purchasing Manager Interview
- Thank You – Purchasing Manager Interview, Robert Trower
4. Address it to the interviewer by using his/her last name with the correct title
As a note, some candidates may feel it is perfectly fine to address the thank you letter by using the interviewer’s first name. For example: “Dear Joanne”.
While this casual approach is acceptable, it is better to remain formal throughout the letter and address it with the interviewer’s last name and correct title. For example: “Dear Ms. Reynolds”.
5. Proofread as often as you can
Finding spelling and grammar errors are like finding a strand of hair in your soup. It is off-putting and the recruiter may never come back to you. Before sending out your thank you letter, proofread it carefully.
Don’ts for writing a thank you letter after an interview
1. Don’t mistake casual for cute
It may be casual but don’t get cute with the thank you letter. Don’t add emojis or use abbreviations such as “LOL” or “IMHO”.
2. Don’t sound desperate for the job
The thank you letter is a push, not a plea. Stick to a position of strength. Highlight your strong points. Write it from their perspective: how your skills can help the company.
Don’t try to appeal to their humanity by writing the following:
- “I need the job to support my family”
- “This is my last chance to have a career”
- “I will do whatever the company asks me to do”
3. Don’t assume you already have the job
There is a difference between confidence and arrogance. Statements like these will make you sound arrogant:
- “I look forward to having coffee with you soon. First cup’s on me!”
- “I hope they’ll have my corner office ready in time.”
- “Stockholders should see company shares coming up real soon.”
Examples Of After-Interview Thank You Letters
Now let’s put everything we’ve learned together.
Here are two examples of thank you letters. The first one can be used as a handwritten note.
Example 1 – Handwritten Thank You Letter/Note
Dear Ms. Reynolds,
Thank you for granting the job interview!
Our discussion inspired me to pursue my goal of becoming your company’s new Purchasing Manager.
Should the company feel I deserve the opportunity, I hope my experience and expertise can help address the issue of variances with the Maine locations.
Again, thank you for the time.
Example 2 – Email Thank You Letter
Subject: Purchasing Manager Job – Robert Trower
Dear Ms. Reynolds.
Please allow me the opportunity to once again extend my sincere appreciation for being granted the interview yesterday. I reiterate my desire of being considered for the position of Purchasing Manager.
During my 5 year tenure as PM for Klondike Food Concepts, we experienced a similar problem with variances. To address the situation, we added an informal audit and random inventory count within the month. Then used the POS cash count as a reference.
Should my application merit consideration from The Crown Group of Restaurants, I hope to contribute my skills and experience to the continued success of the company.
Thank you and best regards,
The thank you letter can be your secret weapon for getting the job. While others think their work is done after the job interview, the thank you letter will put you a step ahead of them. It may be short in content, but the message could add value to your application.
A recruiter may conduct several interviews on any given day. Their minds are overloaded with information. If the race is tight, you need every advantage you can get to stay ahead of the competition. A well-thought-out thank you letter will put you top of mind with the recruiter.
The thank you letter is your final push for the position. Use it to trigger recall on your top skills and relevant work experiences. Bring up a discussion point and offer solutions.
Likewise, you can use the thank you letter to plug holes in your interview. If you feel there were questions you could have given better answers to, the thank you letter will be your chance to address them.
Timing is the key to getting maximum benefits from your thank you letter. The employer might decide on whom to hire within a few days. Don’t take chances and submit a handwritten note right after you leave the interview.
You can leave the note with the recruiter’s secretary or the reception area. Make sure it is addressed to the recruiter. If you went through multiple interviews, send a personalized thank you letter to every one of them.
Within 24 hours of the job interview, email a more comprehensive thank you letter to the recruiter. The content should not depart too far from the previous thank you letter but carry a bit more detail.
Finally, even if the tone of the thank you letter is casual, keep it formal. Use the last name of the recruiter along with his/her correct title. For your email, always write a professional subject line.
It may take time to write something as short as a thank you letter, but it will be time well spent.