Sending a follow-up thank-you note after an interview is one of the most important parts of the process. After all, you want to let the interviewer know that you really want the job and that you appreciate their time and consideration. They take hours out of their weeks hunting for the ideal candidate — and one small note of gratitude can go a long way.
Of course, however, not all follow-ups are created equal. Some perform better than others. That's why we've reached out to hiring managers to learn about the best interview follow-ups that they'd ever received — and what makes them great.
Read what they have to say carefully, as you can learn a thing or two for your own next interview follow-up.
1. The candidate put together a 90-day plan for the role.
"One recent candidate really impressed me with their passion in a follow-up email exchange," says Carolina King, the chief people officer for Lucas Group. "The initial interview went well, and we gave him feedback that we wanted to proceed with him, but had a few more interviews we planned to conduct. He wrote a response with the subject line, 'Call off the search, you have already found the right hire,' and he included a 90-day plan for the role. This showed enthusiasm, a purposeful plan and a sense of humor that immediately landed him the role!"
2. The candidate put together an action plan.
"One of the best pieces of follow-up I've gotten was from a QA Analyst," says Jonathan D. Roger, director of operations at Treehouse Technology Group, LLC. "He took a project that we'd talked about during the interview and put together a full testing plan, suggested documentation and questions for the client, and he attached that to his thank-you note. It was unique, insightful and got him the job."
3. The candidate sent a personalized card.
"The best follow-up I have ever received from an applicant after a job interview was a customized pop-up card," says Becky Beach, a design manager and blogger at Mom Beach. "It came by snail mail a few days after the interview. When I opened the letter, I was surprised to see the homemade thank you card. The applicant had placed their business card in the middle of the card on a cut seam. When you opened the card, the business card popped up and a cut-out 'thank you'was pasted behind it. I was very pleased to receive such a kind thank you card. I reached out to the applicant for a follow up interview, but they told me that they had received another offer. It's no wonder! When you send memorable follow-up cards like that, then you are sure to get a job quickly."
4. The candidate gave candid feedback.
"Nothing beats the feeling when you receive a great follow-up after getting the job done," says Karolina Kwaśniewska, recruitment manager at Future Processing. "At Future Processing, we are methodically collecting feedback after the recruitment process is finished. Beside the standard NPS survey, we are asking candidates to share some open thoughts on our processes. The one I bear in mind and which reflects the culture of FP in a nutshell was the one when a candidate told us we shouldn’t name the interview as the interview per se — he felt as if he was meeting his old buddies with whom he can chat and have a great substantial discussion about his career and further development. The atmosphere he experienced during the interview, opened and focused on a mutual desire to get to know each other, was a main factor that made him accept our job offer and left our job market competitors far behind."
5. The candidate proved her value.
"We were hiring a content writer to produce 25 pieces of copy a week — essentially five a day," says Sean Clancy, founder and hiring manager of a digital agency. "We interviewed an ex-journalist, and she was very impressive. She claimed that her production rate was what we needed. Within an hour of the interview, she had sent us over two, 500-word articles (unsolicited) for our own blog to prove that she could back up her claims. We hired her on the spot."
6. The candidate sent a personal, hand-written note.
"What I found attention-grabbing was a personally written thank-you card sent directly to me.," says Mike Smith, founder of SalesCoaching1. "It was handwritten with a sincere message restating some pertinent information from the meeting. It showed professionalism and class — hings not so common anymore! After interviewing in excess of 1,000 applicants over the years, there had been less than 20 who did this. If the final decision was close and that card was sitting on my desk, who do you think got hired?"
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.