Article creator image

BY Romy Newman

Should You Send a Thank You Note After an Interview? ALWAYS.

Thank You

Photo credit: ORIN ZEBEST VIA SOURCE / CC BY FOTER

TAGS: Interview, Career advice, Email, Job search

This weekend, a young woman asked me, “Do I really need to send a thank you note after my interview?”

Let me be blunt: I have interviewed and hired for dozens of jobs in my career, and I simply will not hire anyone who doesn’t send a thank you note following the interview. I know I am not alone in this policy.  Several other colleagues I’ve worked with feel the same way.

So, the answer is unequivocally YES. You should most definitely send a thank you note. Why is the thank you note so critical?

1. The interview is not over when you walk out of the room.

If I’m considering hiring you, I want to know about more than just what you say. I want to know what you do. How will you handle work interactions? Are you a professional?

When you write a thank you note (or don’t), you are demonstrating your follow-up skills. From your approach to the thank you note, I’m evaluating your project management skills, and whether your written communication is compelling. I can also tell whether you can be creative and thoughtful.

Don’t just churn out the typical response (usually something like, “I’m very excited about the opportunity to join your company.”) Instead, add on to some of the topics you covered in the interview, or send some interesting follow up. For example: “I enjoyed our discussion about social media and its role in the marketing value chain. I thought this article from HBR might interest you.”

And reiterate with thoughtful detail why you are a compelling fit for the job. List three reasons that speak specifically to projects or job responsibilities covered in your interview.

If you met with several people, send them personalized emails. You can reuse some core elements, but customize them based on your conversations. (Which means you should take notes during the interviews so you can remember who said what.)

2. You need to show that you’re interested in the job.

The playing field for high quality jobs is very competitive. On average 100 people apply for each open position. Hiring managers want to hire people who are eager to have the job. So communicate your excitement about the job through your email follow up — and make it prompt. In my opinion, you should follow up via email the same day under all circumstances.

If you aren’t clear in your intent and desires, you can be certain someone else will be — and they’ll get the job instead of you.

Several people have asked me, “what about a handwritten note?” While I think a handwritten note is a lovely gesture in theory, I’m afraid it’s a bit obsolete. I’m looking to see how you’ll conduct business, and written thank you notes are just not a great indication. Plus, they just don’t have the immediacy - so I may have already made a decision about you before the snail mail makes its way to me.

If a written thank you note is a part of your personal style and you’re attached to it, then send it in addition to the email follow up.

3. This is about manners.

In addition to evaluating whether you can adequately perform the duties of the job, any good hiring manager is also using the interview process to determine whether you are someone they would actually want to work with. In my personal experience, it’s always important to find someone to hire who can fit will with the company culture, get along with others, and represent our team and company admirably when I can’t be there.

Manners are fundamental. If you don’t write a thank you note, I’d have to question whether you have the kind of manners that would make you a positive addition to the team. If you don’t send a thank you note, are you the kind of person who is going to be messy in the break room? Or unfriendly to your co-workers? What behavior are you bringing to the table?

The company only has a few data points about you on which to make a hiring decision — so put your best foot forward.

Should you still send a thank you note, even if you don’t think you want the job?

Even if you don’t want the job, you should still ALWAYS send a thank you note. Every time you interview, you are making an impression and a new possible connection. It’s a small, small world and you never know how your path may cross again. So take the time to write a note anyway. It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.

Am I just old fashioned?

Maybe….but maybe so is your interviewer. Do you really want to risk it?

Have you found an effective way to follow-up after an interview? If so, share your advice and opinions with other women in our community.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.

Related Community Discussions

  • I'm thinking about not coming back to work after my maternity leave -- even if I have to pay some of the pay I receive during leave. Nobody has asked me about whether I'm going to come back (they are just acting as if this will definitely happen when we talk about longer term projects) but I feel hugely guilty....and sometimes I think I should just quit now. Anyone been in this situation? any advice?

  • I am trying to change career paths. I was laid off in Nov. 2016. I spoke with a master resume writer yesterday who recommended an entirely new resume, LinkedIn overhaul, valuation letter and summary/biography all for close to $3000. I also received a call for an interview for a part-time job, $10/hour, no benefits. Needless to say I burst into tears by the end of the day.

    I had high hope when I obtained my law degree (especially after working full-time & attending night classes). I've tried contacting the law school and my undergrad career centers but have received only nominal assistance. They both wished me luck, gave me login's to their job portals and had nothing more to suggest.

    Someone mentioned networking & I agree that is an option but here in Michigan is comes with a fee to attend events, seminars or join associations. I understand we are all trying to make money but I graduated from law school during the recession and have 6 figures in student loans. I also am running out of unemployment.

    The master resume writer explained only 15% of people get hired from online applications. Is that true? If so then why are we even bothering with an online system at all? She suggested I find the hiring manager & connect with that person. The hiring manager is sometimes 2 people deep in the company so how do I find the person who told HR that they need a person for X job?

    I've reached out to people on LinkedIn and have not gotten much response or advice. Are there any mentors or HR people that can suggest anything that is free? My mom thinks I should go back to school but with a BA and JD that I am still paying for adding to the debt with no promises that another degree will land me a job doesn't seem wise.

    I am frustrated, disheartened and angry that the process of finding a job has become so convoluted but understand why it has. I've read so many articles on LinkedIn that they conflict with one another...you need a cover letter, no you need a pain letter, don't bother you don't need these because HR won't read it. Your resume needs skills, don't list your skills, list dates, don't list dates, take off references. Which article do I believe? Adding insult to injury the unemployment agency here requires your resume to be uploaded to the talent network. Do you know what companies contacted me expressing interest in my skill-set? Tru-Green lawn care as a fertilizer sprayer and a local manufacture as a line-worker. Is that all I am capable of and are they even reading my resume?

    If there is anyone out there who can help please respond and as 1 talk-show host says everyday at the end of her show remember to "be king to one another".

  • My friend just told me (she was trying to be nice) that I'm limiting my career potential because I don't wear makeup to work. Do you think she's right? Do I need to wear makeup to be "professional?"

  • Because of the world we live in, I worry about choosing a hairstyle to wear in a professional workplace environment. Is there a good reference, website, article, etc. that gives practical advise?

  • Does anyone here work for Earnst & Young? I see their communications department is hiring for multiple roles I think I'm qualified for. I'd like to learn more "inside scoop" from a current or former employee. Also looking to learn more about how this department is structured so I can figure out which of the positions I should apply for. Don't want to apply for all of them and have it look as if I'm spamming them with my resume.

Find Out

What are women saying about your company?

Click Here

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Share with Friends
  • Share Anonymously

Should You Send a Thank You Note After an Interview? ALWAYS.

Should You Send a Thank You Note After an Interview? ALWAYS.

This weekend, a young woman asked me, “Do I really need to send a thank you note after my interview?” Let me be blunt: I have interviewed an...

This weekend, a young woman asked me, “Do I really need to send a thank you note after my interview?”

Let me be blunt: I have interviewed and hired for dozens of jobs in my career, and I simply will not hire anyone who doesn’t send a thank you note following the interview. I know I am not alone in this policy.  Several other colleagues I’ve worked with feel the same way.

So, the answer is unequivocally YES. You should most definitely send a thank you note. Why is the thank you note so critical?

1. The interview is not over when you walk out of the room.

If I’m considering hiring you, I want to know about more than just what you say. I want to know what you do. How will you handle work interactions? Are you a professional?

When you write a thank you note (or don’t), you are demonstrating your follow-up skills. From your approach to the thank you note, I’m evaluating your project management skills, and whether your written communication is compelling. I can also tell whether you can be creative and thoughtful.

Don’t just churn out the typical response (usually something like, “I’m very excited about the opportunity to join your company.”) Instead, add on to some of the topics you covered in the interview, or send some interesting follow up. For example: “I enjoyed our discussion about social media and its role in the marketing value chain. I thought this article from HBR might interest you.”

And reiterate with thoughtful detail why you are a compelling fit for the job. List three reasons that speak specifically to projects or job responsibilities covered in your interview.

If you met with several people, send them personalized emails. You can reuse some core elements, but customize them based on your conversations. (Which means you should take notes during the interviews so you can remember who said what.)

2. You need to show that you’re interested in the job.

The playing field for high quality jobs is very competitive. On average 100 people apply for each open position. Hiring managers want to hire people who are eager to have the job. So communicate your excitement about the job through your email follow up — and make it prompt. In my opinion, you should follow up via email the same day under all circumstances.

If you aren’t clear in your intent and desires, you can be certain someone else will be — and they’ll get the job instead of you.

Several people have asked me, “what about a handwritten note?” While I think a handwritten note is a lovely gesture in theory, I’m afraid it’s a bit obsolete. I’m looking to see how you’ll conduct business, and written thank you notes are just not a great indication. Plus, they just don’t have the immediacy - so I may have already made a decision about you before the snail mail makes its way to me.

If a written thank you note is a part of your personal style and you’re attached to it, then send it in addition to the email follow up.

3. This is about manners.

In addition to evaluating whether you can adequately perform the duties of the job, any good hiring manager is also using the interview process to determine whether you are someone they would actually want to work with. In my personal experience, it’s always important to find someone to hire who can fit will with the company culture, get along with others, and represent our team and company admirably when I can’t be there.

Manners are fundamental. If you don’t write a thank you note, I’d have to question whether you have the kind of manners that would make you a positive addition to the team. If you don’t send a thank you note, are you the kind of person who is going to be messy in the break room? Or unfriendly to your co-workers? What behavior are you bringing to the table?

The company only has a few data points about you on which to make a hiring decision — so put your best foot forward.

Should you still send a thank you note, even if you don’t think you want the job?

Even if you don’t want the job, you should still ALWAYS send a thank you note. Every time you interview, you are making an impression and a new possible connection. It’s a small, small world and you never know how your path may cross again. So take the time to write a note anyway. It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.

Am I just old fashioned?

Maybe….but maybe so is your interviewer. Do you really want to risk it?

Have you found an effective way to follow-up after an interview? If so, share your advice and opinions with other women in our community.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.

thumbnail 1 summary