The Importance of Saying Thank You

When you are looking for a new career opportunity at any level, the little things still matter. Take thank-you notes, for example. You might consider the idea of sending a thank-you note following a job interview to be a quaint relic from another time. However, taking the time to write a sincere thank-you note sends a strong message about who you are and what kind of colleague you will be.


Hiring managers not only notice whether you send a thank-you note, they could factor that in when making their final hiring decision. A survey of 2,800 companies conducted by CareerBuilder found that 22 percent of hiring managers are less likely to hire a candidate if that candidate does not send a thank-you note after an interview.


The reasons? Most of these managers (86 percent) say the lack of a thank-you note shows a lack of follow-through and 56 percent say this lapse shows that the candidate is not serious about the opportunity.


In a competitive situation where hiring managers have to choose between you and one or two other very compelling candidates, why leave yourself vulnerable by foregoing such a simple task?


Care about content. The thank-you note itself should be efficient, to the point and contain no jargon or text-speak. Two short paragraphs should be enough to cover the key points of your note. Correct spelling and grammar count just as much in a thank-you note as in a resume and cover letter. Ask a trusted friend to review a draft of your note prior to sending it to your interviewer.


Keep it simple by thanking the interviewer for the time they spent with you. You should also emphasize what impressed you most about the firm and its people and express your interest in the job and the company. Finally, you should restate your qualifications and how they fit well with the organization’s needs. You can also raise any points you neglected to mention during the interview.


Send it soon. According to a survey of 500 hiring managers and candidates conducted by The Ladders, 90 percent of candidates send a thank-you note on the day of the interview or one or two days later and 79 percent send an individual note to everyone they met during the interview. In general, the sooner the better should be your guideline when it comes to sending thank-you notes. Make a point to gather email addresses from your interviewers while at the interview. If you neglect to do so, call your HR or recruiter contact for help.


E-mail often preferred. Saying thank-you via e-mail is perfectly fine. Indeed, most hiring managers prefer it. If the company involved is conservative or traditional, the recipients may appreciate a handwritten note. However, make sure that you have the right tools—good handwriting and nice stationary—or stick to e-mail. Avoid using a smartphone to write or send your note, auto-correct can wreak havoc on an otherwise well-written note.

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