The Importance of Thank You Notes After an Interview – Stephanie Cox

There is a great phrase in a Don Henley song and it goes like this, “How can love survive in such a graceless age?”  He’s talking about love and we are talking about courtesy, but you catch our drift.  In this graceless age where people look at their phones when you are talking to them, only communicate via text or email, scroll head down on their phone while a speaker is presenting, post inappropriate pictures and commentary on Facebook, it’s no wonder many people do not send thank you notes.

Handwritten Versus Email?

We always stress to our candidates to send a handwritten thank you note after an interview.  If you are interviewing in person, we recommend you bring the notes with you, and after the interview handwrite a note in the car and deliver it back to the receptionist.  If that is not possible — for example it is a telephone interview, or the front desk isn’t staffed, or the office is closed by then, you can mail it.  Many candidates ask me if an email thank you is appropriate and while it is better than nothing, it doesn’t take that much time, effort or money to mail or drop off a handwritten note.   You don’t know if that email ends up in the spam filter and the recipient never receives it.  It is too easy to delete emails. 

Why send a thank you note after the interview?  It sets you apart from the rest of the pack and tells the interviewer you have manners.  If they must decide between two qualified candidates, it could swing the decision in your favor. 

What does a Thank You Note need to Contain?

A good thank note does not have to be long or flowery.  It should be on nice paper or card stock – don’t tear it out of your binder or off your legal pad.  You can purchase inexpensive boxes of thank you cards.  If your handwriting is not legible, take the time to print it.  Here are some phrases you can use:

  •   Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me.  It was great to learn about your company and the position.  I appreciate the opportunity to be considered and look forward to the next step.  Sincerely, (Candidate and phone number). 
  •   If you want to make it a little longer, www.careersidekick.com recommends:

Hello <Interviewer’s Name>,

I wanted to take a second to thank you for your time <yesterday/Friday/etc>. I enjoyed our conversation about <specific topic you discussed> and enjoyed learning about the <Job Title> position overall. 

It sounds like an exciting opportunity, and an opportunity I could succeed and excel in! I’m looking forward to hearing any updates you can share, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns in the meantime.

Thanks again for the great conversation <yesterday/Friday/etc>.

Best Regards,

<Your Name>

You Did Not Get the Position

And occasionally the interviewer may inform you that will not move forward.  It is a still an opportunity to shine:

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me.  It was great to learn about your company and the position.  I appreciate your candor about my prospects for this position.  I hope you will consider me in the future if something arises that would be a great fit.  I would love to work for your organization.  Thank you again. 

Many years ago, a roommate of mine (straight A student) said, “You don’t have to do that much more to set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd.”  A thank you note can do that.

An Attitude of Gratitude 

This is being published during The Great Disruption or as some call it, the pandemic.  While most of us are working at home, some are furloughed and many unfortunate are unemployed we have time to practice an attitude of gratitude.  Some of the most successful people send a note at least once a week to someone who has made an impact on their life, or to congratulate someone, or to say thank you for a kindness or a job well done.   They practice gratitude because to paraphrase Mr. Henley “that is how we can survive in such a graceless age.”  Write a note to someone today!  


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