The first — and most important — thing to do is to send a follow-up note. The etiquette for thank you letters after the interview has changed as email takes a larger role in communication during the hiring process. Surveys reveal a wide disparity of preferences among hiring managers about whether a handwritten or emailed note is best. However, what hasn’t changed is the need to send a thank you note. It’s a must!
If you have decent penmanship and access to preprinted thank you cards (no flowers or animals, please!), and can handwrite a note immediately after the interview, go for it. Just make sure you mail it right away so that it arrives the next day, or within 2-3 days of the interview. Make sure you address the card correctly so that it will be received directly by the interviewer. Be sure to spell the interviewer’s name correctly! And double-check the card to ensure you didn’t spell anything wrong.
If your handwriting isn’t easily readable, or you wouldn’t be able to mail a card promptly, email is also acceptable for sending a thank you message. Just make sure you address the email to the right person. For a subject line, you can use something like, “Great to Meet You Today” or “Thanks For Meeting With Me Yesterday.” (And again, spelling counts here too!). Do not send the thank you email from your work email address. But do send it from a professional email address. NOT email@example.com.
What should you write in the thank you note? The best post-interview thank you notes are brief and to the point.
Cover these four points:
- Address the person by name. (Ms. Jones or Mr. Smith, not “Bob” or “Nancy,” unless the interviewer directed you to use his or her first name.)
- Thank them for their time and the opportunity to interview for the (name of position).
- Mention one or two things from the interview that especially resonated with you, or mention an issue (or answer a question) that you felt you didn’t address properly in the interview. But don’t take an apologetic tone. Instead, say something like, “I wanted to clarify what we talked about with curriculum development. I should have emphasized that I do have experience in lesson planning and creating course outlines, having prepared a comprehensive course syllabus as part of my graduate class on Classroom Management. I would be happy to forward you a copy of these materials for your review, if you’d like.”
- Confirm the “next step” from the interview, including what action you will take — or what you’re expecting from the interviewer.
A thank you note tells the interviewer you know how to follow protocol, gives you one more touch with the interviewer, and can make a difference in being considered for hire.
[photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com]