I have a confession to make. I am the WORST…and I mean the WORST at sending out thank you notes. Here’s the thing. I always write them, but I can NEVER get them in the mail. I have no clue why. There have been multiple occasions on which I have had thank you notes sitting on my desk for so long that I have literally had to throw them away because sending them after such a long period of time would just be awkward (yes, I’m talking about my daughter’s birthday parties). However, there is one occasion for which I never forget to send a thank you, and that is a job interview.
When you send a thank you note after an interview, you do it so that you can be remembered and make a good impression. Yes, the motive is selfish, but have no shame— you gotta do what you gotta do to get the job.
So, here’s how to write the best thank you note after an interview and make the best impression.
HANDWRITTEN VS. EMAIL
There is a lot of disagreement and differing opinions on whether you should send your post-interview thank you note via snail mail or email. Some people think that snail mail shows more effort and leaves a better impression. Others think that email is the preferred method of communication by potential employers.
Here’s what I think.
Do what feels most natural to you. If you are someone who carries thank you notes with you and will put it right in the mail, then go for it. However, I personally always send thank you notes via email because it is more efficient and an email is more likely to reach the person I intend it for.
If you choose to go the email route for your thank you note, there’s a little bit of an art to when you should send it. Sending it right after you leave their office will leave no impression because they are still thinking about you. But, if you wait until the next morning to send it you will have given them just long enough to forget about you before you show up in their inbox. This will help you to stay at the front of the interviewer’s mind, which is a good thing
WHAT TO WRITE
Now, let’s get down to business. Writing a thank you note can be hard. You can be generic or detailed, short or long-winded, personal or professional—so many choices so little time. This is what I recommend.
OPEN WITH GRATITUDE
At the beginning of the thank you note, you want to say “thank you!” Be sure to thank the interviewer (by name) for the opportunity to interview with them and discuss your future with the company. After all, it is a thank you note.
MENTION THE ENVIRONMENT
During the interview, hopefully, you had a chance to see the office or some of the space that you could be working in. Now is a great time to mention how you loved the space or “felt at home” in the environment. If you didn’t get a tour, that’s okay! Let the interviewer know how you “enjoyed the conversation and getting to know them”.
DON’T FORGET THE TEAM
If you had a chance to meet your potential co-workers during the interview, great! Now is a perfect time to mention them and how you feel you “fit in with the team”. Perhaps, highlight very briefly how you feel your talents could compliment theirs and how you are “excited to be part of such a motivated team”.
HIGHLIGHT A STANDOUT MOMENT
Pick something special from the interview to highlight. Perhaps you and the interviewer talked about a unique skill that you have or a big project that you could potentially be working on. The thank you note is a great time to strategically remind them of how your talents could benefit their business.
CLOSE WITH THE FUTURE
It’s not goodbye but see you later. Close your thank you note with the assumption that you WILL be meeting your interviewer again. Don’t use the word “hope”…be bold and confident. You could say that you are “looking forward to answering any questions they may have and seeing them again soon.”
Whatever you write in your post-interview thank you note, make it purposeful. Give the interviewer a reason to remember you and put your name at the top of the list. Just like your resume, your thank you note should stand out among the crowd.
Best of luck!