The anatomy of a thank you note – what you need to write to get hired.
You already said what you had to say – and expressed your profuse gratitude – in the interview itself. Why should you take the time to rehash what’s already been clearly spelled out? Is a Thank You note really necessary?
The short answer is yes; the Thank You note is a lot more than an antiquated tradition. A recent CNBC report reveals that, despite hiring experts saying the Thank You note is ‘critical,’ only 25% of entry-level applicants actually send thank you notes after interviews.
Still think they’re unnecessary? A client of mine – a CFO at one of the fastest growing companies in DFW – goes so far as to closely monitor not only the delivery of a thank you note, but the time frame in which it is delivered. In his eyes, the lack of a Thank You note is near impossible to overcome.
Luckily for you, writing a Thank You note is simple, quick, and incredibly effective. Check out my easy-to-follow strategy:
What do you want to convey?
Above all else, you want to be MEMORABLE and PERSONABLE.
There are differing schools of thought when it comes to how much detail to include in a Thank You note, from those who advocate for only the most basic of overviews to those who prefer an essay-style letter.
In my experience, staying too high level will only hurt your chances of landing the job. You’ll just be checking a box, like the 10 other people interviewing for the same position.
In a market as competitive as Dallas / Fort Worth, it’s not enough to be a GREAT candidate. You have to make a better connection, be more memorable than the other GREAT candidates. Enthusiasm and specifics are your key to unlocking opportunity.
These differentiators will add up to make you stand out.
Your anatomy lesson: breaking down the Thank You note into simple parts.
Step 1: Start with a straightforward greeting. I suggest going with “[Hiring Manager first name],” unless you’ve already established a strong relationship with the Hiring Manager. In that case, you can consider “Hi [Name].” Just remember to keep it simple: avoid anything too formal like “Dear” or “Greetings.”
Step 2: Thank them! A quick “thank you for your time, I really enjoyed getting to meet with you and the team at [company name] today.”
Step 3: Immediately transition into 1-2 SPECIFIC topics mentioned in the interview that you found especially exciting or that most aligned with your passions. Get into the details of why these topics resonated with you. This is your only chance to drive home your enthusiasm!
Step 4: Close out with 1-2 SPECIFIC position-related topics, reiterating your technical ability to execute these functions using SPECIFIC examples from your past work history. In my opinion, the number one way to fade into the crowd is to stay too high level when summarizing your experience. This is exactly the same advice I give to candidates pre-interview – the more specific and enthusiastic you can be, the better you’ll be remembered.
Step 5: Express interest in the position and mention the “next steps” in the process. If you know there is not a next step, I wouldn’t be afraid to let them know that you are interested in the role and excited about the prospect of joining their team.
Step 6: Sign off. I like to keep it simple: “Thank you,” or “Sincerely,” followed by your name and number.
What if there are multiple interviewers?
Depending on the level of your interaction with these people, as well as the length of your meeting, you have two options.
- Draft a letter to each person
- Draft a letter addressing the hiring manager, and including 2-3 sentences addressed to or summarizing your interaction with and appreciation of the other team members.
How long should you wait before sending your note?
Finding that perfect balance between conveying passion and not seeming desperate can be tricky.
Let’s say you’re interview was from 12:00 – 2:00pm. You have a few options here: you can either send your note immediately upon your return to work (and risk appearing disrespectful toward your employer), or you can wait until work is finished – which is what I recommend. As long as it is the same day as the interview, your note will be perceived positively. If you wait until the next day, you risk being outshone by another candidate, who sent their note and expressed enthusiasm the same day as their interview.
Considering a handwritten note? I’ve seen such gestures leave a strong, positive impression. Of course, the gamble is that the note will only arrive after a few days. Is it worth the risk? Usually not. My advice is to embrace speed over ink.
How should your note look when put together? Keep reading for a before and after.
I enjoyed meeting with you today to discuss the Senior Accountant position at Proven Recruiting. I enjoyed learning more about the role and the culture of the company.
After speaking with you and Louis, I am confident that I can be an asset to the company, and that I am going to fit in well with the Accounting team at Proven.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I enjoyed meeting with you yesterday to discuss the Senior Accountant position with Proven Recruiting. It was great having the opportunity to learn more about the role and the culture of the company.
Michelle, I know your biggest concern is finding a candidate that has great Excel skills as the role requires the ability to analyze large volumes of data. I would like to reiterate that I would be a great candidate for this role because I use Excel on a daily basis to analyze inventory at my current job, and I would make time to improve my skills even further to match your expectations. You also mentioned the right candidate for this job should be able to fit in well with the strong accounting team at Proven. I can assure you that I adapt easily to change and fit in well with any team I work with, as Cydney, my former manager at Staffing Inc., mentioned in her reference.
Louis, one of the things you asked me during the interview was how I cope under stress. Juggling multiple projects, especially around month-end, certainly presents a conventionally stressful situation for most people. What works for me in such cases is to break down the projects into smaller manageable assignments and communicate my progress to the concerned parties, as I make progress on the different tasks.
Please let me know if you need more information that would be helpful in making your decision.
I am confident that I can be an asset to the company, fitting in well with the accounting team at Proven.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I’ve spent countless hours debriefing with Hiring Managers following a candidate’s interview. The one thing that always comes up? Their deep appreciation for a well-written, thoughtful Thank You note.
Follow these simple steps and I can all but guarantee a marked difference in your post-interview response rates. And please – let me know what has worked for you!
If you’re looking for a simple way to stand out from the crowd, you’ve found it. Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss your options.
Have a question for Nick? Ask him in the comments