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One of the questions I frequently get asked is:  Do I really need to send a Thank You note after an interview?
The Thank You letter has almost disappeared as a message of appreciation in today’s fast paced age of computers, email, and online social networking.  But communicating your gratitude is no less important today than it was in Victorian times.  In days gone by, you wouldn’t think of accepting a gift, attending a dinner or being someone’s guest without sending a hand-written Thank You note.
A heartfelt Thank You note remains equally important in both social and business situations to convey one’s appreciation for another’s time and effort.  When you show your appreciation to someone for the courtesies they have shown, they are more inclined to include you, invite you back, share their time with you and help you.
In job search, sending a Thank You letter conveys not only your appreciation for the time an employer or HR person put in to interviewing you, but it also shows your respect for their efforts to learn about you, showing you around, and considering you for the position among all the other applicants, most of whom will not be interviewed.
And it’s not a matter of whether an interviewer actually expects a written Thank You, but the psychological effect it has in demonstrating your respect of them, particularly if you really want the job.
Ok, so in addition to showing respect to your interviewer, what other reasons are there for sending a Thank You?

  •     It sends a positive message to the employer.
  •     It provides you an additional opportunity to help the interviewers’ remember you.
  •     It gives you another chance to reinforce the qualities and strengths you bring to the job.
  •     It offers you the chance to bring up anything you may have left out of your interview.
  •     It strengthens the relationship you are building with new networking contacts.
  •     It’s the right thing to do!

But Hank, does the Thank You actually have to be handwritten?

A longhand note is certainly more personable, but if your handwriting is less than legible, one prepared on your computer and hand signed is also acceptable.

Can I send my Thank You note by email?

Although many people are sending Thank You notes by email, nothing replaces the visual and psychological impact of opening a personally addressed envelope, so write or print out your note, address an envelope stamp it, and put it in the mail.

How soon should I send my Thank You note?

Write your note as soon as you get home from your interview while the content is fresh in your mind.  This gives you the chance to reinforce something of importance or mention something you didn’t get the chance to say in your interview. If possible, mail your Thank You note the same day or the very next day.  If you take too long to mail it, you could be lost and forgotten among the other candidates seen by the time your note actually arrives.

I was interviewed by more than one person; should I send each a separate Thank You note?

Yes.  They can be similar, but should not be the same.  Individualize the content as best you can so that each interviewer feels like you took the time to personally address them and what they contributed to your interview.

I’ve been interviewed multiple times for the same position?   Do I keep sending Thank You notes?

Yes.  It couldn’t hurt!  Again, individualize each note.  If you are interviewed by the same person more than once, send a second note, but keep it brief and specific to the second encounter.

What should my Thank You note include?

The first paragraph should thank the interviewer for their time; second paragraph should reference something specific that was said, particularly emphasizing a strength that you bring to the position; and the third paragraph should mention that you have something important to contribute to their company, how you will follow up and that you look forward to speaking with them again soon.

Consider this: If an employer interviews two final-round candidates for the same position who have comparable skills, backgrounds, educations, work histories and references, one sends a Thank You, and the other does not.  95% of the time the person who sends the Thank You note will get the job.
So, should you send a Thank You note after an interview?  Emphatically, I say: YES!
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Thank You!