Your mom told you to write them. So did your grandmother.
And though neither may know the difference between a project manager and a community manager, they’re both still right.
We’re talking thank you notes.
And the alternate title of this blog post is, “Yes, you should be sending a thank you note after each and every interview.”
Veteran agent Suzy Thompson (who has spent more than 15 years in the creative staffing industry) said, “I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to send one? A thank you note is always something that will keep you top of mind. Which is exactly where you want to be as a candidate.”
A brief emailed message also allows you to immediately reiterate specific points from the interview. If you want to go that extra step, you can follow your email with a handwritten note on a card. Suzy pointed out that this adds a personal touch and shows that you took the extra effort.
“When I’ve received handwritten ones, I keep them. You should always send the email, but if you really liked the position, why not send both? It gives you two extra chances to let the client know how much you want the job.”
The stats back up her up. Last year’s survey from TheLadders revealed that more than 75% of interviewers said that receiving a thank you note actually impacted their decision-making process.
The question isn’t whether you should send them, but why you aren’t sending them more often.
One of our agents told this story: A client interviewed three creatives, each equally talented. After a lot of deliberation, an offer was finally extended to one candidate. When the agent followed up with the client, he asked what was the deciding factor in her choice. The client admitted it was nearly impossible to make a decision, but the one thing that set one apart from the rest was the fact that THAT one (the one they hired) sent a thank you note.
TheLadders survey also confirmed something we already know about the digital world: speed is of the essence. Make sure you send your thank email within 24 hours of your interview.
That means you’ll want to remember to get a business card from each person who interviews you. If you didn’t give you one after the interview (whether that’s because they forgot to bring one or you forgot to ask), ask the receptionist or office manager for their email addresses and the correct spelling of their names.
So, now that you know you should be sending them, what are the ingredients that make up the perfect thank you email?
1. First and foremost: correct spelling. Just like your resume and portfolio, your spelling and grammar should be correct—especially the spelling of your interviewer’s name—before you hit the send button.
2. Your marketing mind. Think of your target audience. An email to a person in HR will be much different than the one you’ll write to the creative director. Or a content strategist. Make sure your tone reflects that difference. Also, don’t go overboard with familiarity; you haven’t gotten the position yet!
3. Key points from the interview. This is the place where you can remind the interviewer why you’re the best fit for their role. Feel free to also mention anything that would stand out as a small detail about your interview. It’s not only personal, it shows you were paying attention.
4. Your understanding of next steps. Reiterate what you were told in the interview. Will you be interviewing with other staff? Does the process normally take 2 weeks? Does your interviewer need to confer with others? Show that you were listening by putting it in writing.
5. The nitty gritty. Make sure you include your name, the title of the position (in case they’ve forgotten) and your contact information: phone numbers, email address, portfolio link, etc.
6. Restraint. As hard as it may be, don’t overdo it. An email “Thank You” is just that, a note of appreciation for the interviewers’ time (okay, and a pitch for just how wonderful you are). But keep in mind hiring managers and recruiters are enormously busy people. Our internal recruiter Christie Barkan says, “One thank you email is pleasant to get. Five will probably lose you the job.”
Overall, try to put yourself in your interviewer’s shoes. What would you want to see? What would say to you, “Hey, this candidate really understands the job, was actually listening, and would make a great match for our team!”
With that in mind, your Thank You notes should really write themselves. Good luck!
(And hey, THANKS!)