In the executive-search business, we say time kills all deals. It’s no different for candidates interviewing. Time will kill your opportunity with a company quickly if you do not have a post-interview strategy for sending thank you notes and accepting offers. Send thank you notes to the interviewers you met with immediately following the interview.
The E-mail Thank You
E-mail thank you notes are expected after interview, ideally within three to four hours, and no later than the end of the day. The key to the e-mail is to tailor it to the recipient. Base your specific details on something from your conversation with that individual. Don’t write an overly long thank you note. Keep it short. Don’t include six paragraphs and a bulleted list of what you bring to the table—that makes you sound desperate. Spell-check the e-mail and check it visually before clicking send.
Email tip: In the subject line of the e-mail, include the title of the position you interviewed for, for example: “The director of sales interview today” or “Jeff Smith, director of sales candidate.”
The Hand-Written Note
Ideally, the same day you interview, send a short, handwritten thank you note. This is where having the interviewer’s business card will be especially handy. I recommend using stationery cards; they don’t have to say “thank you” on the cover, but they can. Don’t go overboard with your choice of cards; they can have your name inscribed on them, but keep the look professional, corporate.
The verbiage on the handwritten card will be different from the e-mail – it’ll be short and to the point, referencing the day and position you were interviewing for. Here’s why: people rarely get handwritten thank you notes anymore. And the fact that you took the time and had the initiative to put one together—and dropped back by the receptionist at the company or dropped it in the mail the same-day—will make a huge statement, a lasting impression on the interviewer. I know candidates who have gotten jobs because of handwritten thank you notes.
Note Tip: If you’ve flown in for the interview, bring your own cards and
envelopes with you. Don’t forget stamps, or else prestamp your envelopes. While you’re waiting for your flight back, write your thank you notes and drop them in the mailbox at the airport. The key is to get the cards in the mail before you leave town.
Saying “thank you” can quite possibly make all the difference – be sure to do it!