Thank You For Writing More Than “Thank You”

Why you need to follow up each interview with a personalized note.

Hand Writing with Pen

You just totally nailed your interview. You didn’t even get tripped up when the interviewer asked you to name your five greatest strengths and five biggest weaknesses. Awesome! But before you go home and relax, make sure to get the contact info (at least email address) of everyone who interviewed you to write thank-you notes later.


Now that you have their contact information in hand, read a book or play some violent video games to unwind and button-mash your stress away for a little while. Take a night to sleep on winning your interview.


Next day — it’s time to write your thank-you note(s). These should be sent within a day or two of your interview. Write one after any and all interviews—a phone screening, a second interview, an unfortunate fifth-round interview, etc.


A thank-you note is a simple gesture that can impact your chances of getting the job or being brought in for another round of interviews. According to a CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers from 2011, 86% of the managers surveyed said if a candidate doesn’t send a note, it shows a lack of follow-through.


Now, it’s called a “thank you” note, but the thanking is only step one. A note that just says…


Dear So and So,

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview me about the accountant position! I look forward to hearing from you soon.


[Insert Your Name Here]


… won’t get you very far. It’s hardly better than sending no note at all. You have to take it one or two steps further. What you really want to emphasize is your excitement, both about the position and about things you touched on in the interview. But don’t just say that you are excited—say why you’re excited. Your note should look something like…


Dear So and So,

Thank you for taking the time to interview me about the accountant position!  It was great discussing how the Internet and tech companies are changing accounting, here’s the article I was talking about regarding Paychex, Inc.: (link to article). Talking with you about your accounting firm’s philosophies and how you uphold them even in this rapidly changing environment just reinforced my excitement to work with you.


[Insert Your Name Here]


This second example is much more personalized and proves that you’re not just searching for any old job to make some money—you want this job, and you want to work with this specific person or group of people. According to the CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers, 56% of the hiring managers surveyed believe the lack of a note from a candidate indicates they aren’t serious about the position.


Even if you interview with someone multiple times, you should send a thank-you note after each interview. Since you discuss different things in each interview, you will have new topics to write about.


Just as the digital age has altered accounting, it has also altered communication, making it acceptable to email your thank-you note in most cases. But a note handwritten on paper and sent via snail mail is great and preferable to do for a hiring manager. (Hopefully you have pretty handwriting. If not, hopefully the hiring manager hasn’t read tons of books on handwriting analysis.)

No matter what form your note takes, as long as you convey your excitement and qualifications in a sincere manner, your words will leave a lasting impression.


Written by Ashley McDonnell

Posted by Team Fundamentum