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The Importance of Job Interview Thank-You Notes

Jim Newcomb | , | May 23, 2023

The Importance of Job Interview Thank-You Notes

Thank-You Notes. Some think that sending a thank-you note after a job interview is an old-fashioned, outdated practice. It’s not. Just like cover letters, a follow-up note is not always required. But when you’re a job seeker, a well-written, post-interview thank-you message can give you a significant competitive edge during your job search. Here’s why and how to write an effective thank-you note or brief thank-you letter.  

Why should you write a thank-you note?  

Whether a job interview is conducted in person, or it’s a video interview, or a phone interview, a sincere ‘thank you’ is always welcome by today’s hiring managers or executives. Everyone appreciates gratitude. And gratitude is justified here. An interview is a commitment of time. And yes, it’s a time commitment for both the interviewer and the interviewee, but when you’re competing for a job, the interviewer holds the cards. That interviewer gave you part of their day, an investment of time to meet with you. Thanking them for making time is a professional courtesy.  

There’s also a self-serving reason to write a thank-you note. It serves as a reminder to the interviewer of the time they spent with you. As a job seeker, it pays you to stay top of mind. Not every candidate writes a note following an interview, so this may be one of the things that gives you an edge. It’s a quick and easy way to spark their recall and stand out.  

How to write a good thank-you note after an interview   

  • A thank-you note doesn’t have to be long, and it shouldn’t be if you want the recipient to read it. Some people swear by sending handwritten notes or cards via snail mail. I’ve always made that recommendation, but times change. Speed matters and mail is slower than it used to be. However, if you want to send yours by mail, don’t let me be the one to stop you. Email is the default method of business communication, so a brief email is perfectly fine – and faster. Use something short in the subject line, such as, “I appreciated your time yesterday.” 
  • Thank-you messages should start by stating that you appreciate their time with you and that it was nice to meet them.
  • Continue by mentioning something specific about the company, the job, or the interview that piqued your interest. For example, during some small talk, maybe you discovered a common interest. Or something particular about your background, experience, or one of the interview questions makes you an even better fit for the job than you first thought. Or you learned something about the company’s history that was especially interesting. Any of these are fair game. Whatever you choose to mention should be truthful, accurate, and as specific as possible to your interview.
  • Close by saying that you’re looking forward to continuing the interview process. And here’s a tip from the sales world: Use a presumptive close. Instead of saying you “hope to hear back,” say instead that you “look forward to hearing back.” It’s subtle but more confident.  

Proof your thank-you notes! 

Please, please, please carefully proofread your thank-you notes for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and typos. A poorly written or executed note can hurt your chances rather than help. With this gesture, you are showing more than courtesy and follow-through. You are also demonstrating your attention to detail and communication ability. Most of us type fast, and auto-correct sometimes inserts blunders or misses them. I highly recommend using Grammarly for all written communication. The basic version, which is sufficient for most users, is free.  

Don’t expect a reply to thank-you notes   

Last thing: Don’t expect a reply. You might get one, but in most cases, you won’t. Responding to a thank-you note isn’t generally necessary, so if you don’t hear back, it doesn’t mean your note wasn’t read or appreciated.  

Gratitude is always in style   

Sincere gratitude and appreciation never go out of style. After each interview, sending a thank-you note shows that you’re considerate and understand professional courtesy. And it only takes a few moments. Like cover letters, I never put them forward as a requirement, but they can help you stand out in a positive way.  

When you’re on the job market, it just makes sense to have as many things as possible working in your favor! 

As a senior talent recruiter at Goodwin Recruiting, I welcome the opportunity to assist you on your career journey. Call or write to me for career advice and let’s explore your job opportunities! 

Additional Information and Resources   

About the author: Jim Newcomb has been a Senior Recruiting Partner with Goodwin Recruiting since 2013. He was the 2016 Partner of the Year, 2017 Ambassador of the Year, and 2018 Extensive Support Coach of the Year. In 2020, he created Daily Positive Thoughts and in 2021, he created the website.