I have seen many candidates completely blow their chances of getting a job by not properly following up after an interview. A strong “thank you” note is incredibly powerful for 5 key reasons:
- It Shows Off Your Follow Up Skills — This is of the utmost importance if you are applying for a sales position. The interviewer is going to assume that your follow up with her is a direct reflection of how you would follow up with a client. Even if your specialty area does not include client-facing responsibilities, chances are you are interviewing for a position that will require you to manage projects, liaise with internal departments and/or oversee external vendors. In any one of these cases, strong organizational and communications skills are necessary and the “thank you” letter is basically a mirror into how you would perform these duties.
- It Shows Off Your Listening Skills — An interview is a give and take session in which you learn about a company and a position and the hiring manager learns about your skills and how you can possibly make a positive impact on their business. A “thank you” letter offers you the opportunity to show that you listened in the meeting by reiterating the key takeaways of the conversation. Did the hiring manager mention that they are reorganizing? Then mention it. Did she say that they recently received $22MM in Series B funding? Then talk about how great it would be to work with a company that has strong economic resources behind it.
- It Shows Your ability to Communicate In a Cohesive Manner — No doubt about it, the extra time you take to write a thoughtful thank you with meaningful FULL sentences, says a lot about how you will communicate with internal and external teams once you come on board. Don’t simply write, ”Thank you for your time today. I enjoyed learning more about your company and the opportunity and I hope to be able to continue the discussion.” You can do better than that. Be thoughtful and, through your words, make it clear that you don’t just want any job. You want THIS job. That will really resonate and get you in for the second and third interviews.
- It Shows Your Attention to Detail (hello typos!) — A typo in your “thank you” is just bad form and shows that you are sloppy with your work. If you can’t finely proof a simple “thank you” letter, then how many mistakes are you going to make when you are inside, juggling 10 projects at a time? To ensure that you don’t make a mistake, print out the letter and read it aloud before sending. Also, show it to someone else, as sometimes it is super hard to recognize your own errors.
- It’s Not Really a “Thank You.” It’s a Sales Pitch — A candidate said this to me this week and it sparked the idea for this post because that pretty much sums it up! A “thank you” note after an interview is another opportunity for you to say, “hey, hire me, because I can do x, y and z for your company.” It’s an opportunity to address any issues that may have popped up during your interview and to alleviate any concerns. It represents an opportunity for you to show how you “think,” process and interpret information. And, finally, it’s an opportunity for you to showcase your knowledge of the business at hand as well as the industry as a whole.
Jane Ashen Turkewitz is the Principal and Chief Talent Officer at .comRecruiting, a firm that specializes in advancing careers in the digital, mobile and ad technology space. Jane loves to write about the recruiting process and provide tactical career advice. She is also a blogger for iMedia and contributor to the Mobile Leaders Alliance. Jane would love to hear your thoughts on this topic or any others you’re itching to discuss. Jane@DotComRecruiting.com