They seem like simple things, but post-interview thank-you notes are important. How important? According to a CareerBuilder survey, almost a third of hiring managers say they’d think less of any potential employee who doesn’t send a written follow-up. That important.
So what’s the best way to approach these things? In a terrific Forbes post titled “How To Ace the Post Interview Thank You Note,” writer Ashley Stahl shares eight dos and don’ts for following up with folks you’d like to go work for.
On the “do” front, Stahl recommends reiterating the name of the position, since HR pros are often filling more than one vacancy at once, and showing your enthusiasm in a way that doesn’t make you sound desperate. Something along the lines of, “I’m really excited by the opportunity of joining the team and doing XYZ.” Keep it short and sweet, as Stahl says, and make sure you touch on the scope of the work and why it has you all jazzed up.
Another “do”: mention something memorable that happened during the interview. This is typically something either you or the hiring manager said — just a little something to make yourself stand out from the other candidates. Stahl’s final “do” is to check spelling and grammar before sending it off. She suggests paying extra attention to the interviewer’s name. It sounds obvious, but a lot of common names have multiple spellings, and you really don’t want to pick the wrong one.
On the “don’t” front, Stahl says you shouldn’t wait too long — in fact, send that sucker the day of the interview — or be overly casual. Even if you had a terrific interview filled with great conversation, the interviewer isn’t your best buddy, and you shouldn’t address him or her as such. “Hold your energy and stay professional,” Stahl writes.
Just as you want to mention something memorable from the chat, you shouldn’t use some tired template that makes it look like you just copied and pasted. Vary the language a little, so it’s clear you put at least some thought into it, and “state what lined up for you during that particular interview,” as Stahl writes.
Finally, you should resist the temptation to throw in something you wish you’d brought up during your initial chat. The thank-you note is not an extension of the interview, and according to Stahl, over-explaining could make you look desperate, or like you’re angling for more than your allotted time. It couldn’t have been that important, Stahl says — otherwise, you’d have brought it up, right?