Monday, January 7, 2013

Interview Thank You Letter - Why and How to Write One

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Few interviewees send an interview thank you letter for one or several reasons:
  • They think it looks like they're sucking up (this is nonsense)
  • They think there's no point as the decision has been made (it rarely has)
  • It doesn't occur to them to send one (more fool them)
Sending an interview thank you letter, right after your interview is very powerful indeed because:
  • You stand out. Since only about 1 in 10 interviewees send an interview thank you note you get noticed just for doing it, however bad you think your interview went and even if the interviewer doesn't read your letter! This alone is worth spending 20 minutes putting pen to paper.
  • And if you had a good interview and write a good letter and it gets read, WOW, that really makes a powerful impression.
  • Few interviewers make a decision immediately after the job interview is over. Most prefer to sleep on things, at least for a day and some for more than 1 day.
A good interview thank you letter should include:
  • A thank you to your interviewers for taking the time to see you.
  • An expression of desire to work for them.
  • A summary of why you fit the bill.
A good interview thank you letter will do the following for you.
  • If you were the best candidate, the fact that you sent an interview thank you letter will seal the deal for you. Your interviewers will say to themselves or each other "See, we thought he/she was the best and here's another reason why".
  • If you were in 2nd or third place, sending an interview thank you note raises your profile above your competitors, psychologically. Interviewers are human and respond to personal letters of thanks. They can't help but warm to you and interviewers are more likely to employ people they like, so you up your chances of getting hired.
We received an interview thank you letter from a candidate recently. One of us had mentioned in passing, when accompanying the candidate from the interview, that they had a poorly cat. In her letter the candidate thanked the interviewers for their time and expressed hope that the cat was feeling better. This had the powerful psychological effect of raising the candidate's profile and the overall feel good factor. We can't say whether this tipped the balance in her favour, but she won the job!


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