Don’t forget to say thank you

A first interview is like a first date.  You’re each determining if there’s a personality – company – fit, if you have the desired traits – required skills – and if you want a second date:  the next interview.  Ultimately, the dates may lead to a long term relationship:  a job.  Remember that employers hire people (1) who they believe can do the job and (2) whom they like.

I am continually surprised by the number of candidates who don’t send thank you letters.  Sending a thank you letter after an interview is an essential part of the interview process.  Your interview isn’t complete until you’ve thanked everyone you met during the interview process. Sending a thank you note shows thoughtfulness, respect, and courtesy.  And it helps the person remember you better…and more favorably.

You should send it as soon as possible after your interview and do so by email.  Many people tell me they like to distinguish themselves by adding the personal touch of mailing a hand written note.  The sentiment is nice but time is of the essence.  Sending an email is the fastest way to get your message to the intended recipients.  Ask for business cards from every person who interviewed you to ensure that you have their full contact information.  If you interviewed with more than one person, write each a separate message.  Don’t send one message addressed to all.

By using the 4R format, you’ll be able to show your appreciation for the opportunity to interview, indicate your enthusiasm, and reemphasize your qualifications.

Remember: Help the interviewer remember you.

Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today to discuss your development director position.  I enjoyed our conversation and feel that I’m a strong candidate for this role.

Reinforce: Review your assessment of the interview and re-state aspects of your skills, achievements and background which aroused positive interest.

I was intrigued by the description of your challenges integrating social media into your overall development plan.  As we discussed, this is an area in which I excel, as illustrated by my success in initiating this effort at my current organization.  Our 15 percent increase in funding last year is directly attributed to the new audience we’ve addressed.

Recoup: This is an opportunity to improve an answer to a question in the interview or to add something you forgot to say – to recoup your losses.

While we didn’t get a chance to discuss this, I wanted you to know that throughout my career I’ve been an early adopter of technology, consistently putting the latest innovations to use to improve our programming and increase funding.

Remind: Gently remind the interviewer of a commitment s/he made to you.


Mauri Schwartz, President of Career InsidersHi my name is Mauri, and I am the President of Career Insiders, a career management and talent acquisition consulting firm. I speak frequently at conferences, job fairs, and career panels and have been invited to speak at HR West 2013 in April. I consult with career centers at universities including UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Tulane University, Mills College, and others, and contribute regularly to publications such as TheLadders RecruitBlog. I am what some might consider a professional “people person.”

3 thoughts on “Don’t forget to say thank you

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