A thank-you note shows your courteousness, savvy, and interest in the job. Here are some key things to keep in mind when writing one to help bolster your candidacy.
Your antiperspirant held up, you kept the butterflies in your stomach from flying away, and you feel reasonably good about the answers you gave to the multiple interviewers you spoke to. What's the best way to follow up?
Interviewers love to be thanked, and a thank-you note shows consideration and allows you to confirm your interest. Nevertheless, how you go about writing the thank you—what you say, how you say it, and who you say it to—could make or break your candidacy.
In fact, if you're not careful, you botch a thank you and lose a job you want. Recruiters say that ill-considered thank-you notes can kill your candidacy, especially if they have typos—and many do. Proofread your thank you.
And if you've talked to multiple people, you don't want to send them all the same thank you—interviewers regularly assemble all documents, including thank-you notes, before making a hiring decision. If the four you sent were identical, that's not going to look good when the recruiters hang them on the wall and compare. If you individualize your sentiments, you'll make a much better impression.
Don't Push it
Another gaffe: Appearing pushy. Remember, you haven't received an offer yet. Give your recruiters some time to make a decision. Letting them know you expect an offer, and quickly, will help them narrow down the list—by taking you off it.
Finally, think about the best form for your thank you. If the interviewer tells you she plans to make a decision that night, don't send a letter by snail mail—e-mail promptly, as soon as you get home; otherwise, the decision will have been made long before your letter arrived. On the other hand, if you're applying somewhere that prides itself on doing personalized work for clients, you might want to send off a handwritten message on a nice card. That shows an attention to detail that will be important on the job.
You might also considering faxing your thank you and putting the hard-copy in the mail. By faxing, the interviewer gets your sentiments immediately; and then again when the hard copy arrives. You'll get your name before the person twice with the same thank you—which will help keep you on the interviewer's mind.
The best advice is to follow-up with a thank you, but calibrate the form of the thanks (e-mail, snail mail, fax) to the company and job. If you're going into IT, for instance, you won't want to send a letter snail mail—you're going to be working with technology, so use it and send thanks via e-mail. Even if you don't want the job, it's worth letting your interviewer know that you appreciated their time and consideration. Who knows, they could be interviewing you again one day—and for a position you'll want.
You should also realize that an impeccably written and individually tailored letter will make your interviewer feel warm and fuzzy inside, but it probably won't sway the unsentimental recruiter who has already decided you're not right for the position. What it will do is leave a good impression if you decide to apply to the company again—or give you an advantage if whomever the company does hire doesn't work out.
The bottom line in following up is that you should do it—graciously, promptly, and carefully.