The Art of the Thank You Note
Posted on November 5, 2014 in Recruiting 101
Many people feel that a thank-you note or email is simply a polite nicety following a job interview. Or even when it is “mandatory”, it is not really useful and doesn’t make a difference for the person applying for the position. It’s just the appropriate thing to do- similar to writing “sincerely” at the bottom of a letter. Most people think nobody cares or even looks at it.
However, these thoughts are far from the truth. In the recruiting world, we know that the decisions companies make to hire or not can be swayed at times by the slightest positive or negative impression or detail. Some companies are looking for the best candidate in terms of skills, some are looking for a cultural fit, and others have very specific requirements.
Statistically, 86 percent of hiring managers think that “not sending a thank-you note shows lack of follow through”, and 56 percent say that “it makes them believe that a candidate isn’t serious about a job opportunity” (Bharadwaj, Sudy). At the end of the day, the “thank-you email” has a lot of potential to make a candidate stand out of the crowd of applicants and offers them another platform to make a positive impression. It shows the hiring manager how much value the candidate will bring to the company. Less than 10 percent of candidates send a formal thank-you note or email, so it definitely has the potential to encourage a hiring manager to continue working with a candidate they weren’t previously sold on.
If an organization has met with more than a handful of candidates, it’s vital to remind the team members who you are and why they should consider you for the role.
The candidate should mention a few points that were discussed during the interview; they should write a comment about why they like the role and the company; and they should show how much they understand what the company does, its role in the industry in addition to their firm grasp of the industry. This will leave a positive impression and potentially influence whether that person is invited back for a next round interview.
It is also important for the candidate to say how excited they are to continue the process and that they are looking forward to the next step. Additionally, if the interviewer mentioned next steps, the candidate should discuss how he/she is looking forward to meeting with additional team members. This shows the candidate is attentive, engaged and interested in moving forward.
In conclusion, a thank-you note or email will not convince a hiring manager to hire a candidate that will not represent the company in the way they see fit. Conversely, the lack of a note may not dissuade a hiring manager to discontinue the process with someone they liked. However for those candidates that fall somewhere between, it can and does make a difference by leaving a lasting, positive impression with the hiring manager. And that is definitely worth the five minutes it takes to write one.