Put yourself in this situation: You're invited to an interview. You love the company, you get along well with the hiring manager, and you've received every indication that you are a good candidate for the job and next steps are to follow. A few weeks go by and you haven't heard anything. The hiring manager said she wanted you to come back and meet with the rest of the team. Everything seemed to go so well. What happened?
You forgot to send a thank-you note. You're not alone. Many job seekers never bother to do it, but it's a simple step that could seal the deal.
A thank-you note serves a few key purposes:
- It's common courtesy. Social media, technology, and generational differences haven't changed the game completely.
- It's a chance to reiterate how your qualifications will contribute to the company's success.
- It demonstrates genuine interest in the position. An interviewer should never doubt your interest level.
- You'll be able to bring up a specific point you are kicking yourself for forgetting to mention in the interview.
- You have an opportunity to showcase your writing skills.
A well-written and personalized thank-you note lets the company know that you are a serious candidate who diligently follows up and who is excited about the opportunity offered. One of a client's most memorable thank-you notes was from a candidate who interviewed in the office and picked up that the client loved Paris by how her office was decorated. After the interview, the candidate bought a card with a nice photo of the Eiffel Tower to write his letter. She received it the next day and called to tell me what an impression this made with the team. The candidate sent personalized letters to every person he met with that day. He ended up being the candidate selected for the job.
Lesson: Don't skip the thank-you letter. Even if you don't want the job or you were told in the interview that it isn't the right fit, a simple follow-up note opens up introductions, networking opportunities, or future job opportunities with the same company.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and recruiter with Paradigm Staffing, a national search firm that specializes in placing public relations and communications professionals. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.