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After an interview, do I really need to write a thank-you note?

The Hiring Process

Question:

Why should I write a thank-you note after an interview? It seems like a waste of time.

Answer:

Some employers would agree with you. Others would not. But how do you know which ones are which?

Sending a thank-you note has a number of benefits:
• It puts your name in front of the interviewer’s face again.
• It establishes the fact that you are grateful and polite.
• It demonstrates your people skills.
• It’s another writing sample.
• If you forgot to say something, it’s your opportunity to call it to their attention.
• For some employers, not getting a thank-you note is a deal breaker.

Maybe that sounds unreasonable (especially the last item.) However, hiring is a huge, expensive, time-consuming process. Someone has to read a large number of resumes; someone has to sort them into the “maybes” and the “no ways”; someone has to interview some number of people, evaluate them and make a selection (which may or may not work out very well, and will cause a lot of trouble if the interviewer guesses wrong.)

If you were the one going through all that, wouldn’t you appreciate a thank-you note? Even if you didn’t appreciate the note itself, wouldn’t it speak well of the job seeker that he/she took the time to make the gesture?

You don’t have to interview very many people before they all start to run together in your mind. Liz Ryan, of Humanworkplace.com, tells a story of a time her company hired the wrong person. She and the hiring manager discussed hiring two candidates, and identified the one they wanted more. When the new employee arrived for his orientation, the hiring manager was appalled to realize he’d identified and hired his second choice person, not the one he actually wanted. He’d mixed up their names.

Imagine you’re that first-choice candidate, the one who didn’t get the job. A simple thank-you note would have helped the employer remember you. Isn’t that reason enough?

One more thought: when the idea occurs to you, “Should I do (X) to help my job search along?” then the answer is usually “yes.” Job search is not the place to save time and energy.

 

 

About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.