Why Writing Interview Thank You Letters Matter

By: Jack Elliott

Everyone on the outset would agree that writing a simple interview thank you letter after an interview would be a good idea. Unfortunately, when it comes time to actually write the letter, few people actually follow through with their good intentions. This can occur because the job seeker believes he/she does not have time to write an interview thank you letter and really doesn't think they are necessary to securing the position or it could be based on the embarrassment of the job seeker for failing to get certain necessary contact information. Regardless of the reason, it is a real mistake to not send an interview thank you letter because they are very easy to make and can be done quickly if you have a proper system implemented. A good system for writing interview thank you letters should include:

1. Prior to the interviews, purchase a bunch of generic thank you cards, envelopes and a book of stamps.

2. Also, prior to the interviews, put a stamp on each envelope and either write your return address or paste a pre-printed label with your address on the envelopes.

3. During the interview, be on the lookout for a few pieces of critical information:
a. Anything interesting that occurred during the interview. For instance, your interviewer may have told you she likes to bake cookies or was on the college softball team.
b. What, if any, advice did she give you during the interview?
c. Two or three main points of what specifically was talked about in the interview.
d. What are the names of the people who interviewed you and what are their mailing and email addresses so you can send them a thank you letter.

4.

Immediately, after the interview, this information should be written down so you can use it to help compile your thank you letter.
a. If you are wondering how to get names and addresses of the people who are interviewing you, the easiest way is to ask for their business cards. Even if they do not have a business card, which would be a sign of poor interview skills, you can ask them to relay their information to you as you jot it down.
b. If they ask you why you want the information, tell them you want it because you will be sending them an interview thank you letter. Whether they have business cards or not, you will come out of their looking like a professional by following this step.

5. After you have compiled this information, you will need to write out the thank you letter.
a. The purpose of the thank you letter will be to create a short note that thanks them for meeting you and creates a memorable impression of you in their minds. The best way to do this is to provide them with some scaled down reconstruction of the information you stockpiled in step 3.
b. By creating an interview thank you letter based on this information, you are showing them that you were truly listening during the interview and also, it gives you one final opportunity to showcase your strongest qualifications or squelch any lingering concerns they may have regarding your job candidacy.

6. Although the interview thank you letter can be sent through email, it is better to write these by hand and mail them. This more personal touch tends to go over with the interviewers better because it will make you look more like a friendly person than just another candidate.
a. Interview thank you letters should be sent on the day of the interview. If you cannot meet this deadline; then, send them out on the very next day. Remember it takes a few days for "snail mail" to be delivered and may take even longer for the letter to work its way up to the interviewers from the mail room.

7. One final point is to be sure you send an interview thank you letter to your contact in HR. If they were especially helpful to you in the process or were very professional, be sure to let them know this. Not only is this a nice thing to do, it may help you land the position because hiring managers will tend to ask their administrative assistant or HR contacts what they think about a particular person. If you have sent a kind thank you letter, you have increased the odds in your favor of getting a favorable review.

This basic system should help get you started on how to write a good interview thank you letter. Be on the look out for sample interview thank you letters in the near future. These samples should help give you a few different formats to use when putting together these letters.

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