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The Winning Edge in Job Interviews: Mastering Thank You Note Etiquette

A thank you note that a job seeker wrote to her interviewers following her job interview

In the competitive world of job hunting, every detail counts, especially the art of expressing gratitude. Surprisingly, a simple thank you note can be a decisive factor in hiring. In fact, compelling evidence suggests that this small gesture can significantly impact your candidacy. 

 

The Impact of Thank You Notes in the Hiring Process

If you're not convinced of the need to send a thank-you note following a job interview, consider these two real-life examples:

1) A hiring manager was considering two equally impressive and qualified candidates. Only one of the candidates sent a thank you note following his interview. That ended up being the tiebreaker; he was offered the job.

2) A candidate made it through the entire interview process and was formally recommended for hire. The CEO declined the candidate, however, because he failed to send a thank you note.

The importance of thank you notes in job applications is more than just anecdotal. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 22% of employers are less likely to hire a candidate who does not send a thank-you note after an interview. This is because failing to send a note may appear as a lack of follow-through or interest in the position (CareerBuilder, 2013).

 

1. Who to Thank

Always send a thank you note to the interviewer(s). If you’ve been in contact with other staff members, such as HR representatives or front office administrators, consider thanking them as well.

 

2. How to Thank Them

Email or handwritten note? In today's digital age, email is the most efficient and commonly accepted way to send a thank you note. It ensures timely delivery and is convenient for both the sender and the recipient.

However, if the company culture is more traditional, the interview setting was highly formal, or you live in the same city as the employer (hence mail will travel fast), a handwritten note has the greatest impact. If you're interviewing in person, I recommend taking along a blank thank you note and stamped envelope. Fill it out as soon as the interview concludes and drop it in the nearest mailbox.

 

3. What to Say

Here are the key elements of an effective thank you note:
- Express Gratitude: Start by clearly expressing your thanks for the interviewer’s time and the opportunity.
- Personalize Your Message: Reference a specific part of the conversation that was particularly meaningful or interesting to you. This personalization shows that you were engaged and attentive.
- Reiterate Your Interest: Clearly state your continued interest in the role and the company.
- Close with Courtesy: End your note with a courteous closing and your full name.

 

Thank You Note Example

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Subject: Thank You for the Insightful Conversation, [Interviewer’s Name]Dear [Interviewer’s Name],

Thank you so much for the opportunity to discuss the [Job Title] role at [Company Name] yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation, particularly when we talked about [specific topic from the interview]. It made me even more excited about the prospect of joining your innovative team.

Thank you again for considering me for this wonderful opportunity. I look forward to the next steps in this process. 

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

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The Science Behind Gratitude

The act of expressing gratitude has been linked to increased levels of happiness and life satisfaction. A study by Emmons and McCullough (2003) found that people who regularly express gratitude are more optimistic and feel better about their lives. In a professional setting, this positive attitude can reflect well on you as a candidate.

 

Here's the Bottomline:

Never underestimate the power of a thank you note in your job search. It's a simple yet effective way to leave a lasting impression. So, always say "thank you" – it might just be the detail that sets you apart from the competition.

 

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