John F. Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Once your interview is over, it’s time to express your gratitude by sending a thank you note to your interviewer as soon as you get home (or when it’s over if you’re doing it by telephone or Skype).
This shows that you are cordial and that you appreciated the time that your interviewer took to see if you were the right one for the job. It also puts your name in front of your prospective employer again and reminds them why you are the right choice for the position.
According to Fast Company, 22 percent of employers are less likely to hire a candidate if they don’t send a thank-you note after the interview. Fifty-six percent said it shows that the candidate isn’t really serious about the position, and a whopping 86 percent said it shows a lack of follow-through. Even if you do not want the job or did not get the job, you should still say thank you. You never know where your next opportunity is going to come from, so don’t burn bridges.
Hallmark, known for its line of greeting cards, provides a template on their website for writing a good handwritten thank-you note, along with a few sample phrases to get you started. The template includes five parts:
• a greeting
• expression of thanks
• looking ahead
• reinstating your thanks.
• finally, end with a regards.
Liz Ryan, a contributor to Forbes, suggests mentioning something specific from the actual interview. “It’s because interviewers talk to a lot of job applicants,” she said. “The job applicants run together in their minds. If you don’t remind her who you are, she’ll forget you. She may easily forget that she ever met you. How can you get hired when the interviewer doesn’t even remember your conversation?”
If you want to write an email thank you note – and that is perfectly acceptable – do it within 24 hours after the interview. The best option would be to write the email thank you note first and follow it up with a mailed handwritten email thank you note.
When mailing a thank you note, be sure to slip in your business card and resume. "Immediately after any meeting, our best practice is to send a personalized thank-you email to every person you met with. Following that, write a thank-you card, stick your business card inside and send it out ASAP,” said Ketti Salemme, communications manager, TinyHR.
What shouldn’t you say? Miriam Salpeter, owner of Keppie Careers, wrote in an article not to say, "I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you."
“This is probably one of the worst things you can say in a thank-you note, as you effectively point out that you can't manage your time well enough to get a basic project finished,” she wrote. “This will not win you points with a hiring manager.”
She also says to not send anything with your thank you note. “Do not expect a grand gesture, such as sending flowers or cookies, will help an employer decide to hire you,” she writes. “While the gifts will be memorable, you could stand out as the desperate, inappropriate candidate. If anything, you'll likely make the employer uncomfortable, which isn't going to lead to a positive response.”