Dear Candidates: How to Say Thank You
A couple weeks ago, we had a candidate completely WOW us. Our team felt pretty confident about her skills and personality when we introduced her to our client to interview with five different people on their team. We knew that she would impress each one of them but we had no idea we could like her any more than we already did – until an email popped into our inboxes, actually five emails. The candidate copied us on each of her thank you notes to the people she met with. And like I said, she WOW’d us! We do this for a living so we’ve seen our share of thank you notes, but let me walk you through some of the things that made these thank you letters stand out.
- Personalize your note: In this case, our candidate met with 5 people. The easiest thing to do is write one note and send it off to each person you met with. There’s a couple things wrong with this. First things first – people’s eyes glaze over when they read a generic note and you will be easily forgotten. Especially if other candidates are writing thank yous as well. But when you recognize specifics, something the interviewer said or did or a commonality you share – that’s when the magic happens. The interviewer will feel unique, special, and more connected to you. They feel that you listened to them and that you will be more engaged in the job (if you get it!). The second problem arises when the interviewers share notes and realize that you sent the same note to each of them. You might as well have never written a thank you at all. So, take the time to personalize your thank you.
- Be specific: Many thank you notes address how you think you are the PERFECT candidate for the job. Of course YOU think you are the perfect candidate. After all, you clearly want and think you will be good at the job if you are writing a thank you note in the first place. But WHY are you the perfect candidate? Remember you will likely be compared with other candidates that also think they are the perfect candidate. So you need to be specific about what makes you a good fit for the job. You may have discussed the whys in your interview, but the thank you allows time to reflect and add on anything you may have missed. If you didn’t miss anything, the thank you will serve as a good reminder when the interviewer’s memory fades after the sea of candidates they’ve met with. Make an impression by being specific and offering proof where possible.
- Express Interest & Enthusiasm: So at this point you’ve thanked your interviewer with a personal note expressing why you think you are the right person for the job. Sign and send? Not so fast. Many times people forget to make it known that they are interested in pursuing this opportunity. Candidates tend to think their interest and excitement for the opportunity is implied. However, interviewing and sending a thank you does not necessarily express enthusiasm. The interviewers are looking for the right fit, but often make judgements about who really wants the job. When enthusiasm isn’t obvious, candidates may be overlooked by others that were completely transparent about their interest because the hiring managers think they will stick around longer. They don’t want to make an offer only to have you leave shortly after for something you’re more excited about, or worse yet, decline the offer because you didn’t really want it. So, make your interest in the job, people, & company known!
These are a few of things that our candidate did to WOW us. Doing these things take time, but I’m telling you, it’s worth the effort. And speaking of time, don’t wait or procrastinate sending this note. Doing it right away is more likely to imply enthusiasm. Plus if you wait too long, the interviewers may pass judgement on you in the meantime or may make their decision. So be timely and prove that time management is one of your strong suits – that’s likely to be on the job description anyway!