Thanking employers for interviews is a given—Just do it within 24 hours

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When you’re thanking a potential employer for that promising interview you just had, it’s OK to pass on the good stationary. However, if you’re able to deliver a handwritten note right away, that may make you stand out, says one jobs expert.


Nearly nine out of 10 (87 percent) of human resources managers responding to a new poll cited e-mail when they were asked to identify appropriate ways job candidates might express their thanks after meeting with a hiring manager. That was followed closely by 81 percent who cited phone calls as an appropriate means of following up.

And you absolutely should follow up. Most respondents, nine out of 10 (91 percent), said they liked being thanked by promising job candidates. The survey was developed by Accountemps, part of global staffing company Robert Half International, which asked, “How helpful is it for a promising job candidate to send a thank-you following an interview?" Fifty-nine percent said “very helpful” and 32 percent said “somewhat” helpful.

The findings are based on telephone interviews with more than 500 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees.

Setting yourself apart

And yet the findings also suggest that a handwritten note may help you stand out from the crowd—so long as you can be quick about it.

“Speed” is the real buzzword here, Bill Driscoll, a district president with Robert Half International of New England in Boston, tells eFinancialCareers.

Recently he interviewed a woman who succeeded in securing a job at the White House a couple of years ago and what made her stand out from the other candidates was that she immediately delivered handwritten notes to everyone she’d spoken to there, he says.

When Driscoll interviewed this woman recently, she delivered a personal thank-you on the very same day. That set her apart and went a long way to her securing a job as a Robert Half division director, the executive observes.

Consider these Accountemps tips for crafting a professional post-interview thank-you:

1. Most importantly: Be quick about it. Follow up with a thank-you within 24 hours of the interview if possible.

2. Restate your value—briefly. Recap the qualities that make you a strong fit for the role, but keep your message to a paragraph or two, or a few minutes on the phone.

3. Reference particular points from the interview itself. For instance, if the employer mentioned the position calls for strong knowledge of Excel, highlight the advanced training you took on the program.

4. Get a second opinion. Ask a friend or colleague to read over your e-mail to help spot any typos or unclear language before you hit “Send” or seal the envelope.

5. No texting. Take care not to confuse e-mail with texting, as only 10 percent of survey respondents take a positive view of text messages as an appropriate way to thank an employer following an interview.


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