What you need to know about post-interview thank-you notes

You just nailed your job interview. You’re feeling optimistic about the company being a good fit for you and your career goals, and you got a good vibe from the hiring manager. Time to sit tight and wait, right? Wrong. Don’t underestimate the value of post-interview thank-you notes.

Results from a new Accountemps survey show your effort won’t be for naught. Eighty percent of managers said they take post-interview thank-you notes into account when deciding who to hire. But only 24 percent of candidates they’ve interviewed send such messages.

See our infographic, A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way, for more survey data.

So your work isn’t done. You need to maximize this window of opportunity and prove you’re the best candidate for the job using your written communication skills, professionalism and attention to good manners.

Here are five tips to ensure you’re crafting the kind of post-interview note that will help bring you up a notch in the hiring manager’s eyes:

1. Act immediately with your thank-you note
Think you rocked your job interview? Keep up the good work. Most hiring managers say they appreciate hearing from a candidate within 24 hours. Sending a thank-you note as soon as you get home not only allows you to show genuine interest in the job, but it also helps keep you on the manager’s radar.

2. Use the right medium
In the survey, 94 percent of the managers said an email is an appropriate medium for expressing thanks, followed by 86 percent who said a handwritten note is acceptable and 56 percent who are fine with a phone call. A mere 7 percent of respondents said a thank you through social media was acceptable, with 5 percent who wouldn’t mind a text message.

3. Be your own cheerleader
Your thank-you message is a good place to reiterate briefly what you admire about the company and its mission. It’s also the ideal time to review your strengths as they relate to the position. For instance, if the manager mentioned that the firm would be moving to a different software program that you’re an expert in, mention it.

4. Keep it simple
Keep your thank-you note short and simple by following the three-paragraph rule. In the first paragraph, thank your interviewer and reiterate your interest in the position. In the second, emphasize your skills and the value you would add to the company. Finally, clarify anything you feel wasn’t adequately addressed in the interview and briefly add any important information about yourself that didn’t come up. A good target length is 200 words.

5. Proofread
Nothing makes a candidate look worse than misspelling the manager’s name or giving him an incorrect title. So make sure you double-check all your facts and proofread the note for any other spelling and grammatical errors before hitting “send.” Also, make sure your thank-you note has a positive, upbeat tone, and edit out any informal language. Finally, ask a friend or family member to proofread it. A second set of eyes in these situations can be invaluable.

One of the benefits of email is immediacy, and like a hand-written note sent through the mail, it reminds the hiring manager of your qualification, reinforces your enthusiasm for the position and expresses appreciation for the opportunity.

A positive job interview will certainly put you in a good position when you’re applying for a new job, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the job offer. How you manage your time after the interview can give you the edge — so make the most of it.


Post by Robert Half

The Robert Half blog is your one-stop destination for tips, advice and insight you can use to land a challenging and fulfilling job. Visit Robert Half’s website to find the right job for you in your area.

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