A stellar interview is nothing without a proper follow-up. Here are some tips to remember when you’re writing your post-interview thank-you notes.
You’ve finished the final rounds of the interview process for your dream job. Congratulations on coming out unscathed! However, if you think that all that’s left to do is wait for the verdict, then you’re very wrong. Right after an interview is the opportune time to follow up with those who played key roles in your interview process and express your gratitude; this will also give you the chance to communicate your continued interest in the job that’s up for grabs. Make sure you stand out amongst your competition by making your post-interview thank-you email, note, or phone call memorable! Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you follow up on your job interviews.
Keep things professional.
If you recently interviewed with a hiring manager or search committee, it’s highly unlikely that you delved into one another’s personal lives. However, once in awhile you’ll come across a person or group that makes the process slightly more relaxed and informal.
While it’s a good rule of thumb to follow the interviewer’s lead on how formal to act while in the interview, always keep it professional when writing after the fact. Use proper prefixes and correct language, pay attention to verb tenses and grammar, and omit slang words, emojis, and the like. This not only shows that you’ve taken the time to follow up, but also demonstrates that you’re a quality writer, a skill universally valued across career sectors. If you need a little extra help proofreading your thank-you message, download free tools like Grammarly to go beyond the basic suggestions found via spell-check.
Maybe you hit it off with one of the search committee members — the interview flew by and you feel as though you’ve known one another for ages. Having a great interview experience that makes you feel comfortable is certainly ideal, and it’s also a great indicator that the potential working environment is a right fit for you. However, the same casual tone doesn’t always translate well in writing, so it isn’t recommended if you’re only just starting to develop relationships with your prospective supervisors and colleagues.
After all, many elements of interpersonal communication rely on visual cues, body language, tone of voice, and other markers that cannot be conveyed accurately in a written format. So even if you felt a professional “spark” in your interview, keep your tone friendly and professional in your thank-you messages. Remember that you’re vying for a job and trying to prove that you’re a put-together, polished professional. Once you’re hired, there will likely be times when a more formal tone is needed, so it’s good to show a possible employer that you’re capable of both formal and informal communication.
Personalize your interview follow-up message.
While it may be to your disadvantage to be too informal in an interview follow-up note, it’s perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged, to include items that reference points discussed in your interview; it’s those specifics that distinguish you from other applicants. For example, if you’re applying for a Veterans Liaison position and you talk with a search committee at length about your 10-year history of dedicated military service, reiterating in your thank-you message about how your years of service have inspired you to continue working with veteran populations will put you a step ahead of applicants who may not have as much experience. Another example is if you’re seeking a job in the political sector: If you found that you and your potential supervisor had similar internship experiences in Washington, D.C., touching on this shared experience in your interview follow-up note helps foster a common interest with someone you may be working closely with in the near future.
Along the same lines, sending out a generic thank-you note to everyone you interview with is most certainly not recommended. Personalizing the sentiments in your thank-you notes can be so simple, so at the very least, if you’re not looking to be too verbose, write notes addressed to each individual or group by name. In the greeting of each post-interview thank-you email, try to express your passion for the job at hand and reflect positively on the shared experience of the interview. But don’t use the same standard, boilerplate message in every note or email you send. Taking the time to customize each note, even if just a little bit, goes a long way in showing that you value the on-boarding process as much as they care about hiring someone who aligns with their company culture.
Use clean, professional-looking stationery and email templates.
You’ve worked hard to create the perfect balance between professional and personal, so why put your writing on a card or email template that doesn’t reflect that? Those little flowers and polka dots are adored by friends and family, but an employer will likely not feel the same. Keeping your thank-you notes clean, modern, and professional is key, and doing so will both help the company take you seriously and help you maintain your personal brand. The content of your post-interview thank you can be enthusiastic, but the visual appearance of your notes and emails should represent a serious job seeker — think sleek and sophisticated. And if email is your platform of choice, make sure your font and signature are clean-cut and not affiliated with your current company in any way. Use a personal email with an appropriate handle (think email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org), an easy-to-read font, and a signature that includes your customized LinkedIn URL.
Keep things consistent throughout your interview thank you.
Some applicants are tech-savvy and prefer the ease and convenience of emailing all individuals and groups that partook in the interview process. Others believe that sending a handwritten note makes for a more personalized experience and demonstrates an additional show of effort. Either one is fine, but select one or the other to use across the board. Mixing it up and writing to some while emailing others may confuse search committee members who work with one another regularly, and having folks wonder why some received cards and others received an email makes for an unnecessary, confusing situation. Consistency in your post-interview thank-you note is key!
Don’t forget to send out the thank-you notes and follow-up materials.
If an employer asks for something after an interview like a reference list or career biography, remember to include that along with your thank-you note. Your daily life may have you constantly going, but keeping your job-search and related follow-up actions on track is important. Staying on top of your tasks will ensure that things don’t fall through the cracks, and it will also show a potential supervisor that you have superb time management, organization, prioritization, and multitasking skills. Maintain a calendar or spreadsheet to help you keep things straight so you can always get your post-interview thank-you notes sent in a timely fashion.
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