The Art of the Post-Interview Thank-You Note

By Robert Half June 16, 2016 at 11:00am

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. It’s time to pen a gracious, well-written, post-interview thank-you note.

Results from an Accountemps survey show your effort won’t be for naught. Ninety-one percent of managers in the survey said they appreciate getting a thank-you note from a candidate after an interview. 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.

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, 87 percent of the managers said an email is an appropriate medium for expressing thanks, followed by 81 percent who think a phone call is acceptable. A mere 10 percent of respondents said a text message was appropriate.

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 that 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.

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.

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Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2015 and was updated recently to reflect more current information.

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