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Thank You Letters after the interview are required

thank you letter

A gracious candidate is thankful under all circumstances. A complaining soul complains even if he lives in paradise.

Thank you letter/email after the job interview

Why not?

  • In today’s competitive market, why wouldn’t you do everything possible to keep yourself in the running for a position?
  • A thank you letter is not just the gracious thing to do, it is yet another opportunity for you to reinforce why you are the right person for the job, or to tell the recruiter something you forgot to mention during the face to face interview.
  • You may or may not miss a “thank you“ after you took the time to talk with someone but I can assure you that you will feel like it is a nice touch if you receive one.
  • Your recruiter or hiring manager may be someone who WILL “miss” a thank you letter/card, literally “expecting” a thank you.  As a recruiter, I talk with 10 people a week and a trend starts to show after doing this for a few years.  Trust me, you miss them when they don’t turn up from specific candidates or specific positions.
  • If someone took the time out of their day to talk with you, then saying  “Thank you” is the right thing to do.
  • A thank you letter reinforces the idea that you know how to treat customers.

The right thing to do

I may be old school, but I do appreciate a thank you letter or email.  It’s not only the “right” thing to do, but I look at it as another opportunity to reinforce why the candidate is the right person for the position.  Reinforcing points discussed or missed in the interview via a thank you card is a great way to solidify your qualifications.  10 years ago, a thank you would have been SOP.  Now, I honestly don’t expect one from someone in technology or applying for a technical position.  In my opinion, it is a sad reflection of the economic, political, and generational differences.

I am surprised how often a hiring manager will be excited about receiving a meaningless 2 sentence email from a candidate that they have talked to.  That email is passed around to those involved in the interview loop and to the manager the next level up as if trying to say “look at what our candidate did, aren’t they thoughtful and considerate?”  All the while getting excited about these 2 or 3 sentences that usually don’t say anything concrete.  But it is the complete LACK of any acknowledgment which we are used to that generates this enthusiasm.  I have seen hiring managers pass around an email that says “thanks for taking the time to meet with me, I think you have a great opportunity going”.  Seriously?  Who raised these people?  How low is their bar?

Missing the boat

This just reinforces my point about how often people are missing the boat.  From the company standpoint, those in the interview loop that receives a personalized email / thank you DO get excited.  For that reason, take the opportunity and leverage it.  Identify new areas where you are a fit for the job, or reinforce previously discussed skills.

Remember, most correspondence that goes on with a candidate PRIOR to the actual hire will be collected and put into the file.  If you are hired and then transfer to another department, your future manager will open your file up and go over its contents.  A simple business email that says the following can be very effective:

  • Thank you, I appreciate your time
  • I am really excited about the position (you will be surprised how often this isn’t conveyed)
  • Reinforce a new reason you are the right fit for the job OR send a link to an article that you uncovered that pertains to your interview will show interest

I am asked on a regular basis, if should I send a handwritten card or an email. I like cards, but emails can arrive on the same day. If I interview 2 candidates for the same position and receive an email from candidate number 1 by the end of the day I feel great about candidate number 1. I may receive a nice handwritten card from candidate number 2 or 3 days later after going through snail mail, but for the prior 3 days, I was feeling a lot juicier goodness about candidate number 1. In the day of Amazon’s same-day delivery, email. 

20 minutes

Even if this is your third interview with the same company and same person show consistency and send the thank you letter/correspondence.  It will take you 20 minutes.  Just do it.

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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