Interview Thank You Notes

Interview thank you notes have caused concern and consternation for many job candidates. Well, if that's you, you're in luck. We're going to give you the down & dirty about interview thank you letters.

First, you must know...if you're worried about exactly what to say and how to say etc.etc.etc. then stop. The hiring manager barely took the time to read your resume before he or she met you and it's highly likely that they will scan your interview thank you letter and quickly close it and move on to the 86 other emails that have arrived since 6am.

The fact is, the interview thank you letter serves little purpose other than to follow traditional protocol. The interviewer has already made their decision about you and if it's favorable, the thank you note is nice to see from their soon to be new employee. If the decision is unfavorable for you, the interview thank you letter is unfortunately of little value.

The most value you can expect to get out of the interview thank you note is if you're in the unfortunate situation where the decision remains open and you are legitimately still a candidate. This is when meeting the traditional expectation of a thank you note can help. It not only provides the interviewer a reminder of you and your skills, it also adds some sense of obligation to the decision maker that there is a decision to be made.

So, with a little logic or maybe game theory principals you've probably concluded that despite the rosey picture we just painted you should comply with the traditional expectation of sending an interview thank you letter. Since you can't possibly know what fate your interviewer has for you or if you're in limbo land, it can only help and will rarely if ever hurt so, yes, send the note. The real questions are when and how.

You should try to time your thank you letter when you think the decision is about to be made. For example if you know they are interviewing 2 more candidates over the next two days, wait about 3 days to send your thank you letter. Or, you can hold your last opportunity to communicate with them for an opportunity to remind them your laying in wait. Sometimes decisions for many reasons take longer than expected and people get lost in the mix. You can use your thank you letter as a reminder that you're capable and avilable.

As far as "how", nowadays e-mail is perfectly accepetable. The nice touch of a hand written thank you is a classy touch but again, 90% of the time, the decision about you is already made so don't expect that a thank you is the differentiator.

Now that you know some hard truths of interview thank you notes, you should not fret about what to say. Keep it short, polite, optimistic and remind them of something in the interview that seemed to click between the two of you.

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