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Frequently Asked Questions Answered On Sending A "Thank You" Note After A Job Interview




Most career consultants advise jobseekers to send a thank you note after an interview.  To address the most frequently asked questions on etiquette of how and what to send in a thank you note, here are some tips.

The most frequently asked question is will the employer think a candidate is desperate if he sends a thank-you letter?

Of course not.  Rarely is an employer not pleased or think less of an applicant because s/he received a thank-you letter.  In fact, it is considered common courtesy, a gesture of politeness, one way to stand of from the rest of the interviewees, and a way to keep your name in the mind of the hiring manager.

Will it jeopardize the possibility of getting the job?

Not in most cases, but it could if written improperly and it does not guarantee you will get the job.

So why take the chance? (so they ask)  The answer: Most hiring decisions are wavered between the last two most promising applicants, a promising candidate who may not have everything on the list and an experienced candidate for example. After the final interview for a certain position, the hiring manager and recruiters are trying to decide who will be the better fit.  When they gets a thank-you letter it could make a world of difference. That simple well mannered gesture could be the missing piece to land the job.

Can it be handwritten or typed?

Actually, it does not matter.  What's important is the thought of doing it.  It must be tailored to your prospective company and the officer who performed the interview.

The most important element in your decision is respect.  If the company's interviewer or the position being applied calls for a formal business letter, then do so.  Mostly, a handwritten note is okay if the interviewer and the applicant have built rapport.  Also make sure your handwritting is legible.

If you're interviewing through a recruiter, ask the recruiter for the best means of sending your thank you note.

Will it be okay to e-mail the thank you note?

It depends on the company's culture.  If the people in the company use e-mail in all of their communication and correspondence, then it should be acceptable.  This will also apply if the company is into fast decision making when hiring applicants.  Always remember that even if e-mails fit in with the culture of the company, it's still a better idea to follow up the email with a hard copy of your thank you.

So you can just save yourself from trouble since "anything goes" right?

NO.  On the other side of the previous story, there are prospective applicants who were almost on the verge of being hired but suddenly hit the skids after sending in a sloppy, ill-fixed thank you letters, with many typographical errors and misspelled words.  A part of having a good communication skill is being able to write effectively and companies do not need employees who have to be taught simple writing skills.

Will a borrowed (aka copying off the internet) thank-you letter do?

Yes, borrowing is one thing.  But make sure to look at the basic structure of the letter.  Never plagiarize the whole letter as it may be applicable to the one person but not for the other.  Surely, there are employers who can distinguish a thank-you note that has been copied or not.

If it was a panel interview should thank you letters be sent to all interviewers?

Frankly, that's the best.  The same letter to each is as essential as making one for each.  All you have to do is edit some phrases for individuality in case the interviewers would bump in to each other and compare the notes they received.

How soon should a thank-you note be sent?

The golden rule is to send thank you notes within 24 hours after the interview.

Will it still be okay to mail the thank you note if the hiring decision will be made sooner than when the mailed thank you note is received?

Come to think of it, if the mail is too pre-historic for the hiring decision makers, then find a much speedy way: it can be via e-mail, fax, express delivery or personal delivery.

In fact, if you can hand delivered the thank you note, it can leave a great impression.

What if there's already an offer before even sending the thank you notes?

It's still better to send the thank you notes as this can be used to accept or decline the offer.  This could also be a confirmation of your agreement and/or understanding of the offer they have given (salary, benefits, other compensation, starting date, vacations, etc.), this way any discrepancies can be straightened out before even starting for the job.

Always find a way to make it as personalized as possible.  Try to think out of the box, you may even adapt what you have observed the interviewer has in the office during the interview.  Sending an article that you think the interviewer could be interested in is also another suggestion.

Whatever method you use, make it fast and professional.

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