Monday, January 14, 2013

When a Thank You Letter is Not Just for Saying “Thank You”

Here’s a tip if you want an edge against the others, who may be competing for the same job, and all are doing the same old stuff. Do you think sending a Thank You letter is only a polite gesture after your interview? Ha, guess again! 

Some people think sending a Thank You letter following an interview is simply a courtesy or polite gesture. It can be more than that and another powerful tool during the interview process to help demonstrate why you are the best person for the job. It doesn’t have to be more than a few lines and certainly shouldn’t be more than a page in length. Of course, the first and last sentences say ‘thank you’, but the content between is especially useful and can act as an additional opportunity to communicate information to the hiring official or person(s) with whom you’ve recently met. Have you ever left an interview and thought of something you wish you had said if you had another opportunity? Or, maybe there was something you would like to have stated differently or additional information that, in retrospect, would have been helpful to you during your interview. Perhaps there was a specific fact you failed to remember or wish you could correct. Well, the Thank You letter represents that extra opportunity. 

Additionally, your closing sentence, like the first, says "thank you" but you should add a slightly assumptive tone. I am not a fan of flimsy, weak, half hearted or, what I refer to as wimp words. So instead of closing with something that lacks confidence, as many people do, when they say “I hope you might possibly consider me for the position” or “I hope to maybe hear from you”, I suggest you instead project confidence and be slightly assumptive and say “I look forward to seeing you again soon”, or “I look forward to our next meeting”. 

Your letter should ideally be emailed within 24 hours of your interview, or the Monday following a Friday interview, so you still have a fresh memory of what you said, wish you would have said or anything you’d like to add. This swift follow-up timing also demonstrates that you are decisive and act deliberately. You can also copy addresses of any other people with whom you interviewed on that particular day. If you did not receive a business card and, therefore, don’t have their email address, call the company reception desk and request it. Reception will not and should not transfer your call, but they are usually willing to give you an email address, if you have the name of the person you want to contact. If you met multiple persons, there’s no need to send a separate letter to each. You can address the letter to the person who was your primary contact and did most of the talking rather than the highest ranking. You can copy the others. 

Some people make the mistake of thinking they should be aloof or they should play hard to get when interviewing, but this is a mistake in most cases. Companies want people who show interest in joining their particular organization. If your Thank You letter is sincere and polite, it will never hurt your chances and, therefore, you have nothing to lose and possibly a lot to gain by again repeating your interest. Also consider this: I have been involved in processes when there may have been a more highly-qualified, but over-confident individual compared to a slightly less-qualified candidate, who was also interviewing for the same role. While the more-qualified but cocky person may have assumed they could sit back and relax, considering a Thank You letter as unnecessary, the slightly less-qualified but more interested and enthusiastic person moved ahead in the process, as a result of a small thing such as a Thank You letter. I liken it somewhat to Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. Do this step and make it count for you. 

The job market is very competitive and is progressively getting more so. I suggest you do not take anything for granted and use every tool available to you, so you can be confident that, regardless of the result, you made your best possible effort and capitalized on your every option. 

Feel free to discuss this post (no registration required).

No comments:

Post a Comment