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When Should You Send a Job Interview Thank-You Note?

Updated on August 7, 2020
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Stephanie has been a lawyer since 1994 and knows her way around a professional office environment.

When to Send a Thank You Note after a Job Interview

If you are looking for a job in this tight economy, it goes without saying that you will have to do everything possible to impress. No, I don't mean that you need to be insincere or otherwise "suck up" to future employers. However, now, more than anything, business etiquette is key.

This is particularly so with respect to career-level positions. Follow the advice of the famous quote, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." Fuel your future aspirations by looking like and acting as if you have already climbed a few rungs on the career ladder.

If people think you're important, they will treat you like you are. If people think you're successful, they will help you get where you want to go. If you treat others with respect, they are more likely to do the same for you. Thank you notes are generally considered to be a sign of classic good manners and respect.

Gone are the days of a casual approach to work and job interviews. While you may not need to wear a suit and tie (depending on the position for which you are interviewing), it is important you show proper respect with attire, manners and promptly sending a thank you note following an interview for any position other than an entry level job for minimum wage.

For personal, professional services such as a nanny, housekeeper, handyman, etc., always send a thank you note after an interview. This is because you will have a closer professional relationship with your employer with these professional positions.

If you are in doubt as to whether or when to send a thank you note, do so! Professional courtesy suggests that the note be sent within 2-3 days, so that it arrives within 5 working days of the interview. For highly competitive positions, you may wish to send a thank you note within 24 hours!

After a job interview, send a thank you note
After a job interview, send a thank you note | Source

Write an Effective Job Interview Thank you Note

(Almost) Always Send a Job Interview Thank You Note

The answer to the question of "when you should send a job interview thank you note," is nearly a universal always.

A thank you letter demonstrates job etiquette, appreciation for the time the company and individual employees took to talk with you, as well as for a coffee or meal, if provided. It can also give you an opportunity for a long-lasting final impression. If sincere and polished, a job interview thank you note can potentially elevate you above other candidates.

For each person that spent at least 15-20 minutes with you during the interview process, consider sending a thank you note to them. Check the tips below for effective thank you notes.

The only exceptions when you would not be expected to send a thank you note following an interview are: (1) when you have been specifically instructed not to send one; (2) if you took part in a larger, "cat-call" type screening with at least 10 other candidates, and (3) for an entry-level, minimum wage job other than one involving personal professional services (i.e. nanny).

If another professional helped connect you to the company or business for the position, be sure to send a note of your gratitude to them, as well.

Preparing for a job interview
Preparing for a job interview | Source

Tips for an Effective Job Interview Thank You Note

Having written and received numerous interview thank you notes over the year, you should consider the following tips for best results:

  1. Double-check spelling and grammar. This is your final impression before a decision as to whether to hire you or at least call you back for additional interviews is made.
  2. Ensure you have spelled names correctly and attributed proper titles. If you spoke with a Sandy, be sure you remember whether that person is a male or female in addressing the letter. When you interview with the Human Resources Chairperson, address them with the proper title.
  3. Keep the thank you letter to a single page. A job interview thank you note should not be longer than one page. It should be concise and direct, limited to the purpose of thanking the interviewer for his or her time.
  4. Edit form letters before using. If you have a good "sample" job interview thank you note, use it, but be sure to personalize it with a sentence or two before sending.
  5. You may transmit the thank you note via email, but do not send an email message. These days you may attach a professional letter to an email, but do not merely send an email message. In the same vein, do not use emoticons, exclamation points or all caps.
  6. Stay away from personal topics. Keep the thank you note focused on your skills and what you may bring to the company. Reference professional topics covered in the interview.
  7. Email? In today's digital environment, many employers no longer frown on a thank you note sent via email. A text message thank you may not quite make the grade, however. You may wish to ask friends that have landed a similar job or that work at the same company whether they found it appropriate to send an email job interview thank you note.

Tips for a Job Interview Thank you Note

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Stephanie Marshall


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