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Saying 'thank you' after a job interview

Sending a thank-you note after a job interview is like dating, according to Alan Kearns, founder of Career Joy, a career coaching company.

(Photo: Kohei Hara)

Sending a thank-you note after a job interview is like dating, according to Alan Kearns, founder of Career Joy, a career coaching company.

The interview itself is like a first date—don’t give away too much too soon.

But the thank-you note gives you an opportunity to give them a little more insight into who you are and the value you can add as an employee.

Just consider sending a note part of the job-hunting process. It’s a way of keeping the relationship going–and adding to it.

A thank-you note isn’t going to effect how you performed in the interview, but it’s a further opportunity to show them why you’d be a good fit, show a bit of your personality and clarify points from the interview. It’s like sending a text the morning after the first time you spent the night with someone. It doesn’t change anything about what happened, but it’s going to help resolve some nagging doubts and confusions.

The content of this note should be original and tailored to your situation. The biggest turn-off, says Kearns, is receiving a template version, so don’t go to Google and search “thank-you notes for interviews.” Instead, try to strike the right balance between professional and personal. Write about why you think you would make a good fit by referring to points made during the interview. You can also point them to a relevant blog post or articles you’ve written. Make sure to include at least one line that speaks to them as a person. If they like the Blue Jays, for example, then mention how it’s great that you both root for the team. If you had two people interviewing you, then they both deserve personalized thank-you notes. And obviously, make sure the spelling, grammar and title of the interviewer is correct.

A major difference, however, between dating and a thank-you note is the sign-off: don’t even think of writing “Love.” A “Sincerely,” “Sincerely yours,” or “Thank you very much” will suffice. The important part is that it’s natural to you and your voice, says Kearns.

Now, on to the question that has burned in the minds of man since 1995: paper or email?

Kearns says if you have nice handwriting, a professional card stock and the post office isn’t on strike, physically writing out a note is a good choice. There’s just “something about paper,” he says. Not only does it make it feel more personal, but also people like receiving letters. It’s more exciting and fun than email.  Choose a card stock that reflects you (the professional you, not the hot-pink-with-green-flowers actual you). To print or write in cursive is a personal choice and mostly depends on which is more legible.

If you learnt handwriting in public school after 1985, you’d perhaps like to go with email (although you could always get a friend to write it out). It’s true that email is more convenient and more comfortable for many.

In either medium, make sure it lands on their desk or in their inbox within 48 hours.