Mom’s Thank-you Notes and Follow Up
Turns out, your mother was right! Sending thank you notes is the right thing to do. However, in the job search process it is also required. The benefit in conducting good job search follow up is that it shows great persistence and professionalism. You can use the opportunity to expand, reinforce or clarify something that you discussed in the interview. Finally, it prevents the interviewers from forgetting about you (which they may) and it shows that you really want their job.
As a former hiring manager, I can tell you, with certainty, that one of the weakest parts of candidates’ job search steps is their follow up. So, now that you know better, there’s no excuse for inadequate follow up.
Start by sending your thank you note via e-mail 24-48 hours after your interview. You want the interview to be fresh in your mind and in the company’s! Address a note to each person with whom you met; no group e-mails. Be sure you have spelled everyone’s names correctly and write every e-mail with perfect grammar and a full signature with your full name, phone number and e-mail.
The Flow of a Well-crafted Thank You Note Includes:
- Thank them for the opportunity to meet and acknowledge that they took the time to do so.
- Using bullets, highlight between one and three reasons why you’re the best fit for the role. Your goal here is to remind them why you would be a good fit.
- Close by hitting these three points: Express your interest, commit to following up again within a specified timeframe (ideally in a week), and thank them, again, for their time and consideration.
Now, you cannot sit back and wait for a response. Unless and until you hear definitively about the job, you will send up to three follow up e-mails. Yes, three.
Space them seven days apart. Each follow up note should begin with pleasantries, then contain a sentence explaining where you left off in your last communication with them. Something like: “You had indicated to me that you’d be making your final decision during the week of, and I just wanted to follow up to see where you are in that decision.” Then, rather than continue to pester them about when the decision will be made, take the opportunity to include something of value about you; mention training you just completed, discuss a deal you closed, or highlight a project you finished. Close the thank you note by indicating that you intend to follow up again in another week.
3 Tricks to Great Follow Up:
- Always appear gracious, positive, patient, and interested. Minimize the use of “I, me and my.”
- When following up via e-mail, always attached the prior e-mail you are referring to.
- Match your communications medium to the one the interviewer has been using; return e-mails with e-mails, but if they call you, return their call.
Practice writing thank you note e–mails and get a friend to read them for feedback. It may not be second nature to send up to four thank you and follow up notes to a prospective employer, but this could be the difference between being forgotten and standing out.