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DO’S & DON’TS OF A POST-INTERVIEW THANK YOU LETTER

Before I launch into this one I’m going to answer an initial FAQ on this topic: “Should I send a thank you letter after my interview?”

Answer: Yes. Every Time you interview with everyone you meet.

Although not every interviewer expects a thank you letter, many of them do (trust me!). And most of those that do feel strongly about it, and will consider it a ‘black mark’ on a candidate if they don’t send one. Therefore I recommend that you play it safe and always send a thank you letter every time you interview with everyone you meet.

So how do you ensure that your thank you letter will leave a great impression?

A quick google on this topic will likely confuse you because there are so many differing and contradictory views, blogs, and resources online about thank you letters. Alas, it seems that there is no agreed ‘best practise’ on this topic but luckily, with 10+ years of recruiting ‘wisdom’ behind me, I have listed my top ‘Do’s and ‘Don’ts’ that will ensure that your thank you letter will leave a great impression:

Do’s:

Keep it short.
People are generally busy and don’t have a lot of spare time to read a lengthy email so make sure your message is concise and to the point – 200 words max!

Show authentic gratitude.
The purpose of a thank you letter is to show gratitude to the interviewer for their time and effort, not to further sell yourself. You had your chance to sell yourself during the interview and the reality is that the interviewer has already made up their mind.

Inject some personality.
People with personality are generally more interesting and more likable. Of course keep it professional, but don’t be afraid to show your personality in the message.

Cite a specific conversation.
While keeping tip #1 in mind, cite a specific conversation you had with the interviewer. This will show that you put genuine thought into the letter, and (if the interviewer has had multiple interviews that day) it will help them remember which candidate you are.

Reiterate your interest in the company.
Briefly mention a specific positive experience you had during your visit, and reiterate why you are attracted to the company and it’s culture.

Send it within 12 hours (and at a reasonable time).
A quick and timely follow-up will help to prove that you’re genuinely interested in the role. Don’t send it at a ridiculously late hour or during the workday (if you’re currently employed and supposed to be working!). A good time is between 6pm and 8pm on the same day of the interview.

Don’ts

Don’t Ramble.
No one likes a rambler, and no one has time to read a rambling note. Keep tip #1 in mind and keep the message concise and to the point.

Don’t use a template.
There are 100’s of thank you templates available on the internet. Don’t use one! They’re ‘cookie cutter’, impersonal, and easy to detect. If an interviewer receives 2 highly similar thank you notes from 2 different candidates then you’ll both likely be rejected.

Don’t over-sell yourself.
Remember that the intention of the letter is to thank and show gratitude. Remember, the interviewer has already made up their mind so further selling yourself can be interpreted as ‘over-selling’ which could quickly put your application in the ‘no’ pile.

Don’t forget to spellcheck.
Of course, make sure that there are no spelling or grammar errors in the letter. Take it one step further than a basic MS word spellcheck: www.grammarly.com is a great free tool that will check for 250 types of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.

Don’t use emoticons.
Keep the message professional. Even if you had a great rapport with the interviewer, smiley faces and winks won’t reflect well on you ;P.

Don’t send it from an unprofessional email address.
Don’t use the personal Gmail address that you created when you were 16 years old with a ‘69’ in it – you won’t get the job!

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