The art of writing a thoughtful thank you note is nearly extinct, but that’s not how it should be. Call me old school. And for the record, I feel the same about the “resumes are dead” argument, because guess what? Every single company I have recruited for always asks for one. The only exception has been when the candidate and the hiring manager already know each other. It’s a fun discussion, but in reality, most companies expect you to have one.
Okay, back to thank you notes.
While it’s certainly easier to send a quick email to thank an employer for inviting you for an interview, there are a myriad of reasons why it’s better to send a handwritten note.
1. Not Everyone Sends One
Many other job candidates won’t go to the trouble to send a handwritten thank you card, and that’s reason enough to send one. You want to stand out as the best candidate, and doing something unique like this goes in your favor.
2. It Puts You on the Hiring Manager’s Desk
More than likely, the person who interviewed you won’t throw away your card, at least not right away. Instead, it will sit on her desk, serving as a reminder of the thoughtful sender and potential hire. She’ll forget about the other candidates she was considering!
3. It Shows You’re Serious
Not everyone who comes in for an interview gives off the vibe that they’re completely dedicated to working for the company that interviews them. By taking the time to write a thoughtful note, you’re showing your interest in the position and proving that you’re serious about getting the job.
4. It Gives You the Chance to Connect on a Personal Level
If you can tie your note to something you learned in an interview, it’s even better. Here is a quick story: My candidate goes to the interview and notices in the HR managers office a few references to Paris. Come to find out, she loves Paris. Candidate goes out and finds a postcard of something in Paris to add to her mini-collection. What do you think the first thing I heard when I got the feedback on the interview? Yep, the postcard.
5. Everyone Likes Mail
Because we do so much of our communicating via email, getting a nice card in the mail is an unexpected delight. The recipient will be happy to get it, and it will stand out against the pile of junk mail she’s used to receiving.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Email
While there’s nothing specifically wrong with sending an email thank you and certainly a vast majority of people send an email, it lacks the thoughtfulness and the personal aspect of a handwritten note. Add to that the fact that HR managers and hiring managers are often swamped with email, and your email might not even get read or make it to her inbox.
While 62% of hiring managers get email thank you notes the most, that’s no reason to rely on what’s expected. Email feels too easy to some, and people like to feel like you put forth some effort. Above all, stay classy. In an Accountemps survey, text messaging has started to show up on the list of methods that hiring managers are getting thank yous, as has social media. But only 10% of hiring managers and 27% respectively think these are acceptable channels to use.
Sending a Thank You Note
Always use quality stationery or notecards when sending your thank you note. You can buy “thank you” cards or ones with an appealing image on them. Invest in a nice pen, and use your best handwriting.
The note doesn’t have to be long. Just thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to speak with her, and reiterate your interest in the role and look for any opportunity to inject a bit of personality or personal connection. You may say something similar for each note you write, but make sure you’re not overly generic, as you want the recipient to feel that you thought out what you wrote to her.
Send your card the same day as the interview if you can. You want to be fresh on the hiring manager’s mind when she makes her final decision. Most importantly, you don’t want to miss out in case she makes her decision quickly.