Recently, both my husband I were interviewing candidates for roles within our teams. As we chatted about the experience, both stumbled upon a common theme: a lack of post-interview follow up. I was convinced it must be because we are older than the people we were interviewing (by 10+ years…), and therefore followed job search norms that were very outdated, but I was not 100% sure. Not unlike the absence of cover letters (which you know I am a fan of because yes, I am old school like that, and wrote about it in Ask Strategy Girl: Is the Cover Letter Dead?), I wanted to know if the thank you note (email) in particular was also dead.
I interviewed many applicants for roles within my own company as well as student workers and individuals applying for roles in my office when I worked in higher ed, but I needed a broader perspective. I started picking my friends brains about the hiring process across different industries as many of them are in positions in their careers where they are interviewing candidates. I also began talking to women who work in HR. I was slightly convinced everyone would tell me the practice was outdated—dead and gone—but to my surprise that was not the case!
Almost everyone I talked to said although they do not expect a thank you email (why they don’t expect it is fodder for another post!) it certainly helps when they get one, and many competitive candidates send them. Many likened it to the “cherry on top” or some extra glitter to what was already sparking application package and interview. For me, the takeaway is clear: it is not expected, but you can help yourself stand out in the hiring process if you send one. No brainer = send one!
Here is an example that you can tweak to fit your job search needs:
I’m so grateful for your generosity this morning in spending time speaking with me and sharing your insights about the new position on your team. Thank you. Near the end of our talk, I mentioned my excitement about having a chance to help create systems and processes that will allow [company name] to better manage [the challenge] and seize opportunities.
I hope I’ve also conveyed well to everyone on the team my eagerness to receive your/their mentorship, on [company name’s] culture and how to succeed as [role].
There’s nothing I’d rather do with this next chapter of my [position type] career than serve one company in such depth that I become woven into its fabric. It’s plain to see you are on that path and enjoying it very much. Meeting you and hearing your story affirmed my decision to make this jump.
Whatever happens, let’s please keep in touch!
Or something as simple as:
Thank you so much for your time today. I enjoyed our conversation so much, and am even more excited about the [role] with [company name].
There’s nothing I’d rather do with this next chapter of my [position type] career than serve one company in such depth that I become woven into its fabric. Meeting you and hearing your story affirmed my decision to make this jump.
Thank you again,
So, take the time to send a follow-up, thank you email! It is “extra” in a good way and takes so little time, I can’t find a single argument against an opportunity to give yourself an advantage in the hiring process.
Oh, and for those of you not yet to the job-search phase, this applies for summer jobs, internships, and college admissions interviews, too! Anytime you meet with someone, and they take time out of their day to talk to you, it never hurts to say thanks.
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