After the Interview
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Once your interview is over, well … it’s not really over! You need to assess the interview and re-evaluate your interest in the position and organization you’re pursuing.
If you are not still interested in the job, you need to contact the organization immediately to withdraw from consideration.
If you are still interested, on the other hand, you have at least one and possibly two additional tasks ahead:
- Writing and sending a thank-you note.
- Writing and sending a follow-up email.
Sending a thank-you note is required, not optional.
Why? Well, for starters, it’s common courtesy. Your interviewer has spent time and energy with you and on you and is spending additional time and energy evaluating you for the position that is being filled. It only makes sense, then, to thank them for that consideration.
But a thank-you note benefits you, too, because it gives you the chance to reiterate your interest in the position you’re pursuing, as well as your qualifications and fit for it. It’s one last chance to make a compelling case for your candidacy.
Keep this little-known fact in mind, too: Most job/internship applicants fail to send a thank-you note after interviews. So when you do, you’ll immediately stand out from the crowd and improve your chances of landing the position.
What Type of Thank-You Note Should You Send?
You can send a handwritten note card or an email:
A handwritten note card is the most personal option and is typically shorter (just a few sentences) than the other options. It’s appropriate for organizations that have a fairly casual work environment.
- Use a small, professional-looking card.
- Use blue or black ink.
- Write neatly. (If you can’t, send an email or a printed letter instead.)
An email works well when a hiring decision is likely to be made very quickly and you want your note to arrive before any final decisions are made. It’s also a good option when emailing has been the main method of contact between you and the person you want to thank, or when you know the interviewer prefers to be contacted by email.
- Structure your email as two or three short paragraphs.
- Keep a copy for yourself.
- Make sure the email address you use (for this and all communications related to jobs or internships) is professional.
- Use a signature block at the end of your email that includes your contact information. You’ll still “sign” your name, but the signature block will follow. For example:
1234 Emerson Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55408
What Should You Say in Your Thank-You Note?
Begin by thanking the interviewer for his/her time, and for considering you for the position.
Restate your enthusiasm about the job, then briefly reiterate the strengths and skills you’d bring to it (remembering to emphasize relevant Core Career Competencies). Focus in particular on the ones the interviewer seemed most interested in, and mention how they will be helpful to the organization.
If there was an interview question you didn’t answer very well, you can briefly clarify or elaborate on your response in your thank-you note. Similarly, you can mention anything you’ve done since the interview (e.g., additional research, reading, training) that further demonstrates your interest in the position.
Close by thanking the recipient once again. Offer to respond quickly to any additional questions or concerns he/she might have and note that you are looking forward to hearing from him/her.
Other Thank-You Note Essentials
- Send your note within two days after your interview.
- If you were interviewed by multiple people, send an individual thank-you note to each of them.
- Double-check your note for grammatical and punctuation errors as well as awkward sentences.
- Proofread. Then proofread again. One error can move you to the bottom of the candidate pool (which is true for résumés and cover letters too, by the way).
- Keep track of who you send thank-you notes to and when.
An Example of a Concise, Effective Thank-You Note
Hello Elaine Blackstone,
Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you about the Marketing Assistant position, and for the tour of your wonderful new store.
I would be excited to use my marketing and retail experience, and my creativity, to help develop effective marketing campaigns. I would look forward to helping Hipster Clothing become an industry leader. The fast-paced, collaborative environment is exactly the type of culture in which I thrive.
Please contact me at (123) 456-7890 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any additional information.
Thank you again for your time.
If you haven’t heard back from a prospective employer within the timeframe that was discussed in your interview, send a follow-up email to check on where things are in the hiring process—and to indicate that you’re still interested in the opportunity.
It can be as simple as this:
Dear Maria Blase,
Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the Volunteer Coordinator position at The Science Museum of Minnesota. I really enjoyed learning about the Museum and how vital the volunteers are to the success of the organization.
After the interview, I am even more excited about the possibility of working for your organization, as my communication studies degree, experience volunteering at several nonprofits, and attention to detail make me a great fit for the position.
Thank you for considering me, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.