How to write a great thank-you note after an interview
When was the last time you wrote a thank-you note? Most of us tend to fall into one of two camps: People who think thank you notes are unnecessary and outdated, and those sticklers for etiquette who write them for everything.
Which category do you fall into? If you’re job hunting, it may pay to fall into the latter group. Even though some recruiters and hiring managers don’t care about receiving a quick message after your interview, you never know who will consider skipping the note a disqualifier.
Writing a thank you note does more than cover your bases just in case you’ve interviewed with someone who appreciates the gesture. It also makes you stand out - amazingly, most applicants don’t bother with these messages anymore.
A 2017 survey by Robert Half revealed that only 24 percent of HR managers said they received thank you notes from candidates. That means if four people interview for a role, chances are only one of them is sending a follow-up.
Despite the lack of applicants expressing their gratitude in writing, 80 percent of managers surveyed said receiving a thank you message was very or somewhat helpful. This should be a red flag to anyone who isn’t already sending a quick note after an interview - changing your habits can only be beneficial.
Whether you need to start writing thank you notes or you’ve been doing it for years, it’s helpful to consider the following to make sure your messages are supporting your application for any tech role.
Make it personal and enthusiastic - but not too casual
It should seem obvious to start your thank you note off with your interviewer’s name, but given that so many people don’t write them, it’s worth a mention.
Save “To whom it may concern” for your cover letters and use each interviewer’s name. If you had a special personal connection - maybe you attended the same university or worked for the same corporation years back - it won’t hurt to mention this, provided you can work it in naturally and don’t force the subject.
Don’t be afraid to express your enthusiasm. Mention something you learned about the company or someone you particularly enjoyed meeting during the interview.
Reiterate your interest in the role
An interview isn’t just for a hiring manager to assess your suitability for an IT role - it’s also a chance for you to see if the company, job, and supervisor will be a good fit for you.
Sometimes, even if you’re the ideal candidate, you walk away from an interview knowing you wouldn’t jive with the company culture or enjoy the position. If you like what you hear and you’re interested in progressing further, mention this in your thank you note. Be specific.
“Based on our conversation about where your company is headed and your next project, I’m still strongly interested in this opportunity,” is a much stronger statement than “I’m still interested in the job.”
Highlight why you’re a strong candidate
Some hiring managers will interview a dozen candidates for a single role. This means that no matter how sharp your technical abilities are, there may be other people who are just as strong.
Use your thank-you note to remind your recruiter or hiring manager what, specifically, makes you the best person for the job. Depending on how the conversation went and what the role calls for, you may want to take one of two tactics here.
The first is highlighting why your past experiences make you a great applicant, while the second stresses the exact hard skills that would make you the best person for the job. Showcasing experience may call for reiterating that you’ve managed a software migration exactly like one the company you interviewed with will embark on in the next quarter.
Addressing hard skills - for example, 10 years of Java programming experience - is another strategy you can use. Again, this depends on the conversation you had with the hiring manager, role, and what the manager identified as key for the role. It’s possible that you’ll want to use both approaches.
Either way, remind the hiring manager of exactly what it is that makes you a standout candidate.
Offer to provide any additional information
It’s not uncommon for hiring managers to remember something they forgot to ask after you’ve already left the interview. In your thank-you note, offer to answer any additional questions or provide additional information about your background.
Make it timely
Whatever you write, just don’t wait a week to send your message - by that time, it’s entirely possible the hiring manager will have already made a decision. Send a quick email immediately after the interview or a day later. Any longer and you risk missing your window of opportunity for a thank you note to support your application.
About the Company:
Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has been Chicago's premier I.T. staffing, consulting, and recruiting firm for over 20+ years. Named after Chicago's historic Peterson Avenue, PTP has built its reputation by developing lasting relationships, leading digital transformation, and inspiring technical innovation throughout Chicagoland. Now based in Park Ridge, IL, PTP's 250+ employees have narrowed their focus to a single market (Chicago) and 4 core technical areas;
Application/mobile/web development and eCommerce
Data science/analytics/business intelligence/artificial intelligence
ERP SAP/Oracle and project management/BA/QA
PTP exists to ensure that all of our partners (clients and candidates alike) make the best hiring and career decisions.
Peterson Technology Partners is an equal opportunity employer.