Send a thank you letter after every interview, and send one to each person who interviewed you.
Even if you are not sure whether the job is an ideal fit for you, you should still send a thank you letter, as you never know when you may have to interface with the interviewer again. A thank you letter should be sent immediately following the interview; do not wait longer than 48 hours to send this correspondence. For this reason, it is imperative that you ask for a business card at the close of your interview to ensure that you have the interviewer’s current contact information, which will allow you to quickly expedite this letter.
If you interview for a highly competitive position, be sure to send your thank you note by the end of the day, which will likely equate to using email or hand delivering a personal note. Not only will a thank you letter create a strong impression that you are courteous and professional, such correspondence will also serve as additional reinforcement of your name, differentiated strengths and interest in the company.
The format of your thank you letter will depend on the type of company and industry with which you interviewed and can range from electronic (email), hardcopy (U.S. mail) or personal note (mailed or hand delivered) format. Tailor your letter to the culture or “personality” of the company and also the rapport you established with the person who interviewed you. For instance, if you interview with a high-tech corporation such as IBM or Apple, you should always choose to send your thank you letter electronically. These types of companies are fast-paced, technologically-forward and primarily use email for all correspondences. Hard copy correspondence would not be well received in these cases. If you connected with the interviewer on a personal level or if the interview was a fairly informal process, send a handwritten note that conveys more of a “personal touch.” If the company will be making its hiring decision quickly, use email as the fastest solution. Regardless of the format you select, the following guidelines can be applied to all thank you correspondences:
You must be certain that your thank you correspondence is error-free and well written, as this will form a lasting impression on the company. If you choose to write a personal thank you note, be sure that your handwriting is clear and legible. Candidates have been taken out of consideration for a position due to sloppy, poorly written thank you letters. Written communication skills are critical for most jobs so be sure that your correspondence reflects strength in this area. Make sure you spell-check and proofread your letter and recruit others to review it as an additional check. The Career Resource Center can also assist you by reviewing for grammar, spelling and overall quality.
If you interview with several different individuals, the rule is to send a customized thank you letter to each of them. While this may seem like a lot of work, this approach is recommended, as you never know how much influence each has on the ultimate hiring decision. Each letter can be similar in format and content, but you should vary a few sentences to differentiate the letters based on your experience and conversation with each interviewer. Often, interviewers will “compare notes” so you want to create the impression that you invested maximum effort.
We have provided several sample interview thank you letters for your reference. While you should use the basic structure from these letters, we recommend that you adapt it to your own specific experience with the interviewer to personalize the content. Avoid plagiarizing these letters, as the employer may have seen the same letter before.