Will an interview thank you letter or email help, or hinder your chances of being offered the job?
Many employers respond very favorably to an interview thank you letter. Most job search coaches also think this is a good idea, and I agree with them......but with a word of caution.
In my opinion this type of letter can enhance your chances of getting the job. But.....as always, it depends on what you say in your letter, and how you say it.
A poorly worded thank you letter, which conveys little new information for the interviewer, or which gives the impression of "sucking up" to the employer is likely to do more harm than good.
The advantage you have now, after the interview, when writing your letter, is that you will have learned a lot more during the interview about:
Based on the information you've gained during the interview, you can then prepare a highly targeted letter.
Reinforce in your letter how you might meet needs of the organisation, how you would approach the role, or exceed expectations about the person doing the job.
Let's look at some other things to consider when you're preparing your letter.
The obvious time to send a thank you letter is following a job interview that you've had, this being either a face to face or phone interview.
Other situations where it would be appropriate, and to your advantage to send an interview thank you letter include:
Aim to have your letter received by the interviewer, or members of the panel as soon as possible after the interview.
This ideally would be the day following your interview.....certainly no longer than two days after the interview.
Same day receipt is possible if you have an email address of the interviewer or panel members, but.... a bit of caution again here.
If you send off a thank you email a half hour after the interview, it could convey the impression you are too desperate for a job, or are trying too hard to make a good impression.
This can make the interviewer/s suspicious and can create doubt in their minds about your suitability.
The timing of your letter however is not the most critical thing here. What you say in your letter is!
Find some quiet time to reflect on your interview and really think through what you want to say in your letter.
This raises the question then......what should you write about?
We're talking about a 'thank you' letter here, so thanking the interviewer for the opportunity to meet with them and to discuss the position must be included in the letter.
However, the real purpose of this type of letter is to continue to sell the idea to the selection panel that you are the best suited candidate.
Promote your suitability for the position by staying focused on the three main areas that recruitment and selection panels focus on to determine who the successful candidate will be.
These areas, which are explained in more detail on this page dealing with job interview tips are:
Be absolutely clear about why you are writing.....the overall purpose of your letter.
You could focus on one, or all of the above areas in your letter, which would simply reinforce how well you meet the selection criteria for the position.
However, an interview thank you letter can also be used to clarify or add to an answer, or answers to important questions in the interview which you think you could have handled better.
In other words.....if you've seriously mucked up your answer to an important interview question, your thank you letter presents an opportunity to have another shot at your answer.
If you're following up an interview with a recruitment firm you will have either been interviewed for:
Either way, by sending an interview thank you letter, you continue to build a professional relationship with the recruiter.
Many employers will appreciate the courtesy you show them in writing a thank you letter after the interview.
Make no mistake however......your letter must go beyond courtesy. It is an important opportunity to continue to sell the employer on the idea that you are the best candidate for the job.
A well written, closely targeted interview thank you letter that supports how well you meet the selection criteria can certainly make an important difference in your chances of landing the job.