Add value with your thank you note

Add value with your thank you note

Writing a thank you note after a job interview can provide you with the opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your future employer.

I received the following email from a client just the other day:

Hi Eric,

Can you give me your opinion on following up with an interviewer after an interview? When following up and thanking them for the meeting, should I be attaching a copy of my resume as a reminder to them.

Best Regards,

(name deleted)

In response, I sent the following:

Thanks for the note. I assume from your question that you’ve just had (or are about to have) an interview, so congratulations. The thank you note is an important part of wrapping up the interview process, and gives you a final chance to market yourself for the job.

To answer your question, I wouldn’t attach a resume to a thank you letter. The recruiter and hiring manager should have copies already from your application and the interview, and the underlying message of sending another is that you assume the members of the recruiting team are disorganized (they probably lost the one they had) and have poor memories (they need to be reminded of who you are).

A better strategy for your thank you note is to add value beyond what was discussed in the interview, based on the insider information you gained in the meeting. For example, you could do one of the following:

  • If there was something that came up in the interview that pleasantly surprised you, tell about how and why this was the case, and how (hopefully) this enhanced your opinion of the organization, department, manager or job, and your desire for the role. “During the interview I was pleasantly surprised when you told me (insert fact here) because (reason)…”
  • If after the interview you had an idea for a solution to a problem mentioned during the meeting, be proactive and share it in your note. “During the interview you mentioned that you’ve been having issues with (situation). I was thinking about this in the car on the way home, and I wonder whether you’ve considered (your idea)…”
  • If you feel your response to one of their interview questions wasn’t what you wanted, revisit it in your letter, and provide a better answer. “During the interview you asked me about (topic), and I wasn’t satisfied with the answer I gave you. I’ve been thinking about it since the interview, and what I should have said was (revised answer)…”
  • If you got the sense during the meeting that interviewer had any concerns about you as a candidate (over/underqualified, missing qualification or skill, lack of experience with a particular software package, etc.) then try to reassure the interview team that they shouldn’t be worried. This one can be risky as you emphasize a negative, so use it only if you’re pretty sure of the deficiency. “In our meeting I sensed you might be concerned about (shortcoming), but I can assure you that (reason you can overcome this hurdle)…”
  • If the above don’t apply, then you can re-emphasize how your skillset and experience make you the best candidate for the position, based on the additional information gained during the meeting. “Based on what I learned in the interview today, I am convinced I can contribute/excel in the role as follows: (bulleted list of top three needs and how you’ll fill them)…”

Cheers,

Eric

In all this, keep in mind that the thank you should be brief (less than a page), so you’ll need to be concise. Hope this helps.

By Eric Pye, Career Services Advisor

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