According to new data from TopResume, a little gratitude can have a big impact—on your chances of getting a job, that is. Surveying over 300 hiring managers, recruiters, and HR professionals to find out how their hiring practices have changed since March, TopResume discovered that employers care even more about interview thank-you notes now than before the COVID-19 crisis.
The majority (68%) of hiring professionals agreed that the interview thank-you has become more significant, one-fifth (20%) were neutral on the topic, and a mere 12% disagreed.
In-person interviews are not an option at the moment for most, so recruiters are more heavily relying upon these post-interview messages to gauge whether or not a candidate is the right match for the job opportunity. Consider these nine strategies when you write an interview follow-up message to engage your interviewers and help advance your candidacy.
Good follow-up starts before the interview ends
Take notes during your interview that will help you write a memorable thank-you afterward. When you get home to draft your follow-up, you want to have answers to the following questions:
- What did you learn about each person during the “small talk” portion of the conversation? Did you discover you had anything in common, such as a school you attended, a team you root for, or a hobby you enjoy?
- What about your qualifications were they most interested in or excited about?
- Were they skeptical about anything on your résumé? Did they seem concerned about a particular skill gap or type of experience you lacked?
- Did you confirm each interviewer’s email address and (if necessary) the spelling of their name?
With so many people working remotely, there’s little point in sending a physical thank-you note to the headquarters. And, let’s be honest: you’ll come across as creepy if you ask for your interviewers’ home addresses. Stick to emailing a thank-you message to each person. Since your communication will be digital, it’s important to send your email in a timely manner. The rule of thumb is to send it within 24 hours of your interview.
The best way to start off any interview follow-up note is to thank the person for their time and consideration. Ideally, your conversation with this individual helped you learn more about the opportunity and decide whether it’s the right move for you. Even if you plan to withdraw from consideration for the position, it’s good form to follow up and thank your interviewer. You never know when you may cross paths with these people again.
Reiterate your interest
Assuming you like what you learned during the interview, be sure to communicate your ongoing interest in the role. While this sentiment doesn’t have to take up much space in your thank-you, your intentions should be crystal clear to the reader. If there was something in particular about the job opportunity that really resonated with you, include that detail in your message. It will make your overall note sound more genuine.
Remind them of your rapport
Remember, your post-interview follow-up is your chance to reconnect with your interviewer and remind them of the connection you made during your conversation. Use the little details you learned about the person during the small talk portion of your interview—especially any shared interests you discovered—to further personalize your message and make it more memorable.
Refresh their memory
You don’t need to summarize all of your qualifications in your follow-up, but you should hone in on whatever parts of your résumé each interviewer seemed most interested in. Often, when you’re interviewed by numerous people at the company, they will care about different qualifications based on how their role will interact with the one you’re vying for. Take note of what each person gets excited about so you can reiterate this information in your thank-you message and remind them why you’re the candidate they want for the job.
Overcome their objections
If you got a vibe during the interview that there were concerns about your candidacy—perhaps they were worried you were “too qualified” for the position or you lacked experience in a particular area of the role—this interview follow-up is your opportunity to abate such fears.
Avoid what is referred to as the “trust me” approach: “Trust me, if I get the job, I’ll figure out what I need to do to get the job done.” While employers are all about a candidate’s potential, they also want some proof of your abilities. Instead, aim to explain why this role makes sense for you or show them what steps you’ve taken to fill the gap.
For example, if the hiring manager expressed concern that you don’t have any experience writing press releases, mention in your note that you’ve drafted a press release for a data story they could produce and you’d love the opportunity to share it with them. Of course, you’ll actually need to write the press release for this to be effective, so only make such a claim if you can follow through with it.
Add something new
If you forget to mention something during the interview that could improve your chances of landing the job, include it in your interview thank-you note. You don’t want to write paragraphs listing all the things you forgot to say, but you can incorporate a line about an additional qualification when you’re reiterating your interest and highlighting the qualifications your interviewer cared most about.
Write to influence
Your interview follow-up note is one of the many marketing tools you’ll use during the job search to advertise your candidacy. When proofreading each thank-you, make sure the note is “on brand.” In other words, your choice of language conveys the same person and personality you presented during the interview.
While you want to show gratitude in this message, you also want to influence the hiring team and advance your position. Look for the opportunities to demonstrate why you’re the right person for the job by reminding your interviewer of your qualifications, the connection you established with them, and your fit within the company culture. Take a few extra minutes to properly customize each interview follow-up, and your little thank-you note can make a big difference as to whether you land the job.
Amanda Augustine is the resident career expert for TopResume, the largest resume-writing service in the world, and its sister brands, TopInterview and TopCV. She is a certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW).