How to Say Thank You After a Job Interview


Should I send an email or handwritten thank-you after a job interview? It's a question I get asked almost daily as an executive search consultant. My answer is, yes and yes.

Sending an email ensures your thank-you note will find its way to the hiring manager, recruiter, and other decision makers. Send your note within 24 hours of your meeting. It should be brief and sincere. You do not need to send a regurgitated version of your resume and list of bullet points as to why you are a fit. If this did not come across during the interview, well, an email won't help much. Sorry, just being honest and trying to save you time.

Here are some dos and don'ts to help:

• Send a note to everyone you have met with, including your recruiter and any administrative staff who helped arrange your meeting (Sidebar: I have seen executive-level candidates, who were front-runners, rejected for not treating the administrative staff well during the interview process. Be nice, people!)
• Don't send a bulk thank you email to a group. This is lazy. Period.
• Send your note within 24 hours, yet not immediately. Your email should not be a reaction, rather, it should be a well-intended and sincere thank you.
• Send your thank you note from your personal email, not your work email.

Sending a handwritten note in addition to an email allows you to further reinforce your brand and distinguish yourself from the other candidates. It's not going to win you the job, yet when it comes down to the small things, it can make a difference. A brief and sincere note thanking them for their time is all that is needed. Again, not a novel or diatribe about why you are the perfect fit.

The downside of a handwritten note is that many people in corporate America no longer check their mail slot. Or, they check it once a month. Your handwritten note may take some find to find its recipient, yet better late than never. (I placed one candidate whose boss opened her mailed thank-you weeks after she had been hired and working for the company! Still, it was a shared laugh for the two of them and reinforced a positive impression.)

Here are some dos and don'ts to help:

• Use nice stationery. I prefer to use my own, which has my monogram on it. If you don't have this, go to the local stationery store and buy basic ivory thank you notes. The basics are always safe.
• Make sure your handwriting is legible. Sloppy handwriting, well, that's just bad and won't help you.
• Send your note the day of your interview. It will take a few days to arrive and find its way into the corporate mail slot.

Here's a parting thought that will help reinforce how I feel about the importance of the above post-interview approach: It's know that multi-channel and multi-touch marketing yields a higher return. This is a fact. So, considering how important your brand is, why would you not adopt this approach? Best of luck and keep sending the thank-you emails and handwritten notes.