How you follow up after an interview influences an employer’s impression of you just as much as your behavior during the meeting. Sending a thank-you letter immediately following the interview demonstrates professionalism and respect for the interviewer’s time. When you attend a panel interview, you need to extend that courtesy to everyone with whom you meet.
Ask for Contact Information
When you schedule the interview, ask for the names and contact information of everyone on the panel. If you can’t speak to each member individually at the meeting, you’ll still have contact information so you can follow up. Verify the spelling of everyone’s name and their phone numbers, email address or postal address by asking for business cards at the meeting. If you forget to collect contact information before or during the interview, call and ask the receptionist or the person you spoke with when you set up the meeting.
How and When to Thank
Thank each panelist at the end of the interview, stressing how much you enjoyed meeting them and that you’re excited about the prospect of working together. Follow up by sending each person a note within 24 hours. Both email and handwritten letters are considered appropriate etiquette, depending on the corporate culture and each panelist’s preferences. For example, employers at a formal workplace such as a bank might expect a handwritten note. Interviewers at a technology company, however, might see that as old-fashioned or “stuffy” and appreciate an email instead. When in doubt, ask interviewers during the meeting how they prefer to communicate.
What to Say
Personalize each letter, mentioning one or two details from your conversation with the interviewer. For example, say “Thank you for offering insight into what kind of candidate the company is looking for. After talking with you, I’m even more convinced that I’d be happy at Taylor Inc. and that my 15 years of management experience will benefit the company.” Always craft a separate letter for each panelist, even if you only change minor details. When sending email thank-you letters, send each separately and never include multiple names in the address field or send a copy to other interviewers.
Reiterate Your Interest
Close your thank-you letter by expressing your interest in advancing to the next step. Because the panel makes the hiring decision as a group, it’s important that each member knows you’re serious about the job. It may feel pushy, but if you don’t ask for the job employers may wonder how invested you are in the position. Keep it simple, with a short sentence such as “I’m excited about the possibility of contributing to the success of XYX Industries and I hope you’ll consider me for the position.”