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Proper post-interview etiquette includes sending a thank-you note to every person who interviewed you for a job. The format and timing of your letter depends on the company culture and the level of competition for the position.
Professional courtesy is the basic purpose for sending thank-you letters to each interviewer. Typically, people serving on interview committees are doing so outside the scope of their day-to-day job. This follow-up communication tool also affirms your professional credibility with the hiring committee. The actual impact of the letter on employment decisions varies, but sending a thank-you to each committee member allows you to resell your strengths. Even if you don't anticipating accepting the position if offered, keep the door open for future opportunities with thank-you letters.
During an interview, it is easy to get caught up in the pressure of the moment. However, take the time to ask each interviewer for a business card after the interview ends. With business cards in hand, it is much easier to deliver a timely and accurate letter to each person. Write down the names of the committee members if they don't have cards to offer. Make brief notes during the interview on things you learn or interesting conversations you have with particular members. Doing so provides personal content for the follow-up letter.
Format and Content
You have three format options for your letter: typed, handwritten or emailed. A typed letter is very professional and fits a law office, for example, but emailing the letter makes more sense with a fast-paced, high-tech organization, according to the University at Buffalo School of Management. Let the culture of the organization be your guide. If the interview was a bit formal and impersonal, a handwritten thank-you note with personal references may help humanize you to the committee. The letter itself should show appreciation to the committee member and reiterate your core strengths. A personal anecdote from the interviewer is also helpful. Customize the letter to each committee member as they may share notes with other interviewers. Review for proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Timing and Other Details
A good rule of thumb is the more competitive a position, the more important it is to deliver a timely letter. Email or handwrite a letter for same-day delivery for an especially competitive job. Type your letter when you feel comfortable with it arriving in a day or two. Your letter is most likely to have a positive influence on your candidacy if it is received shortly after the interview while the committee discusses the interviews.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.
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