Meeting with a senior executive for a job interview can be a daunting situation. If you're lucky enough to land the position, there's a good chance that the person who interviewed you will become your boss, after all. Don't allow intimidation to interfere with your manners, however. Once your interview with the executive is through, it's essential to thank her, in writing, for spending part of her busy workday talking to you.
Snail Mail or Email?
After your interview, you have a couple of choices in how to proceed with thanking the senior executive. Writing a standard letter in your finest penmanship and sending it via snail mail often is effective. Typed letters work well, too. You can also send a note through email. If the recruiting manager or senior executive indicated which mode of sending messages is favorable, be safe and go with that. Go with your gut feeling, too. If a senior executive has decades of experience in receiving thank-you notes via snail mail, as many in higher-up positions do, you might want to ensure that you don't neglect the classic letter route.
On the other hand, if you're interviewing at a company with a decidedly contemporary focus, such as a cell phone manufacturer, then email may be best. You don't want to risk coming across as being stuck in the past in a high-tech field.
Inside the Note
Write a short and sweet note to the senior executive who interviewed you. You don't want to ramble. Remember, this person as a higher-up has a lot on her plate and probably doesn't have the time to read a mini novella. In your most professional and gracious tone, express your gratitude for your interview with her. Also make it a point to indicate your enthusiasm about the specific position. You might want to use the note as an opportunity to bring up anything key that you didn't speak of during the interview, such as a willingness to travel or your knowledge of conversational German. Remember, though, to keep things as concise as possible.
Comb the Note for Potential Errors
Before you send your letter, read it carefully to make sure it's free of grammatical errors. Also make sure that everything is spelled correctly, including the senior executive's name. Seek the help of a buddy who has strong proofreading skills. The last thing you want is to give the senior manager the impression that you have poor writing skills. You also don't want it to come across like the letter or email was written in a slapdash fashion.
While it's undoubtedly important to thank the senior executive, it's also important not to overlook anyone else you encountered during your interview process. Send your thank-yous to everyone, from the recruiting officer to the manager you met in the human resources department. If you encountered a particularly jovial assistant at the front desk who went out of his way to make you feel comfortable, thank him, too. Make sure the emails you send everyone aren't carbon copies of each other. Tailor them specifically to the interview and the person: Your note to the senior executive shouldn't be the same as your note to the HR manager.
When you send your thank you note to the senior executive who met with you, do it swiftly, in a span of 24 hours. Don't dillydally. Chances are she's meeting with many potential candidates, and you want to write her when her memory of you is still vivid.