Say Thank You The Right Way: Thank You Note Tips
Can This Interview Be Saved? Maybe With a Proper Thank You Note and Follow Up
by Hans H. Chen
After sending reams of resumes, you’ve finally snagged that coveted interview. But on the big day, you screw up by showing up 10 minutes late to the interview. Or forget to mention the big project you spent last year perfecting. Or your cell phone goes off–and you answer it.
Can this interview be saved?
Maybe. The thank you note and the telephone call can help an applicant point out overlooked experiences or clear up misunderstandings. But even the most gracious thank you note will fail to make right a particularly egregious interview error.
“I heard a story about a woman interviewing for a job, and she was doing well,” said Barbara Pachter, an author and president of Pachter and Associates, a New Jersey business etiquette firm. “And then her cell phone began ringing. She answered the cell phone, had a conversation, and then started to scream at her kids, because it was her kids who called. She went on and on, and then turned to her interviewer and said, ‘Oh, my kids will never call me at work.’ She didn’t get the job. And there’s nothing she could have done to recover from that faux pas.”
So what can you do with thank you notes, the traditional form of post-interview communication, to bolster your chances after a less-than-perfect interview?
First of all, think about sins of omission you committed during your interview.
“The thank you note is a place to add additional information,” Pachter said. “If you omitted information during the interview, that would be a good time to add it.”
Just be sure you phrase the additional information in a positive light.
“If you failed to bring something up in the interview, word it in a positive manner: ‘In light of what we spoke about, I’d like to bring another thing to the table that would be beneficial to the company,'” suggests Jill Petrozzini, a principal with JSP Associates, a headhunting firm in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
Petrozzini also comments that thank you notes could be used to clear up suspected misunderstandings that cropped up during the interview.
“If you say something that was misconstrued some way, it might be helpful to amend what you said. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just say, ‘I’d like to be perfectly clear,'” Petrozzini adds.
Pachter advises all her job-seeking clients to inventory their possible weaknesses, such as poor relationships with former employers or gaps in employment history. Then, come up with convincing explanations for them so you can persuade your interviewer that factors won’t prevent you from doing well at a new job.
But if you think you’ve done a poor job of explaining away your faults during the interview, resist the temptation to revisit them in your thank you note.
“You don’t want to bring attention to it,” Pachter said. “Cover it during your interview, cover it well, and move on. If you didn’t cover it well the first time, why bring it up again?”
Similarly, don’t mention in your thank you note any blunders you may have committed during your interviews, like showing up late, making an inappropriate joke, or using the wrong fork during an interview in a restaurant.
“If you were late to the interview, you apologize, apologize profusely, and forget about it.”
Lastly, what if your faux pas involves the thank you note that you forgot to send out? Pachter orders you to get it out– as long as the job hasn’t been given to someone else.
“A late thank you note is better than no thank you note,” Pachter says.
by Jayne Feld
Are thank-you notes a relic of a bygone era when workers wore starched white shirts and neatly-pressed suits to work every day? Many job hunters think so. But they’re wrong, say employment experts.
Letters or emails of appreciation, especially after a job interview, are as necessary as ever in our increasingly casual culture. This is your chance to remind your potential boss of your qualifications, how you would fit in with company culture and to makeover any mistakes you made in the interview.
“You want to stay on their radar screen and out of the garbage can,” says Bob Rosner, author of Working Wounded: Advice that Adds Insight to Injury, explaining why you should consider thank-you notes another chance to prove yourself.
If you really want an offer, send not only words of thanks but added-value attachments, including compelling news articles about the industry, the company or the competition, suggests Rosner, who is also a career columnist.
“Information is the ultimate currency because it helps people do their job,” he says. ?The attitude you will be conveying is “I have my ear to the ground and am investing energy into [the job search] beyond what I did in the interview.”
What? Me send a thank-you note?
We know. You don’t do thank you notes. Only 35 percent of workers surveyed by Vault last year said they always send thank you notes following interviews. Nearly 15 percent of people never, or almost never, follow up with a letter or email even though 43 percent of them say such notes could be very important in getting a job.
Rosner’s Working Wounded readers have similar habits. In his poll, 37 percent of his respondents say they always write thank you notes or letters. Twenty-two percent never do it and 41 percent say they do only when they really want to impress their interviewers.
Among Vault’s thank-you note rejectionists, 63 percent agreed with the statement “There’s no need. If they want me, they will hire me.” (Keep in mind, the poll was done in November 2000, back in the days when the job market still favored workers.)
Most people don’t exactly reject the concept of thank you notes. They simply were never taught the importance of them, says Barbara Pachter, author of When The Little Things Count…And They Always Count: 601 Essential Things That Everyone In Business Needs to Know.
“Once people realize how crucial it is, they do it,” Pachter says.
A business-training consultant, Pachter advises employees to send notes for almost any occasion calling for an express of gratitude, even after a round of golf with a more senior partner.
“If you’re ever in doubt, do it,?” says Pachter, of Cherry Hill, N.J. She recalls telling this to a group of accountants during a training session, and getting groans from the crowd. The discussion ended however when one of the founding partners stood up and said he always hand writes thank-you notes.
“If the head of the company does it, there was no point in arguing,” she says.
Perhaps more job hunters would send notes if they knew this: Thirty-six percent of hiring managers polled by Vault say thank you notes always help a candidate’s job prospects while another 42 percent say it could help when deciding between two or more qualified candidates. Only 22 percent said, in so many words, not to bother.
Thank You Letter: Experienced Job seeker
Mr. William Chen
212 President Dr., Suite 300
Boca Raton, FL, 33486
Dear Mr. Chen,
Thank you for taking the time to discuss the technical support manager position at Uber.com with me. After meeting with you and learning about the company’s Operations, I am convinced that my background and skills coincide well with your needs.
I appreciate the time you took to talk with me about the job responsibilities and the company.It gave me insight into why Uber.com has been a success. I feel I would be a good fit for the position, especially given my experience in digital rights management.
In addition to my experience from my previous technical support and management positions,I feel I bring a strong work ethic and team-oriented attitude, both of which I know to be essential to success in tech support. I look forward to hearing from you about the position.
Sample Thank you #2
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to meet with me. I am very excited at the prospect of joining (Company name) as the results oriented sales representative, driving existing and new sales opportunities.
I believe we have a good fit based upon my background and the job description. My sales experience, selling skills, education and high energy level will assure success. Especially when partnered with (Company name)’s strong product offering, continued success and steady growth through driving existing and new channels should be at hand.
I look forward to talking with you again in the next few days. If any additional information will be helpful regarding my candidacy, please do not hesitate to call me.
Again, many thanks for the opportunity.