After the Job Interview-A Handwritten Thank You or Not

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A subscriber recently sent me an email asking about handwritten thank you notes after the job interview. She wanted to know if it was necessary to send one during these times when etiquette and professional conduct seem to have vanished. My answer to her question was a resounding “Yes.” What you do following the interview is just as important as what you do before and during this stressful event.

In my presentations to college and universities students in particular, this question always comes up. At one session there was a recruiter present from a local bank. She told the students that the people who stood out for her were the ones who took the time and made the effort to write a thank you note following the session. She even went so far as to say that she saves the notes she receives.

Key points to keep in mind when sending a handwritten note:

  1. Your handwriting does not matter. You want it to be as legible as possible, but don’t use poor penmanship as an excuse not to write.
  2. Use a quality fold-over note or correspondence card. This is no time to skimp on cost.
  3. Address the envelope and put the stamp on it before the interview. That way, when it is over, you return to your desk, write the note, slip it into the envelope and head for the nearest mail box.
  4. Your thank you note serves as a “sales” letter as well. Use the opportunity to say why you want the job, what your qualifications are, and how you would contribute to the company. Your thank you note is also an opportunity to address anything you overlooked or needs clarification after the interview.

Handwritten thank you notes make a really good impression, but if time is of the essence, send a follow up thank you by email. The Internet is definitely faster than the postal service. The next step is to write a note as well. It may seem redundant, but the paper note will have a longer shelf life than your email and keep you top of mind with the interviewer.

The handwritten note is one of a vanishing species. Very few people think it is important and therefore they do not send one. You will stand out from the crowd and your professional conduct will not go unnoticed when you write your thank you. Your education, skills, experience and expertise are documented on your resume. Your interpersonal skills are evidenced by your personally written thank you.

Good luck to those job seekers!

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Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

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2 thoughts on “After the Job Interview-A Handwritten Thank You or Not

  1. John Murn

    Lydia,
    I was surprised by the “thank you note” advice after an interview. I’ve done a lot of recruiting over many years. The odd occasions I’ve received a follow up note after an interview have been from candidates who are pushing quite hard and have already presented their case more than adequately. My response has either been neutral or a little negative – feeling the person is on my back.
    It could be a cultural difference in Australia but I would advise candidates to definitely thank the interviewer(s) verbally at the conclusion of the interview but to be cautious about sending follow up material unless it has been requested.
    I do look upon enquiries and research done about the organisation and the role etc prior to interview as showing real interest and a positive, likewise for a well prepared application.
    Kind regards,
    John Murn.

    Reply
    1. Lydia Ramsey Post author

      John, thank you for taking the time to share your perspective. I agree that the note should not come across as overly aggressive. Many of the recruiters with whom I have spoken do appreciate that short note of gratitude and say that it makes the candidiate stand out positively for them. It seems to come down to knowing the culture and the interviewer.

      Reply

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