This Simple Post-Interview Move Could Help You Stand Out From the Crowd

A person writes a thank you note after going on a job interview.
Janice Richard/Getty Images

Do you write thank you notes after a job interview? If not, you could be hurting your chance to get hired.

A recent survey of human resources managers by staffing agency Robert Half found that 80% take post-interview thank you notes into account when deciding who to hire.

Yet only 24% of job applicants send a thank you note after their interview.

The notion of thank you notes may seem hopelessly antiquated, but clearly they still matter.

“A lot of people make the mistake in thinking that their interview ends when they walk out the hiring manager’s door. It doesn’t. Think of your thank you note as the last step in your interview,” says Loren Margolis, CEO of Training & Leadership Success, a global consulting firm that specializes in executive coaching and leadership development.

“By not sending one, it’s like fumbling the ball on the 10-yard line. Most hiring managers pay very close attention to how well (and how rapidly) you write a thank you. I did when I was a recruiter and I still do as a hiring manager.”

Margolis says thank you notes “demonstrate your follow-through, your level of graciousness and, importantly, how you are qualified for the open position.”

Post-interview thank you notes also:

  • Provide an opportunity to correct any mistakes that occurred during the interview
  • Give you a chance to mention anything you forgot to say during the interview
  • Shows your respect and appreciation for the hiring manager’s time

How to Write a Post-Interview Thank You Note

Writing a thank you note may seem daunting but don’t let fear hold you back.

Margolis says a great thank you note has three key components.

1. A Recap of Your Interview

“Reiterate, in broad strokes, the top two or three topics you discussed in your interview that caught your eye,” recommends Margolis.

Be sure to also comment on what you learned about the company during your interview to show that you were paying attention.

2. A Reminder of Your Value as an Employee

Margolis says thank you notes are “your final opportunity in that round of interviews to sell yourself! Expound upon the top two or three skills and/or strengths you bring to the position.”

Don’t worry, you aren’t bragging. After all, your skills and strengths are what landed you the interview!

3. Sincere Enthusiasm

“Immediately after your interview, write down the things that excite you the most about the position, team and company,” says Margolis. “Doing so will enable you to sincerely show your enthusiasm in your thank you note.”

A thoughtful, well-written thank you note can move you to the head of the candidate line and may even land you a job.

“When I was interviewing candidates for an opening in my department, I received a snail mail thank you that included a recipe for brownies from one of the candidates,” recalls Margolis.

“Since it was around Thanksgiving time, she and I talked about what desserts we were serving as she was walking out. The handwritten snail mail was a personalized, lovely touch and the recipe deepened our rapport and certainly made me remember her! I hired her after two more rounds of interviews. Her memorable thank you helped her seal the deal in making it onto round two!”

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s ashamed to admit she didn’t write a thank you note after interviewing for this job. She probably owes human resources a pizza.