Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Common Considerations When Sending Your Interview Follow-up Letter

One of the most commonly cited causes of stress in the interviewing process is the feeling of a lack of control. Once you have finished your interview - no matter how well it went - the next few days (or weeks in some cases) are the hardest of all. While you can't control the candidate pool and you can't control the hiring manager's decision making process, you can exercise some control over how you are perceived.

The statistics vary regarding how many job seekers send these letters, the numbers range from 1 in 50 to 1 in 300. No matter the numbers, the post-interview follow-up letter is an often-overlooked tool that can be used to stand out from the crowd. Sending a follow-up thank you note goes beyond common courtesy and manners. This letter conveys your interest, further establishes a very important communication link, and allows you to address any unspoken information.

Should You Always Send a Letter?
The short answer is yes, after every interview. However, there will be interviews in which you decide you are not really interested in the job for a number of reasons - job duties, environment, company culture, or the boss just to name a few. However, you should still send a note thanking the interviewer for their time. Build bridges and expand your network - even when you are no longer seeking the position.

When Should You Send the Letter?
Ideally, the letter should be on its way within 24 hours. The bottom line is that you do not know how or when they are officially making their decision. You want your thank you letter to be in the decision makers hands as soon as possible.

How Should You Send the Letter?

If you are an effective written communicator and you have legible handwriting, consider keeping thank you cards in the car. Write your thank you right after the interview, walk it back in, and leave it with the receptionist. However, sending your letter by email is perfectly acceptable. Remember to avoid all CAPS, check for spelling and grammatical errors, and look at your email signature and account name before sending your letter via email.

What Should be Included in the Letter?
The letter should be concise and straightforward, though there are some content requirements.

  • Sincerely thank the interviewer for their time. 
  • Demonstrate that you researched the company and have really thought about how you can help them fill their need or resolve their problem. 
  • Remind the interviewer of what you feel was your key selling point in the interview. 
  • Connect the letter with your interview by adding something personal (love of cats, sports teams, etc.) that helped you establish rapport with the interviewer.
  • Clearly state your interest in the position and provide your value statement of what makes you cost-effective. 
  • Offer a timeline of when you will follow up with them the next time.

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