Post-interview thank-you notes: You should be sending them! Not because you need to thank anyone, really, but because they’re a chance to build on the conversation you had in the interview and solidify the (hopefully positive) impression you made.
Too often, though, people treat thank-you notes as a perfunctory duty. They’ve heard they’re supposed to send one, so they send something that’s literally … just a thank-you. Usually it’s something like this:
Thank you for your time in meeting with me yesterday to discuss the X position. I’m very interested in the role and look forward to hearing about next steps.
That type of note doesn’t do anything for you! Post-interview notes (which is what we really should call them instead of thank-you’s) should be personalized and should build on the conversation that you had in the interview.
A reader recently sent me a real-life thank-you she’d sent and offered to let me share it here. Here’s the background:
I had a phone screen last December with the hiring manager for a job and despite preparing out the wazoo for the call (seriously — I had a spreadsheet), the questions went in a different direction than I was expecting, and I hung up and thought, “Sh*t. I just blew it. The hiring manager was literally asking about things that I have a lot of experience with and am recognized within my company as being particularly skilled at, WHY didn’t I mention all those concrete examples?”
Then I thought about your advice that a thank-you email continues the conversation, and I figured I had nothing to lose, so I wrote a thank-you/follow-up email where I addressed the brain fart I’d had while on the call. It made me feel really crazy to write that third paragraph, it felt so far off the normal track of thank-yous — admitting that I’d screwed up in the call. But I was brought in for an in-person interview (and then two more, oof) and I ended up getting the job. And I love it! I work with fantastic people and it’s an incredible professional opportunity.
Before we go to the note, some caveats:
• The writer has allowed me to share this here as a favor to me and to readers. Please remember she’s a real person when you’re commenting.
• This writer’s voice is her voice. It will not be your voice, and that’s part of the point.
• There is no single communication that all hiring managers will love or that would be the right fit for every employer and every industry. This one worked for her context.
• Do not steal this note or even parts of it. It works because it’s so customized to the writer. It’s intended for inspiration only — to show what the advice here can look like in practice.
Here’s the note, with identifying details replaced.
• • • • •
Thank you so much for your time on the phone today. It was super interesting to hear where the Galactica is headed. Based on our conversation, it sounds like you’ve currently got strong fundamentals in place for the paid search program, but at this point in the company’s lifecycle, you need to improve the ROI of the paid search program while continuing to scale up acquisition.
If that is an accurate assessment, it’s a big job. But it does sound like there are some potential opportunities to improve efficiency. We touched on some of them in our conversation: fighting model, improved cross-channel learnings and incorporating what sounds like a recently improved understanding of both LTV and CPA into the paid search cost/benefit analysis. These are all areas where I have experience, and I would love to dive into it (bringing along the rest of the team, of course).
I understand where you are coming from re: an agency mindset which can lead to a too-narrow focus on one channel. Naturally, as soon as we got off the phone, a concrete example of collaboration occurred to me: Caprica has recently merged with Picon (a programmatic company) under the umbrella of Kobal Performance. I’m currently leading the Caprica end of a Caprica-Picon new product development initiative, which would use Picon’s proprietary AI and find a way to apply it to a paid search pain point – and then go to market with it. This means I need to understand how the Picon tool works as well as get the fundamentals of paid search across to the folks on the Picon end, and then work collaboratively to determine what’s feasible.
If this makes sense, there are a couple of people within Caprica (who have previously managed me, but do not currently do so) who would be happy to talk to you about my working style and management style, to fill in any additional details.
I would be thrilled to have the chance to come in and meet with you and the team to see how I might be able to help get the Galactica to the next level. In any case, best of luck with filling the role!
here’s an example of a great interview thank-you note was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.