While a job interview itself is important, what a candidate does once it's over can be equally critical, new research shows.
A survey from online job-matching service TheLadders found that more than 75 percent of interviewers say receiving a thank-you note impacts their decision-making process. Despite that, 10 percent of job seekers rarely, or never, send thank-you notes, and 21 percent only send them sometimes.
"Many job seekers believe that the interview is over once they step out of the office, but that's simply not the case," said Amanda Augustine, job search expert for TheLadders. "I can attest firsthand that failure to follow up can be the deciding factor in rejecting a candidate who is otherwise a great fit."
Augustine offers job candidates several tips to ensure their thank-you notes make an impact on their recipients, including:
- Stand out in the crowd: By sending a thank-you message after each interview, job seekers differentiate themselves from other candidates and can help advance their candidacy to the next round. Use this communication as a tool to address any objections expressed by interviewers and demonstrate qualifications for the job.
- Make it personal: Tailor each communication by focusing on the most significant points raised during each interview. Don't be afraid to mention any little details learned about the interviewer, such as a shared passion or an upcoming trip — this demonstrates an attention to detail and makes the message more memorable.
- Timing matters: In this mobile age where the expectation of immediacy is higher than ever, it's imperative to send thank-you notes within 24 hours of every interview. Make sure to collect business cards or write down the proper spelling of the interviewers' names and email addresses during the interview process to ensure follow-up in a timely manner.
- Culture counts: It's important to consider the individual and the company culture before sending out messages. A more traditional organization may prefer a handwritten letter, while a technology startup may expect an email sent immediately.
- Show interest: In a highly competitive job market, every detail counts. Choosing not to send a thank-you note increases the risk of being perceived as lazy, ungrateful or disinterested.
The research was based on surveys of 500 job candidates and hiring managers from companies in a range of industries, including construction, education, engineering, finance, human resources, law, marketing, medical/science, operations, real estate, sales and technology.