Thanking someone after a job interview is a critical step that too many candidates get wrong. We asked our recruiters and colleagues to share with us their most memorable “thanks,” and a few bubbled up to the surface for all the wrong reasons.
“A marketing agency I once worked at received a coconut in the mail after interviewing a candidate from Hawaii. The coconut had a note written on it that said something like, ‘I’m nuts about working for you,’” one colleague shared with us. Cute idea? Sure. But then it backfired. “The coconut somehow cracked during shipment and rotted, which led to quite the surprise when they opened the package. The stench stayed in the office for weeks.”
And then there were job candidates whose grand gestures left a lasting impression before they even left the premises.
“I escorted the job candidate out of the building and thanked him for coming in. He bowed at the waist, as far down as he could go, and said, ‘The pleasure was all mine.’ Then he tried to reach through the closing metal doors to grab me,” recalled another colleague.
And this from an attorney: “My recruiter was told how beautiful she was and, regardless of the interview outcome, he’d like to have a date to see if there were sparks. Spoiler: He didn’t get the job.”
How can you avoid making one of these big mistakes? Keep it simple, says The HT Group Director of Staffing Services Claire Reese. Impress interviewers with your remarkable interview skills and keep your gratitude more traditional. “Shock and awe” can go wrong in all too many ways.
“A hand-written note is still the best way to thank someone for an interview,” she advises. “A great tip is to have a blank note ready and addressed before the interview so that you can complete it in the car and drop it in the mail right after the interview. That way it will get to them quickly, usually in the next day or two. It’s a terrific way to keep your name in front of the hiring manager and remind them of the extra mile you will go if they hire you. In our digital world, an email works as well, but I find someone getting a piece of physical mail makes the most impact.”
Be sure to include in the note some highlights from your interview you’d like to reinforce. Did you forget to bring something up in the interview that you feel is relevant? Find a way to slip it in. For inspiration on a simple thank-you note that checks all the boxes, take a look at these examples from The Balance.
Don’t forget to thank your recruiter, too. After all, it’s the recruiter who will keep you in mind for other jobs, even if your first few opportunities fall through. “The worst thing to do is not to give thanks at all. To go without acknowledging the help you received is the best way to ensure you don’t get help again,” Reese says.
Is it OK to go a little over the top with your thanks? Reese says yes if it’s appropriate for the situation and especially if it’s for an individual or team who has gone above and beyond for you. “We once had Tiff’s Treats sent to our office with a little note of thanks. We loved it!”
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