The After-Interview Thank You Letter

People have been writing follow up thank you letters or notes after an interview forever.  Is it really necessary?  Does it have any impact at all on the hiring decision? 

A thank you letter can help tip the scales in your favor and get you a second interview or even an offer.  It can also have a negative impact and cause a manager to decide against moving the process forward.  A poorly written letter or one with spelling or grammatical errors will in all probability ensure you a spot in the “Reject” pile.  But what can you do to help your chances through a thank you letter.

An effective thank you letter should reiterate your interest in the position and thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you.  However, to make your candidacy stand out it is helpful to reference an aspect of your interview or discussion that you had that you found especially interesting.   For example, if you discussed a specific project that the employer is working on, a technology they are using or a new approach they may be taking, mention that conversation in the thank you letter and the fact that you enjoyed it for whatever reason.  If you found an article regarding something you discussed during the interview, attach it to the thank you letter and point out that the interviewer may find this information interesting based on your conversation.  Just as a thoughtful, well-prepared candidate positively impacts an employer, so too a thoughtful letter makes a positive impression.  Your letter should stand out (in a professional and good way) so that you stand out as a candidate.

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