Stumbled across this BNET article about what What Hiring Managers Really Look For. Sure, there are lots of points made in the article I agree with, a few things I could probably argue against, but overall a decent read. The author writes from his personal experience, and I have no doubt this worked for him. What really surprised me was one of the comments about the almighty interview thank you. Yes, this is a direct quote -“A thank you card? Please. Only if you just interviewed with your mother.”
Who knew? I must be an absolute exception to this new rule because I have been told as a candidate my thank you card to my interviewer sealed the deal – more than once. In fact, my current boss actually had hers in hand when she came to the lobby to deliver me to her boss for my 2nd interview the next day. She wanted to tell me how much she appreciated the personal touch. Maybe I’m just old school but I believe a hand written note, personalized to the interviewer, can make a positive impact. I’m not talking about the “one size fits all thank you for your time” tired old line. If not that, though – what?
Targeted to the audience. Have we not made this clear? Target your cover letter. Target your resume. And for the love of Pete, target your thank you letter! Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two about your interviewer in the 45 minutes you spent together. Mention it! I once made reference to Scottsdale, AZ after interviewing with someone who visited every year for the Barrett-Jackson auto show. One of my job seekers referenced the new starting pitcher on the favorite baseball team he and the hiring manager shared. Keep it clean, but make it personal. You might even go hog wild and mention a point or two about what in your background makes you a fit for the actual job.
Know your audience. Seems like we’ve covered this, but think about delivery. I like hand written thank you notes. In fact, in 10+ years of recruiting I’ve kept every one I’ve received. Less than 20, I’m sad to say… what I don’t have, though, are the thank you e-mails. Because I don’t care about them. Maybe your interviewer was different. Especially in this age of smart phones, maybe they prefer an e-mail. Once I got really creative and sent a free Hallmark e-card that was sponsored by one of this agency’s best customers (who I would be recruiting for). Hiring manager loved it and told me so. Tweet them if you think that will catch their interest. Just do SOMETHING.
Show your interest. We see this all the time with applications. I’ll call a candidate who actually went through our ATS and 24 hours later they have no idea why I’m calling. But it’s different in an interview! Of course you want the job! Right….? Just looking at my corporate experience filling nearly 30 positions in the last 90 days I can tell you the candidates who followed up - with at least a thank you e-mail - are the ones who were ultimately offered a position.
If nothing else, remember what your Mother taught you. JUST SAY THANK YOU. It’s polite.