Students, graduates and Alumni often ask me if it’s necessary to send a thank you after an interview. I usually respond with something like, “only if you want the job”. Sounds flippant I know, but it’s the truth. If you want to be in the top 1% of applicants, you need to send a thank you follow up letter. Other people will be sending a thank you letter, so your students should as well. In addition, I have been in the room when the decision to hire came down to a handful of candidates and the job eventually went to the person that sent a thank you letter to all members of the interviewing team.
It is easy to tell a student that they should send a thank you follow up, but how do you teach them how to do so? It starts at the end of the interview. Advise your students that once the interview is over; they should get up, shake hands and thank the people in the room for their time. Then they should find a nice quiet place where they can make the following three notes:
The names of the people in the room: We advise students to get business cards whenever possible, however, more and more interviewers are refusing to hand business cards at the interview. If the candidate is lucky, they’ll be given business card. If they do not, the candidate will need to write the names down as fast as possible, because within 20 minutes those names will be gone from memory forever.
The general themes of the interview: Advise your students that they should be mindful of the general themes of the interview. Did the interviewers ask questions about leadership or communication of maybe time management? All interviews have themes, try to get the top three that come to mind.
The answer to the questions that you nailed for sure: Make sure to get the basic idea behind the answer that the candidate is confident that they answered correctly.
Once an interviewee has this information they can then write a thank you note. Please remember that follow up emails or letters should be sent within 24-48 hours. Keep it short! Remember that people are busy and we do not want our students to become one of the things that someone has to deal with. The letter should be about 4-6 lines and look something like this:
Dear so and so.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me [Give them a date and time. Remember they interviewed more than one candidate] I found our conversation about [one of the main themes] at your organization to be very informative. I look forward to bringing my ability for [the answer the candidate nailed] to task as the [job title] with [company name].
If there is anything I might do to be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Short, sweet and to the point. Follow these steps when coaching students, grad or alumni and their thank you notes will be professional and well received