Sending a thank you letter is as important as interview preparation. But they’re tough to write, so people either tell themselves that not sending one doesn’t matter, or they procrastinate until it’s too late and almost pointless anyway. But anyone who tells themselves that foregoing a fundamental rule of etiquette doesn’t matter, not only taints themselves in the mind of the interviewer, but misses two additional opportunities to sell.
A thank you letter is an additional sales piece. As I’ve said before, you’re selling a product and the product is you. So beyond the reason of etiquette, the letter sells you as a polite person who recognizes that the interviewer gave them something valuable: time and consideration.
A fundamental rule of sales is to keep the product in front of the buyer and reinforce its benefits. So beyond the etiquette, the letter gives you ample space to comment on what you liked about the company, why your skills are of benefit to them, and how much you’re interested. If something wasn’t tied up, or was left unsatisfactorily, you should use the space to further address the issue.
When you miss the opportunity to reinforce your skills and tie them to the job requirements, you miss a chance to sell. When you fail to address a concern or answer a question and leave it to fester in the mind of the interviewer, you’ve failed to overcome an objection. And if a buyer has an objection to the product, if it isn’t addressed, the likelihood of the sale is slim.
The third opportunity missed by skipping the thank you letter is the chance to keep your name in front of the buyer. Read newspapers? Watch TV? See the same ads over and over and over again? It’s somewhat the same principle – if you keep your name in front of the hiring authority, they’re more likely to remember you.
Thank you letters are one of the reasons it’s important to take notes during an interview. Not only does it show good attention to detail, it saves you from having to scrunch your face up trying to remember some of the information you learned about the company and position during the interview. Because if you met with three separate people during one visit to the company, that’s three thank you letters….three different thank you letters.
So let’s look at how to create one of these so that it becomes a less odious task.
If you really want the job, the letter will be easy to write because it will contain genuine impressions and sentiments. If you choose to skip the letter, perhaps you don’t care if you’re hired or not. But make that decision yours and withdraw from the process instead of letting the decision be made for you.