03/21/2013 by Elizabeth Flynn | Conferences, Landing the Job
To Thank or Not To Thank
There are many ways to thank someone: a note, a phone call, a surprise bouquet of flowers. But when it comes to a job search, the question of how to properly thank your interviewers gets a bit more complicated.
There are certainly different schools of thought and different preferences from person to person, but the bottom line is: you should always thank someone for meeting with you. Below are a few scenarios that job seekers may encounter.
Should I send a thank you note after meeting someone at a CS&A hiring conference?
Conference interviews occur in half-hour time slots, so you might think they don’t necessitate a thank you note. However, a thank you is especially important in this scenario. The contacts treat these meetings as actual job interviews, and thus it’s important to acknowledge the time they took to talk to you. The most important thing to remember? You should either email them or mail them a hand-written letter, rather than send a message through the online conference module. It is unlikely that the contact will be checking this system post-conference and may miss the note.
What if I met with more than one person?
Often, especially if you are visiting a school’s campus, you will meet with several people during an interview day. In this case, you should send a thank you to each person—and, moreover, each note should be slightly different and tailored to that specific individual. Try to remember a specific topic you discussed, or address something about that person’s role in the school, or something about the school that excited you. It’s also important to write down or mentally note the name of each person! If you aren’t sure, check the school’s website to ensure correct spelling, etc. These seemingly small details are very important; after all, you are meeting with teachers–proofreading is critical!
Hand-written or email?
This is a frequently asked question. There is no wrong answer here; while hand-written notes offer a uniquely personal touch, email has the benefit of a speedy delivery. The most important thing is that you do one or the other. People have different ideas of which is better, but a thank you is a thank you, whether it’s on the back of a mail truck or hurtling through cyberspace. The point is that you make the effort to acknowledge the person’s time and consideration.
If you do elect to go “old-school” and hand-write a note (which some more traditional hiring contacts will certainly appreciate), make sure you send it immediately. Sit down with a pen and some stationery when you get home from the interview, and postmark those cards for that same or the following day. Don’t let mail delays delay your job search.
What should the letter say?
While the main purpose of the note is to express your gratitude, a thank you note to a school should also reiterate your interest in the position and highlight the aspects of the school you find appealing and exciting. Showing the person that you were listening to and retaining the information you gained during your meeting will demonstrate your sincere appreciation of the interview process—and your continued excitement about the job opportunity.
How soon should I send the note?
There is definitely a window of time in which sending a thank you note is appropriate. If at all possible, try to get the email out or the note in the mail within 24-48 hours of your meeting. A note that gets to the school a week after you met with them does not pack the same punch as one that arrives a few days after. If you are on the road visiting multiple schools, it’s not a bad idea to bring stationery and stamps and write your letters as you travel. Again, you want to show the school that you are grateful for the opportunity to meet with them and show them that you are excited about the prospect of joining their community.