04/11/2018 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

The Write Stuff: Thank You Notes for All Situations

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With the hiring season winding down and our final hiring conference of 2018 behind us, now is a busy time of year for job-seekers. Schools are filling positions as quickly as they’re listing them, and many candidates find themselves interviewing on the phone, via Skype, and on campus.

By now, it should be clear that writing thank you notes is an automatic next step after you’ve had an interview. But with so many different media used to connect, how do you know what type of note is appropriate for each situation?

There’s a lot of value in hand-written thank you notes, both professionally and for a writer’s personal happiness. At CS&A, we love the personal, thoughtful nature of a handwritten note, and we encourage candidates to invest in some stationery or thank you cards to send to schools. We also understand, however, the expedient value of an electronic note of gratitude—and we realize that, in certain circumstances, email might be the preferred route to take when thanking a hiring contact. Here’s a guide to thanking interviewers for the various situations in which you might find yourself.

CS&A Conference Interview

If you had an interview at our hiring event in D.C. last Friday, you should make sure to send a thank you note ASAP. Remove the conversation from the conference message center in the online module, and send an email or a handwritten note (if you can guarantee its quick arrival) to the hiring contact or contacts with whom you met. Make sure to refer back to the conversation you had, reinforcing your specific excitement and alluding to any next steps your interviewer may have mentioned. That being said, we might recommend an email to ensure quick delivery and knowing the speed a lot of schools are moving at this time of year.

Phone or Skype Interview

If you speak to a school contact on the phone or via Skype, the question might arise: is it really necessary to send a thank you note? The short answer: yes. In this case, a handwritten note isn’t really necessary; an email, however, is. You should aim to send a thank you note on the same day of your phone interview—not within minutes of hanging up the phone, but after a few hours so you can reintroduce yourself to the contact and demonstrate that the conversation has been on your mind. Refer back to the conversation and express your interest in learning more. Leave the conversation open—your end goal, after all, is to meet any contacts at a more formal interview on campus.

If you meet contacts virtually via Skype or a video conference, be sure to send notes to everyone with whom you spoke. If you spoke to people individually, send separate emails to each person. If you spoke to two or three people all at once as part of a video conference, it’s okay to send one email to multiple recipients.

On-Campus Interview

If you meet with anyone on campus, it’s essential to send thoughtful, personal notes as soon as possible. This is a good time for a handwritten note; if you’re traveling out-of-state to visit a particular school, consider bringing stationery and postage with you and writing your notes from your hotel room before you depart. You should send a separate note to each person with whom you meet—and make sure that each note is tailored to that particular person. Include specific details from you conversations, and always reinforce your interest and your sense of “fit” at the school. Thank the interviewer for his or her time, acknowledging the time he or she took to meet with you. Write these notes when the interview is fresh in your mind and capitalize on the excitement you feel.

 

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