Post-interview: The Power of Thank-You Letters and Follow-up Calls  
8/20/2008 2:59:31 PM

HCareers -- The Thank-You Note

It's no secret that the art of thank you notes has experienced a revival in popularity. Thank you letters express a sincere appreciation for the interviewer's time, and can jog an interviewer's memory at a crucial point in time. The whole name of the game is courtesy and friendliness in the hospitality field. Receiving a thank you letter from a prospective employee would show the employer the applicant has those qualities, plus a thank you note or letter would clearly stand out in a prospective employer's mind.

The note should state the company's name, contact's name, and address of the hotel. In addition to including the correct contact information, a thank you letter should be professional in tone, make specific reference to the interview and topics discussed, and kept short. The applicant will want to avoid a long- winded recap of the interview. A simple sentence such as "I enjoyed our conversation about the new trend in fusion cuisine." would be perfectly acceptable.

The thank you letter could also be used to clear up any miscommunication. For example, writing, "To be perfectly clear, working weekends will not be a problem for me. I was concerned I may have given the wrong impression at our meeting." is more appropriate than a stammered phone conversation. Any additional information would be to again thank the person for their time and assure them the job seeker will be in touch.

Barbara Pachter is author of "When the Little Things Count... And They Always Count: 601 Essential Things That Everyone in Business Needs To Know" - Barbara says, "Most people don't exactly reject the concept of thank you notes. They simply were never taught the importance of them." An employer in the foodservice industry is always looking for potential employees who consistently go the extra mile. A thank you letter is an excellent way to stay ahead of the other applicants.

Now that the proper format for the thank you letter is in place, it is time to look at timing. The best time for the hospitality applicant to send a thank you letter is within a day of the interview. There isn't anything wrong with an email either. It is up to the individual which method works better for them and the perception they wish to give. The job seeker wants to stay in front of the interviewer's mind and keeping their name and qualifications fresh is what a thank you letter does best. "You want to stay on their radar screen and out of the garbage can," is the way Bob Rosner (author of "Working Wounded: Advice that Adds Insight to Injury) puts it.

The Follow-Up Call

After the resort hopeful has been through the interview and sent a glowing thank you letter, the next step is the follow up call. The follow up call should take place about one week after the initial interview. One key element to remember is to call during appropriate times. If the job seeker has applied in a restaurant, it is crucial to not call the manager during lunch or dinner rush. Doing so says the applicant has no idea of the proper etiquette in this situation and no respect for the manager's time. Typically, if the job seeker has applied for a position higher up in the hospitality company normal business hours should be fine. The follow up phone call should be professional, straightforward, and quick. People in the hotel business often don't have a lot of time to talk. The applicant would be smart to remember that and limit the call to again expressing their interest in the job; clearing up any details they feel may have been overlooked in the interview, and most importantly, thanking the person for their time.

In a world dominated by customer service, courtesy, and good manner, a thank you letter and proper follow up phone call is bound to put the successful applicant at the top of the list. These steps are imperative to creating an outstanding impression. "Once people realize how crucial it is, they do it," Barbara Pachter states. You are more likely to get it right by going that little step further to create a lasting impression, than to get it wrong.