5 Perfect Opportunities to Send a Thank You Note During Your Job Search

Published: Feb 19, 2015

7 Job Search Sins
February 19, 2015
Five times to send a thank-you note during the job search.
By Bob McIntosh, Career Coach

During football season, my son and I were treated to tickets to a New England Patriots versus Green Bay Packers game in majestic Lambeau Stadium. The benefactor of these tickets was my brother’s father-in-law. Needless to say my son and I had a great time attending the game and standing very close to rabid football fans in zero degree temperature weather.

I mention this not to brag about seeing two great teams play. I mention this to admit that I haven’t yet thanked my brother’s father- in-law for the tickets. I’ve never been good at sending thank you cards or emails for gifts received; however, I am considerate to those in my professional life.

Sending a thank you note after a face to face interview is a no brainer. But sending emails or an old-fashioned thank you card, or even a gift card from Starbucks are important at other instances during your job search.

When are the times you should send words of thanks in one form or another? Here are five when you should definitely send a unique thank you note during your job search.

1. After a telephone interview.
Many people don’t think about thanking a recruiter for the initial interview. Perhaps it’s because he or she doesn’t make the final decision. But if you think about the reasons for thanking the recruiter, it makes a lot of sense. Without him or her, you probably wouldn’t know about the opportunity. Through developing an extensive network of employers (his or her bosses), he or she does a great deal of legwork for you.

Another reason to thank the recruiter is because he or she may be a valuable addition to your network. In your job search, your network is your most valuable asset, so treat it appropriately. Other people in your network to thank will be discussed below.

One bit of advice is to wait until after the face-to-face interview if one is in the cards. Instead, prepare for the upcoming interview. There is a lot of research you’ll have to do on the position and company, so focus on that; the thank you note can wait.

2. After the face-to-face interview.
It surprises me how many candidates don’t send a unique thank you email or card to those who interview them. I always tell my customers that the interview isn’t complete until they send the thank you note/s. Those guilty of not sending a thank you note assume once they’ve shaken the interviewers’ hands, that’s it.

Your thank you notes are not only meant to show professionalism and your gratitude for the valuable time the interviewers spent interviewing you. There’s much more your thank you notes can include, such as remarks about interesting points made during the interview. This is also an opportunity to elaborate on any answers that need more explanation. And, of course, this is your opportunity to reiterate why you are the person for the job.

3. After a networking meeting.
If you’ve ever granted a networking meeting (also known as an informational interview), you know how time consuming they can be. You’re providing valuable information or advice to someone who needs to learn about a position and the company for which you work.

Now you understand why this person deserves thanks for his or her time. You have also gained a potential, valuable contact for your network. Treat this person like gold. In your thank you note, provide him or her with information that would be valuable to them, perhaps an article or two about their industry. As well, reciprocate by offering him or her some contacts who might be of value.

4. After a successful interview.
Once you’ve gotten over the elation of landing your new job, send thank you notes to everyone involved. I mean everyone. Start with the person who mentioned the position when you were standing side-by-side on the soccer field. Or, your social media connection who introduced you to your future boss. Or. your neighbor who handed your resume to the hiring manager in the marketing department.

One of my former customers rewarded me with a gift certificate to the The Cheese Cake Factory. I previously joked with him that when he lands his next job, he owes me a cheese cake...not a meal for two. I will always appreciate his generous gift and help him in his future endeavors. The message here is that any type of thanks will earn you the loyalty of people who can offer you future assistance.

5. After an unsuccessful interview.
Do I hear a long pause? Yes it hurts to be turned down for a job for which you’re qualified. But, consider that the position came down to you and another candidate and that the employer probably wished they could hire both of you. If you were to burn a bridge by expressing your displeasure, your opportunity to work for the company in the future would be ruined.

The best approach here is to send thanks and mention in your note that if they need your services in the future, you’re at the ready. In some cases, the person who they go with either leaves on his or her own volition or is forced to leave. Being their second choice, you may get a call from them in the future. As well, more than a few people haven’t worked out.

Note to the above paragraph: One hiring manager who is now trying to fill a position is seriously considering the runner-up of a previously filled position she filled. She said she may not even consider others for said position.

I finally got around to thanking my brother’s father-in-law for the Patriots/Packers game. It was long overdue, but I’m hoping he’ll see it as an oversight. In the business world, there is less understanding, believe me. Don’t be remiss in sending your follow-up thank you note.

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