Surveys find job candidates are killing their chances by skipping this crucial step

If you don’t send a thank-you note (by which I mean “message” or “email”) after the interview you’re seriously hurting your chances of getting the job. But it looks like a majority of job seekers don’t bother to send them.

What gives?

It’s not like the importance of follow up is news. Surveys repeatedly show that post-interview follow up is crucial to landing the position. And yet, here we are. Now, two new surveys (released to coincide with American Thanksgiving) confirm what career experts have been saying for ages.

In one, TopResume, a resume writing service, asked 358 recruiters and hiring managers, “After interviewing a candidate, does receiving a thank-you email/note impact your decision-making process?” and a large majority (68%) confirmed that it does. Furthermore, 16%, said that not receiving one would lead to dismissing the candidate entirely.

In the other, conducted by Accountemps, HR managers were asked: “When it comes to making a hiring decision, how helpful is it when a promising job candidate sends you a thank-you message following his or her job interview?” Their responses were as follows:

  • Very helpful 2%
  • Somewhat helpful 40%
  • Not very helpful 17%
  • Not helpful at all 38%
  • Don’t know 2%

So, this one is a little different, but let’s break it down. Fifty-seven per cent of respondents here said that the note actually isn’t very helpful or not helpful at all. But 42% still said the thank-you note was somewhat-to-very helpful, and none of this means that sending a thank-you note is going to hurt your chances. And frankly, if it does, I mean, if someone receives a polite note of gratitude and decides as a result not to hire you, then you probably don’t want to work for that person. Just my two cents.

Anyway, both surveys also found that a significant number of candidates still don’t send thank-you messages after the interview.

TopResume found that a third (31%) of professionals did not send a thank-you message after every interview and that 7% of job seekers never send thank-you messages after an interview. And Accountemps found that only 28% of hiring managers reported having received a thank-you message.

Meanwhile, a survey I conducted myself a few years ago found that 46% of respondents never send a thank-you message after an interview. So, we can figure the percent of people who don’t send them is somewhere between 31% and 78%.

This seems strange to me. Sending a thank-you message is one of the easiest ways to potentially boost your chances of getting hired. It takes almost no time, it makes you look polite and conscientious, and it sets you apart from the other candidates who don’t send one. All good things.

It’s so easy! Look, here’s a template for you:

Dear [Hiring Manager]

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I enjoyed speaking with you and learning more about your company and the position.

I believe that I would excel in this job and am eager to continue with the application process. Please let me know if there is any more information you need from me. I hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you again, and have a great day,

Candidate

You should switch out the generics and add in the actual company name, etc. And maybe mention something you enjoyed about the interview or learned from it. You can also take the opportunity to highlight why you think you’d be a great fit for the role. But keep it short.

If nothing else, at least say “thank you” and reiterate your interest. And do it the same day or within 24 hours.

For more about following up after the interview read How to follow up after a job interview.

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