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1. Dear Ms. Modern Manners,
I’m a college student, and I just finished a job interview. But what do I do now? When is the best time to send a thank you note and why?
Sincerely, Confounded Graduate
Dear Oriented Graduate,
The best time to send a thank-you note is within 6 – 24 hours after the interview. Period. Here’s why: Think of a time when you did a big favor, something really nice for someone, maybe gave them a luxury gift or covered for them in a major way. A few weeks pass by, no joy. You wonder, are they ever going to thank me? How does this make you feel? Well, hiring managers are no different. However, the timeline for them to make a decision on the position is super-short, so this makes the timeline of an interview thank you note that much more important. Say you take the time to craft a beautifully hand-written note. It’s all for naught when they respond, “We filled that position 5 days ago.” Make sense?
2. Dear Ms. Modern Manners,
I’m an Undergraduate, and I’ve finished an interview with a prospective business. However, it was over the phone. A thank-you note is important, but will a thank you note differ for a phone interview vs. an in-person interview?
Sincerely, Looking-for-a-job Undergrad
Dear Soon-to-be-hired Undergrad,
Yes, absolutely! A thank you note will differ dramatically between a phone interview and an in-person interview. Phone interviews occur without body language, unless it is a SKYPE call. Compare this to an in-person interview, where the interviewer, team dynamics and office setting are all observable and may be mentioned in the note. A note for an in-person interview is worded differently, highlighting your personal observations of the office culture and the team. In contrast, a thank-you note for a phone interview, emphasizes the auditory aspects of the conversation.
3. Dear Ms. Modern Manners,
I’m currently unemployed, though I just completed my Bachelor’s Degree. I’ve finished an interview with one very interesting company. I have a thank-you note draft done, do you think it’d be a good idea to send a thank-you note to an external recruiter since she’s the one who scheduled the interview in the first place?
Sincerely, Hesitant Interviewee
Dear, Confident Interviewee,
Again, yes. It’s an excellent idea to send a separate thank-you note because the external recruiter is your advocate and does their best to present you favorably. In your case, they are the first level of the interview process, and their opinion will determine how far your resume, CV, and recommendation will proceed – or not – in a job hunt.
Below is a sample template of what a thank-you note looks like. Remember to be timely, respectful, and observant of who to send your notes. Good luck!
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D. is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is the resident etiquette expert for CBS KEYE We Are Austin, popular on-air contributor, regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, Inc., The New York Times, The Vancouver Sun, and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, named to Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2015.