Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

Thank You Note Tips That Would Have Saved His Job!

I outlined an unfortunate and very true story on how a Thank You note cost Tom a job offer. I encourage you to read what happened to Tom in my earlier article to fully appreciate the simple techniques I outline below that could have prevented him from losing the job (see Tom here).

Thank You Notes do matter during the interview process! Just think, these notes are often the first impression of your writing ability, sense of urgency, attention to detail and perhaps even a glimpse of how you will handle future clients and business dealings.

Most professional interviewing situations will require up to 5 interview steps and often an equal number of people involved in the process! Wow, that is a lot of Thank You Notes and a great number of opportunities to either fail, sail or simply miss the opportunity to utilize this tool to your advantage.

There are 3 elements to understand when attempting to build a Thank You Note that really stands out in a positive way; Basics, Strategy and Art! Perhaps it is the Eat, Love and Pray concept for building a meaningful Thank You Note. Afterall, if it helps you get the right job it could help make your life more meaningful! Ok, a stretch, but couldn't pass up the movie buzz this past week!

Let's start with the Thank You Note basics that may not WOW the people you are interviewing with, but at the same time it will not cost you the job.

7 Thank You Note Basics

  1. An e-mail Thank You Note is expected after each Phone or Face to Face Interview.
  2. Show a Sense of urgency but NOT at the sake of accuracy and typos! It is best to get an e-mail thank you note out the same day or evening of the interview, second best is the next day (preferably in the morning). Any note written two days after the interview date or beyond is just saying, "Hello, I am just not that good at follow up" or "That interview was really not that important to me".
  3. Always make sure you are spelling names correctly by asking for a business card as you conclude each interview. Make sure your recruiter is giving you the correct spelling if it is a phone interview. Needless to say, make sure you have the right email address!
  4. Write the body of your Thank You Note and proof read BEFORE you insert an e-mail address in the header that will eliminate the accidental premature send of an e-mail. Make sure your spell check is on!
  5. ALWAYS print off the e-mail and proof read BEFORE you insert the e-mail address and send it. This one tip seems to work EVERY TIME! Most people tell me that seeing their written words in black ink on white paper will shout out typos and even prompt other changes that will improve their written work. Try it, if there is one tip to walk away with, THIS ONE IS IT!
  6. Have a significant other or friend read your hard copy note for another set of eye's on your written work if possible.
  7. Double check the name again of the person you are addressing in your note....just one last time before you hit the send!

These basic 7 tips would have probably prevented Tom from losing the job offer, but he still had other problems going on with those Thank You Notes! This leads us to the true art of writing a strategic thank you note and to do that, you must remember the true essence of what a thank you note is all about. Do you remember?

Do you remember when you did something really special for someone and they sent you a thank you note that touched your heart, made you feel great or maybe even more special than perhaps whatever you did to deserve the thank you note? If you ever experienced that, then you know what it is like when someone has sent you a thank you note that was memorable and made YOU feel special! There is a way to capture part of that heart beat in a business thank you note and to do so successfully; you must understand the underlying strategy and how to artfully implement it for business.

4 Step Strategy

  1. Always fashion your thank you note so the receiver feels it is unique to him. The test? Could you cut and paste your note unchanged to all those you interviewed with at the same company and would it still work for each person? If the answer is yes, you have nothing special in that note to make anyone feel special. Make them feel special!
  2. Attempt to build in something about yourself that would match what your interviewer is looking for in a candidate. For example, if you are a sales person interviewing with John from Marketing and he loves to have sales people come in for special field based product feedback, then offer it up! Let John know you would be excited to participate in his future programs if you were hired for the job.
  3. If you were fortunate enough during the interview to find a common personal interest (and I always suggest you attempt to do so for a moment in all interviews if the timing is right) then a golden opportunity has presented itself to get you closer to that heart beat. It is always nice to refer to a mutual love of golf, fishing or other common interest that was discovered together!
  4. Always end with thanking them for their time and your wish to be part of their organization and state that reason accurately; i.e.,; don't indicate you love working for the leaders in an industry and the company you are interviewing with is clearly not the leader but a distant number two (yes, I have seen that happen too!).

The Art

The art of writing a thank you note that is memorable and constructed to further enhance your opportunity for employment must incorporate the 7 Thank You Note Basics and reflect the underpinnings of the 4 Step Strategy. The art is connecting these elements within the appropriateness of the business setting and the chords that were hit during the interview. If you interviewed with someone who has the personality of a fish and it did not go swimmingly, then you stick with the basics and still try to build in the strategy points.

Never try to create an atmosphere in the note that just wasn't happening in the interview! Cold fish aren't going to warm up to a superficial thank you note that implies a warm loving feeling that just wasn't there!

Can a Thank You Note alone secure you a new job? Of course not, but I have witnessed on two occasions where it has prevented a person from getting a job offer after the final interview. Knowing how to write a well crafted thank you note that is strategic, and at the same time making the recipient feel special, is an art form worth learning (just ask Tom!).


 

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Tags: interviewing skills, thank you notes

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