There are a couple of schools of thought about the actions you should take after an interview; either in-person or on the phone. Many recruiters recommend that you immediately draft a “thank you” note and send it off. Some staffing professionals will tell you an email is a must and others will argue a handwritten note carries more meaning. As a recruiter in the engineering and IT arena for thirty years, I believe you should give yourself time to decompress before you write anything. You just finished an emotional interaction with individuals on the phone that you did not know or in-person with individuals that you met for the first time. Consider slowing down this after-interview process to give yourself time to digest what was said and by whom. In addition, you can analyze the information that was shared and gain insights about the company culture, the job responsibilities, and, how well this information meshes with your career objectives. Should you decide to rush to respond with your thank you, things can move quickly and without much thought. The emotions that you feel, especially if they are very positive, can carry you into new areas that were not shared in the interview. Are you coming across as desperate? Are you accurately addressing the information that was shared or are you responding with information that is colored by your emotions? It is important to remember that any response on your part is another way that a prospective employer can evaluate you. Ask yourself, if I misspell an interviewer’s name, have a grammatical mistake, or readdress an item garnered in the interview but fail to state the information verbatim, will these help my chances of moving on to the next step?
So wait. Give yourself twelve to twenty-four hours after the interview is complete to gather your thoughts, to remember key points that were made and by whom, and, to revisit your responses to those key points. Did you connect with the interviewer(s) in a way that was unique? Was something said that was out of the ordinary or unusual that stands out in your mind? How were your responses received? Did your answer lead to more discussion and more detail about the role or about your ability to complete the job as defined? Did you make solid points that conveyed your skills? Did you express your interest in the role? Did your enthusiasm for the work come across in your actions or your responses?
Now begin. With answers to these questions, formulate what you want to say and the order that best reflects your thoughts and interest in pursuing this role. Yes, thank you should be expressed but those words alone can convey a conclusion. You don’t want to conclude before you make your points. So consider using “I appreciate the time you spent with me in our meeting…”. Give the specific day and time of your interview. Identify the role you were interviewing. Then address any unique item that was stated or if there is a key point that was made and you want to reiterate your agreement. Perhaps there was an idea that you did not make strongly or convincingly and want to address it. And, if you want to highlight a qualification or two that you possess that didn’t come up in the interview, do it now. Be careful here since this is new ground and you must be sure that these skills/qualifications are aligned with the prospective employer’s needs. End with a heartfelt note of gratitude and your desire to pursue this opportunity.