Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

“Thank you, next” – research reveals how one avoidable error could cost candidates the job

By Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV

Finding a new job is often at the top of many New Year’s resolutions lists. Not surprisingly, the road to every job offer is a winding one, and nearly always involves a job interview or, in some cases, several. However, even the most successful interviews should never end in the prospective employer’s office – it’s often what you do after the interview that can make or break your candidacy. In fact, a survey by TopCV, the world’s largest CV-writing service, revealed that candidates are unknowingly jeopardising their chances of landing the job when they fail to complete this simple task after their interview: sending a thank-you note. 

Nearly half of the UK and EU employers surveyed confirmed that a candidate’s thank-you message – or lack thereof – may impact their hiring decision. However, not all job searchers are heeding this warning. When asked how often they send an interview thank you, nearly a quarter (24%) of the professionals polled admitted they never send a follow-up email or snail-mail note after a job interview, and an additional 39 per cent only send them ‘occasionally’.

While most (95%) of the 253 international employers surveyed said that the absence of a thank-you note wouldn’t cause them to automatically rule out an interviewee, it’s clear that a properly executed interview thank-you provides candidates with a unique opportunity to do three key things: (1) reaffirm their qualifications and genuine interest in the position, (2) set their candidacy apart from the competition and (3) ultimately bring them one step closer to securing a job offer.

When sending a post-interview thank-you note, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Timing matters. If you shoot off a thank-you email moments after your interview ends, your interviewer may assume you’re either using a generic template that didn’t require much thought or you’re desperate for the job – both of which can be turn-offs to employers. However, if you wait too long, you will miss your window to impress. Instead, aim to send a thank-you message to each of your interviewers between 12 and 24 hours after your meeting.
  • Personalisation is key. Tailor your interview thank-you based on your conversation with the interviewer. For instance, if the employer was especially interested in a project on which you previously worked, mention it in your note. Also, incorporate details you learned about the person during your interview to make your follow-up more memorable, such as a shared interest or an upcoming holiday.
  • Keep it short. Your interviewer will not take the time to read a novel, so keep your thank-you note short, yet memorable. Avoid needlessly reiterating your entire CV – keep your message just long enough to highlight the main points from your conversation, address any objections the interviewer expressed about your candidacy and convey your continued interest in the job. 

While not every interviewer believes receiving a post-interview thank-you note is important, there's no way for a candidate to know for sure. Therefore, it's in every job searcher's best interests to cover their bases and send a carefully crafted thank-you note to each interviewer.