These are all common courtesies we were taught growing up and words we use every single day. We extend thank you’s to people post weddings, graduations, birthday parties, and most other events where we want to show gratitude. Job interviews are no different. Exchanging such pleasantries allows you to connect with a potential employer more authentically. Regardless of how you feel about the interview it is always good practice to follow up with a simple thank you note and below are a few reasons why.
It's Good Manners
Yes, this has already been stated, but I don't think it can be said enough. Thanking an employer (or anyone for that matter) for taking time out of their day to meet with you should be a reflex. Employers get bombarded with hundreds to thousands of applications, emails, phone calls, etc., on a daily basis. They are pretty busy people! Job searching is tough, and if you're one of the few picked out of the pool to interview pat yourself on the back! You got the opportunity to speak with a potential employer via phone, SKYPE, or in person and express your interest in their company and their available position. Everybody doesn't get that chance. Thanking them for their time is important, and frankly, it can be viewed as rude if you don't.
You Want to be Viewed as a Gracious Person
Employers talk to each other. All the time. You don't want to be the candidate they are discussing negatively. There are many people who are in their current positions due to a referral from a sister company or from a networking conversation. Your humility could lead to unexpected opportunities.
You Get the Opportunity to Reiterate Your Interest in the Position
Generally, you want to keep thank you notes short and to the point. This isn't the time to attempt to explain away a question you may have bombed or mention something you may have forgotten to say during the interview. This is your final opportunity to let an employer know just how excited you are about the possibility to join a company. You don't want to send a dissertation to the employer. This is a time, however, for you to highlight key points you made during the interview that speak to why you are the best candidate for the job and why you would enjoy working at this specific company. It is imperative that you demonstrate interest for the position throughout the entire process as it does not conclude until an offer is formally extended to someone.
It's Not Hard to Find Their Contact
Many students' excuses for not sending thank you emails is that they cannot find a proper contact. That's kind of a lazy excuse. Even the most inaccessible hiring managers have some sort of digital presence (hint: check their LinkedIn). Be sure to ask on the front end who will be conducting the interview so you have more than a few hours to search for contact information. While this does require a little bit of leg work on your part it is completely worth it. If you absolutely cannot find their contact bring a few handwritten thank you notes along with you to the interview. Remember, you can also request business cards from the employer/s after your interview so that you have their contact information.
It Could Make or Break an Offer
This is one of the more important reasons to send a thank you email. When an employer is faced with the decision to choose between two stellar candidates, things can start to get nitpicky. Let's say you and another candidate are both equally qualified for a position but one of you doesn't send a thank you note following the final interview. Chances are, the person who went the extra mile to follow up with a thank you is the person who will likely end up with an offer. An unexpected thank you note demonstrates high interest in a position and shows that you care about the opportunity. Employers want to hire people who care. This isn't to say that a thank you note will always be the determining factor when employers are making offers, but you don't want to wonder if the reason for a rejection is because you didn't send one. Make sure all of your T's are crossed and your I's are dotted!
Thank your references too! Your references are the bright lights who believed in you, mentored you and are now playing an integral role in your career journey. Show a little appreciation to them for agreeing to speak positively about your character and work ethic by penning a simple thank you note. It goes a long way.