Hiring managers to job seekers: No thank-you note, no job

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

If you've looked for a job in the past few years, you may have interviewed via video conferencing or automated phone screening. If you've applied for a job online, your resume was almost certainly sorted by an applicant tracking system.

But not all aspects of the job search process have changed. Some tried-and-true tips still hold. For example, a recent survey from TopResume showed that most recruiters and hiring managers still expect a thank-you note from interviewees. Sixty-eight percent said that receiving a thank-you note affected their decision-making process about a candidate.

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"The job interview doesn't end when you walk out the door, but rather affords job seekers a unique opportunity to build a meaningful relationship with the interviewer, and help keep their candidacy top-of-mind," said Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume, in a statement. "Our recent Thanksgiving survey reveals that sending a well-crafted email within 24 hours of a successful job interview could be the tipping point that catapults you to the top — or the bottom — of the finalist pool. In the job search, timing is everything."

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How important are thank-you notes, really?

Pretty important. Nearly one in five of the hiring managers and recruiters surveyed said that they'd dismissed a candidate because they didn't send a thank-you note after the interview.

The good news for you as a job seeker is that if you do send a note, you're likely to stand out: TopResume's survey also showed that 31 percent of job seekers don't send a thank-you note after every single interview … and seven percent never send one.

To make the best impression on the hiring manager:

  • Send your email or letter ASAP after the interview. As Augustine noted, 24 hours is ideal.
  • Personalize your message. The best thank-you notes are genuine and engaging — as far from a form letter as possible. Collect business cards or write down names during your interview, so that you can get your interviewers' names right in your message, and look for opportunities to reference your conversation and your interest in the role.
  • Proofread carefully. Typos and misspellings make you look less professional and less serious about the job. Have a friend read your note before you send it, and double-check everything yourself. Time is of the essence, but a sloppy-looking note won't help you make a good impression.

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This article originally appeared on PayScale.

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