This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.
Every sales person would say – "never miss an opportunity to sell yourself." This is especially true, not only job searching and job interviewing, but especially when the interview is over.
There was a time that when thank you notes consisted of an actual card, with a hand-written message saying it was nice to meet everyone and looking forward to the decision. It was hand-delivered to the hiring manager.
Today a thank you note is rare, but when it does come, it is in the form of a marketing message. It is e-mailed (as many peoples' handwriting is illegible anyway), sent to all involved in the interview, and contains important key messages about the candidate. It is sent by that candidate, who wants to get the last word in while he or she can.
The thank-you note, in short, is a last-ditch effort to sell yourself. It is an opportunity, so don't miss it.
The note is sent either in the afternoon after a morning interview, or morning after an afternoon interview, and has four key components:
The thank you
Thank everyone, and I mean everyone, in the room for the opportunity to be interviewed. Express how it was great to learn more about the company and the job. Express appreciation – everyone, including you, had to take time out of their day to meet.
Reinforce any key points you believe kept coming up in the interview. They may have focused on team dynamics, technical knowledge, or strategy development. Go back to those discussions and provide an example of how you can deliver what is important to them. Use their language as much as possible as it helps build the relationship.
It happens all the time – we say things at interviews that we wish we said differently. Or perhaps what was said was not clearly understood by the interview panel. And we think there is no going back. There is – in the thank you note. This is an opportunity to turn whatever was said in your favour. Clarify anything you said that you believed was not fully understood, or was perhaps taken the wrong way.
We all walk out of interviews and remember things we should have said. And what you forgot to mention was important – perhaps could have been the decision-maker. Mention it in the thank you note – just do not say you forgot. Say "upon further reflection, I would like to reinforce …"
In short, the thank-you note is part of your strategy to land the job, and leave the last impression with the hiring panel. Drive the message home that you are the best candidate for the job. Many times, decisions are made based on who seems to want to the job more. Make sure there is no question in anyone's mind that the person that wants the job most is you.
Eileen Dooley is vice-president of VF Career Management, a Canada wide, career transition firm.