If you are an administrative professional, you know that attention to detail is an integral part of your job. For example, if you were typing an email on behalf of the executive you support, you would proofread it before sending, correct? If so, the same sense of conscientiousness should be applied to the interview process.
“When you are interviewing for a job, especially in an office support capacity, the employer is going to be looking out for any potential red flags throughout the interview process,” says Kim Caruso, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support division. “Believe it or not, even your thank you note counts! In fact, I’ve had candidates miss out on opportunities because of typos, when they would have otherwise received an offer.” In other words, a great interview, followed by a less than stellar thank you note can be a deal breaker.
To prevent careless thank you note blunders from affecting your job prospects, here is Kim’s checklist for success:
Ask a friend or your recruiter to proofread: It’s always helpful to have another pair of eyes review your writing – they’ll catch any typos or grammatical mistakes you may have missed!
Keep it short and to the point: A thank you note should be a paragraph, at max. “As a general guideline, I typically advise my candidates to include a sentence thanking the interviewer for their time, a statement about their interest in the opportunity, and a concluding sentence highlighting why they are a fit for the role,” says Kim.
Personalize it: Sending your interviewer a generic thank you note that can be applied to any position at any company is a bad idea that can cost you the job. “Remember that the hiring manager took time out of their day to meet with you,” warns Kim. “The least you can do to return the favor is to thank them with a more personalized note.” In order to do this, Kim advises her candidates to briefly reference something about the role or company that came up during the interview.
If you interviewed with more than one person, this concept should also be applied. “Take the time to write separate thank you notes for each person you met with, and don’t simply copy and paste their names into the document,” Kim advises. “Put in the effort towards tailoring each note to the individual person you are addressing.”
Be timely: Since office support and other administrative roles move quickly, a delayed thank you can mean a missed opportunity. As a result, sending your thank you within 24 hours of the interview by email is considered a best practice. Email not only expedites the delivery process, but also helps keep you top of mind for the interviewer.
Differentiate yourself: An easy way to differentiate yourself from other candidates is to follow up your thank you email with a handwritten or typed letter sent through the mail. If the employer is still in the process of making their hiring decision, a well-written letter that reiterates your gratitude and reminds them of who you are can make all the difference.
The thank you note is your last chance to leave a lasting impression with an employer, so make every word count!