Perhaps you’ve been conditioned to always sending a thank you note. Or maybe the one time you did send a thank you note, you received the job offer just a few days later. Or perhaps you’re employed at a great company right now and have never bothered to send one after your interview. Despite what your current thank you note practice is, it’s important to consider the impact this kind of note can and cannot have on your chances of success.
First, if you’re a relatively unqualified candidate for the position but somehow managed to get an interview, then sending a thank you note is probably not going to make a difference. Thank you notes are able to reinforce a good impression of you in the eyes of the employer, but they cannot overcome the fact that there are several well-qualified candidates who have also interviewed for the position.
If, however, you are an extremely qualified candidate and clearly had the best interview, then an employer is not going to sit around and watch the mailbox waiting to see if you send a thank you note. In this instance, I’d be willing to bet that not sending a thank you note will not matter.
So if qualifications trump thank you notes, then what is the point of sending one?
Suppose the employer has narrowed the applicant pool down to you and another candidate. You’re both very qualified and interviewed well. In a situation like this, a thank you note may actually influence the employer’s final decision. If both candidates are equally qualified, it would make sense to choose the one that seemed to be more passionate about the position and more likely to work very hard at succeeding in it.
But because we never know who it is that we are interviewing against, it’s best to make a habit of always sending a thank you note. It’s simple, takes a relatively small amount of time, and reinforces a good impression of you. It may well be a large factor in the employer’s final hiring decision! You just never know.