Advance Your Cause After an Interview: Send a Thank You Note

Advance Your Cause After an Interview:  Send a Thank you Note

RobertNealon_20160513_001

By Bob Nealon

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde

Recently, I was a part of our office’s hiring committee for two positions for which we were hiring.  One of the positions was a full-time position managing our social media and student engagement.  The other position was for our front desk student career ambassador position for which we were looking to hire two individuals.

I am happy to report that we found the right candidate for each of these positions with one person already producing results on the job and the other two starting in August as the fall semester commences.  However, the hiring and interview process for these positions revealed some surprising candidate activity, or lack of activity, in this case.

One commonly-offered interview tip is to send a thank you note within 24 hours of an interview to each person with whom you met during the interview process.   This is not a revolutionary suggestion as it is probably something you’ve heard many times.  Additionally, you might make the assumption that most candidates do this as regular practice during their quest to land the right job opportunity.

Unfortunately, a recent CareerBuilder survey1 of 3,244 private sector full-time workers across industries and company sizes found that 57 percent of candidates don’t send thank you notes after an interview.  Think about this for a second.  Approximately 6 out of 10 candidates don’t take the time to say thanks for the opportunity for the professional courtesy they’ve received from the prospective employer.

Additionally, in an Accountemps survey2, over 90 percent of HR managers indicated that it was helpful for a candidate to send a post-interview thank you e-mail / note.  This validates even further the importance of sending a thank you e-mail / note.

If these statistics don’t have an impact on you, consider our office’s hiring process mentioned earlier.  Sadly, we experienced candidate behavior mirroring the CareerBuilder findings during our hiring process for the two positions.  Here is what we experienced:

  • For the full-time position – we interviewed four candidates with only two sending thank you e-mails / notes (50 percent didn’t send a thank you)
  • For the two part-time positions – we interviewed nine candidates with only one sending a thank you e-mail / note (89 percent didn’t send a thank you)

 Successful interviewing ultimately comes down to three key components including:

  1. Communicating Your VALUE (Prove you can produce results)
  2. Establishing a FIT (Establish your values, personality, skills, and more are a fit)
  3. Enhancing Your LIKEABILITY (Show your temperament and personality align with the hiring manager and team)

While this post is not about these three components, I believe sending a thank you e-mail / note relates to enhancing your likeability factor.   Let’s face it, people hire people they like.  It is that simple.

I encourage candidates to be their authentic self during the interview; however, do what you can to enhance your likeability factor.  I maintain that the thank you e-mail / note can help a candidate build upon the likeability factor that they built during the interview.

When should I send the Thank you note?

Sooner is better, but don’t wait too long to send.  A good rule to follow is to send the thank you note within 24 hours after the conclusion of the interview.  However, don’t pre-write the thank you note and hand it to the interviewer as you are leaving either.  It won’t leave the impression that you want it to in this case.  Plus, a pre-written thank you won’t allow you to include something noteworthy you learned during the interview.

How should I send the Thank you note?

 If the prospective employer’s hiring timeline is greater than a week, consider sending a handwritten thank you note through snail mail.   This would allow plenty of time for your thank you to arrive through the mail.  Sending a handwritten note is a lost art that takes both effort and time to create, both of which tell the interviewer(s) that you are serious about the position and doing anything you can to enhance your case that you are the right candidate for the position.  One downside to the handwritten thank you note is that the space for your message is limited.

If the hiring timeline is shorter than a week, I suggest that you send an e-mail to ensure that the individuals with whom you interviewed receive your thank you note.  You could send the interviewer(s) the thank you in both formats too.  One benefit to e-mail is that you have additional space to send a more detailed message to the interviewer(s) with whom you met.

The bottom line here is that you need to send a thank you note.

Who should receive the Thank You note?

Send your thank you note to each person with whom you met during your interview.  Personalizing the note is always best, whether you are sending via snail mail or e-mail.  For instance, if you met with three interviewers during your interview, then send three separate, personalized notes.

If you developed rapport with the receptionist or executive support administrator while you were waiting in the lobby or someone went above and beyond to make you feel welcome during your visit, I also encourage you to send a thank you note to this individual too.  It is common practice for executives (both HR and hiring managers) to ask the receptionist or executive support about their experience with the candidate along with their general observations (i.e. what was the candidate doing?, was the candidate friendly?, etc.).  Positive feedback from those in the front office can go a long way in advancing the candidate forward in the hiring process.

What should I write in my Thank You note?

You’ll want to keep your thank you note brief whether you send in an e-mail format or a handwritten note.

Below is an example you can use as you craft your own thank you e-mail to an interviewer.

Consider that this example is only to give you an idea of how to format your own e-mail.  Obviously, you might include some information you learned during the interview as a part of your e-mail.  Hopefully, the example will highlight some of the general information you’ll want to include.

E-mail Example:

Subject Line:

Thank You – Social Media Coordinator Interview – <First Name> <Last Name>

E-mail Message Content:

Dear <Salutation – Mr./Ms.> <Last Name>:

Thank you for allowing me to interview for your Social Media Coordinator position this morning.  I enjoyed learning more about your specific needs for the Social Media Coordinator position at <company name>.

After learning more about the position, your job seems to be an excellent match for my skills and interests.

The creative approach to social media initiatives you described today enhanced my desire to join your team.

In addition to my enthusiasm about your position, I bring <skill A>, <skill B>, and <skill C> that will allow me to deliver excellent results to your team, while demonstrating a strong team-first mentality.

I appreciate the time allocated to our conversation. I am very interested in working for you and look forward to hearing from you regarding this position.  Thank you again for your consideration.

Sincerely,

<First Name> <Last Name>

Email Address

Address

Phone Number
LinkedIn URL | Website URL

 

Handwritten Thank you Note

Below are some general suggestions for sending a handwritten thank you note via snail mail:

  • Make sure to use an embossed or monogrammed blank card.
  • Include both your return address and the delivery address on the envelope, so your note should begin with the date, followed by the greeting on the next line.
  • The body of your note will follow the greeting.
  • Close with your contact information: “I can be reached via e-mail at bill.miller@email.com or via telephone (561) 555-1212.”
  • Include a complimentary close followed by a comma (Example: Sincerely,)
  • Include your signature after the complimentary close.
  • Make sure your handwriting is at its very best, and your grammar and spelling are correct.

 

Handwritten Note Example:

 July 12, 2017

Dear <Salutation – Mr./Ms.> <Last Name>:

Thank you for allowing me to interview for your Social Media Coordinator position.  After learning about your needs, I believe my background and experience are an excellent match.

Also, the creative approach to social media initiatives you described today enhanced my desire to join your team.

I am confident my experience will allow me to produce results for you. I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding this position.  If you need additional information, please feel free to call me at (561) 555-1212 or via e-mail at <email handle>@email.com.  Thanks again!

Sincerely,

<First Name> <Last Name>

Sometimes the obvious things are overlooked.  Don’t let not sending a thank you note stand in the way of your job search success.  Make sure to send your thank you within 24 hours after an interview to each person with whom you met.

Gratitude is always the right way to go.  Here’s to your success!

 Sources:

CareerBuilder Press Release. (2016, July 28). CareerBuilder Survey Reveals Five Common Job Seeker Pitfalls That Will Hinder Any Career Search.  Retrieved from:  http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=7%2F28%2F2016&id=pr960&ed=12%2F31%2F2016.

2 Accountemps Press Release. (2012, June 14). Farewell to the Handwritten Thank you Note? Retrieved from: http://accountemps.rhi.mediaroom.com/thank you

About the author:

For almost 10 years, Bob Nealon has been a South Florida-based career coach, focused on training and coaching college students and professional-level clients to achieve success in their employment search campaign and careers. He has trained over 5,000 clients with strategies on how to best compete in today’s ultra-competitive market to land the job and advance their career.

He holds a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Indiana State University and is a multi-credentialed career coach holding industry certifications as a Certified Professional Career Coach, Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Certified Empowerment and Motivational Coach, Global Career Development Facilitator, and Florida Certified Workforce Professional.

Currently, he is a career coach at Lynn University within the Hannifan Center for Career Connections in Boca Raton, Florida.  If you have questions about interviewing and the importance of practice, feel free to contact him via e-mail at RNealon@lynn.edu.

Mastering the Employment Interview: Practice Makes Perfect!

Robert (Bob) Nealon – Career Coach – Lynn University 

RobertNealon_20160513_001

Many job search candidates are afraid of interviewing or, at the very least, extremely uncomfortable with the employment interview. What makes the interviewing process so problematic for many is that a high percentage of hiring professionals (HR managers, recruiters, hiring managers) feel that today’s job candidates don’t interview well and can’t articulate their value proposition (what they can do for the company to improve performance) to a prospective employer.

Don’t believe me? Here is your proof. Test this out by asking any job seeker one simple question:

“Tell me why I should hire you and how you see yourself contributing to our organization in a couple of brief sentences?”

Sadly, you’ll find that many job seekers simply aren’t prepared to effectively answer this important question. In fact, most candidates will swing and miss, completely missing the mark, and ramble on during an interview never really highlighting how they deliver performance results within the role. Therefore, the candidate doesn’t convince the hiring authority that they can be effective within the role, and, doesn’t receive an invitation to the next step in the hiring process or job offer.

Taking it a step further, statistics indicate that greater than 90 percent of hiring managers believe most job candidates interview at either an average or below average level.1 This is a scary statistic, especially considering that it is during the interview that a job candidate can earn the job offer, allowing them to earn income and achieve their career goals.

Having trained over 5,000 college students and professional-level clients, I can validate the cited statistic’s accuracy through my many interview skills training sessions and mock interviews with clients. Most are in such a rush to blast their resume anywhere and everywhere through popular online job boards that they don’t take the time to effectively prepare for an interview as a part of their job search process.

Click here for full article

Message from the President

It’s hard to believe that my term as your President will be over in a week. It’s been a year full of both challenges and triumphs and as an association we are continuing to ride the wave of momentum that was built after our formal name change in 2014 from FCPA to FloridaACE. It’s an exciting time to be part of this incredible organization and I wouldn’t trade my experience on the FloridaACE Board for anything.

If you are attending the FloridaACE Annual Conference next week, the conference planning committees have been working hard to ensure that your experience is absolutely amazing! You can take a look at the online version of our Conference Program on the website, along with a Schedule-at-a-Glance. I also recommend downloading the FloridaACE Conference Plus app, provided this year courtesy of Career Fair Plus. You can find it on the App and Play stores.

If you have not registered for the conference yet, there is still a limited amount of time. You can either register for the full conference, Thursday only, or buy tickets to attend the FloridaACE Enterprise Closing Banquet & After Party. You can also follow along with us from home through the app and by following the #FloridaACE17 hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Since our first Drive-In Conference was such a success, we will be doing it again this year. The 2017 Drive-In Conference will be held on November 3rd in the Florida State University Career Center. More details to come in the weeks and months ahead.

The Board accomplished many great things over the past year and met all of the goals we set out to achieve. The most exciting of these is that we were able to increase employer membership by 80%. Welcome to the new companies that are now part of the FloridaACE family: ADP, AFLAC, American Traveler, Ellucian, Ernst & Young, Fastenal, Florida Hospital, PwC, and WellCare Health Plans! We are also grateful to our longtime employer members and I would be remiss if I didn’t give a huge shout out to our top-tier conference sponsor, Enterprise Holdings.

As I transition into the role of Past President, I want to thank our board members who are rolling off the board for their service and dedication to FloridaACE: Adam DeRosa, Robin Kazmarek, Rob Liddell, Carla Toles McKinney, and Kim Franklin. We also have some members who went above and beyond this year in big ways, including Tara Stevenson, Stacy Lanigan, Stacy Ballinger, Matina Wagner, Bill Blank, and Megan Hollis.

It has been a sincere honor to serve as this year’s FloridaACE President. I am confident that you will love the energy of the 2017-18 Board and you can expect great things to come in the year ahead. I hope you will engage with us and help us keep the momentum going into the future by volunteering to serve on committees, presenting at professional development events, and contributing to the blog with your best practices.

I hope to see you next week at Saddlebrook Resort & Spa! If you have any questions about the conference, please reach out to me or our Vice President and Conference Chair, Rob Liddell.

Most sincerely,

Alicia Smyth
2016-17 President
Florida Association of Colleges & Employers
President@Florida-ACE.org

 

 

FloridaACE Annual Conference Closing Session Announcement

The FloridaACE Annual Conference Planning Committee is also pleased to announce our closing/concluding session experience.

I know when you refer to something as an “experience”, you are either unsure of how to categorize it or you are comfortable with the expectations that follow the term. In this case, it is the second.

Competency development is a hot topic in national circles, and for good reason – it equips students for success after graduation.  In order to integrate competencies into curricular and co-curricular activities, schools need employer input into competency identification, campus-wide buy-in, a comprehensive plan, and a multi-year commitment to infuse competencies into student learning.

To equip our membership, the Professional Development Committee has developed Building Bridges for Student Success: University-wide Competency Development and sourced several key architects of this movement to facilitate a memorable learning session.

Neil and Tim will be joined by colleagues to provide an overview of the Clemson University and the University of Tampa journey toward competency development and focus on a few universal pillars discovered along the way.

Clemson University is a science- and engineering-oriented college serving more than 17,000 students in upstate South Carolina. Students choose from more than 80 majors, 75 minors, and more than 110 graduate degree programs. Clemson brags on their 2 Rhodes Scholar Finalists, 11 NSF Graduate Research Fellows, 4 Fulbright Scholars, and a 91% freshman retention rate. The Tigers are celebrating their 2016 College Football National Championship-returning to Tampa where they won the hardware.

The University of Tampa is a comprehensive private college serving more than 8,000 students in downtown Tampa. Recognizing the substantial, innovative progress towards comprehensive internationalization, UT was awarded the 2016 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The Spartans can claim 15 NCAA Division II National Championships in five sports and 59 Sunshine State Conference titles.

This interactive session will allow schools to draft institution-specific plans, and encourage employers to identify and share beneficial shifts in curricula and practices.

All participants will leave with tools, plans, and ideas that are specifically applicable to their organizations and institutions.

Not registered for #FloridaACE17 yet??  Complete your registration today!

FloridaACE Annual Conference Opening Session Announcement

The FloridaACE Annual Conference Planning Committee is pleased to announce our opening session panel.

In recent years we have heard a consistent message from our membership and Conference participants: “We’d benefit from more interaction with employers.”

To respond to this feedback, the Professional Development Committee has developed a panel presentation entitled Bridges to Employment: Leveraging Competencies in Recruitment and Retention.

 

conference opening

During the opening session, our panelists will describe several of the strategies and practices used to:

  • Cultivate relationships with talent,
  • Orient applicants through their recruitment funnel,
  • Determine likelihood of candidate success, and
  • Offer feedback to their career services colleagues on student preparedness.

Recruiting, like other processes, gives off a lot of data. Our panelists will share ways in which they are designing “organic” systems capable of learning and adaptation over time.

Lastly, we’ll put our panelists under the bright lights and ask them about what works for them in terms of recruiting college students and what career centers might consider revising to strengthen the partnership.

Our Conference Chair and Vice President, Rob Liddell, will be moderating this panel. If you have a specific question or topic you would like considered/included, please e-mail him at Robert-Liddell@utc.edu

Be sure to join us in Pegasus South at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14th for this insightful presentation.

Not registered for #FloridaACE17 yet?  Complete your registration today!

UWF Sees Positive Results with the “College Liaison Model”

CareerServices_Primary_Blue_CMYK

Jennifer Hill M.P.A. M.Ed., University of West Florida

Career Services at the University of West Florida has utilized its College Liaison Model in a unique way this year.  Each Liaison has planned and executed a “Career Road Trip” to a local employer related to the majors in their college. These trips take approximately 25 students to a local employer and consist of a behind-the-scenes tour, talks on what a typical day looks like, career advice for students, and conclude with a networking session.
uwf
The students sign-up to attend the free event and complete an online learning module that includes developing a One-Minute Commercial to assist them with networking at the event. Students are provided lunch by either Career Services or the Employer and provided transportation to the event by Career Services.

All UWF students/alumni are invited to attend the event, however seats are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.  A waitlist is also available when the available seats are filled and empty seats are offered to those on the waitlist through the morning of the event itself (in the case of no-shows).

Locations included:

  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car (College of Business)
  • Pensacola Blue Wahoos Stadium (College of Education and Professional Studies)
  • Navy Federal Credit Union (Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering)
  • Andrew’s Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine (Usha Kundu, MD College of Health)
  • Pensacola Museum of Art (College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities)

At the conclusion of each trip, the employers and students are asked to complete a follow-up survey seeking feedback related to their experience.

The students are also asked about their confidence levels in their ability to effectively communicate with a potential employer prior to the event and then again at the conclusion of the event.

table

In addition, 100% of students indicated they would recommend the Career Road Trips to other students and had the following to say about their experiences:

“The PMA road trip was a very eye opening experience. By seeing the behind the scenes of the museum, I learned that it takes an extensive collaborative effort to keep the institution afloat. This trip showed me that I would enjoy working in a museum type atmosphere. The networking opportunities were a tremendous help as well, it allowed me to gain valuable volunteer and internship experience to add to my resume.”-Pensacola Museum of Art Career Road Trip Attendee

“The Career Road Trip to the PMA provided me the opportunity to get an in depth, behind the scenes look at gallery studies and what it’s like to work in an art gallery. Although I am studying to be a practicing artist rather than an art historian, this opportunity opened my eyes to what a career in this particular field entails and gave me the opportunity to build relationships with influential community figures and potential mentors.”- Pensacola Museum of Art Career Road Trip Attendee

Employers also had very positive things to say about their experiences with the Road Trips:

“We feel that the road trip was a positive experience for both the students and the staff. The students were professional and motivated. We look forward to having those students take an active role in the museum and our relationship with future career service road trips.” –Pensacola Museum of Art

“Working to coordinate this event with Tim was seamless, and our employees were eager and willing to take time out of their day to speak with UWF undergraduate students. Our employees had great feedback from being involved with the event and are looking forward to the next opportunity.” –Andrew’s Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

For more information on the Career Road Trips or our College Liaison Model, please feel free to contact me at jhill2@uwf.edu 

 

Annual Conference Update: Logo Reveal

2017 logo

I am excited to share the 2017 Annual Conference Logo with you and offer a few words sharing what it has become to mean to me.

The Webster’s New World College Dictionary offers several meanings for the term bridge. Conventionally, a bridge is a structure built over a river, railroad, highway, etc. to provide a way across for vehicles or pedestrians. Having the good fortune of living most of my life in Tampa and, here recently, moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, bridges have been a constant.

sunshine skyway

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

downtown tampa

Downtown Tampa

looking into chattanooga

Looking into Downtown Chattanooga from the North Shore

A second meaning offered is more active—here, a bridge is a thing that provides connection, contact, or transition. The dictionary contextualizes this second meaning with the following illustrative statement: a common language is a bridge between cultures.

Those of us fortunate to work in recruiting/campus relations or in career services recognize the important role we play in our organizations. In addition to serving in external-facing roles for our employers, we also have unique knowledge of navigating important processes and resources within. This unique knowledge is often our ability to guide others around common obstacles (thus, the conventional meaning of bridge).

The programming committee, under the leadership of Kim Franklin, has selected a very strong set of breakout sessions and roundtable discussions serving as a Bridge to Career Success. I believe that you’ll be challenged to consider new approaches in connecting students with employers through sustained engagement with the Career Center and other campus/community-based partners. I am also confident that you’ll be able to meet & discuss emerging trends with our vendor contacts. Thirdly, the Florida ACE Board wants to create opportunities for its members to transition to progressive levels of responsibility and impact by offering a generous amount of networking time with senior leaders in the field.

Lastly, I hope that you’ll do a few things—think of these as an investment if you will.

  1. Register for the Conference – I look forward to the Florida ACE Conference every year because of the very high quality of the information and interaction offered there. National and Regional Conferences are rewarding as well, but the scope, scale and pace of this Conference are three reasons I keep coming back. We recognize that there are competing pressures for financial and developmental resources—we appreciate your consideration!
  2. Prepare for the Conference – After registering for the Conference, many of us will look after our travel accommodations and set up your out of office message for June 14-16. Spend some time thinking through the areas that you might help others (strengths) and areas that you’d like to develop more skill. You might even consider talking with your supervisor, colleagues, and direct reports about what you or your organization might need going forward.
  3. Advocate for the Conference – Simple steps like promoting the Conference Logo and URL on your organization’s website or within your e-mail signature will increase the visibility and impact of this Association and event. Lending your influence in digital spaces is also valuable…look for #FloridaACE17 on your preferred socials and add to the conversation.
  4. Volunteer for the Conference – After you’ve completed the three previous steps, don’t stop there. Intentionally look to get involved at the Conference. We have a need for room hosts and door prizes. We also have flexibility—pitch me your idea and I will work to get you connected to an opportunity.

Again, I am excited to be a member of this Association and look forward to welcoming each of you to Tampa this June!

Rob Liddell
Vice President & Conference Chair
Florida Association of Colleges and Employers