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.

Tune in Tuesday: Message from the President

3c05226I hope the beginning of the fall semester is going well for everyone! It’s a busy time for both career services professionals and recruiters alike. I hope that in all of the craziness that comes with a new academic year, you are able to make some time for yourself and your continued professional growth and development.

Your FloridaACE board has been busy as well. We met last month and are finalizing plans for the very first FloridaACE Drive-in Conference. If you haven’t registered yet, now is the time, as we only have 15 seats left as of today. The event will be held Friday, November 4th from 8am-12:30pm at the University of Central Florida. Speakers include keynote Calvin Williams (Florida State University), an employer/faculty panel moderated by Barbara Cambia (Lynn University), and breakout sessions presented by Tim Harding (The University of Tampa), Melena Postolowski (Stetson University), and Lonny Butcher and Doris Alcivar (University of Central Florida). Cost is only $25, plus the price of on-campus parking, and includes breakfast. Registrants must be current members of FloridaACE. Special thanks to Kim Franklin, Bill Blank, Stacy Lanigan, Emmanuela Stanislaus, Tara Stevenson and Melanie Brown for their initiative and hard work to make this happen!

During our meeting, we also spent time reviewing the feedback received from the 2016 conference survey and are working on some modifications for next year to make your 2017 FloridaACE Conference experience even better! Please save the date for June 14-16, 2017 at the beautiful Saddlebrook Resort & Spa in Tampa, FL. Registration will open early next year. In the meantime, be on the lookout for a draft schedule-at-a-glance, call for programs and round table sessions, call for nominations for our annual awards, information about President’s Council sponsorship opportunities and an announcement regarding membership renewals.

In other news, I am excited to announce that FloridaACE is partnering with CCFCC to co-sponsor the President’s Reception entertainment at the SoACE Conference, December 4-7 at the Westin Beach Resort & Spa in Ft. Lauderdale. Did you know that Florida is second only to Texas in membership numbers for SoACE? Since this year’s conference is in our backyard, we hope you will join us to represent our great state! FloridaACE board members will be welcoming conference attendees before the reception. If you are able to make it, please stop and say hello!

Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving as this year’s FloridaACE President. You will surely benefit from the energy and enthusiasm that our new and returning board members bring to the association’s leadership. The board is fully committed to providing value-added opportunities for member engagement and professional development. This is YOUR association and we want you to get the most out of it. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have ideas or an interest in volunteering.

Most sincerely,

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

 

#TBT…E-Mail Communication…It Works!

Sarabeth Varriano & Rex Wade, University of West Florida Career Services

Higher Education institutions are under the microscope to demonstrate students’ return on investment for their  attained degrees. Included in that assessment is student success in realizing their career goals. Career Services offices rightfully focus on career education and job search strategies and preparations with their constituent students. The authors of this monograph rightfully remind us of the importance of strategic employer development that results in meaningful partnerships, sponsorships, and effective talent recruitment.

A helpful review of employer relations history and evolution over the past several decades provides a context for developing a comprehensive and effective employer development strategies that aligns with an ever changing world of work and economy that is in flux. A thoughtful treatment is provided for approaches, programs, marketing strategies, event coordination, fundraising, technological support, and program assessment no matter what the number of staff or size of the institution.

In just a few pages, the authors provide not just a approach to employer relations but practical examples that include sample job descriptions, event checklists, report charts, staff performance review forms, employer evaluation examples, miscellaneous printed and electronic ads, and much more that are a part of an information packed Appendix.

The authors stress the importance of having a dynamic program with a final chapter that provides insight into future employment relations issues and trends including topics such as accountability, internships, distance learning, recruiting trends and social media.

This monograph is a must for any new Career Services professional. As a veteran of over 20 years of Career Services experience, I also found it thought provoking and inspiring for new ideas, approaches, and strategies. As I add this book to my library, I am confident that I will often refer to it’s practical resources while developing and assessing an effective employer relations program.

We are looking forward to growing this communication process and are excited to explore new ways to measure its success.

ace

 

#TBT…Career Counselors Orchestrating Insight

Tom Broussard, Ph.D.

Insight (what some call the “Aha!” moment) comes to people in many ways, and not necessarily when they learn something new as much as when they see something that they know (or thought they knew) in a new way.  SO, what we try to do is create the conditions under which the individual (in even the smallest of ways) can be led to actually “see” something differently.

Of course, in order to do this the conversation must start with a discussion of seeing and how one learns “to see” anything…especially, how one learns to see things that they have never seen before but which have been right before their eyes all along.

As a precept of (much of) adult learning, adults already know what they need to know.  So effective adult education depends on creating the conditions under which the adult learner is led to see things in a new light.

The parable of the three stone masons is always a useful story:  three masons are approached by a  visitor while they are out cutting stone in the heat of the day.  They each are using a hammer and a  chisel and to all intents and purposes, they are performing identical tasks.  When the first stone mason is asked what he is doing, he replies, “You fool…can’t you see what I am doing?  I am slaving away in the hot sun cutting rocks!”

The second one answers the same question, “I am a stone cutter and this is what I do.  I cut rocks.”  The third one answers, “Why, I am building a cathedral!”  Nothing is different between the stone masons except what they see in their mind’s eye.

We all see things which we take for granted (and have taken for granted for so long) that often we can no longer see them in different (and exciting) ways.  Similar to the masons, work (the act of working) for many people has become narrowly described and discussed simply in terms of “what they do,” not “what they see.”

In today’s globally connected and service-dominated marketplace, more and more of work is defined by how people see a thing and less by the thing itself.   Successful builders of any edifice in this new world are the ones with the vision to see in different ways and help create the conditions under which others may share that new vision—that new way of seeing.

21st century career development (most of which must be self-directed—an even more challenging task!) must focus first on the act of seeing (and our capacity to change how we see things) as a necessary precursor to raising the cathedrals demanded in every modern organizational realm.  While we may all be stone cutters, the “Aha!” moment graces those who learn to see what others are late (or loath) to consider as part of their reality.

In a similar way, career counselors are (or try to be) adept at creating the conditions under which the “Aha!”  moment will be a more likely outcome of the encounter because they focus first on how their client sees anything–the world, themselves, their strengths, their weaknesses, etc. before turning to what they might do in the future.

These “castles in the clouds” rise from our experience, our education and the inner nature of things that construct knowledge as well as constructing cathedrals.  Great career counselors are particularly good at orchestrating what they have seen in the past and integrating it with the future.

 

#TBT…Book Review: Employer Relations and Recruitment: An Essential Part of the Postsecondary Career Services

Book Review: Employer Relations and Recruitment: An Essential Part of the Postsecondary Career Services. Myrna P. Hoover, Janet G. Lentz, and Jeffrey W. Garis. Oklahoma: National Career Development Association, 2013. 14 pp.

Tim Harding, The University of Tampa

Higher Education institutions are under the microscope to demonstrate students’ return on investment for their  attained degrees. Included in that assessment is student success in realizing their career goals. Career Services offices rightfully focus on career education and job search strategies and preparations with their constituent students. The authors of this monograph rightfully remind us of the importance of strategic employer development that results in meaningful partnerships, sponsorships, and effective talent recruitment.

A helpful review of employer relations history and evolution over the past several decades provides a context for developing a comprehensive and effective employer development strategies that aligns with an ever changing world of work and economy that is in flux. A thoughtful treatment is provided for approaches, programs, marketing strategies, event coordination, fundraising, technological support, and program assessment no matter what the number of staff or size of the institution.

In just a few pages, the authors provide not just a approach to employer relations but practical examples that include sample job descriptions, event checklists, report charts, staff performance review forms, employer evaluation examples, miscellaneous printed and electronic ads, and much more that are a part of an information packed Appendix.

The authors stress the importance of having a dynamic program with a final chapter that provides insight into future employment relations issues and trends including topics such as accountability, internships, distance learning, recruiting trends and social media.

This monograph is a must for any new Career Services professional. As a veteran of over 20 years of Career Services experience, I also found it thought provoking and inspiring for new ideas, approaches, and strategies. As I add this book to my library, I am confident that I will often refer to it’s practical resources while developing and assessing an effective employer relations program.

Conference Update from our Vice President

floridaacePlease don’t forget that registration is open for the 2015 Florida Association of Colleges & Employers Annual Conference! This year’s conference will mark our 50-year anniversary as an association, so it is fitting that a historical event be held in a historical city. Please join us in St. Augustine, FL June 17-19 at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort & Convention Center, where our theme will be “Honoring the Past * Treasuring the Present * Charting the Future”.  Registration is $275 for members. The non-member rate is $325 and includes a membership through January 1, 2016. Your fee includes:

  • Presentations and two very special keynote speakers, along with breakout sessions for Career Services and University Relations/College Recruiting professionals
  • President’s Reception (Wednesday)
  • Business Meeting Breakfast (Thursday)
  • Awards Luncheon (Thursday)
  • Golden Gala Banquet (Thursday)
  • Brunch (Friday)
  • Networking opportunities with professionals in Career Services and University/College Relations
  • Much more, including a St. Augustine trolley tour!

As of today, 113 people have registered for the 2015 FloridaACE Conference.  With the conference a little less than 2 months away, we are very excited about the turnout so far and look forward to many more registrations in the coming weeks.  So far, we have received registrations from the following institutions, employers, and vendors:

  • 12Twenty
  • Broward College
  • Career Fair Plus
  • CareerShift
  • City Furniture
  • CSO Research
  • Disney Worldwide Services, Inc.
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Flagler College
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Florida International University
  • Florida Polytechnic University
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville
  • Florida State University
  • Herzing University
  • Kettering University
  • Lake-Sumter State College
  • Lynn University
  • Masco Contractor Services
  • New College of Florida
  • Northwest Florida State College
  • Northwood University
  • Palm Beach State College
  • Saint Leo University
  • Seminole State College of Florida
  • St. Edward’s University (Texas)
  • St. Johns River State College
  • St. Petersburg College
  • State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
  • Stetson University
  • The University of Tampa
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of South Florida – Tampa
  • University of South Florida – St. Petersburg
  • University of West Florida
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Valencia College

Conference Hotel Update

As of this week, over 225 room nights have been booked at the Renaissance World Golf Resort.  We have exceeded our room block, but the conference rate will be honored as long as there are rooms still available.  If you have not reserved your room, you are encouraged to do so ASAP.

Reservations can be made at the Renaissance World Golf Village by calling 800-391-6389 and requesting the FloridaACE conference rate or by visiting the Renaissance World Golf Village‘s special website for this event.  The conference room rate is $129 per night.

Update from Programs Committee

We had a great response of program proposals for our annual conference.  The program committee has been working diligently to finalize the schedule and hope to send it out in the upcoming weeks.  We are excited about the topics and hope that you will enjoy the breakout sessions from our extremely talented FloridaACE members.

President’s Council

Each year we ask members to support our annual conference by contributing to the President’s Council. These monetary donations help us to provide the best possible workshops, keynote speakers and networking activities. Your organization and its’ gift will be recognized in our conference program, meeting announcements and on our website. For more information about the President’s Council, please visit the FloridaACE website or contact Robert Liddell via email or at 352-588-8346. Remember, your support makes a difference!

Conference Bags and Door Prizes

We would appreciate any addition your organization can make to the conference welcome/check-in bags (literature, coupons, branded token items, etc.). Providing this allows you to promote your organization or product to a large audience of career professionals throughout the state. For more information regarding welcome bags, please contact Valerie Kielmovitch, Conference Registration Chair.

We are also collecting door prizes to be raffled during the closing session of the conference.  If you would like to donate one or more, please contact Adam DeRosa, Conference Chair.

Social Media

Look for up-to-the-minute conference updates on our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts, and through our FloridaACE Blog.

Tweet or Instagram the conference using #FloridaACE15 and follow conference tweets easily by visiting http://twubs.com/FloridaACE15. Hint: there will be another hashtag contest this year!

 

We will see you in June!

Sincerely,

Adam DeRosa, Conference Chair
Vice President
Florida Association of Colleges & Employers

Making the Most of Your First FloridaACE Conference Experience

Alicia Smyth, FloridaACE Information Management Director

I can remember my very first FloridaACE (known back then as FCPA) conference like it was yesterday. The year was 2000. We were in Key West, and there was no such thing as social media. To network, you had to actually talk to people! As a new professional and introvert, I felt disengaged and disconnected because everyone already seemed to know each other.

Over the years, I started to get more involved. I dipped a toe in by serving as a room host for a few years. I got to know more FloridaACE professionals by getting involved with the Colleges of Central Florida Career Consortium. Eventually, I chaired the conference evaluation committee. 10 years later, I joined the board. Year after year, I got to know more and more FloridaACE professionals and today, going to the annual conference feels like coming home to me. I regret not getting involved with FloridaACE sooner because many of my FloridaACE colleagues have become close friends and confidants.

I share my story as a cautionary tale. The new member experience today is a completely different one, thanks to FloridaACE online system advancements and social media (ideal for introverts and extroverts alike), along with some great ways for new members to network and engage at the conference.

Here are some tips and ideas for ensuring your first FloridaACE conference experience is a productive and fun one:

  • Follow and engage FloridaACE on social media! We are on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Twitter gets especially fun during the conference.
  • Tweet and/or Instagram before, during and after the conference using #FloridaACE15
  • Log in to your FloridaACE account and start connecting with members by visiting the online social community (can only access if logged in). Update your profile, add a picture, and start connecting with members!
  • See who’s attending the conference before you go (must be logged in to view)
  • Join a conference committee
  • Set several goals or intentions for your conference experience – what do you want to get out of your time in St. Augustine?
  • Attend the New Member Orientation at the conference – this is crucial!
  • Get to know at least one seasoned member who can introduce you to people – our amazing Board is a great place to start! Connect with members through social media and the online social community before, during and after the conference.
  • Bring business cards – they will come in handy
  • Be engaged during the conference – attend the events, don’t be afraid to ask questions during and after sessions, and make it a point to introduce yourself every chance you get
  • Try to distance yourself from the office if possible. You can’t learn anything new if you are busy checking emails during sessions. Your work will be waiting for you when you get back, I promise!
  • If possible, stay at the hotel where the conference is being held
  • Share what you learned with your colleagues back in the office
  • Continue to interact with FloridaACE members long after the conference is over through social media, email, consortia, and professional conferences

If you are an introvert or just shy, think of this as a professional development opportunity. I cannot tell you how wonderful my FloridaACE experience has been since I became actively involved. It is empowering to get to know people in your profession who do what you do and share your passion for helping (or hiring) students. Regardless of where you stand on the Myers-Briggs, you will leave the conference with a renewed sense of purpose, ready to celebrate the triumphs and tackle the challenges that come your way in the semesters to come. And next year, you’ll be the seasoned member who helps show new members the ropes!

Articles Worth Reading:
10 Ways to Make the Most Out of a Conference (The Muse)
12 Ways to Get the Most Out of Attending a Conference (U.S. News & World Report)
Conference Attendees: How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck (HubSpot Blogs)