The Power of Thank-You Notes
A recent study has shown just how powerful a simple ‘Thank You’ can be – especially if you are a job applicant! Nearly 80% of the HR managers who were a part of the study undertaken by Accountemps said that follow-up ‘thank you’ notes by applicants are taken into account while taking a final call about their hiring. Let’s take a closer look at what the study says.
What is the study?
Accountemps, present at 325 global locations, describes itself as the "world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance, and bookkeeping professionals." The organization developed a survey, and an individual research firm collected responses from over 300 HR managers who were working with companies with 20 or more employees in the US. The survey quizzed managers about the importance of a follow-up message, what makes for a good ‘thank-you’ note, and how prevalent was the practice?
What do the results say?
The results suggest that a simple follow-up ‘thank you’ message by the applicant can give him/her the edge, yet the practice of doing so is on the decline. Here are some of the findings of the study:
• Nearly 80% of the managers said that a 'Thank-You' message from a promising job candidate helps simplify the hiring decision (22% noted that the gesture was ‘Very Helpful’ and 58% reported it to be ‘Somewhat Helpful’).
• However, only 24% of the managers admitted that they have received thank you notes, as opposed to 51% in 2007.
• The respondents say that an email (94%) and a hand-written note (86%) are the most appropriate methods of writing the same. Other options fared as follows: Phone call (56%), Social Media (7%) and Text Message (5%).
Michael Steinitz, Executive Director, Accountemps, says, "Civility counts when looking for a job. Acknowledging a hiring manager for the time he or she has given you demonstrates your enthusiasm, professionalism, and attention to detail. With so few job seekers writing thank-you notes, a well-crafted message can help you stand out from other candidates. Those who forego thank-you notes may be missing out on a prime opportunity to leave a good impression, especially if competition for the position is tight."
What makes for a good ‘thank you’ note?
Accountemps also provide insights on how to draft a perfect thank-you note after an interview:
• Do add value. "Instead of writing a generic note, customize the message by mentioning a skill that wasn't brought up during the interview or expounding on a topic that was discussed."
• Don't delay. "Send a thank-you note within 24 hours. Some employers make hiring decisions shortly after the round of interviews is complete, and you don't want to risk sending your note after that window has closed."
• Do proofread. "Sending a thank-you message can backfire if you go about it the wrong way. Typos and grammatical mistakes may come across as a lack of attention to detail. Take the time to review, revise and refine your thank-you note."
• Don't be pushy. "If you don't hear from the employer within a week of the interview, it's appropriate to follow up with a phone call or another email. But do so in moderation. Persistence is laudable, but pestering can get you removed from the shortlist."
How are the results relevant today?
In an uncertain job market, being aware of what works in favour of the applicant is valuable information. Furthermore, regardless of the geographic limitation of the survey, one cannot deny that being thoughtful, well-mannered and considerate will help you tip the scales in your favor. The results also show, as noted by Accountemps, that despite undergoing several critical changes in the last few years, some traditions, like that of following up with a thank-you note, remain as important as ever.
So, put on your thinking caps, and be sure to draft an appropriate, timely, error-free and heartfelt thank you note for your next interview!