Have you ever felt frustrated after an interview? Sure you have! I know you’ve mentally gone over your interview answers and…you remember what you DID NOT say and you realize you missed an opportunity to REINFORCE your candidacy. Well, this is why you write a strategic Thank You letter, which will position you back in the “game.”
Of course, it all depends on how badly you’ve screwed things up. Sometimes, there is no backpedaling, but let’s assume for a moment that you can recoup or cement your candidacy--what then do you say in your Thank You letter besides...thank you?
The problem with most Thank You letters is they are usually prepared as just a nice gesture. Saying thank you is a very nice thing to do and it does go a long way, but if written as an ordinary thank you, it is not strategic enough to add another dimension to your candidacy, it leverages not an additional qualifier, and doesn’t elevate your interview performance. In other words, use your Thank You opportunity as a last marketing tool in order to gain a competitive distinction.
Here are a few things you can do to take advantage of the follow up opportunity. Remember that now you have "insider" information you did not prior to the interview—don’t waste it.
When Your Interviewer Shared a Concern: If during the interview process, you were told that the perfect candidate must meet XYZ and you discussed your lack in one of these areas, you need to talk about this again. Concisely bring it up, reiterate why this would not be a problem, and, in fact, promote how despite this "weakness" you are the PERFECT candidate.
When You Did Not Say What You Should Have Said: At times, we reflect and in retrospect recognize where we failed. Well, this is your opportunity! Bring up the topic and say you would like to elaborate, you would like to expand; you had time to think about this and want to convey the following.
When You Think You Sensed Apprehension: This is a bit risky because you could be wrong. Yet, what is life if not risky? If you are very good at perceiving and ascertaining needs and you KNOW you identified a problem--"smooth" it out! Please do not say you think the interviewer did not understand... You NEVER want to convey you assume to know what others think but you can discuss what YOU failed to communicate. You can say you would like to clarify a point you wish you had emphasized.
When You Really Just Want to Say Thank You: There are times when you were FANTASTIC during an interview and you sincerely just want to say, thanks! Nevertheless, you don’t know how your competition performed and you are not privy as to what kind of Thank You letter they are preparing. So, in this case, thank them but fortify your candidacy even further. You could...
• Accentuate three of your top qualifications as discussed during the interview. Now you have more information than you did prior to the interview—put it to work for you! Connect your qualifications with employer needs expressed during the interview.
• Bring up information they shared about the company and express how much more interested you became.
• Sell them again on the bottom-line goal they need to achieve via your employment. Seal the deal by promising to deliver.
Keep this thank you letter concise; while a sales tool it does not have to be as elaborate as your resume or cover letter. And, remember, the entire job search process is a strategic marketing effort; leverage every tool and maximize every opportunity.