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The job interview: Not saying thank you can cost you the job offer

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Especially in a pro-employer job market, when all skillsets are equal between the job candidate finalists, the politest and most personable professional will likely get the coveted job offer.

The reason is simple:

Personality and good manners are often times more valuable than the actual job skills a candidate brings to the table. As unfair as this may seem, humans make the hiring decisions and usually hire who they like and who will fit into their corporate culture.

Naturally, some job candidates get nervous about interviewing for a position. As a result, they can forget to say “thank you” during and after interviewing.

By being appreciative, thoughtful and aware of others throughout the interviewing process, this conveys that you can be a team player. Doing so also demonstrates that you have good business etiquette skills, which is important for retaining and growing the company’s client base.

Helpful tip:

Before the interview, write the words “remember to say thank you” on a yellow sticky or piece of paper. Then, review it one last time before getting on the phone interview or walking through the company door.

The “thank you” touch points for each person you meet…

The phone interview:

Thank the person for her time and for the initial phone interview.

Follow up with a thank you note via email or snail mail the same day or next morning.

Note: If Human Resources (HR) or the interviewer shares with you that the hiring team will make a decision in a few weeks, and time is on your side, then nothing says “thank you for the interview” better than a handwritten note on professional-looking card stock.

Rebecca Black, Business Etiquette Coach and Author, says that “if a job candidate is serious about getting a job, then she will thank the recruiter and interviewing team personally and in writing. The handwritten thank you note in the mail works best.”

Either thank you method also demonstrates responsiveness and great follow-up skills.

The in-person interview:

When applicable, thank the person in conversation for any information you found particularly interesting or useful throughout the interview. Be care not to overdo it. Also thank the interviewer for his time at the end of the job interview.

Then, follow up the same day or next morning with the thank you note.

Helpful tip:

Write on the same check list a note to “ask for business cards” from anyone you meet at the interview. Having to ask the receptionist or HR person to find out the person’s contact information, like email address or job title, later on can look forgetful on your part if you cannot find out the information on your own via LinkedIn or the company’s website.

After being on the interviewer side, more often times than not, the job offer truly will go to the politest job candidate when all skills are equal.

So, don’t forget to say “thank you for your time and the interview” to every person you meet or speak with. Then, follow up with a thank you note that also reiterates why you are the best person for the job.

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