“How soon after an interview should I send a Thank You letter?”
Thanks for your question, Dina –
This is often a question I have struggled with as well. Sending a letter too soon may send a message that you didn’t genuinely reflect on what you appreciated in the interview and waiting too long might lead the employer to believe you are disinterested. Neither scenario is ideal, so what is the perfect length of time to wait? The honest answer is that there is no set standard. Each situation is different and must be approached carefully based upon the specific circumstances.
However, although there is no perfect answer to this question, there are some guidelines you will want to follow when writing and sending your Thank You note:
Follow the 12-hour rule for e-mails
In today’s digital world and fast-paced world, 24 hours can seem like an eternity to wait for a thank you e-mail. A lot can happen in 24 hours and you want to avoid letting too much time pass by. However, if you send an e-mail from your phone in the parking lot, your thank you note may not appear to be genuinely thought out and also could easily include mistakes with features like autocorrect. Waiting at least 12 Hours to send a thank you e-mail gives you time to think about your message and also communicates a balance of eagerness and patience – two qualities employers look for in great hires. If the interview was in the morning, send it out later that evening for them to read the next morning and if it was in the afternoon, send it first thing the next day. Either way, you get their day off to a good start!
Pay extra for 2-day or overnight delivery on handwritten notes
Although e-mails are perfectly acceptable, there is no substitute for the sincerity of a personal thank-you note. However, the only drawback of sending a handwritten thank you note via snail-mail is that it may take too long to arrive and you could risk appearing disinterested if your interviewer doesn’t receive it in time to make the hiring decision. If you opt for the handwritten note, make sure you send it via 2-day mail or overnight. Since a small note is such a light weight, the cost should be minimal and the return on genuine investment could be worth it if you get offered the position.
Never write a thank you note before the interview
Regardless of when you send your note and the medium you choose, an interviewer will always be able to tell the difference between a “standard” note and one that is well thought out. Give yourself 2-4 hours after the interview to reflect on your performance and what you particularly were grateful for during the process. Even if the interview went terribly, you can still take the time to show some genuine appreciation for their time and consideration. Writing a thank you note before an interview will almost always appear scripted and will lack a personal touch. If you had multiple interviewers, send each one a personalized message highlighting your appreciation for a comment, question or response to a question you asked.
As always, you can reach out to your career advisor at your career center for more help on thank you notes and other interview etiquette tips.