Mind Your Manners: 6 Tips for Writing Thank You Notes

If your parents are anything like mine, you’ve learned to say “thank you” when people give you things. Whether it be a gift, a ride, or a compliment most of us would offer a hearty “thanks” in return for someone else’s generosity. The interview process is no different. As someone who interviews for a living, I’m surprised at how seldom I receive a “thank you” note from a candidate.

When writing thank yous, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Ask everyone with whom you interview for their card or contact information (their e-mail is enough). You need this information to send them a note! Getting their card is best because it will ensure you have the correct spelling of their name.
  2. Send a thank you to everyone with whom you’ve met. Don’t leave anyone out! Everyone who interviewed you will most likely get together to talk about the candidates. You don’t want to offend someone by making them think you forgot about them.
  3. E-mail is fine. In today’s day and age, sending a thank you e-mail is perfectly fine. It’s direct, it’s fast, and it can be replied to. Sending a nice card is perfectly fine – and a nice touch – but do so quickly.
  4. Keep your “A” game going.  Don’t slack off on your thank you notes – mind your grammar, spelling, etc.  If you’re using e-mail – keep it professional and address the e-mail appropriately: “Dear Soandso,” with a formal signature.
  5. Remind them how great you are. Use this as an opportunity to highlight why you think you’re a great fit for the position. Try to refer back to what seemed most important to them in terms of their ideal candidate.
  6. Don’t send the same note to everyone. Take good notes during your interviews so that you can refer back to the specific conversations you had with each individual. Some people don’t realize that their thank you note is often forwarded on to the group of interviewers – meaning that it will quickly become obvious that you sent everyone the same note!

Writing a thank you note is another component of the job search process and just like a cover letter, while it may sometimes seem optional, it is always best to always send one!  A well-written thank you might be the “cherry on top” giving you an edge in being selected for the position.

 

This post originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog.

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7 Things Confidential Job Postings Say About Your Company

I always snicker and shake my head when I see a job posting listed as “Company Confidential“.  “Don’t these people get it?” I say to myself.

A job posting is one of the most frequent forms of advertising your company – and perhaps the number one way to represent your employment brand – you know -the image you project as to whether your company is a good place to work or not?  By publishing your job postings confidentially, you not only miss the opportunity to spread your employment brand, but you actually hurt it!  Plus, you’ll just delay the time it takes you to fill with your really bad version of grown up Hide and Seek.  Here’s what posting your open jobs confidentially  says about you:

  1. You don’t get talent! Candidates are leery about applying for confidential postings.  You’ll potentially miss out on the one by hiding who you are.
  2. You’re sneaky!  Do you already have someone in this role and you want to try and back fill them before they are out the door?  Would you post my job without talking to me someday? Are you conducting interviews in dark alleys?
  3. You’re ashamed! What are you hiding?  Shouldn’t the name of your company draw in applicants?
  4. You’re cowardly! Are you trying to avoid internal applications and the difficult conversations associated with having to let someone down?
  5. You’re old school! You think people should be lucky to work for you and have no other options.
  6. You’re not resourceful! You’re missing out on referrals from your employees and network.
  7. You’re lazy! You don’t want to “waste your time” wading through so many resumes so why not limit the amount you receive?

Sure, we can think of benefits to posting jobs confidentially…I’m talking to you staffing agencies who can’t hunt us down and blow up our phones…but the benefits nowhere near outweigh the detriment to your employment brand and your talent acquisition strategy in the global fight for talent.  Post confidentially, and you’ll enjoy less resumes, less talent,  and longer time to fill.  Enjoy!

The Unassumed Power of the Receptionist

People tend to undervalue and underappreciate the role a Receptionist plays in an organization. For some reason, some people treat the Receptionist differently than they might a manager or an executive in the company. But when you come in for an interview – the Receptionist has a lot more power than you might think they do. Conventional wisdom tells us how important it is to make a good first impression – and the Receptionist is the first person at the company with which a candidate interacts.

As a hiring manager, I ALWAYS ask our Receptionist what she thinks about a candidate she has met. Did they come in demanding coffee, speaking to her in a curt or rude manner that demonstrated an air of superiority? Or did they treat her with respect, asking her how her day is going and making pleasant small talk with her? The way someone interacts with her tells me a lot about the candidate and whether or not they would fit in with our culture.

BUSTED! Don’t Be an Interview Liar!

A job interview can be an anxiety causing situation – you want to make a good impression, you want (or need) the job.  So something happens inside you – you’re not the same person – you start to exaggerate your experience – and then – BAM – you’ve gone too far! 

Bad idea, mon frère!  We HR folks are pretty crafty – and it’s our job to smoke out the liars.   Recently, I conducted an interview with a candidate and asked them a question to see how they would describe a very technical concept to a non-technical person.  To be fair to them, I first asked if they knew the difference between Concept A and Concept B – to which they quickly said “Yes, I do”.  I then asked them to explain the difference to me as if I did not understand the technical jargon.  This caught them off guard and the person struggled to explain something that they clearly did not understand.  Ultimately, as the candidate stumbled through their answer, they finally came clean and said they did not know the difference.  They also said they weren’t expecting to be asked technical questions in an interview with an HR person.  Oh no you didn’t just underestimate me! 

The truth is – I wasn’t asking the question to see if they knew the difference between the two concepts – I was asking them to see how they would explain something technical in an easy-to-understand way.  The problem was not that they didn’t know.  The problem then became that they LIED about their knowledge, assuming I wouldn’t ask a deeper follow-up question.

It amazes me how many people don’t recognize that a good interviewer is going to ask follow-up questions.  When asking about computer skills, I start off asking the person to rate their skills for various Office programs on a 1 – 10 scale.  When a person rates themselves high – like a 9 or a 10, I probe further, asking for them to tell me about the most complicated spreadsheet they ever created, or to tell me about the advanced features they know.  Surely, if they are a 9 or a 10, they must know some advanced features, right?

One more example, I interviewed a candidate for a position that would have required the person to work with Spanish-speaking workers.  The person claimed as a strength their ability to speak and understand Spanish.  Being an intermediate Spanish-speaker myself, I asked him to tell me something in Spanish.  He couldn’t do it.

While this type of questioning does give insight into the candidate’s knowledge-base, the main purpose is to see how honest and how willing to admit their mistakes they are.

Recruiters – what liars have you BUSTED in your interviews? Did you hire them?

Job seekers – what lies have you told to get the job?  Did you ever get BUSTED?

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