4 Tips to Prevent a Thank You Note Backfire

If you're beginning to question whether thank you notes are relevant in the job search process you're not alone. Often times, too many thank you notes are received too late, add little value or are so generic that they risk backfiring as opposed to helping a candidate advance through the interview process.

To prevent your thank you note from having an unintended consequence, make sure it meets these important criteria:

  • Make sure it adds value to the conversation to date, recaps your key differentiators or provides further evidence of your promise as a candidate. Merely saying “thank you” and “nice to meet you” is a waste of the paper it’s written on.
  • Proactively address a perceived shortcoming you may have discussed that might limit your consideration for the position.
  • Make it timely. Send the message within 1-2 business days via email, not snail mail. The pace of talent recruitment today, especially within the technology and analytics world, means we may be making decisions on your future employment while you are riding down in the elevator.
  • Personalize the message you send to each person you met in the interview, connecting to a positive part of the conversation. Don’t send identical, generic notes to everyone. In our debrief meetings we often compare notes, and it doesn’t look good if you’ve said the same thing to each of us.

As thoughtful as they can be, too often handwritten thank you notes take too long to arrive. As mentioned, email thank you notes are suggested, especially if they include links to online portfolios or your online thought pieces that support your candidacy. But please no thank you texts or LinkedIn posts.

Sarah Doll is the senior director of talent management at Chicago-based Enova International. With 1,100 plus employees, $766 million in revenues, online lender Enova is reshaping how Americans borrow with the use of technology and analytics. It is Sarah Doll and her team’s job to fill 200+ new positions each year with the country’s top technology talent and ensure they are successfully acclimated into the company. The company has been named a top employer of Gen Y talent the last two years.

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