Should I write an interview thank you letter?

The interview follow-up letter

A few months ago I applied for a job and got an interview, which went well.

Shortly after, something bothered me.

Do I just wait, or was there anything more I could do to maximise the chances of getting the job?

And then I discovered a horrible concept: the interview thank you letter.

I’d already thanked them at interview for inviting me in. Now I had to consider whether to pen a letter and risk appearing grovelling, overly keen… needy. Surely it’d have a negative effect?

Should I write an interview thank you letter?

I discovered endless articles on the dos and don’ts of writing one. Business Insider thinks they’re crucial. Forbes explains how to write the perfect one.

Not very British

Apparently they are essential to:

  • confirm your interest and enthusiasm
  • remind the panel of who you are and offer a chance to underline your qualities and
  • keep the lines of communication open.

But I soon realised the articles were all American. It’s not a very British thing to do. So I didn’t write one. And waited for the result. And waited.

After two days I knew I hadn’t got the job, and asked for feedback. I received a kind call from one of the interviewers. The job had gone to someone already doing the same kind of work.

Would I have got the job by writing an interview thank you letter?

In the UK, it’s surely doubtful, and I hope the requirement is not going to spread here. Although, The Apprentice’s interview attack dog Claude Littner remarks that “following an interview up with a letter […] leaves a marked impression.” Worrying, I feel.

claude littner interview
Claude Littner on The Apprentice

One benefit may be that it’ll encourage the panel to tell you their negative decision without you having to chase. If you do decide to write one, I suggests keeping it brief.

What about you—have you written or received interview thank you letters, and if so did they have a positive effect? Or maybe you’re against them, like me.

Let us know if the comments below!


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