I’ll answer this question with a resounding YES! To illustrate one very dramatic reason for saying this, let me tell you a story—a true story.
I was working with a recruiter recently who was interviewing on campus for a position with her company. I asked her how much value she and her hiring managers place on thank you letters from candidates after interviews. Here’s what she said:
“Just the other day, I was helping one of our hiring managers review candidates. We had narrowed the list to two, both of whom possessed strong qualifications for the position. We carefully reviewed their resumes as well as their performance in a series of three interviews, but still couldn’t come up with anything that set one candidate apart from the other. At that point, the hiring manager sat back and asked me if either one had sent a thank you letter after any of the interviews. I checked their files and found that one of them did send a thank you, but the other one didn’t. The manager just looked at me and said, let’s hire the one that sent the thank you!” Then she said, “I think that answers your question. A high quality thank you letter can make the difference in whether or not a candidate gets the job offer!”
So again, YES, thank you letters really are a necessary part of your job search. They can set you above and apart from other candidates. And, by taking the time to write and send a high quality thank you letter, you are letting the employer know you are very serious about working for their company. The letter also gets your name in front of the employer again, and gives you the opportunity to stress your qualifications for the position. Finally, everyone appreciates it when someone thanks them for their time and effort.
One very important tip: be sure to send your thank you letter within 24 to 48 hours after your interview. Any later, and it doesn’t carry nearly as much weight.