Terrific Interview Advice : How To Write A Thank-You Letter
Much has been written about how to get an interview, and about what to say and what not to say. But there’s precious little good advice out there about how to write a letter after the interview.
That letter is one of the most important parts of the interviewing process, as we will demonstrate here.
Karen Futch, the daughter of one of our contributors Ken Futch, landed a great job at an upscale hotel — the Palomar Hotel in Atlanta–because of a terrific thank-you letter that she wrote.
Her mentor—a senior executive at a big PR firm–told Karen that instead of writing a thank-you letter that went like, “I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and look forward to hearing from you,” Karen should instead regard herletter as the very last chance she would have to sell herself .
She explained: “Whenever I interview someone for a job, if that person is not smart enough to do more than thank me in their letter, they’re not smart enough to work for me. I toss their application into the trash can.” She advised Karen to write a thank-you letter that told why she enjoyed the interview, why she thought she would be a good fit for the company, and what were the skills that she possessed to make her a good hire.
That is precisely the kind of letter that Karen wrote. Here’s what happened next.
Karen decided to deliver the letter in person to Mike, the department head who had interviewed her.
Mike took the letter from Karen, told her that he would talk with the general manager, and promised to get back to her.
Karen got in her car, but on the way home received a phone call from Mike.
Here’s what Mike told Karen: “I just read your letter. It’s terrific. I don’t need to talk to the general manager. I’m prepared to offer you a job now.”
Bingo! Below is the letter that Karen wrote:
Thank you so much for spending time with me today. It is so refreshing to interact with such an inspirational leader. I hope I was able to convey that the interview was a very positive experience for me. I know you are interviewing several other candidates. I am aware that your task is to select the very best match for this position. As a result, I want to reiterate why I would be a great choice and how my skill sets offer great value to your hotel.
After researching all the major players in the hotel industry, Kimpton’s internal philosophy of mission, promise, culture and values is what immediately drew me to The Palomar. Your promise and dedication to the needs and success of your employees is beyond admirable. It is because of this dedication that I see no other hotel chain to be in your league. While providing customers an elite experience in customer service, ambiance, and décor, the values and culture of Kimpton make it truly unique. The Palomar not only has class, it has culture, and it has heart.
While you can train someone to perform certain tasks to meet a certain level of expectations, it is difficult, if not impossible to instill the heart and passion that I will bring to The Palomar. My greatest strengths accompany my positive attitude, vibrant personality, and passion to consistently strive for excellence. I really enjoyed the spirit that you have helped instill in every employee I met and am excited about the possibility of being a team member with such a wonderful array of people.
Since Mark Fischer was unable to meet with me today, I look forward to that opportunity. When the artist change occurs on November 5th, my desire is to be a valuable member of the Palomar team.
Final comment about Karen’s letter. There’s a saying in golf, “It’s not how you drive, but how you arrive that counts.” What you do after the job interview can make the difference between success and failure. What Karen’s mentor told her is some of the best advice we’ve ever seen about a job interview.
Abraham Lincoln wrote some of the greatest letters in American history. Learn his secrets in an acclaimed video “Lincoln on Communication.” If you order now, you’ll receive a bonus audio book: “Lincoln’s Wisdom.”