You’ve successfully made it through the interview process, been offered the job, and now you may be wondering what are the next steps to take.
Regardless of whether you decide to accept or decline the job, the polite next step should include a thank you letter. This is a quick, easy way to stand out for all the right reasons, and can avoid burning any bridges should you decide to reject it.
Why write a thank you letter?
Once you’ve ended the negotiation process and signed your new employment contract, it’s important to continue building your new relationships. For those involved in the hiring process, thank you letters from the new hire showing appreciation for their time can confirm that they’ve made the right decision. It is also a good way to cement your relationship with any new contacts you may have made.
If you’ve decided to turn down the job, a thank you letter is a good way to maintain your relationships with the people involved in the decision making process, and can soften the blow of your decision.
For most this people, it is appropriate to send a letter to the hiring manager. If a recruiter was involved in the process, and worked with you personally, it is polite to send one to them also.
When to send a thank you letter
Timing is important. Sending the letter too late, and it can look like merely an afterthought, so it is best to send the letter early. It can be particularly detrimental if you have decided to turn down the job, as the hiring manager will need to then move quickly to secure the next candidate. In this case, the sooner, the better.
Having said that, if you intend to accept, sending it too early might not be the best idea either, in case - for whatever reason - the job offer is rescinded. For that reason, the best time to send a thank you letter is when you return your signed job contract.
Important things to include in the letter
Regardless of to whom you are sending your thank you letter - your new boss, or your recruiter - the format of the letter is generally the same, with some personalisation.
Keep in mind that, if you are accepting the job, this is your first formal interaction with the company as an employee. Be polite and professional to make a good impression.
If declining, use this letter as a gentle way to decline.
Regardless of your decision, it’s important to show gratitude and appreciation. Begin with a formal greeting, and thank them for the opportunity. A quick pleasantry here may be appropriate; you may wish to mention that you enjoyed meeting them, or that you appreciate the time they took to get to know you during the interview.
Next, deliver your decision. Be clear. If declining, provide an honest but brief reason why, if you can, and if not, simply state that it’s not the best fit for you.
End the letter with a short statement reiterating your thanks, and if appropriate, that you wish to keep in touch. Sign off with your full name.
Before you send it, always double check with spell check, and if you can, have someone you trust read over it.
Remember, a thank you letter doesn’t need to be long. In fact, the best ones are often short and to-the-point. Be polite and professional, and regardless of your decision to accept or decline the job, your letter is sure to make a good impression.