Two simple words that could tip the job offer scales in your favor

So, even if you aren’t sure if you nailed it in the first 20 seconds of your interview, here are the two simple words that could tip the job offer scales in your favor…




Think about this – you basically have 3 opportunities in the interviewing process to convey that YOU are a good match with the job and company:

1 the cover letter  – the opportunity you have to show that you understand the company and the job

2 the interview – the opportunity to demonstrate what it will be like to have you around every day performing in that job

3 the thank you note – the opportunity to remind them how amazingly matched you are with the company and job


Often people will put on some pretty crazy stunts in the name of saying thanks and getting noticed.  Sometimes this works, other times it doesn’t.  I think it’s an especially risky thing to do anything crazy pre-interview (you simply don’t know each other yet – it’s a blind guess what they might find funny, cute or clever) or during the interview.


The bottom line is that the interview should be a time where you are showing you on your best behavior.  So to do anything “memorable” at this time (on purpose anyway) is simply showing that you embrace senseless risk – most companies don’t like wild cards running around their corridors.


But after the interview process, you know each other a bit better.  There’s a context of relatedness, warmth, shared stories, shared laughter, etc.  Capitalize on one of your most memorable, warmest/fuzziest moments and remind them of that when you thank them for the opportunity to interview with them.  I’ve heard of people sending a bag of popcorn and writing “I’m popping with ideas over how to _______” (i.e. expand business within your newest region, introduce your newest initiative to your employees, etc.) in their thank you note.


The beauty of this strategy is that if you are sending an item with your note it will probably require your letter to be delivered as a special package – that’s a delivery strategy that is sure to get opened/noticed quickly vs. sitting in their email or snail mail box for possibly a few days.  Packages get immediate attention!


If you are going to send a novelty item with your thank you letter, keep at least two points in mind …


1.  Let the item reflect the same volume of creativity/conservatism as the company (i.e. if it’s a creative ad agency – get pretty creative.  If it’s a financial services firm – be more conservative in your approach).  Show that you get the tone of the culture.

2.  Let the novelty item represent a visual image of you + the company together.  Find something you and the company have in common and showcase it through your selected novelty item AND explain it in your thank you note.


Also – it should have universal appeal to everyone you met with.  So don’t let it be something that might appeal to one individual who will see the thank you note to but it has no relevance to anyone else you met.  You don’t want to look like you are bribing anyone for a job with something that could only be interpreted as a gift – especially a gift you might give to your spouse or a love interest.  For example, don’t send them wine, flowers, chocolate, stationary, etc. if those things have nothing to do with the company.


Plus, it shouldn’t be anything expensive – ideally, it should be something you could probably buy in a dollar store.  Some companies may even have restrictions about accepting anything that might have a perceived value over amounts as small as $25.


The good news is – you don’t have to get fancy.  If sending some small novelty item with your thank you isn’t your thing – don’t worry it isn’t most people’s thing either.  BUT…


The worst thing to do after the interview is nothing – you don’t want to convey that you aren’t interested in the job or company.  You can still stand out by simply sending a thank you note.


Even small, simple details can get noticed like writing your thank you note in one of their cards on one of their stationary items (if the company sells cards/stationary), or by using a burgundy font in your note if their company color is burgundy.


The best way to stand out over other candidates with a simple note is to send a hand written note.  I know you have heard this before – let me remind you why this is a smart move:

  • it’s personable – it shows you took time and if it’s handwritten, it doesn’t feel like it’s probably your “canned” interviewing thank you note.
  • most people don’t send things via “snail mail” – and if you are sending what looks like a card vs. a letter – it will get opened (email like this often gets lost or read when they have time – which means almost never.  People go to email for “important”/business need-to-know correspondence)— after all, when you get mail at your home, what do you open first – bills, business letters, or what looks like a card from someone you recently met?
  • they get read!  resumes and cover letters don’t always get read – but thank you notes usually do PLUS, they sometimes get circulated to the people who interviewed you (especially if you send your note to the person who interviewed you in Human Resources), and it will probably remain/be noted in your applicant file.

And don’t forget these simple things:

  • send it within 24 hours of the interview
  • make sure there are no typos
  • keep it brief (5-10 sentences will do)
  • send 1 thank you to everyone you met (or address your package/envelop to HR and the note to everyone you met)
  • refer to the date of your interview and the job title you interviewed for
  • recap why you are a good match with the job AND company
  • tell them you are interested in the job
  • include how you should be contacted
  • when you will follow up to find out how things are progressing with filling the job (i.e. “As we discussed at the interview, I will reach out to you by DATE (1 week after your interview) to inquire about the status of my application.”)  You should establish if it is okay for you to do this at the end of your interview – that gives you a chance to get clear about who your point of contact is for questions, follow-up and for sending the thank you.  In the note, this should just be confirming what you already established in the face-to-face interview.


and most of all…


  • make sure the two simple words that could tip the job offer scales in your favor are in your note – include the phrase “thank you” – you would be surprised how often this is left out- duh!




About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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