Sending a thank you note after an interview has been a standard practice for years. With the advent of the internet, the opportunity to immediately send thank you notes became a reality. That said, the handwritten vs. email debate has gone on for years, each side citing the benefits of their approach. Regardless of which method you use, at the very least you should send a thank you note. I interview about 100 people every year, and am shocked at how few thank you notes, handwritten or emailed, I receive as a follow up.
Pro: Instantaneous. Email allows you to send a thank you note the same day you interview, reinforcing your interest in the job and ability to follow up quickly.
Con: Mechanical. Email lacks the personal touch conveyed by a handwritten thank you note.
Pro: Personalization. A handwritten thank you note says “I took the extra time to send you a thank you note because this opportunity is important”. Who doesn’t want the hiring manager of their dream job to hear this message?
Con: Time. It takes time for your note to make it’s way to the decision-maker, and likely will not make it to them before they make a decision about your candidacy. While a thank you note probably isn’t a deal breaker, do everything you can to put the odds in your favor for a job offer.
Utilize both forums. In the interest of time, send well-written, thoughtful thank you notes via email to each person you meet with the same day you interview. If you have time in between interviews, take a few seconds to jot down something unique that came up during your conversation so you can reference it in your thank you email. Otherwise, by the time you sit down to write your emails every conversation will have run together, making this exercise harder than necessary. Then, send a handwritten thank you note to the hiring manager and the recruiter. This approach allows you to immediately follow up as well as send a more thoughtful note to the decision-makers who matter most.