One reason why most people neglect to write a thank you letter after their interviews is because they have different expectations of what a thank you letter is. In everyday life, people send thank you letters all the time for a variety of purposes. You might send someone a thank you letter for having invited you to a dinner party, for example or a businessman might send a client a thank you letter for closing a profitable deal or introducing a new client to him. All of these examples of situations in which you send someone a thank you letter simply involve observing the niceties of courtesy and politeness.
With the interview thank you letter, however, the situation is entirely different. While sending a thank you letter after an interview is considered simple courtesy, it is also so much more than that. When people first started sending thank you letters after interviews, they did it out of simple courtesy; to thank their interviewer for taking the time to talk to them. After some time, however, it became more than a simple courtesy and evolved into something that many interviewers expect of their interviewees instead. The thank you letter after an interview came to be seen as an indication of how much a job applicant really wanted to land a job.
The rationale behind this expectation was that a job applicant who was really sincere and interested in landing the job would do anything and everything to keep in contact with his interviewer and to present as good an impression as possible, even after the interview. So while you might think that sending a thank you letter after an interview would be a waste of time and paper, you might actually be boosting your own chances of being hired.
So What Should You Do?
There are some general guidelines you can and should follow with respect to sending a thank you letter after your interview. This way you are not likely to make any mistakes and will help yourself maximize your chances of being hired.
The first thing to do is to take careful note of whether your company is more modern or traditional in its ways. This is because some companies prefer a more traditional method to communication and insist on receiving communications from job applicants through regular post. If you were told specifically to send your resume in to the company in printed form using regular post, then the company you are applying to probably falls under the traditional category. If, on the other hand, you were told to fill in your job application online, and to send in your resume as an attached document, then the company you are applying to definitely falls under the modern category.
Depending on whichever category the company you are applying to falls under, you should ensure that your thank you letter follows in that same trend. An interviewer from a more modern company will probably not take any exception to receiving a thank you letter through email. An interviewer from a more traditional company, however, will probably not appreciate anything other than a thank you letter that arrives through regular post.
Taking the time and effort to send your interviewer a thank you letter post interview is definitely a step in the right direction.