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4 Things to Include in Your Post-Interview “Thank You” Letter

Before your mind takes you to the never-ending replay of your interview, a feeling of relief is quick to take over the moment you exit the room. While the hard part may be over, one of the most important touches is still yet to come – The post-interview “thank you” letter. This email or handwritten note is a small gesture that goes a long way and should be seen as a last chance to impress your interviewer. More so, the “thank you” is what could ultimately set you apart from all other candidates, becoming the deciding factor for who is hired into the position. Here are 4 essential things to include in your post-interview letter, placing you ahead of the game and above the other applicants.

Start with Personalization
To avoid appearing like you recycle thank you’s for each post-interview letter, be sure to personalize this note with the interviewer’s name and position you applied / interviewed for. Additionally, include an aspect or job duty specific to the role that interested you and was discussed during your meeting – By calling out details, big or small, this shows the interviewer that you, not only were paying attention, but are genuinely interested in the position.

The “Thank You”
Ultimately, the main point of this letter is to thank your interviewer for taking the time to meet with you and discuss the potential role. When your nerves begin to kick in, it is common to unintentionally skip over the thank you’s in person, as you are eager to jump into the interview questions – Take this time to properly recognize the time spent during your interview, acknowledging this person took valuable time out of their day to meet with you.

A Good Fit
While most of your interview was likely spent discussing responsibilities of the role and how your skills and experience to date would be a great match, be sure to reiterate this in your email. Realistically, the hiring manager has and / or will meet with additional contenders for this position, so it is important to call out your assets and how they would be most applicable to this job. Additionally, this will allow you to hone in on any particular area that you feel would be very relevant to the role, as well as keep your strengths at top of mind for the interviewer.

Next Steps
Ending with an action item is a crucial part to completing your note. By requesting to hear next steps, you are putting the ball in their court – More importantly, if they do not respond in a timely manner, this gives you an appropriate reason to follow-up for more information. Remember to always keep the door open for more conversation and future networking opportunities.

4 Things to Include in Your Post-Interview “Thank You” Letter

Important Skills for a Future CFO

A company’s traditional executive board is made up of 4 major C-level members – Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Each of these managerial positions focus on different parts of the business, however, in order for an organization to be successful, all parties must align and participate in each other’s job function. For many, many years, a CFO’s sole priority has remained holding responsibility for the company’s financial state and accurately forecasting numbers based on historical data. While this continues to be top priority, the CFO must also be involved in the growth strategy of the organization, as well as the plan on how to keep the business sustainable. For future CFO’s or current financial officers looking to expand their experience, here are 3 important skills to obtain.

Data Analysis
Consumer data is becoming increasingly critical for companies to analyze and use as business evaluation. This information provides insight to a list of things, such as market growth, customer pain points, and targeted business planning. While this seems to be a job more for the CMO and COO, CFOs are being asked to dive into this realm, using analytics to develop better and more accurate financial forecasts. Additionally, this means financial teams will be spending much more time using technology and cloud-based services versus manually recording numbers. Not only will this theoretically save time but will also identify potential efficiencies.

Strategic Thinking
With the professional relationship between CEOs and CFOs meeting a new level, it is important for the financial officer to have experience and / or ability in high-level strategic thinking. Ultimately, they need to determine how specific business development decisions made by various members of the exec board will be maintainable long-term. Therefore, implementing the growth strategy into the financial forecast for upcoming years.

Leadership
The most obvious, but, arguably, most important skill a CFO must have is leadership. Not only does this person oversee the entire finance and accounting departments, they are direct managers to those in director positions whom are shaping and training the newest talent. With personnel in these areas performing various roles at fluctuating levels, having strong leadership in the CFO seat is essential for high-quality work. It is common for many CFOs to be extremely knowledgeable with the numbers but not so much in management – Therefore, lacking in motivational skills to keep the teams all moving in the same direction. The most successful CFO is someone who has a firm grip on both in order to help drive the company ahead of its competitors.

Important Skills for a Future CFO

Interviewing from the Company Perspective

I spoke with Lori Day, the Senior Vice President, Chief Customer Operations Officer at EverBank/TIAA, and I got answers from the other side of the interview table. With her 25 years of experience in the financial services industry as a leader and a hiring manager, she has sat through countless interviews focusing on not only hiring, but retaining resources.

Lori shared some great insight on the key things going on in her mind during the interview and what she is looking for in candidates’ answers. Here are a couple of her answers and some takeaways for you as the interviewee:

Types of Questions during the Interview and How to Answer
“It used to be back in the day where the standard questions are, “tell me your strengths, tell me your weaknesses, what are the things you’re most proud of?” And those just don’t help create the environment that gives me a forward look on how someone will be successful with my team.

So, instead I asked questions about the job requirements and the competencies that accompany that and I ask a candidate to paint a picture by telling me examples of times where they’ve had experiences in certain things and when asked to share their examples with me, I’m really looking for them to show me who they are, what they’ve done, how they’ve interacted with other people, how they’ve used different skills to achieve things and solve problems. If they can paint that picture for me of an experience they’ve had in their past, then I’m able to see in the future how they could fit in my organization.”

Takeaways:

  • Give specific example stories from your experience that relate to the job description to showcase you have the skills to execute the job. Be sure to include stories of successes and challenges.

Make an Effort and Show you Care
“Being prepared is the ability to know how to correlate the company’s vision and mission and that’s pretty available. If you go ‘Google’ a company, you can find out a lot by not only looking at the company website, you can look at reviews. And being able to articulate the candidate skills and their abilities and parlay that into the company itself shows not only have they done their homework, but they care. If they care, then that says they’re going to care about my customers. They’re going to care about their teammates, and that is really important.”

“So, if you’re doing the research and you’re demonstrating you care, you also show that you care by taking the time, looking the part, being present and engaged in making that first impression. And that is eye contact, what you’re wearing, how you’re presenting yourself, it shows that again, you care about the impression you’re making. You care about the job that you want and you’ll care about, then, my customers and teammates going forward. So, to me it’s vital.”

Takeaways:

  • Research the company beforehand to really understand the value of its products/services, to understand their culture, and what is important to that company.

  • Show that you’ve invested into the interview; this means being presentable and being engaged during the interview.

Be Transparent and Authentic
“I would like to give everyone an opportunity to show their best. And so, I don’t know if I would say that’s a show stopper, but I’ll tell you a funny story. I interviewed someone that was great credentials on paper and when they came to me we were having the conversation and they fell asleep while we were having the conversation face-to-face in the interview. And so sorry, that was my show stopper, and maybe there was reason for it. I’m sure there was, but there was no explanation. And if someone recognize and said, “Hey look, you know, I think I need to apologize because I probably wasn’t as attentive as I hope to be. Last night I had something go on,” I’d feel like, “wow, they were authentic.” They see, they recognize that that was probably not their best forward foot, but was able to recover by explaining it.”

Takeaways:

  • Transparency equates authenticity, meaning don’t hide or cover up your mistakes. Really take the time to show that you recognize your mistakes (whether it is from your previous work history or during the interview). But there is a difference between ownership of the mistake and the certainty of not committing the offense in the future; the latter shows authenticity.

These are all minor adjustments that can make a powerful impact straight from a person in leadership, straight from the company’s perspective. We, at SNI, hope these insights help you better prepare for future interviews and as you embark on your next career endeavor!

To listen to the full interview or read the full transcript, click here.

Interviewing from the Company Perspective

What to Know About the 2018 Tax Reform

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”, passed by Congress in December 2017, may result in a difference in your tax liability. Although not applicable until the 2018 tax year, here are four significant changes to become acquainted with as you look ahead in your tax planning.

Corporate Tax Rates

The Act lowers the corporate tax rate to a flat 21% on all income.

In 2017, the average corporate tax rate was 35% on income greater than $10 million. Not only is this a significant cut, it also makes the U.S. a bit more comparative to other countries, as the average global corporate tax rate is 25%, it is thought that the new rate in the US , will keep more jobs in the United States versus companies going global in search of tax breaks.

Employee Fringe Benefits

The Act also makes significant changes to the tax impact of certain employee benefits, such as moving expenses and work-related transportation expenses.

Moving expenses will no longer be deductible for the employee and employer reimbursements for moving expense will not be tax-free. Alternatively, reimbursed moving expenses will be deductible for the employer as compensation expense if treated as W-2 wages.

Transportation stipends paid to employees will still be tax-free for employees, but only deductible for employers, as compensation expense, if treated as W-2 wages.

Interest Deduction

Interest deductions will be limited to 30% of a business’s taxable income.

Until 2018 and the introduction to the Tax Cut and Job Act, businesses in the United States were allowed to deduct business interest 99% of the time. The only exception to this new limitation is for businesses whose average gross receipts do not exceed $25 million for three taxable years.

Accounting Methods

More businesses may be eligible for cash-basis tax returns.

The cash method of accounting recognizes an organization’s revenue when cash is actually received, as opposed to when earned, and recognition of expenses when they actually are paid in cash, not when incurred. The 2018 tax reform has now extended the list of taxpayers who are eligible for this method of accounting by making it available to any company with average gross receipts less than $25 million for three previous taxable years.

What to Know About the 2018 Tax Reform