A lot of people don’t send a thank-you note after an interview, thinking that it’s an outdated or simply unnecessary practice. Unfortunately, avoiding a quick email often undermines their candidacy for a position.
In a Robert Half survey of more than 300 HR managers in the United States, 24% said they receive thank-you notes from applicants after an interview. Yet, 80% found them to be helpful. Fifty-eight percent deemed them “somewhat helpful,” and 22% said that they were “very helpful.”
Another survey confirms the value of a post interview follow up email. In research conducted by resume-writing service TopResume, 68% of recruiters and hiring managers said that receiving the message impacts their decision-making process. Nearly one in five interviewers (16%) have completely dismissed someone simply because they didn’t receive one.
The importance of the email isn’t debatable. However, you need to be careful. Writing a perfunctory, empty message can leave a bad impression and sink your chances for the job.
How to Write a Thank-you Email After an Interview
Here are some tips that can help you learn how to write a thank-you email after an interview. Take a look at the second section for some of the more random questions you might have about sending the email.
Main Things to Keep in Mind
As you start to write your message, keep the following points in mind.
- Remember Your Objectives: Your email isn’t the workplace equivalent of a thank-you card for a marriage or graduation present. Sure, you should thank your interviewer for his or her time, but your message is much more than that. You’re reiterating your interest for the position and letting that person know that you enjoyed the interview. It’s also a great time to point out what you took away from it.
- Describe What You’ve Learned: Maybe you spoke to your interviewer about an interesting trend in your industry. Or you discussed what might be the biggest challenge for you, if you moved into the position you interviewed for. Reflect on those types of conversations and consider mentioning one in your message. By bringing it up and expanding on why it helped you understand the position better and, ideally, why it made you more excited for the position, you can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role.
- Be Careful About “Selling”: This isn’t the time to sell your candidacy for the role directly. Come across too strong and it can leave the wrong impression. Try to save that type of content for your cover letter and the actual interview. If you think you have good reason to bring in your accomplishments or strengths, make sure it’s natural. For instance, if you had a tough time in the interview remembering how your experience lined up with a particular problem the company was having, then it’s fair to bring up in your email.
- Try to Connect with Your Interviewer: It’s not always possible, but being conversational in your email can help you make a connection with your interviewer and reinforce a good impression. If you learned that you share a common university or workplace with the hiring manager’s son, mention it. Showing that you paid attention and that you care is something that people value; they want to have employees who truly listen.
- Avoid Templates: Similar to a cover letter, your thank-you email should be unique and tailored. Don’t copy the simple thank-you email templates; your interviewer will notice. Customize it to the hiring manager and the conversation you had.
How/When Should You Send the Message?
There some small details about thank-you emails that you should know.
- Email vs. Postal Mail: Opt for email. Some people may prefer postal mail, but email is much more common and expected. It’s also faster. The decision might be finalized by the time the card is delivered or the hiring manager checks his or her work mailbox.
- Timing: Aim for sending the message within a day or two. Some candidates email interviewers once they get home, but that’s a big mistake. It feels forced and routine. Give it at least a few hours, so you have some time to reflect on the interview. If you do it too soon, it can make your interviewer feel like you’re just checking a task off your to-do list. You want to show how you’re excited about the position.
- Tracking Down the Address: If you didn’t grab the manager’s business card, don’t worry. Take a look at the company’s website or any email addresses you have at the company to get a feel for how they’re constructed. For instance, email addresses might be “email@example.com” (firstname.lastname@example.org) or “email@example.com” (firstname.lastname@example.org). You could try one of those options, if applicable, and then go to plan B if you get an error message. Or you could go the other route immediately. In that case, find a company HR representative or recruiter and ask them for the hiring manager’s email.
- The Subject Line: Keep it simple. Something like “Thank you [Name]!” or “Thank you!” is straight to the point and normal.
Thank-you Email After Interview Samples
Here’s an example of the type of thank-you email that you should avoid. It’s generic and lacks personality.
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me yesterday. It was great learning more about the social media marketing position.
I’m excited about the opportunity to join ABC Company and think that the role is a good match for my skills and interests. I think I would succeed and excel in this position! If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.
Thanks again for your time and consideration.
First and Last Name
Here’s an example of a thank-you email that mentions specifics from the interview. It also expands on why the candidate is excited about the role.
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
I really enjoyed talking with you yesterday. Hearing more about how the company wants to expand reach on social media is something that I enjoyed discussing.
One thing that stuck in my mind was our discussion about Instagram. That’s one platform that I’ve really loved working on lately. I think your ideas about using influencers to promote the brand is spot on — in fact, I just came across HubSpot’s Instagram engagement report that outlines some of those tactics.
I’d love to speak with you more to see how I might be able to help the team. If I don’t talk to you sooner, I want to wish you all the best of luck at the company’s conference next week. I hope it goes well!
First and Last Name
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