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How to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview

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When was the last time you thanked a recruiter or hiring manager after an interview?

If you can’t remember, you’re overlooking a big opportunity in the application process.

In Accountemps’ survey of 500+ HR managers in companies with 20 or more employees, 91% of respondents found interview notes to be ‘helpful’ after an interview. 

After Interview Thank You Email Statistics
After interview thank you email statistics (Source: Accountemps)

Sending a thank you interview email shows gratitude for the opportunity—something many applicants forget. Not sending one makes hiring managers think you lack ‘follow through,’ according to a survey from CareerBuilder.

A well-written thank you note reminds the interviewer of your qualifications, and boosts your chances of snagging a job offer.

Here’s how to write a thank you email after an interview without sounding desperate.

Preparation: As the Job Interview Ends and Right After You Get Home

As the interview winds down, make sure you don’t forget:

  • To thank the interviewer
  • Get the business card of everyone you talk to, especially if you had a multiple or panel interview
  • Re-iterate your eagerness for the company and position
  • Ask about the next steps of the process
  • When you can expect to hear back, and the best method to follow-up

This information will give you an idea of how long the waiting game is, the interviewer’s correct job title and contact info, as well as the least intrusive delivery method for your thank you note.

List down everything you can remember from your interview(s) as soon as you get home:

  • Your answers or comments they liked
  • Your answers where the interviewer expressed concerned or confusion
  • Follow-up questions you forgot to ask
  • Points of mutual interest, not necessarily work-related

Don’t rely on your memory. Remember what every interviewer commented or focused on to make your thank you letters stand out.

The Right Time to Send a Thank You Note

“Think of a time you did someone a favor, maybe you gave them a gift or helped out with a problem. A few days pass by, and you get no thanks. Are they ever going to thank you? How does the lack of gratitude make you feel? Well, hiring managers are no different”, says Sharon Schweitzer, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of Protocol and Etiquette Worldwide.

An interviewer gave you an opportunity during your meeting—one that could’ve been given to someone else. Thank them within 24 to 48 hours, no later. “Otherwise, it seems you had much better things to do with your time, which isn’t a good impression to leave on a job hunt”, continues Schweitzer.

Sending a traditional handwritten note via snail mail? That’s okay as long as the interviewer receives it three to seven days after the interview. 

Rough Outline for a Thank You Note

1. Subject (for Email Use)

Keep it specific and simple.

  • Thank you, (Name)
  • Thanks for the opportunity, (Name)
  • It was a pleasure to learn more about (Company Name)
  • Appreciate your time discussing the (Job Title) with me 

2. Opening

You’re writing this note to say thank you, so mention it upfront. Thank them for their time, and the insights they provided about the company and position.

3. Interview Key Points

Emphasize how you’re the best fit for the position, based on a specific part of your interview. For instance, the interviewer might have responded well when you talked about your analytical skills, or PhP knowledge. When possible, cite another example of how you have demonstrated these skills in your previous job. 

4. Optional: Accomplishments or Skills Not Covered During the Interview

Interviews rarely cover everything an applicant wishes to discuss. Use the thank you note to briefly highlight milestone accomplishments not covered during your conversation. You can also mention a mutual connection or common interest.

5. Closing

Thank the interviewer again for the opportunity provided. Write that you’re looking forward to hearing from them, and that you hope they find the best fit for the position. At this point, you’re not going to say you’re the best fit—directly or indirectly—just that you hope the company picks a great candidate, even if it’s not you. 

Thank You Note Examples for Different Scenarios

Here are few examples with useful scripts for sending an after interview thank you email or hand written note:

1. Thank You Email After a Phone Interview

The people you talk to at a phone interview and in-person interview might be different. Phone interviews are often done by HR associates to pre-screen applicants, and typically cover more generic questions like your interest for the job, salary expectations, and availability. For this reason, it’s okay to send a shorter thank you note via email.

A hand-written note might be too much, in this case, since it’s just a prelude to the real deal. It's often better to just send a thank you email following a phone interview.

Below is an example HR Expert and Recruiting Strategist Rebecca Barnes-Hogg received, after a phone interview.

“Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with me about the Marketing Communications Specialist position at [Company]. I feel that my background in digital content strategy, coupled with my aspiration to provide more traditional communications support, makes me an ideal candidate for this role. Please find my writing samples, attached. 
Additionally, you can check out this online fundraising web page for which I wrote content and designed the layout.”

2. In-Person Interview

An in-person interview usually takes an hour or more because you have more details to cover. You can write a detailed thank you note that reflects one or two points of the interview.

Here’s an Example Thank You For the Interview Email

"Dear (Mr/Ms Last Name),

Thank you for a great conversation about the (Job Title) last (date). I know interviews can be stressful, especially if you conduct multiple interviews a day, so I’m very thankful for how accommodating you were to me.

As we discussed, I have the (skills, achievements, or other qualifications the interviewer focused on during the interview), which will mesh with your current team’s skill set. Your insightful answers to my questions about the job’s day to day tasks also convinced me that this is a role I’d enjoy. One where I can grow, while adding value to your (department name)

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. It was a pleasure to meet you and the team during the interview. Thank you again for your time and thoughtful consideration.

Sincerely,

(Your Name)"

In the first paragraph, this note goes above and beyond by complimenting the interviewer on something specific. It also touches briefly on culture fit and the applicant’s desire to grow, two things recruiters look for in every hire.

Use This Example if You Have a Common Interest or Shared Connection

“Dear (Mr/Ms Last Name),

I’m grateful for your generous time in talking to me about the (Job Title) at (Company Name) last (Date).

Towards the end of our conversation, I mentioned how excited I am about (creating/helping or other verb) a (current project, or reason they’re hiring). With my background in (industry) and skills in (job specific skills, soft skills or tools for the job), I’m sure I’ll be a good contributor to your team quickly.

I also enjoyed meeting a successful (alumnus/alumna/former employee) of (School’s Name or Company’s Name)

Thank you again for the opportunity you gave me, and I look forward to hearing from you (date provided during the interview). Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s any information I can provide.

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

(LinkedIn or Website URL)"

3. Thanking an External Recruiter

Why thank an external recruiter? Because if the company you were first referred to didn’t hire you, it’s the recruiter’s decision that determines whether you’re referred to another company for another interview, or dropped of their list of candidates entirely. It pays to be nice and cooperative to them.

Below is a combination of a thank you interview email and follow-up note you can send an external recruiter. As many external recruiters are paid when an applicant gets hired, they’ll appreciate your update on how far along you are in the hiring process.

External Recruiter Thank You Email Example

“Email Subject: Thanks for your referral to (Company Name) for the (Job Title) position. 

Dear (Mr/Ms Recruiter’s Last Name),

Thank you so much for referring me for an interview at (Company Name). I was interviewed last (Date), and I think it went well.

I spoke with (Interviewer’s Name), (Job title) and (Second Interviewer’s Name), (Job Title).Thanks to your tip, I pulled through the whole day interview process; I don’t think I’d survived several interviews without advance preparation.

The (Job Title) at (Company Name) feels like a great fit for my current skills and work experience. I like working with an employer like this because (cite specific reason you like the company, such as their office culture or the boss’s attitude). I’d also be happy to interview with similar companies looking for candidates with my skills.

When possible, I would really appreciate it if you inform me of my application’s status. Thank you for all your help.

Regards,

(Your Name)

In the second paragraph, note all the names of the people you spoke to and their job title. If you had only one interview, then just put that. If the recruiter tipped you off, in any way, about the interview process, mention it as well.

Executive Recruiter Bruce Hurwitz has a different take on this matter though: 

“I wouldn’t recommend sending a thank you note. You should call the recruiter immediately following the interview to update them instead. Recruiters often complain about candidates not keeping them in the loop. Don’t make that mistake”, he says.

4. Second Interview

Second interviews are usually conducted by someone higher up the corporate food chain, especially if you’re interviewing for a managerial position. If not, the second interview is often conducted by another member of the team. Only send this note if you talked to someone else.

The below example assumes you discussed the job’s responsibilities, current work or projects, and the team’s future goals. This is a deeper discussion compared to the typical ‘do you have the skills we need’ conversation that usually happens on a first interview.

Second Interview Thank You Email Example

“Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to come chat with me. Working with your team on (project or work initiative) sounds awesome. The chance to make an impact on (Company Name)’s success, while working with a collaborative and talented team of (job role) will be a milestone in my career.

In fact, several ideas came to mind after our discussion. Attached in this email is a rough proposal of my ideas. Whether this is something you already considered, or is on point, I’d love to get the chance to discuss it when I join your team.

Kindly let me know if there’s anything you need regarding my application. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

(Your Name)"

The note above mentions ‘several ideas’ and a rough proposal,’ which you’ll only get if you paid enough attention during the interview and if you asked about the team’s current initiatives. So don’t forget to do that. Consider what you can do within your first 90 days at work to make a direct impact on their project. 

What NOT to Include in Your Thank You Note

1. Requests and Favors

Asking for a second interview, or any favor detracts from your message of thanks. It makes you look desperate and pushy.

2. Mistakes and Justifications for a Poor Interview

“Keep your note positive, and don’t use it to justify or redeem yourself after a poor interview”, says Scott Ledbury, Co-Founder of Slinky Productions.

Instead of rehashing your awkward answers, Ledbury suggests, “using this opportunity to fill in any gaps in your interview, such as elaborating on an answer you later realized a better answer for.”

3. Generic Compliments

Is the interviewer nice? Prompt? These compliments are vague and won’t win you any brownie points. Compliment something specific—a tip they gave you, or an aspect of the conversation you enjoyed.

4. Your Salary and Monetary Expectations

You just had an interview. You’re not yet sure if the job is yours, so don’t use the thank you note to bring up your salary expectations. Don’t mention upcoming leave requests or questions about the healthcare package, too.

5. Apology for Lack of Skills or Certifications

Did the job ad mention a skill or certification you don’t have? Did the interviewer call you out on this? It’s okay, you got an interview anyway. Whether they mark that against you or not, is out of your control. Best you can do is avoid reminding them.

The Power to Get You Hired Amidst Close Competition

How do recruiters, hiring managers, business owners, start-up founders, and pretty much everyone in the hiring profession choose between equally promising candidates?

Sometimes, it comes down to cultural fit, other times personality becomes a deciding factor. But what if both seem equally nice and perfect with the team?

That’s when a thank you note can make all the difference. Leslie Saul, Owner of Leslie Saul and Associates architecture and design company, shared this story:

“One time, my team was stumped deciding among three good candidates. I met all the candidates, and also thought anyone of them would be a great addition to the team.
Two days later, I received a handwritten thank you note from one of the candidates. He also wrote a note to the staff who interviewed him. The second candidate sent a thank you note via email, while the third one didn’t contact any of us. In the end, I hired Mr. Handwritten Note Guy. He turned out to be a great hire!”

Now that you know how to write a thank you email after an interview, it's time to put the examples and points above to good use—helping secure your new position.

Graphic Credit

Email letter icon designed by Chameleon Design, from the Noun Project.

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