The “thank you letter” is a time-honored tradition that dates back thousands of years to ancient Chinese and Egyptian civilizations. You probably send them after getting gifts, after hosting events, and when someone does something thoughtful for you. Did you know, though, that you should also be sending them to hiring managers after an interview?
Does sending a job interview email thank you note make that much of a difference? And, if it does, when should you send them and how do you write a great one?
If you want to set yourself up for success, keep reading for our complete guide to post-interview thank you emails.
Why You Should Send a Follow-up Thank You Letter
If you’re unsure of whether thank you emails actually make a difference, consider these statistics from iCIMS.
When surveyed, 63% of hiring managers said they would rather hire someone who requested higher pay and sent a note of thanks than another candidate who asked for lower pay but didn’t send a note. Combine that with the fact that only 26% of applicants for entry-level jobs regularly send thank you emails, and it’s easy to see how sending one will help you stand out.
When to Send a Thank You Email
Many people assume that they should send a thank you message after every interview, no matter what. If you’re going to choose an absolute rule, that’s definitely the safer side to fall on.
Even so, there could be a few rare cases where a note of thanks isn’t warranted. The most notable is if an interview was irredeemably terrible and you have no desire to pursue the position. Perhaps the interviewers asked inappropriate questions, you didn’t present your best self, or the recruiter seemed uninterested from the get-go.
Even in these cases, sending a thank-you can still be beneficial.
Instead of conveying your excitement for the role, use it as an opportunity to maintain your professional reputation. Politely thank the hiring manager for their time. Then, explain briefly that you don’t believe this role is the best fit and that you’ll be pursuing other opportunities instead.
How to Write an Interview Email Thank You Note
Why are we focusing on emails instead of physical notes, you ask?
In our fast-paced society, timing is everything. If you rely on the postal service to mail your letter, hiring managers may assume you aren’t interested because it takes so long to get there. A day or two of silence could make all the difference if they’ve narrowed their choice down to you and another candidate.
If you’re interviewing at a more traditional workplace and want to send a physical note (or leave one at the front desk), by all means do so. However, you still ought to send a thank you email immediately after to ensure your interviewer sees it soon enough. Remember that, as with your resume, proper grammar and spelling are crucial.
The Email Subject
Treat the email subject line of your note as a first impression. Keep it professional, clear, and to the point. Even if you developed a good rapport with your interviewer, steer clear of puns and jokes—you want to be sure they’ll open the note, not ignore it.
Some good options to choose from include:
- Thank you for your time
- Thank you for today’s interview
- Thank you for the chance to learn more about [Company title]
- I enjoyed meeting you and the team!
If you know your interviewer’s first name, it often helps to include it in the subject as well.
Friendly Personal Greeting
Next, it’s time to draft a greeting that’s both professional and personal. Avoid getting too formal, but use a higher tone of respect than you would when emailing your best friends. Some good opening lines include:
- Dear [First Name],
- Hello, [First Name],
- Thank you for your time, [First Name]
Always make sure to address the recruiter directly. If there were multiple people on the interview panel, send a different personalized thank you email to each of them.
The next section should be a short expression of your gratitude. This can be as simple as, “Thank you so much for your time and advice in the interview. I appreciated the chance to learn more about [Company] and this great opportunity.”
The most important part is to be sincere without making it all about yourself. Remember, companies are looking to fill their needs as much as you’re looking to fill yours.
Express Your Interest in the Position
The following few sentences are your chance to express your continued enthusiasm for the job.
If the position sounds like a great fit, tell them why. If it doesn’t seem like something you’re interested in, be honest about that, too. This lets recruiters know when to move onto a different lead.
Revisit the Interview
Here’s the truly magical part of a thank you note: it lets you revisit any interview questions that you weren’t able to answer as well as you’d like. You can say something like, “I appreciated you asking about [Topic]. After thinking about it further, here’s how I would approach the situation.”
If the interview went great, use this section to highlight your most valuable skills and work experience to show how you would contribute to the team.
Professional Closing and Sign-Off
Last but by no means least, it’s time to write a closing statement and sign-off. This should be polite, concise, and no more than two sentences in length.
Let the hiring manager know how to contact you if they have any other questions, and express that you’re looking forward to talking with them again. If they gave you a specific timeline, reference it. Finally, sign off with “Sincerely, [Your Name]”.
Need More Insight Into the Job Interview Process?
The competition may be fierce, but sending a stellar interview email thank you message can help you stand heads and shoulders above the other applicants. Use the advice in this guide as a starting point and, if you still have questions, check out the other articles on our blog for more insight into the job hunting and interview process.
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