Our digital landscape has transformed in the world of communications is the way job interviews work. It’s commonplace for managers to ask for on spec sample work and online profiles as part of the job interview. Adapting to changing standards is key to securing your dream job.
However, both managers and new employees agree: it’s vital to send a thank you email after an interview, preferably within 24 hours. The custom hasn’t changed, but the writing style certainly has. In this article, we’ll go over how to write a thank you letter, and discuss the common questions that people have about this crucial skill.
Why Is It Important to Follow Up an Interview with a Thank You Note?
The application process can be extremely taxing for HR managers who have to shuffle through dozens of CVs whenever there’s an opening in the business. A job interview doesn’t only consist of the conversation between employer and employee. Hours and hours of preparation are required for managers to choose the right applicant.
That’s why it’s key to show your thanks for all the time that hiring managers spend setting up interviews. Position yourself at the head of the hiring list with a strong, concise letter that impacts the hiring team. It’s not only courteous--it’s a professional gesture that all successful employees perform.
Should a Thank You Note be a Physical Letter or is an Email OK?
There are pros and cons to both types of thank you, but a clear preference has emerged nowadays. Emails are entirely acceptable and, indeed, the best means of expressing thanks in most industries.
In our digital age, it’s becoming less and less popular to send physical letters in the mail. Most people don’t send “snail mail” unless the circumstances require it. Plus, the hiring process can be swift, and managers can decide in mere minutes after interviews are over.
To ensure that your employer receives a thank you in time, always send an email note. Even if you decide to send a physical message, too, an email is a sure way to contact the hiring team quickly and efficiently. A handwritten letter can reinforce your gratitude, but it shouldn’t be the first way you contact the hiring team.
Again, be sure to send an email no later than one day after the interview. It always helps to be the first email in their inbox!
What to Include in a Thank You Letter/Email
A formal thank you letter may seem to be an old-fashioned genre, but the acceptable language for expressing thanks has changed considerably. In the professional sphere, it’s essential to hit the right tone and persuade HR teams that you have the talent and temperament to work well with teammates and managers.
So, what's the answer to the question of how to write thank you letters? Regardless of your industry or organization, you should include certain elements in all thank you notes. These are, at a minimum:
- A subject line
- A personal greeting
- A brief note of your thanks
- Go over your qualifications
- Initiate the next step
- Your contact information
Any email needs a concise, professional subject line; shorter is always better. A title can be as easygoing as “Thank You” or “Thanks for your time.” It’s a good idea to be formal with your subject line. However, if you want to strike an informal tone, many employees succeed with lines like “Great to see you today” or “Great to meet everyone.".
Always start a formal email thank you with a salutation. Be brief but personable. This isn’t the time to go over the top with praise and gratitude. A simple “Hello (so and so)” or “Dear (so and so)” will suffice. Of course, you’ll want to remember your interviewer’s name for this step. Try to take note of this during the interview. If you’re drawing a blank, search online for information or address them by their job title.
The body of the email or letter can begin with a note of appreciation. Common formulas for expressing thanks include:
- Thanking them for their time
- Expressing warm wishes for a successful hiring process
- Thanking them for their consideration
Remind the Interviewer of Your Qualifications
Next, you’ll want to highlight your most prominent achievements. Job interviewers face a lot of bright, beaming faces on interview day. You should aim to distinguish yourself from the rest.
Make the interviewers aware of stand-out qualifications. Show them how you would apply those qualifications to the job at hand. Above all, demonstrate why you’re the perfect fit. Try the following formula: “My (experience in the past) would make me a great candidate for (this job).”
Close the email or letter with initiative. You can invite them to contact you directly or talk about what you learned during the interview. Be specific—let the manager know that you were attentive during the interview and want to take the next step toward landing the job.
Give all the relevant contact info at the end of the email. Doubtless, your interviewer already has the numbers to contact you. It’s always a good idea to include your contacts anyway. You’ll make the hiring team’s job easier if you include a phone number and email address.
Post-Interview Email Example
Knowing how to write a thank you email after an interview can help wrap up a good first impression. A formal thank you letter is generally the best way to go unless you have extensive personal attachments to the job. The job type and workplace atmosphere will contribute to the tone of the email. Here is an example:
Hello (or Hi) [hiring manager],
It was a pleasure to meet you today to talk about [the job] at [the company]. The position is exactly the kind of job I’m searching for and I believe that my experience [with previous employers/companies] would suit the position very well.
If there are any questions I can help answer, please contact me. Thank you again for meeting with me about this opportunity.
Post-Interview Thank You Letter Examples
With a letter format, we recommend including a little more background information. Take the opportunity to address some of your qualifications in greater detail. Since employers aren’t likely to receive as many physical letters as emails, you can distinguish yourself more liberally with a handwritten note. Here are some additions you can add in a letter.
I’m interested in this position because I think that my [years of experience] at [a previous employer] would add considerable value as your company grows.
During our meeting, you mentioned that your team is [changing in some way]. I wanted to offer some ideas that might help.
During our meeting, I neglected to mention [relevant experience].
I’m excited to hear back from you about any next steps in the interviewing process. Let me know if you have any additional questions about me or my experience.
Be sure to include a professional signature to close the letter. Your contact info should be extensive too. Include your name, address, email, phone, professional sites (if applicable), LinkedIn URL (if applicable), and social media handles.
Conclusion: What to Avoid in a Thank You Note
A job interview can be won or lost with a faux pas or mistaken tone in a thank you letter. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid when writing a thank you email or letter.
- Don’t include any (we can’t stress this enough, zero) misspellings or grammar uh-ohs.
- Try to avoid sending multiple emails. One strong note outperforms half a dozen poor ones.
- If in doubt, don’t link to social media sites that might make you look bad.
- Remain formal, even if you think you made a personal impression on the interviewer.
- You should avoid calling the company directly for follow-up interviews or appointments.
- Stalking or hounding hiring managers after the interview is a major no-no. After you send the note, consider the ball in their court and give them time to respond.
Learning how to write a good thank you email can be rather formulaic, but once you get the basics, it can significantly improve your chances of scoring your dream job.