When job hunting, the strongest, simplest thing you can do is write a thank you email after an interview. It’s a powerful gesture that leaves a lasting impression and sets you apart from other candidates. A well-crafted thank you note demonstrates professionalism, attention to detail, and appreciation for the time and consideration of the recruiter. It also gives you an opportunity to highlight specific points discussed in the interview, reinforce your qualifications, and emphasize your interest in the position.
However, studies show only one in four candidates send a thank you, while 80% of hiring managers value this formality.
So, when and to whom do you send a thank you note? Send a thank you note within 24 hours of the interview to each person who interviewed you. Personalize the thank you email to demonstrate you were paying attention during the interview.
Here are the elements of how to write a thank you email after an interview:
1. Use a descriptive subject line. Recruiters are inundated with emails, so use a subject line that identifies what your email is about. It can be as simple, or you can provide more details. Here are a few examples:
- Thank you for the interview. Use this subject line for emails sent on the day of the interview. It’s simple yet effective. Add the date to the end of your subject line if your email is sent a day or more following the interview: Thank you for the interview Monday, May 1.
- Thank you for the interview for the [insert role]. Stating the position helps recruiters identify which stack of resumes to search to find yours. This can be helpful for recruiters and HR departments hiring for several roles.
- Great to meet you today. A casual subject line is perfectly fine if you connect with your interviewer. It’s also appropriate if the company has a laid-back culture.
2. Personalize your greeting. Do not send a thank you email addressed “to whom it may concern.” Get the names of each of your interviewers before leaving the interview. You can use tools like JobSeer and Email Hunter if you don’t have their email contacts. Other options include LinkedIn, calling the HR department and asking, or visiting the company website. Remember, if you were interviewed by a panel or group, email each person individually.
3. Show appreciation. To reiterate the subject line, your first sentence should say something like, “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me earlier today.” Finish the first paragraph by telling the recruiter you’re excited about the position based on something that was specifically said by them during the interview. This could look like
Thank you again for taking the time to meet with me earlier today. I enjoyed learning more about [company] and the [role]. Also, our conversation about [insert something specific from the interview] excited me even more about the position, given my experience doing XYZ.
4. Reiterate your qualifications. Use the second paragraph to reiterate your qualifications tailored specifically to what was discussed in the interview, making sure you share your qualifications in alignment with the key responsibilities of the role for which you’re applying. Personalize this paragraph to demonstrate you were paying attention during the interview. Be specific. Highlight how you can help the company reach its goals or objectives. Show them how you fit into their company. Also use the thank-you email to specifically reference an experience you’ve had in your work history and how that’s uniquely prepared you for a specific part of the job for which you’ve applied– ideally relating to a responsibility they mentioned during the interview. This shows the interviewer you were paying attention. This is about showing them how you can help them reach their goals by hiring you.
5. Prompt the next steps in the process. Hint at moving forward with the hiring process, whether that is meeting additional team members, a second interview, or answering questions. What you write depends on what was said in the interview. You can state the next steps if you were told what those are. Here is an example:
I look forward to possibly [meeting the team leaders] for the next step in the interview process. Feel free to call or email me with any questions or other information you may need to help make your decision.
6. Provide your direct contact info. Always include your contact details, including your email, following your signature. Here’s an example of a professional email signature:
Emails can be short and sweet, detailed, informal, or formal. The type of thank you email will depend on your connection with the interviewers, company culture, and time to hire. Short thank-you emails work for any position, but they’re particularly beneficial when the company needs to make a quick decision. Conversely, detailed thank you emails allow you to tie loose ends to the interview. Just remember there is a fine line between shining a spotlight on an insecurity and simply addressing a gap or a weakness in the interview.
Thank you emails after your interview also show the recruiter your written communication style, which in and of itself is useful. Informal emails work when email communication is not pivotal to the role or the company culture is more casual. Formal appreciation emails should be used when the hiring process is ongoing, or there isn’t an open position in the company. Formal thank you emails are also a great way to bond a new networking connection.
If you don’t want the position after learning more about the role, still send an appreciation email. Let the interviewer know you do not want the position you were interviewed for but are interested in another role with the company that’s a better fit with your skills and experience. The recruiter will appreciate your respect for their time and your honesty. If a position opens within the company, you may be contacted directly.
Finding a new job is challenging enough, considering that only four to six applicants per 250 resumes received are called for an interview. So, utilize all the tools available to rise to the top of the list of candidates … That includes writing a thank you email after an interview.
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