Many candidates don’t know whether to send out a thank you letter after an interview.
Here’s the answer:
Nowadays it’s perfectly fine for your follow-up letter to be in the form of an email. Below are some recommendations from hiring managers and talent professionals on how to make your follow up most effective.
Skip to the bottom of the page for:
- Common interview thank you letter mistakes
- What hiring managers expect to see in an interview thank you letter
- Sample thank you email
What Is a Thank You Letter and Why Do You Need One?
A thank you letter is a follow-up email you send after the job interview. It should be brief—only three or four paragraphs and never more than one page in length.
A good interview thank you email demonstrates your strong interest in the position. You can also reiterate the case you made for why the company should hire you. And frankly, it shows that you know how to follow up after an important meeting.
When and To Whom You Should Send Thank You Emails
Hiring managers recommend you send a thank you email quickly.
Jeff Kelleher, Talent Management Specialist at Combined Insurance, states, “My suggested rule of thumb is to send a thank you email within 48 hours of your interview.”
Vienne Cheung, a Partner at Motu Novu in Boston, recommends that you send an interview follow-up email within 24 hours: “For me, I read that as a candidate that is eager to work with us.”
Make sure you either send emails to everyone you met or reference the other people in the thank you email to the hiring manager.
Gretchen Skalka, a Senior Manager at TBC Corporation, notes, “The hiring manager usually puts some thought, some strategy behind the selection of people to co-interview. It also shows that they were paying careful attention to the entire room and content of the interview, and not simply focusing on the hiring manager.”
What You Should Cover in Your Thank You Email
Kelleher recommends, “The first thing a candidate should do is express your thanks to the interviewer.” After that, Cheung states you must outline “what makes you believe that you will be the best candidate for the position.” Think about what professors, other employers, and/or fellow students said made you unique and incorporate that information into the letter.
If you think of something you forgot to cover in the interview, you can discuss it in the thank you email. Also be sure to send any additional information the prospective employer requested from you.
Skalka notes, “Having their most recent work helps me understand their incoming skill level.”
An Interview Follow Up Email That Stands Out
A personalized thank you letter helps you stand out.
“Refer to what was discussed in your conversation to reinforce your interest in the opportunity,” says Kelleher. Cheung agrees that it is important to “Not give platitudes applicable to any position and every company.”
If you’re doing many interviews, write down a few notes after each one while everything is fresh in your mind. That way, you can accurately reference discussions and key points in your interview follow-up email.
Cheung also advises candidates to, “Discuss what makes you better,” for the position. Think about areas where professors or internship supervisors said you excelled. For instance, if you’re a candidate for an accounting position, bring up any awards or compliments from performance appraisals that are relevant to the position.
Common Thank You Letter After Interview Mistakes
The common mistakes that employers may see in thank you emails:
- Failing to proofread.
“Make sure you have spelled the names of the interviewer, company, position, etc. correctly,” notes Kelleher. “Not doing so comes across as sloppy.” Have a friend review your letter or read it out loud so you can catch errors.
- Overly familiar tone.
This mistake undermines your credibility. Skalka remembers when an applicant once attached a coupon to the follow-up email that related to a hobby of Skalka’s. Such things can come across as overly familiar or even a little creepy. The key is to make sure you focus on what you can contribute professionally to the hiring company. While these are indeed significant mistakes, one mistake is still worse:
- Not sending a follow-up email at all.
“Unfortunately, the majority of job candidates we interview do not follow up at all,” notes Skalka. Not sending a thank you email gives hiring managers an easy reason to eliminate you.
And in case you’re wondering:
Decision-makers want to see an interview thank you email that:
- Expresses thanks and answers last-minute questions
- Refers to details from the interview
- Demonstrates enthusiasm for the company
- Advocates why you are the best person for the position
- Is free of typos and other mistakes
- Has a professional tone
- Is distinct for each person who interviewed you
Sample Thank You Email
For Email Subject Line: Thank You: Staff Writer Position Interview
Dear Ms. Smith,
Thank you for interviewing me yesterday. After meeting with you, Brad Jones, and Julie Miller, I am even more interested in the Staff Writer position. Each one of you communicated enthusiasm for your work with ABC Organization.
You mentioned that it is important to have someone who can meet strict deadlines. In my internship with XYZ Company, I produced high-quality articles within tight timeframes. I included a link to my portfolio so you can review my most recent work.
From my conversations with the three of you, I surmised that certain personality traits are important to the ABC Organization. Both Mr. Jones and Ms. Miller stressed that the successful candidate is curious and willing to accept feedback. Please know that professors and managers have complimented me on these traits.
I am excited about the possibility of working for your company. I hope to hear from you soon.
(Tagline, e.g. Content Writer)
(Best phone number to reach you)
(Link mentioned earlier)
(LinkedIn profile URL)