How to Write a Post-Interview Thank You Email (2021)
Writing a short, professional thank-you email after an interview can have a strong impact on the success of any job search. It's a small note that takes only minutes to write. And can separate you from other candidates, encourage progressing to the next steps of the process, and build a professional network.
Why write a thank-you note?
There are multiple surveys and research that support why sending one is key:
- TopResume: A survey by TopResume showed that 68% of employers and hiring managers say writing a short thank-you note post-interview matters. In addition, they mentioned 16% of interviewers rules out a candidate if they didn't send a thank-you email.
- CareerBuilder: In a survey by CareerBuilder, only 57% of candidates sent a thank-you note after their job interview.
- Robert Half: 80% of hiring managers agree that receiving thank-you emails after an interview is helpful in the hiring process.
This means that 31% of qualified candidates didn't send any type of follow-up email after their interview.
It takes about 5-minutes to complete this note. It's clear job seekers should spend a few minutes to send one once the interview is complete.
When to send your thank-you email
It's best to send your thank-you email message within the first 24 hours of your first interview being complete. Even if that means you took your interview on a Friday.
Presume the interview took place at 3pm on a Friday. Send an interview thank you note immediately after the interview.
The hiring manager might have more interviews to perform. Regardless, they'll see your email and it can help to show enthusiasm and excitement for the job opportunity.
How to Write a Short Thank You Email After an Interview
Here's how to write an effective and short interview thank-you note.
Pick a clear and short subject line
Decide on a clear email subject line that the hiring manager will remember. Try one of these subject lines:
- Thanks for the interview yesterday
- [Company name] is truly exciting to me
- Thanks for walking me through the job yesterday
- [First name] it was great to meet you
- [Job title] sounds amazing
This is not a place to put jokes, puns, or any other type of informal communication. Stay professional.
Thank them for their time
Be polite, respectful, and thank the interviewer for their time. Being respectful is a great way to enter into the company. This might be someone you end up working with.
Why not start the relationship on a strong note?
Use the hiring manager's name when addressing the email. Speak to them directly. And be sure to email them directly. If you don't have their contact information, then speak with the recruiter or human resources person who put you in touch with the interviewer.
The purpose of the thank-you email is to build a more personal connection with the employee that interviewed you. And show your appreciation to them.
It's extremely important to refresh the interviewer's mind on who you are, why you're interviewing, and what went well during the interview itself.
Pick something specific that was mentioned in the job interview
This is where note-taking can be impactful. It's best to take notes during job interviews. And highlight key points discussed in the interview.
Ask about the next steps
It's great to be forthcoming about what comes next in the hiring process. This shows enthusiasm in the job. Asking something like, "What else can I provide to be helpful and move forward to the next steps?" is a great way to show your passion for the position.
Here is an example:
Looking forward to hearing what the next steps in the interview process might be. Very excited about this opportunity!
Be positive and passionate
Positivity and passion go a long way. In fact, it's one of the main things that you might be evaluated on during the phone interview or in-person interview. It's not necessary to go in-depth on the enthusiasm, just show interest in wanting to move forward with the company.
Including a note about the company culture, if the company website references something critical. For example, collaboration or inclusivity. Mention those as being part of your personal values. Most job seekers forget to scour the company website for clues!
Include contact information
Including contact information can be useful. Attach your resume once more, send links to any completed projects that you're proud of, your LinkedIn URL, personal website, and include any professional references you might have.
This provides the interviewer with all the necessary information to be able to evaluate your candidacy.
Close the email professionally
Closing an email professionally can go a long way. Say something positive once more toward the bottom of the email. Put a call to action if available. And use a professional salutation.
Use a salutation like:
- Thank you so much!
- Best regards
- Warm regards
What to do in a panel interview/group interview
Take the business cards or contact information of every person in the panel interview. And send a separate thank you note to each person that attended the group/panel interview. Never send a group thank-you email to everyone involved.
Be sure to do this for any type of interview where multiple interviewers or multiple people were involved in asking you interview questions.
Key mistakes to avoid
When writing your post-interview thank you email, avoid these common mistakes.
Writing snail mail
Avoid a thank you letter. While some resources suggest that the wedding planning industry and legal industry still appreciate handwritten letters, we live in a fast-paced digital age (2021 and beyond). An email can get to the interviewer quicker.
While they are both considered a very traditional industry, it's best to focus on writing an email within 24 hours of your interview. A handwritten note sounds nice.
Most modern companies use email now, it's best to use email versus mailing the note.
Waiting too long
Anything past 48 hours is too long. And doesn't show enthusiasm or passion that the interviewer is going to be looking for.
Pro tip! Send the email immediately after the interview is complete. It's not too eager, contrary to what you might think.
Not following up
Didn't hear back from the interviewer about the next steps in the interview process? Then follow-up to the thank-you email and ask to get an update on the status of the position and the job placement.
A follow-up message should be sent if you haven't heard anything from the prospective employer within 3 to 5 business days.
Writing a long email
Keep the message short, it should be only a few sentences. Using your own voice, rather than following some type of script. Provide information that can help with the hiring decision, but don't be pushy!
Not leaving a good impression
The best way to do this is to forget to send a thank-you email! Don't be like the other job seekers, write your thank you email and make sure it's sent within 24 hours!
Using an informal greeting
Don't start the email by saying "Hey!" The entire email format should be business-formal. Even the greeting should be formal. Use "Dear" rather than "Hey." As an example, "Dear John."
Use a formal greeting like the following:
- Dear [Interviewer's Name]
- Hi [Interviewer's Name]
Thank You Email Examples (Sample Thank You Emails)
Sample thank you notes and templates to help you write your own.
Short Interview Thank You Email Example
A short thank-you note is great for any type of interview. Including a zoom or in-person interview.
Dear Rob —
It was really awesome meeting with you today and discussing the role of Software Engineer at Apple.
From our conversation, it sounded like functional leadership was a big part of this role. And I feel I could make a valuable contribution to those efforts. My previous experience at Facebook makes me well-prepared for this.
I'm attaching my resume, references, and a few URLs to check out my work.
Let me know if I can be helpful and look forward to moving the process forward. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Or if you need additional information, don't hesitate to ask.
Thanks so much, Rob!
Phone Interview Thank You Email Example
Not too different from the sample email earlier.
Dear Ian —
Can't thank you enough for spending time with me over the phone and discussing the opportunity at Apple, Inc. It sounds like an incredible opportunity to learn about Product Management and how technology will advance with younger demographics.
My previous work experience in the education space makes me a great fit for this role.
I'm including a few of my projects and references below. Let me know how I can be helpful in moving forward in the process. Or if you have any further questions, let me know!
Thank you so much, Ian!
Second/Final Interview Thank You Email Example
After a second and potentially final interview, it's best to follow up and show interest in moving forward with the job offer. In this third sample email, it's best to recap the entire interview process.
Dear George —
I want to say how incredible the entire interview experience has been. We've had the opportunity to cover what the company is looking for. How the job title is going to differ from other positions.
During this entire process, I have been nothing but extremely impressed with the team.
Wanted to reach out and tell you I appreciate what we've done together.
I look forward to hearing from you and the team after you've had the opportunity to review me as a candidate.
If there's anything else I can provide, please let me know. I would be happy to speak with the HR representative who is running this placement if there's anything I need to answer.
Thanks again, George!
Thank-You Email Template
Don't copy and paste this template verbatim. Make sure to rewrite this in your own voice, making sure that every single word makes sense based on the interview. Refer to the thank-you note examples above.
Dear [Interviewer Name/First Name Last Name] —
Thank you so much for taking the time yesterday/[insert day] to speak with me and get me involved in what [Company Name] is working on. I sincerely appreciate your taking the time. It was a pleasure talking with you.
It sounded like my previous experience with [Company] and [Industry] makes me a qualified candidate. I would love to continue to move forward with the company. I feel confident my contributions could be meaningful for [Company Name].
A few skills I could bring to this role might include [Skill] and [Skill].
Included below is a few examples of my work and recently completed projects.
I look forward to hearing feedback as soon as you have any updates on the position. And hope we can move to the second interview as soon as possible.
Thanks so much [Interviewer Name],
[Your full name]
[Your phone number]
- Things to do Before, During, and After Your Interview
- Interview Thank You Notes - Illinois Graduate College
- The Seven Steps to a Great Thank-You Note
- Interviewing Skills: Following Up After an Interview
- How to Follow Up After an Interview - Northeastern University
- Thank-You Notes: Northwestern Career Advancement
- Interview Thank You Letter Example by Humboldt State University
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
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