Crafting the Perfect Interview Thank You Note

By Lana Johnson on July 29, 2016


You nailed that interview! You connected with the hiring manager, you had a great conversation, and you’re feeling great about the next steps. Should you send a thank you note? ABSOLUTELY!

Sending effective thank you notes during your job search process is critical. According to a recent Careerbuilder survey, 22 percent of employers are less likely to hire a candidate if they don’t send a thank you note after the interview. 56 percent said it shows that the candidate isn’t serious about the position, and 86 percent said it shows a lack of follow-through.

A well-crafted thank you note helps you stand out and can keep you moving forward in the process. Not only are you showing your good manners, you’re demonstrating your passion for the job. You’re also showcasing your attention to detail, your propensity for follow through, and your professionalism. Keep in mind that the hiring manager doesn’t stop evaluating you when you walk out the door; every step in the process gives clues to how well you will fit the job, the team, and the company.

Thank you notes go beyond good manners, however. The thank you note gives you another opportunity to convince the hiring manager that you’re the one for the job. You have another chance to highlight something about yourself.

There are four key elements to the Perfect Thank You:

  • Show appreciation for the interviewer’s time
  • Reference key parts your conversation
  • Highlight how you will make a difference
  • Reiterate interest in the organization/position

You can find templates and more ideas for The Perfect Thank You on our Pinterest Board. Here are ten quick pointers to get you started:

  1. Email your thank you note within 24 hours. Give yourself enough time to craft a meaningful thank you note, but remember that the sooner you send it, the better. This shows the interviewer that you follow up promptly and it demonstrates your enthusiasm for the job.
  2. Be authentic and personalize your message. Reference specific aspects of your conversation. Don’t come across as stuffy or canned.
  3. At the same time, watch your style. Balance authenticity with professionalism. Avoid the use of slang or lingo. Keep the focus on why you’re a perfect fit for the job.
  4. Be direct, brief, and concise. Your thank you should not be lengthy and it shouldn’t ramble on. Hit the main points concisely by choosing your words carefully. Keep it brief.
  5. Make your message about them, not about you. Show the value you can bring. Too often we see phrases like “this job is perfect for me” or “I would really love this opportunity.” Instead, focus on the value you will bring to the hiring manager, the team, and/or the company.
  6. Firmly sell why you are a fit for the job. Take advantage of the opportunity to hit home on a major reason why you should be considered for the role. This is also an excellent time to hit on something you might have forgotten to mention during the interview.
  7. Relate back to something you discussed. A hiring manager is often considering several candidates for the role. Tie back to something from your conversation to help them remember who you are.
  8. Mention the next steps. Reinforce the next steps the manager shared with you. It shows you were listening and that you want to move forward in the process.
  9. Absolutely no typos! The only thing worse than NOT sending a thank you note is sending one that has mistakes. The slightest typo leaves the wrong impression and can actually hurt your chances of moving forward. Ask a friend to proofread for you. Be careful about sending emails from a mobile device - autocorrect can be killer. Never misspell the interviewer’s name or company. Make sure your attention to detail shines through.
  10. Include something extra. End the email with a link to your portfolio, a sample of your work, or an article that might interest them or ties back to something you discussed during your time together. This creates a positive impression and once again gives you the opportunity to showcase why you should be their next hire.

In addition to these ten pointers, here are a few questions we’re often asked by job seekers:

Should I send a thank you after a phone interview, or just after in-person interviews?

Send thank you notes after every step in the process, including phone interviews. You have not had the chance to build that 1-1 rapport with a hiring manager after a phone call, and a thank you email is one more positive thing to help you stand out.

I met 4 different people during my interview. Should I send a thank you note to all of them?

If you meet multiple people, send thank you notes to each and every person. Don’t send the same thank you note to everyone you meet, however. You can repeat some core elements in your email, but take the time to personalize the note to each conversation you had. The people you met will likely share the notes you send, so make sure they’re not all the same.

I decided after the interview that I’m not interested in the job. Should I still send a thank you note?

YES – take the time to send a quick note. Highlight that even though you are not moving forward, you still appreciated their time and enjoyed the conversation. Even if you don’t want the job, you still want to build your network and make a positive impression – you never know when your paths might cross again in the future.

Should I send an email, handwritten note, or both?

Email is a requirement. Sending an additional handwritten note is optional. If your interviewer seems like the kind of person who would appreciate that you took the effort to also send a handwritten thank you, do it! Some hiring managers really appreciate the gesture and it will help set you apart. If you do send a handwritten note, make sure your writing is neat and legible, and consider using personalized stationery for that extra touch.

Advanced Resources specializes in the placement of HR, IT, Accounting/Finance, healthcare, and office support professionals. View our temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire opportunities and apply for our openings today.

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