How to Write a Thank You Note After an Interview

Expressing gratitude after an interview is good form when it comes to professional etiquette.

Is it necessary to send a thank-you note after an interview at all these days? How do I write a thank-you note after an interview? Should each person I’ve interviewed with receive a thank-you note? Is sending an email expressing thanks for an interview okay?

If you’ve been on a job search and interviewed, chances are, you’ve had questions about the professional etiquette when it comes to expressing gratitude. If so, you’re not alone. Many candidates have asked our thoughts on the art of expressing thanks as a professional.

Our advice is this: no matter how the interview took place–over the phone, in person, or done via a video session, you should ALWAYS send a personalized thank you note to each person that took the time to speak with you. Yes, even if their actions or behavior left plenty to be desired. (Ever hear of killing them with kindness?) No matter how your encounter went, you should send a note of thanks.

Why you Should Express Gratitude for an Interviewer’s Time

Thank you notes for job-seekers carry quite a bit of value. They are just as important as a personalized cover letter. Think of them as a way to bring the interview cycle full circle before the next phase of the process which could be candidate selection for moving forward to the next round, or extending an offer of employment.

Interview Thank-you Note Benefits

Showing professional courtesy

 Demonstrating follow-through

 Conveying interest in the role

  Saving time by informing the primary contact interviewer if it’s not the fit for you

  Showcases your communication skills in writing or email

  Puts you on an equal playing field with other strong candidates who also send a thank-you

  Provides you an opportunity to stay in the front of the mind of the interviewer

  Sets you apart if other candidates being considered don’t send a thank-you

According to CareerBuilder, nearly 90% of interviewers say that an emailed thank-you sent following an interview is perfectly acceptable. Candidates who really stand out are the ones who take a combination approach–email and sending a hand written thank-you note.

Something to keep in mind,  you as a job candidate may not know who has the most influence over the hiring process. Therefore, you should not risk making a bad impression by failing to show professional courtesy by thanking everyone who took the time to interview and speak with you. A thank you email should ideally be sent within 24 hours and a hand written thank-you note within 48 hours (or sooner), if they are making decisions quickly.

Below, we’ve provided an example to use as a guideline along with other key pointers for a thank-you to send after your interview.

Interview Thank-You Note Structure

[Subject if Emailed] – Thank you for the [Insert Job Title] Interview [Insert Date]

[Dear Mr./Ms.Contact’s Name] –

Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the position of [job title]. I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the role and to meet you and [insert names of any other interviewers].

[Reference important items brought up by the interviewer or questions that required a bit more answer on your part. Example: Per our discussion, I have found Atlassian’s tools to be well worth the investment for any software team, but understand that your team is making the conversion away from current technologies as your team makes the transition to agile. I know that for any Product Manager, this would be a big concern, in terms of current milestones and I would love to delve into this further with your teams to learn how we could best mitigate risk.]

I am excited about this opportunity and looking forward to the next steps. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need any additional information.

I look forward to hearing from you [time frame they said they would be in touch].

Thank you,

[Insert Your Name]

[Insert Your Cell Phone Number]

What if the Interview Went Bad or You’re Not Interested?

So, the interview was a bust. It’s not the end of the world. Go ahead and still send a thank-you message to the interviewer. If it was a faux-pas on yours or their part, sending a message can make light of the situation and put you and them at ease. It also provides an opportunity to apologize if it was anything that was an infraction on your part, such as arriving late.

If the interviewer opts to pass on you and you’ve managed to still make a good enough impression on them, they just may consider you at another time or, refer you to others in their network if you ask. Nearly everyone has made a blunder or two during an interview at some point in their professional careers. We’re only human. Most people understand this.

We’ve heard stories where an interview didn’t go quite as well as a candidate thought and their follow-up still made enough of an impression to the interviewer to recommend them elsewhere. So it IS possible to turn those kinds of lemons into lemonade.

If you’re simply not interested for one reason or another, your follow-up will still give you the benefits listed about and may even have them as an employer wanting you even more. You don’t have to list your specific reason for not being interested, but if it is something that can be overcome, the employer just may make it worth your while to hear them out further or, they may be agreeable to being a person you can remain in touch with in your professional network for future opportunities.

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