Sending a thank-you note after a job interview may feel like a formality, but the gesture can help you create a deeper connection with the interviewer. Showing appreciation also helps everyone involved feel happier and more fulfilled at their jobs, including those who lead interviews.
"This simple act of appreciation has the potential to go a long way when decisions around recruitment are being made," said Lauren Van Duyn, recruitment manager at Workhuman, a cloud-based human capital management and social recognition solution based in Framingham, Mass.
Writing a follow-up e-mail gives you an opportunity to highlight what you learned in the interview, reaffirm your interest in the role and demonstrate how your experience can bring value to the position you're seeking.
"It's also another opportunity to showcase your personality and voice, as well as your writing skills, which you'll surely be using on the job," said Claire Stroh, SHRM-CP, director of technology talent management at Lighthouse Technology Services and president of Claire Petrie HR & Training LLC, both based in Buffalo, N.Y.
Here's what you need to know about crafting a post-interview thank-you e-mail that will be memorable and keep you at the front of the interviewer's mind.
What to include in a post-interview e-mail
Keep your message concise. Include two to three short paragraphs highlighting your qualifications, skills and enthusiasm.
Address the message to the interviewer. Spell their name correctly and note how they introduced themselves. For example, if their name is Jennifer, but they go by Jen, use their preferred name. And send a note to everyone involved in the interview.
In the body of your post-interview thank-you note:
- Acknowledge your appreciation for the person's time.
- Emphasize your interest in the position.
- Highlight your qualifications for the role.
- Mention a unique point from the conversation.
- Wrap up with your contact information.
"A great thank-you note ties together how you are the perfect candidate for the role and as a future colleague," said Van Duyn. "Reiterating to the interviewer your qualifications confirms that you're a good fit for the role, while reminding the interviewer of something unique that they might not have discussed with other candidates further reinforces any positive impression."
Follow up promptly
Send the follow-up note within 24 hours of the interview. In addition to demonstrating professionalism, this keeps you top-of-mind with the interviewer, who may be talking with multiple candidates daily. Stroh typically takes some time to digest information from an interview and review her notes as soon as she gets home, then sends an e-mail.
Van Duyn noted that "e-mail thank-you notes are the traditional standard," but added, "You can also choose to ask the best method for follow-up during the interview or do some research to see how the person they interviewed with engages on different platforms, which may help make an informed decision about the best next step."
While handwritten, mailed notes are no longer typical, Stroh encourages job seekers to do what feels authentic.
"If you want to mail one, do it, but I would also send an e-mail because mail can get pretty delayed these days," she said.
Sample post-interview thank-you note
Stroh shared the following example of an effective post-interview thank-you note:
Dear (INSERT NAME),
Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the (INSERT TITLE) position. I really enjoyed speaking with you today and learning more about the role. After learning more about the organization's needs in terms of staffing and recruiting, I'd love to bring my summer internship experience of interviewing and hiring 10 candidates to this role.
Please let me know if you need anything more to consider me for this opportunity. I can be reached at (INSERT CONTACT INFO.) I look forward to speaking with you again soon.
(INSERT YOUR NAME)
Making an impression
In today's workplace, professional skills and experience are just as essential as your passion for the organization. Employers want to hire someone who feels connected to the organization and cares about its mission and purpose.
"Connection and collaboration in the workplace is a crucial part of creating positive work environments, so the simple act of a thank-you can go a long way in showing that the candidate sees the value in fostering that behavior as well," Van Duyn said.