You’ve probably heard that you should send “thank you” emails after your interview.
You’ve probably also wondered, “Does it really make a difference in my chances of getting a job offer?”
Is it worth your time? And what happens if you don’t send one?
Learn the ins and outs of the thank you email after interviews, and get two email templates you can use to make this step of the job search process a breeze.
What employers really think of interview “thank you” emails
It’s important to note that not every hiring manager cares about “thank you” emails. Some certainly do, while others don’t at all. It truly comes down to their personal preferences.
However, it’s impossible to know which hiring managers care and which don’t, and ultimately, there’s no real downside to sending a post-interview “thank you” email, whether it is important to that manager or not.
There’s no negative connotation that can be implied from a well-written thank you email. Even if you weren’t the right fit for the job, sending a thank you note will signal to the hiring manager that you are professional and made the extra effort to follow up (and that’s never a bad thing to demonstrate after an interview). This could help you with future position openings.
While they can be powerful, thank you notes aren’t the magic key to unlocking a job offer if you seemed unqualified, if you walk in without researching the job and company, etc.
However, in most cases where your interview went well, the employer is likely considering you against a few other candidates. In this scenario, the thank you email has the potential to help push you over the edge to the finish line.
Benefits of sending a great “thank you” email
Sending a “thank you” email can be the tie-breaker between you and another candidate. It shows employers that you care about their job and are interested in what you discussed in the interview.
Employers never want to hire you if you don’t seem to want the job and show that you’re excited about the work you’ll be doing. Their fear is that even if you’re qualified, you’ll lack motivation and may get bored and leave soon after being hired.
This is a significant fear for employers because it costs a lot of money and resources to hire and train someone. Sending an email to thank them and reaffirm that you’re still interested will remove any doubt they have about you wanting the job. That can go a long way toward getting you hired.
Thanking them after the interview also shows that you don’t take things for granted and are grateful overall. This suggests that you’re polite, easy to work with, and will have a positive impact on the company culture.
Hiring managers care a lot about the character and personality of who they bring onto their team. Sometimes it’s as important as your job-related skills.
Finally, a “thank you” email is a chance to remind them why you’re a great choice for the position from a technical perspective. Take the opportunity to revisit the highlights from your interview to keep your strengths fresh in their minds. Maybe they’re on the fence between you and another candidate and pointing out one of your biggest strengths could be the tie-breaker.
When to send a thank you email after an interview
The best time to send a thank you email is about 24 hours after an interview, with a few exceptions.
It’s important to consider the time of day you send your message. Sending the thank you email after standard working hours means it is likely to be opened the next morning. Sending the message early or mid-morning means the recipient will likely not read your note until lunch. Because of this, it’s advisable to send your message at lunchtime the day after the interview for the best chances of a quick read-and-response.
If you interviewed on a Friday, you have two options for when to send a thank you email. First, you can send a thank-you note that same evening so that you’re not sending it over a weekend. The second option is to wait until the following Monday around lunchtime. This avoids the Monday morning inbox overwhelm but hopefully will catch the reader with a fresh mind.
A thank you email example for after an interview
Here’s an example of a professional thank you email to send after a job interview. The key elements of this email message include:
- Short and easy to read
- Shows appreciation for the interview
- Reconfirms interest in the position
- Reminds the hiring manager of why the candidate is right for the role
- Leaves an easy opening for the next steps
For example, you might write:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. I enjoyed hearing about what the day-to-day work would look like as a Senior Account Representative.
I’m confident that my 2 years of experience in customer support at XYZ Company would give me an advantage in this role, especially since both positions involve responding to a high volume of customer requests primarily via email.
I’ve learned that communication via email requires a unique approach, since you can’t gauge their reactions in the moment, and it’s easier to have miscommunications if you’re not careful.
This is something I’ve worked on mastering in my previous position and I’d love to continue working in this area.
Thank you again for your time yesterday, and I look forward to hearing about the next steps!
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Example of a short and sweet thank you letter after interview
If you want to send a follow-up email after your interview, but don’t feel comfortable with sending a long message, you can try this short and sweet email template. It can help keep you front of mind for the hiring manager without feeling overwhelming.
Thanks again for taking the time to meet with me about the Marketing Assistant position. After hearing about your plans for the Marketing department going into 2022, I’m even more excited and confident than before about how I can contribute to XYZ Company’s growth.
As requested, I’ve attached my writing samples below. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thanks in advance,
Tips for writing thank you emails
When in doubt, look to these five key elements to include in every “thank you” email:
- Use the person’s name. The best thank you emails are personalized and sent to one individual. Don’t send one generic email out to multiple people, and don’t send it without a personalized greeting like “Dear Robert” or “Hi Robert.” If you interviewed with multiple people, send a separate, customized email to each.
- A brief sentence showing appreciation for their time and thanking them for meeting with you.
- A comment on something specific that you enjoyed speaking with them about. Customize this part and make sure they know this email is written just for them, based on the conversation you had. This can also help remind them of a highlight from your interview.
- Reaffirm your interest in the role. Tell them you’re excited by what you learned in the interview, and that you’re eager to hear about the next steps. If you’d like, you can also remind them of why you feel you’re a great fit for the job.
- Don’t forget to include any information or materials they might have requested during your interviews, like availability for start dates, or additional work samples from your portfolio.
The bottom line is:
While sending a “thank you” email isn’t a substitute for an amazing interview, it can be the difference between a job offer and a rejection, especially in situations where a company has multiple qualified candidates they like for each role.
By following the steps above, you can send “thank you” emails that show employers you value their time and truly want their job, and remind them of how much they enjoyed meeting with you. These key points can help you stand out from other candidates and win more job offers.
Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter and founder of the job search website CareerSidekick.com . As a recruiter he has partnered with Fortune 100 companies down to six-person tech startups while helping hundreds of job seekers advance their careers.