While it’s possible to get away with not writing or emailing a thank you note after a job interview if you’re the perfect candidate in the perfect landing spot, some hiring managers actually consider it a deal breaker if they don’t receive one. In fact, a CareerBuilder survey showed that 86% of hiring managers said not sending a thank you note showed a lack of follow-through. That’s not a characteristic you want associated with you in your search for a new job.
Post-job interview thank you notes are so easy to pen, there’s no excuse not to do it. Below we show you how.
Email or Snail Mail?
Handwritten notes are a nice touch (see below), but in our instant world, you also need to send a message that reaches the hiring manager before a few days have passed.
Within 24 hours, you should be sending a thank you email; I advocate for sending the night of. That way the hiring manager sees it that night (after perhaps a slew of interviews) or first thing in the morning. Don’t send it immediately after leaving the interview, or even within a couple hours; you’ll just seem desperate.
A snail mail note can also be appropriate, but only in addition to an email. You certainly don’t need to send a handwritten thank you card — a digital message is almost always enough. That said, it’s a really nice additional touch that will set you apart from the pack. A small, very simple note is fine, especially since you’ve already sent an email: “Thank you again for the chance to talk about the [job position] role at [company name]. It was a real pleasure, and I know I’d be a great fit. I look forward to hearing from you.”
Send it the day after the interview so it gets to them in a couple days and your name still rings a bell; any longer than that and you risk losing the name recognition.
A Few Guidelines
Start with a quick, but slightly formal, thank you. Don’t go informal here, trying to make yourself seem cool and casual: “Hey Bob, great chat yesterday. Thanks a million.” Rather, keep it professional, erring on the side of formality (though first names are definitely okay after you’ve met the person).
Make it personal and specific. Be sure to bring up something the interviewer said; maybe you’ve been thinking about one of their answers to a question you asked at the end, or they mentioned a detail of the job that you weren’t previously aware of but are excited about. A generic thank you will make it seem like you’re sending a form letter. You don’t want that. (Even if that’s really mostly what you’re doing.)
Reiterate your experience and qualifications. It may sound like you’re going to be writing a lengthy missive. Not the case. All of these points should really be 1-2 sentences at most. Reiterating your experience is as simple as saying: “I was glad to hear about your use of [software]; I’ve been using it for years behind the scenes at [X company] and I know I’d be able to hit the ground running and bring my expertise to [company you interviewed with].”
If the hiring manager brought up a specific problem or pain point you weren’t previously aware of (they aren’t going to mention those things in job descriptions, but may in an interview), bring that up too, addressing how your addition to the team would help ease those pains.
Attach/send anything discussed in the interview. Sometimes in the course of an interview, some example of your previous work comes up or the hiring manager notes that they would like to see a sample of what you can do (especially in writing/design/creative positions). Or perhaps they didn’t ask for references before, but after interviewing you, decided they’d like to see some after all (a good thing!). In your thank you email, attach said samples or references or anything else that may have come up.
An Example Thank You Email to Send Following a Job Interview
Thank you for the chance to interview with you yesterday. It was a great conversation, and I appreciate your considering me for the position of [position/title].
As we discussed, I’ve executed several non-traditional marketing campaigns in the last couple years, and I’m confident I’d be able to do the same with [X company you’re interviewing with].
I’m happy to answer any further questions you may have, and I’m excited about the opportunity here. I know my experience would go a long ways in helping you in your goal of reaching a new demographic of customers.
As per our conversation earlier today, I’ll expect to hear from you by the end of the week. The references you asked about are attached.
Thank you again,