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How to Send Successful Interview Thank You Email (with Samples)

By Susan P. Joyce

How to Smartly Accept Emailed Interview InvitationsA major benefit of emailed thank you notes is that they can be sent -- and received -- very quickly.

A traditional handwritten thank you will take at least one day to be delivered and, depending on the organization, may sit in the mail room or on someone's desk for several days before it is read.

Surveys by both CareerBuilder and Accountemps have indicated that an emailed thank you note is acceptable to most employers in the USA.

However, if you interviewed with a very conservative organization, you should probably consider sending a formal thank you via USPS (a.k.a. "snail mail") in an envelope with a stamp as a follow up.

NOTE: If you have had no email interaction with the anyone in the organization, definitely do a formal hand-written and snail-mailed thank you note.

Remember that employers will view your thank you notes as a "work sample" demonstrating the kind of employee you would be. So, focus on sending the most professional thank you notes that you can, with good spelling, grammar, and language.


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Sample Simple Thank You Message

Replace the text below [in brackets] with whatever terms are appropriate for you and your situation. Send this very soon after the interview, preferably on the same day as the interview.

Subject: Thank you for the [Job Title] interview on [date]

Dear [Mr./Ms. Last Name]:

Thank you very much for your time today [or yesterday or the date] to interview me for the position of [job title]. I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about this job, to meet you and [names of other interviewers], and to see your facility [or offices, location, whatever is appropriate].

As we discussed, I have [months or years] of experience with [technology, tools, or qualification you have that seemed most important in the interview]. With my background and experience, I believe that I could become a contributor to your team very quickly.

I am excited about this opportunity to join [organization name]. Please do not hesitate to email or call me if you have any questions or need any additional information.

I look forward to hearing from you [whenever they said they would be in touch or in 10 days if they didn't give you a date].

Best regards,

[Your name]
[Your job title or tag line, like "eCommerce Customer Support Specialist"]
[LinkedIn Profile URL]
[Phone number -- not your work number if you are employed]

Don't make the mistake of sending this same message to everyone who interviewed you at an employer. Vary the details a bit, or use the more customizable sample below.

Writing Your Email Thank You: Important Do's and Don'ts

Email can be challenging to use, so pay attention to these do's and don'ts to ensure that your message gets through and makes the best impression:

The Timing of Your Message

DO:

Send the message soon after the interview, preferably within the first 24 hours, even if the interview was on a Friday (send it as early as possible on Fridays). You don't want to be that last interviewee to send a thank you, in case other candidates are also smart enough to send thank you messages.

The Device Used to Send Your Thank You

DO:

  • Use your personal desktop or laptop computer to send this message.

DO NOT:

  • Use your smart phone to write and send this message. It is too easy for unintended changes to be made by the software when auto correction "fixes" the errors it finds. These kind of changes can make you look inept and unable to use something as simple as email.
  • If you are employed, DO NOT send this message from:

    • Your work computer.
    • While you are at work.

If employed and using your employer's equipment or network to send your message, your employer may discover the message and your intentions to leave. The result is that you could have a very uncomfortable discussion with your boss about your job search, or you could lose your job.

The Email Account Used to Send Your Thank You

DO:

  • Send the message from the email address used for your application and/or resume to help the employer "connect the dots" between your message and the interview. (Hopefully, for your application/resume, you used a personal email address associated with an account you check often.)

    Using the same email address on your application/resume should also increase the probability that your message will get through the employer's spam filters.
  • Sending the message from a Gmail address or one associated with your home Internet provider, like Comcast or Charter, is fine. Many colleges and universities also offer alumni the ability to use an @[whatever].edu address, which is also acceptable, especially for new grads

DO NOT:

  • If you are employed, DO NOT send this message from your work email address! You may think it is impressive, but it looks tacky and disloyal to other employers. As described above, using your work email system also increases the probability that your job search will be discovered which will not be good.
  • Use a silly address email address like MillieJMBA@, SurferDude1@, or other unprofessional address that will not connect with your application or resume.
  • Use @AOL, @Hotmail, @MSN, and @Yahoo -- those addresses look "old" to most recruiters now.

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The Thank You Email Subject Line

DO:

  • Make the purpose of your message clear with a formal subject line like the examples below. DO use the whole phrase "thank you" in the Subject and the message. Do NOT use the informal term "thanks." For example:

    • Subject: Thank you: [Job Title] interview on [date]
    • Subject: Thank you for the [Job Title] interview on [date]
    • Subject: Thank you for the [date] [Job Title] interview
    • Subject: [Job Title] interview on [date] thank you
    Replace the text above [in brackets] with the appropriate information for you.
  • Keep the subject line shorter than 75 characters, if possible. Many email systems show only the first 40 to 50 characters, so keep that in mind when you write your subject.

DO NOT:

  • Try to be casual or informal by using a subject such as "Hi!' or "Greetings!" These subjects have two major problems:

    1. They don't look professional.
    2. They are often caught in spam filters and never seen by a human.

The Thank You Email Communications Style

DO:

  • Use formal business language.
  • Proofread very carefully!

DO NOT:

  • Use unprofessional or informal language.
  • No emoticons :-( and no texting language (LOL).

Remember the employer will view this message as a sample of your work.

The Thank You Email Message Length

DO:

  • Keep the message short, not more than 4 to 6 brief paragraphs, AND --

    • If something you said seemed to resonate with that interviewer -- perhaps something you shared about one of your achievements or information you learned about one of their competitors -- include a brief statement related to that topic into your message.
    • If you "connected" with the interviewer about something, from sports, schools, or a passion for recycling to movies, music, or an interest in sports cars, insert a reference to that connection in your thank you note to help the interviewer remember you.
    • Highlight any strength or qualification you have that was emphasized in the job description and/or the interview, particularly if you don't think the interviewer understood your strength in that area.
  • Try to include something memorable from the interview to help the interviewer remember you.
  • Demonstrate your skill in business communications by writing a note as you would email a potential customer or client.

DO NOT:

  • Write a short, informal note which makes no "connection" with the interviewer.

The Content of Your Message

DO:

  • Send a separate, relatively unique message to each person who interviewed you. Since messages are very easy to forward, expect that your message to Interviewer A may be shared (and compared) with Interviewer B and C, as well as with HR and possibly upper management.
  • Vary the wording, but keep the over all theme (you are qualified and enthusiastic about joining the organization), the subject, the closing, and the timing consistent.

DO NOT:

  • Try to be cute or funny.
  • CC: or TO: everyone who interviewed you on a single message

Thank You Message Closing

DO:

  • Use a formal closing including your full name, job title or expertise, your contact phone number, and a link to your LinkedIn Profile.

DO NOT:

Close informally with language like --

See you soon!
MJ


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Writing Your Thank You Message

Leave the TO: field empty until you have completed, spell checked, and proofread the message (or put your own address in that field until it is ready to be sent).

Adapt the text in this sample (below) to your circumstances, and customize it to each individual who interviewed you.

If you know the person who is receiving this message, you can be less formal, as in "Dear Mary" vs. "Dear Ms. Jones" -- but err on the side of being more formal rather than less formal when in doubt.

Sample Thank You Message

Replace the text below [in brackets] with whatever terms are appropriate for you and your situation.

Subject: Thank you for the [Job Title] interview on [date]

Dear [Mr./Ms. Last Name]:

Thank you very much for your time today [or yesterday or the date] to interview me for the position of [job title]. I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about this job, to meet you and [names of other interviewers], and to see your facility [or offices, location, whatever is appropriate].

[Reference anything you said that seemed important to the interviewer, like: As we discussed, I find the technology related to using cloud computing fascinating and an amazing opportunity for the future, but security is also a major concern. Keeping XYZ Company's information safe would be a top priority for the person in this job, and I would love to dig deeply into the protective technologies, as well as the threats, to avoid future problems.]

[If possible, reference any "connection" you may have made, like: I enjoyed finding someone else who attended XYZ College and also roots for the hockey team. Hope they make the NCAA Division finals next year!]

As we discussed, I have [months or years] of experience with [technology, tools, or qualification you have that seemed most important in the interview]. With my background and experience, I believe that I could become a contributor to your team very quickly.

I am excited about this opportunity to join [organization name]. Please do not hesitate to email or call me if you have any questions or need any additional information.

I look forward to hearing from you [whenever they said they would be in touch or in 10 days if they didn't give you a date].

Best regards,

[Your name]
[Your job title or tag line, like "eCommerce Customer Support Specialist"]
[LinkedIn Profile URL]
[Phone number -- not your work number if you are employed]

[For more information: Guide to Interview Thank You Notes with more Interview Thank You Note Samples.]

Staying in Touch After the Thank You's Are Sent

Hopefully, you will get an email in response to this message, but don't panic if you don't hear from them on their deadline. MUCH may be happening that has nothing to do with you at all.

Read 5 Absolute Must-Ask Questions for Your Next Job Interview to get the details you need about how their hiring process works so you have contacts and their guidlines.

If they said they would contact you in a week, DO reach out in five business days to see what is happening if they have not contacted you when they said they would. If you forgot to ask when they would be contacting you after the interview, five business days is a sufficient gap to demonstrate that you are interested, but not a nuisance.

DO NOT contact them daily -- or even weekly -- for a decision.

Bottom Line

It's easy to blow off thank you notes as trivial, but well-done thank you notes are a great way to differentiate yourself from other candidates. Take the time to follow the do's and don'ts above, and send your thank you notes very quickly. They demonstrate the high quality of your work, and all the characteristics you may claim, like: attention to detail, ability to communicate, comfort with technology, and knowledge about the job and the employer.

More About Interview Thank You Notes

[More: The Waiting Game After the Interview by recruiter Jeff Lipschultz and Job-Hunt's 2017 study, Job Seekers: What Happens After You Apply.]


About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.