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How to Write an Effective Thank You Note After a Job Interview

by Mary Plum

Consultant

Posted September 16, 2021

Thank you notes provide an opportunity to restate your interest in the role, demonstrate why you would be the right fit, and express gratitude for the interviewer’s time. In my experience as a recruiter, not all professionals/organizations place a lot of weight on a candidate writing thank you letters, but for those that do, it can be a deal breaker when a candidate doesn’t send one. Essentially, a thank you letter might not guarantee you move forward in the hiring process – but your failure to send one could certainly hurt your chances!

Read on to discover advice on when to send a thank you letter, whom to send to, and what to include…

The Logistics

Write a thank you note for every single person you interviewed with. This includes the recruiter or hiring manager and anyone at the organization you spoke with. Consider, too, whether there was someone who didn’t interview you, but was helpful in regards to scheduling, etc. Sending them a (short) thank you note, too, can be a nice touch (and who knows, they may put in a good word for you!). And if you are missing anyone’s email address, look online or ask the recruiter/hiring manager to provide it.

Remember, too, that timeliness is critical – you should send thank you letters no more than 24 hours after your interview. In this day and age, email is best. If you would like to follow up with handwritten notes as well, that’s great, but because they can take days to arrive, your interviewer might assume you didn’t write one at all. And with more and more people working remotely, you would need to confirm whether to send the note to an office or home address.

The Content

The best thank you notes are short but thoughtful and personalized. Each letter you write should be unique. Members of a hiring team often share the thank you notes they receive, and it reflects poorly on a candidate when they’re identical.

Begin by mentioning something that the two of you discussed during the interview – whether it was a personal connection (such as you both grew up in the same area) or a specific aspect of the role. Then, restate why you’re interested in the role and why you believe you would be a good match. Draw upon what you learned in the interview to help make your case. Are you especially impressed by the team’s growth? Are you inspired by their commitment to building a diverse and inclusive culture? Could you bring a specific skillset to bear on the team’s mission and goals? Be specific!

Next, dive deeper on one topic. Perhaps you have an experience that you didn’t have a chance to share during the interview but feel would be relevant, such as a volunteer role you held at a similar organization or a course you took to strengthen your writing. Or perhaps, you’d like to make an additional point about a matter you discussed during the interview, such as the organization’s current opportunities or challenges.

Finally, express your thanks once more. Don’t assume you’ll be invited back for another interview; instead, state that you would look forward to the opportunity to discuss further and leave it at that.

Keep In Mind…

  • Your tone should be professional and personable. The letter should feel like it came from a real person.
  • It should go without saying, but be sure to proofread! You don’t want a careless grammatical error to hurt your chances. Pay careful attention, too, to the spelling of people’s names.
  • Formatting matters! Ensure the font is all the same size and color, etc. And don’t forget to include a subject line and proper signature.
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