You may think you’ve given it your best shot, for better or worse, and now all you can do is pray. But sending a thank you email after a job interview is a proactive step you can and should take that genuinely gets results.
According to one survey of human resources managers, 22% said it was “very helpful” to receive an after-interview thank you message, while 58% said it was at least “somewhat helpful.” Yet only 24% reported receiving these thank you notes from job candidates after an interview.
So what have you got to lose? Nothing but the job. Let’s look at some of the questions people ask about this topic and what advice can be offered based on hiring practices.
Most of what we'll cover applies to thank you emails after phone interviews or in-person interviews. The same goes for thank you emails after a zoom interview:
- Why you should send a thank you email after an interview
- How to write a thank you letter after an interview
- What your thank you letter should include: subject line, greeting, body and sign-off
- Ways to convey appreciation in the right parts of the letter
- Sample thank you email after an interview + wording examples for each thank you letter section
- How long a thank you note after an interview should be
- How soon to send a thank you email after an interview
- Should you expect a response?
Why should you send a thank you note after an interview?
A thank you email after an interview with an expression of genuine gratitude accomplishes the following things:
- A thank you email after an interview is a sign of professionalism and etiquette
- It shows that you really want the job and are eager to get started
- Amid what may be a big pool of interviewees, a thank you letter after an interview reminds the recruiter who you are
- It enables you to briefly restate your primary qualifications for the job
- The post-interview follow up email allows you to establish a personal relationship with the hiring manager.
How do you write a thank you email after an interview?
These are the basic components of a follow-up letter after an interview:
- The subject line
- The greeting
- The body of the email (the actual “thank you”, plus your personal touch and “call to action”)
- A respectful sign-off.
Thank you letter after an interview sample
Here is an example of a thank you email after an interview that hits all the right notes:
Thank you, Mr. Wordsworth!
Hello Mr. Wordsworth,
It was a real pleasure visiting with you yesterday, and I want to thank you for taking the time to talk about the “unicorn” you’re looking for in a Social Media Manager.
I was especially appreciative that you took the time to show me around the office and introduce me to some of your awesome team. Please give my regards to Helen, who is not only a superstar on Twitter but is also hilarious in person.
My visit to your HQ made me twice as eager to want to work there (and I was pretty eager before). You mentioned that you haven’t really tapped the full potential of Instagram, and I think I failed to mention that I recently passed the milestone of 50,000 Instagram followers.
If there’s any further information I can provide, including references from past clients or metrics from my career on social media, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks again for your time (and for making this process so painless). I’ll be eagerly awaiting your call, email, tweet, PM or smoke signal.
Note that this thank you email sample is tailored to a more informal corporate culture (as is often the case with social media, advertising and marketing agencies).
By no means should you copy that same tone for a more conservative job, such as in finance or law. But you can draw some great conclusions based on the follow-up email format, human touch and action-oriented nature.
Let’s dive into the specifics of each thank you email element:
The subject line
Since this is a thank you note, you might as well get busy saying thanks. There are many ways of doing so in the subject line of your email, which you never want to leave blank.
Below are some sample subject lines for a thank you email after an interview.
“Thanks for your time”
“My deepest appreciation”
“It was a pleasure meeting you”
“Thank you, Ms. Yang”
Job interview follow-up emails should be both professional and human in tone. You’re trying to establish or refresh your human connection with the hiring manager, but you should also be mindful not to become too casual once the interview is over.
The perfect thank you email after an interview is a blend of friendliness and professional etiquette. Your subject line is the very first place to showcase this. Of course, the attention to tone should be present in the entire follow up email.
Greeting of the thank you email after an interview
“Dear Mr./Ms. [Last name here]” would be the most formal approach to the greeting in your email. If you sense that the potential employer stands on tradition and formality, this is the safest way to go.
This is especially true if the person who interviewed you holds a very senior position in the company and/or is quite a bit older than you. If your interview was with 70-year-old company CEO Thomas H. Higginbotham in his walnut-paneled office, he might not appreciate a greeting that says “Yo Tommy!”
On the other hand, if your interviewer was friendly and informal, if she said “Please call me Susan,” if she took you to lunch and gossiped about office politics like a pal, then there’s probably nothing wrong with a greeting that says “Dear Susan,” “Hello Susan,” or “Greetings Susan.”
What should I say in the thank you letter body?
The middle part of your thank you note after an interview is pivotal to the connection you are trying to maintain with recruiters. Let’s look at what it should and could include.
The actual ‘thank you’ part
At least once, perhaps twice, you need to express your gratitude to the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. You may also want to thank the interviewer for giving you a tour of the company, for taking you to lunch, for making the experience a pleasure, or whatever else seems appropriate.
Here are two examples of how you might say thanks in the body of your thank you letter after an interview.
“Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today, for showing me around the campus, and in general for making this interview process such a pleasure.”
“I’m deeply grateful to you for inviting me to your office today, taking the time to study my portfolio, and having such a thoughtful conversation with me about what you’re looking for in a Marketing Coordinator.”
In the closing line of your thank you email body, you might want to briefly reiterate your gratitude: “Thanks again for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.”
Besides the expression of gratitude, here are some additional goals to try and achieve in the middle part of your post-interview thank you email:
- Express your interest in the job and your value proposition
- Add a personal touch to establish a human connection (mention some trivial/specific personal detail from the conversation)
- Supply any important details you might have forgotten during the interview (don’t overdo it though by writing out a whole paragraph).
Reiterate your interest in the job in your follow-up email
Unless the interview somehow made you lose interest in the company, find a way to stress your continued eagerness to work there. Below is some sample wording for the middle section of a thank you letter.
“I was pretty sure I wanted to work for your company before, but after visiting your HQ, I’m doubly sure.”
“Visiting your company and talking with you has only sharpened my already keen interest in joining your team.”
Try to mention something specific or personal in your post-interview thank you email
Try to make some reference to something that came up during the interview, something personal or something that impressed you about the setting. Samples from the body of a thank you letter after an interview appear below.
“I was really struck by the collegial atmosphere of your office, where a couple of programmers might take a 15-minute break from creating the next killer app to sneak in a game of Ping-Pong.”
“You have such a beautiful campus! I loved the duck pond and the cherry blossoms.”
“You raised some great points about the highly competitive nature of the field, and I hope my skills can help address these issues.”
Offer to provide anything else the employer might need
Express your willingness to provide any additional information that the recruiter might want to see. Here’s an example of how you can supply additional information in your follow up email after an interview.
“If there is any further info I can provide to help you make an informed decision — additional samples of my work, references from past employers or anything else — please don’t hesitate to let me know.”
Did you forget anything, or does anything bear repeating?
It’s possible that in the heat of the moment, you forgot to say something important that you really want the hiring manager to know. Or perhaps you’ve thought of a much better answer to a question that caught you flat-footed before. A thank you note gives you an opportunity to fill in any blanks.
Also, there may be something in your experience that you did mention, but you really want it to stick in the recruiter’s mind. There’s no rule that says you can’t stress your greatest successes, even if you’ve mentioned them before. This post-interview sample interview thank you letter illustrates.
“It occurs to me that in our interview I failed to mention that I was a co-winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for our series on the deplorable conditions at chicken farms in the South, which is linked here.”
Close with a professional sign-off
You may choose the time-honored “Sincerely” or any alternative that sounds professional and appropriate, including “Best regards,” “All my best,” or simply “Thanks again.”
Below this, type your full name and repeat your key contact info, such as your phone number and email address.
How long should a thank you email be?
A thank you note or follow up email after an interview should never be longer than one page — nor does it need to fill the entire page. Three or four paragraphs should do the trick, just enough to address most or all of the topics discussed above.
Remember that recruiters and hiring managers are busy people. Consider two points:
- By showing them you value their time, you are more likely to win them over
- A relatively short but expressive email is more likely to be read, while an overly long email will likely just be closed with an irritated eye-roll.
How soon do you send a follow up email after an interview?
Ideally, you should send a thank you email within hours of an interview, or no later than the next day. Use your common sense to choose the appropriate time, considering the time of day when the interview took place or the hiring manager's working hours.
There’s really no good reason to wait any longer. The interview is fresh in your mind, and hopefully in the interviewer’s mind as well.
Is three days too late to send a thank you letter after an interview?
Even if later is better than never, three days is too long to wait before thanking your interviewers. It comes across as an afterthought, as if it slipped your mind for three days.
Can I send a thank you email after an interview a week later?
Most recruiters would not be impressed if you waited a week to send a thank you note.
In fact, they might suspect that your tardy thank you is a sly way of nudging them to get back to you with an answer. You don’t want to run the risk of making it look like your thank you email is a stealthy attempt to get them to make a decision.
Sincerity is still valued in the corporate world, contrary to popular opinion (since we are all still human). A speedy “thank you” seems like genuine gratitude, while a follow up after a week might look like a pushy hint or lack of tact.
Do employers respond to thank you emails after an interview?
Employers often don’t respond to thank you emails, but don’t read too much into this.
If you haven’t received a “You’re welcome” to your “Thank you,” it may be because the company is still interviewing candidates, winnowing its list, preparing invitations for a second interview, or even drafting your offer letter.
Be patient when waiting for a response, but don’t get upset if you don’t receive one. The job hunt is a numbers game and the best (and most successful) candidates are the ones that use interviews as a chance to improve and learn. Your life doesn’t center around one job application, but a philosophy of learning and growth can definitely lead to your dream job.
- You have nothing to lose, but possibly a big hiring advantage to gain, by sending a thank you letter after a job interview.
- Besides being a professional courtesy and genuine expression of gratitude, a thank you email after an interview reminds recruiters who you are, how well you are qualified for the job, and how hopeful you are about being hired and starting to work.
- Always send your thank you letter as soon as possible after your job interview — ideally within hours and no later than the following day.
Best of luck in finding the job that’s right for you!
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