Helpful Hints For the Thank You Email After an Interview

You had a great interview and are excited about the potential job.  You’re eager to send a Thank You note to the person who interviewed you; but when should you send it?  24 hours? 48 hours? The same day? What should you say? How long should it be?

First, take a deep breath.  It may be tricky but it’s not too complicated.  I’m going to give you some helpful hints with all of the things you need to know to help you write and send your thank you to put you in the best position to get that job.

black and gray digital device
  • Don’t Make it Too Long:

People are busy.  Hiring Managers and recruiters have a lot on their plates.  Especially Hiring Managers.  They are spending time that they don’t have interviewing and hiring.  Most of the time, they are going from meeting to meeting to interview to meeting, and reading important emails that impact their day.  The last thing they want is to read a Thank You email longer than the Declaration of Independence.  You may think the longer your email the better, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Remember the whole, they take about 6 seconds to read a resume.  Well they probably take just around the same amount of time to read your email.  If you are writing more than 4 sentences, your email is too long.  Keep it to a maximum of 4 sentences, and if you can do 2 or 3 that’s even better.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it a well written email, it means you should get straight to the point.

So what should you write then in just 4 sentences or less?  Write a line about how great it was to meet with them and how excited you are for the opportunity.  Reiterate your skills and how you are a great fit for the role (this can be done in one sentence or two) and end it by telling them you look forward to hearing from them soon.  No rambling.  No babbling.  Just meat and potatoes.  A Ruth’s Chris Steak and shoestring fries for that matter. 

woman having coffee and using laptop in bed

Make It Personal Please

If you’re reading this and you’ve ever copied and pasted a Thank You email you’ve sent to someone else, go run a lap right now…..I’m serious…..You should never….EVER…copy and paste a Thank You.  If you have and you’ve still gotten the job, you should also play the Mega Millions jackpot or a scratch-off because you’re a lucky person.  You shouldn’t do this for a number of different reason, but the main reason is that you always want to make these emails personal.  You should be including the name of the company, the role, and bonus points if you can add something relevant that you talked about to start the interview…..

  • Hi John Smith,I wanted to thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday in regards to the XYZ Role at XYZ Company.  As a fellow University of North Carolina graduate, I will use the superb business skills I’ve acquired at our alma mater….

When reading a note like that, the Hiring Manager will at least remember that commonality that you two share.  Remember, only do this if it’s applicable.  Don’t try to force something that could come across as corny like “We both look like we could knock down a few beers after work so hire me”.  Hopefully no one in their right mind would write something like that…but you get my point.  If there was a genuine personal connection with your interviewer, leverage that, if not, don’t force it but make it as personal as you can.

woman sitting on the floor using a laptop
  • Send It Out At The Right Time

This doesn’t take an Einstein math equation to figure out, but you do want to make sure you send your email out at the right time.  Don’t rush to send it the second you leave the interview, but don’t wait three days to send it either.  The rule of thumb is generally within 24 hours.  Yes, if 24 hours brings you to a Saturday, and it’s a Monday through Friday job, don’t make yourself crazy and send it on a Saturday, wait until Monday.  But you do want to send it at a time when you’ll leave an impression on the interviewer.  Don’t send it after normal business hours.  If you interviewed in the afternoon, I’d recommend sending it first thing in the morning so he or she has it in the morning when they aren’t already buried with a million things to do and can think straight.  Also if you interview on a Friday morning, it may be a good idea to send it Friday in the afternoon so you can be at the top of mind as they head out for the weekend.

  • Don’t Send Too Many Follow Up Emails

You are going to hear a lot of different people tell you a lot of different things on following up after you’ve sent your email.  This one can get tricky because you don’t want to get too pushy, but you also want them to know that you care.  A general rule is to follow up a week after you send your first Thank You email.  If you don’t hear anything after a week, follow up 1 more time the following week.  It can be extremely frustrating not to hear back from a place that you thought you had a great interview.  Frankly, it is rude if they don’t at least let you know that you didn’t get the job.

Think of it this way though.  If you went out on a date with someone and they texted saying they really enjoyed the date and wanted to go out again soon and then continuously sent follow ups every single day that would be a little overbearing wouldn’t it?  If you were on the fence after the first date, getting a message every single day would most likely turn you off.  Persistence is good, and I know people who it has paid off for, but too much persistence could sink your chances of getting that job.  If they like you, they will get back in touch with you and tell you that you got the job, or the date, I forgot if I was still talking about dating or not……The point is, be persistent but also be realistic.  The longer it goes without them responding, the less likely it is that you are the one for the job….or the relationship.

woman holding macbook

A Thank You email should be like the cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae (or for me, the gummy bears).  It puts you into the next category as a candidate that they want to hire….or ice cream that they really want to eat….I think that makes sense…I’m also really hungry for ice cream right now so I’m getting distracted…stay on track Joe…..but yes, having a great Thank You email will set you apart from the rest of the people who have interviewed.  But, just make sure you follow the hints that I gave you above and put yourself in the best position to get a call or email back.

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