How To Write A Thank You Email After An Interview (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Feb. 17, 2021

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The post-job-interview follow-up can be a tricky thing to figure out. But whether you call, write an email, or deliver a physical note, it’s essential to follow up with your interviewer.

Sending a post-interview thank-you email isn’t just good manners; it’s also your chance to reinforce all the qualities that make you the ideal job candidate.

We’ll walk you through the best practice for following up after an interview, show you what to include (and what not to) in your follow-up email, and provide example emails so you can see all our advice in action.

Why You Should Send a Thank-You Email After an Interview

Study after study has been done on the subject, and the numbers don’t lie; it’s always better to follow up a job interview with some form or another.

A 2011 CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers revealed some interesting details about employers’ thoughts on the subject. According to the study, 22% of employers are less likely to hire someone if they don’t follow up their interview with a thank-you note.

In a similar survey from Accountemps, it was found that 91% of hiring managers liked being thanked after an interview.

Of the total amount who were surveyed, 59% rated sending a thank-you note as being “very helpful” in terms of increasing a potential employee’s chances of being hired.

Based on this information, there’s no reason you shouldn’t follow up in some form or another. But is one method better than the others?

What Kind of Follow-Up Should You Send?

In the same Accountemps survey, hiring managers were asked about both which methods they preferred to receive follow-ups through as well as which methods were most commonly used.

For both of these questions, the top answer was always “email”, followed closely by “phone”.

Other methods, such as “handwritten note,” “social media,” and “text message,” were all listed as survey answers, but received considerably lower results — particularly “text message,” which only 10% of those surveyed listed as an appropriate way to follow up with a hiring manager.

Most importantly, email is faster than sending a letter, and time is of the essence here. Hiring managers and recruiters are used to receiving post-interview emails, so that’s where they’ll expect it.

There are a few situations where sending a follow-up letter might be better. If it’s a very senior position (we’re talking C-suite) or a very traditional industry or company, a card can be appropriate.

If you decide to go with a phone call follow-up, keep a few things in mind. For one thing, odds are that a phone conversation is going to be a lot shorter than any sort of email follow-up.

It just doesn’t make sense in most follow-up phone calls to talk about the specifics of the position, or to go on at length about things you’re looking forward to.

The hiring manager may not have the time in their day to have such a conversation, on top of which there’s the fact that a more natural conversation would just involve you reminding the hiring manager who you are and asking about how the hiring process is going in terms of that position.

Any other conversation that would occur would have to spring naturally from this, and so you’d be hindered by whether or not the other person was actually interested in going down that particular thread of interaction.

Secondly, the phone follow-up is listed a bit lower on the survey in terms of appropriateness, in addition to which you will have a harder time planning out your response in any real methodical way.

So unless you have a compelling reason to use a phone call as a follow-up — such as not having your potential employer’s email address, or feeling more comfortable responding over the phone — we’d recommend going the email route.

What to Include in Your Post-Interview Thank-You Email

In this section, we’ll discuss what sort of information you should try to include in any sort of follow-up you make with an employer.

While this information is largely geared toward a thank-you letter email, much of it can easily be applied to a phone call follow-up, as the same information should be brought up regardless of how you’re initiating contact.

As a rule, there are a few things you’re going to want to mention during your thank you note:

  1. Open with gratitude. This may sound simple, make sure that you do in fact say “Thank you,” preferably near the beginning of the letter. Thank them first of all for taking the time out of their day to speak with you, then try to follow that up by mentioning something that you talked about with them.

    Specific details about the position could work here, but even better would be details from a more personal conversation that you may have had during your interview; a shared love of sports, or a TV show you both watched.

    Something that reminds the hiring manager that they liked you and had some sort of brief connection with you as a person, or that makes you stand out in their mind.

  2. Express enthusiasm for the opportunity. Next, try to make some kind of impact on your hiring manager by talking about something job-related that you’re looking forward to about the prospective position.

  3. Talk about working with them. Mention specifically that you’re looking forward to the possibility of working with them. Of course, if you’re emailing a recruiter or you wouldn’t be working with your interviewer, you can leave this part out.

  4. Mention the job. Next, you want to talk about something specific to the job itself. Write about what drew you to the job and reiterate your relevant experience. Discuss interests you most about the position.

    Anything you can think of that would continue to help humanize you as well as give the hiring manager more context for the experience that they already know you to have would be remarkably helpful here.

  5. Wrap things up. Now you can start concluding your letter. What’s important in this section is that you make yourself available to your employer by giving yourself an excuse to restate your contact information.

    The easiest way to do this is to simply tell them that if they have any other questions for you that they can contact you at [insert your email address/phone number/contact info here].

    For most positions, the odds are very low that they will have any follow-up questions per se, but the offer helps make you seem eager for the position while still allowing them the space to contact you at their leisure.

  6. Thank them again If you can think of a non-awkward way to do so.

And that’s it! Send it away. Pray, if you pray. Take a minute to breathe. Then, try to relax and go about your life as normal.

At this point, they’ll contact you if they’re interested. You don’t really want to send anything else to them until they respond first; if you do, you might run the risk of coming off as socially inept, or at the very least a bit too overeager.

Of course, you should always conclude an interview by asking the recruiter or hiring manager when you’ll hear more. If you don’t hear anything for that amount of time plus one day, you can send a second follow-up email.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Post-Interview Thank-You Email

A good follow-up email after an interview leaves a good impression and helps you stand out with recruiters and hiring managers. A bad thank-you email also stands out — but for all the wrong reasons.

Avoid these common mistakes as you write your thank-you email:

  • Don’t wait too long. If you fail to send your thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview, it’s probably too late. Refresh the hiring manager’s memory of who you are as quickly as you can.

  • Don’t send generic emails. If you met with multiple interviewers, don’t send the same message to each person. It looks lazy and unprofessional. Get business cards from everyone you meet and mention an anecdote specific to the recipient in each email.

  • Don’t be overly eager. Enthusiasm is great, but don’t annoy your interviewer(s). One thank-you email within 24 hours and possibly a second follow-up if they don’t get back to you by the time they said they would.

    You want to seem like a good person to work with, and the person who sends a check-in email every 6 hours is not that person.

  • Don’t be too casual. Your interviewer may have been super informal and put you at ease during the interview. That’s great — definitely adjust the tone of your email accordingly.

    But even if the hiring manager is a surfer dude, you should avoid greetings like “yo,” sign-offs like “ciao,” emojis, gifs, and internet acronyms like LOL.

Example Subject Lines for Post-Interview Thank-You Email

Thinking of the right subject line for a post-interview thank-you email can be tough. Here are some classics that work for just about every situation:

  • Thank you for your time

  • Thank you for meeting with me

  • Thank you — [your full name]

  • Thank you — [job title]

  • Thank you — [your full name, job title]

  • Thank you, [interviewer’s name]

Examples of Post-Interview Thank-You Letters

We’ve put together a few samples of what the thank you letter itself might look like:

  1. Thank-You Email Example 1: Writer

    Subject Line: Thank You – Larry Burger, Textbook Writer

    Dear Dr. Spaceman,

    Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on Monday about the textbook writing position. I enjoyed our conversation and am looking forward to the possibility of working with you.

    I’ve been a textbook writer at Important Textbook Conglomerate, Inc., for over seven years now, and during that time I’ve contributed work to textbooks in nearly a dozen subjects. I’m very interested in the idea of writing for your company, and specifically with the project you’re working on involving marine biology.

    Before our talk, I never realized just how much of a need there was for a textbook focused entirely on the similarities between deep-sea invertebrates and the domestic dog, but since we discussed it I just can’t stop thinking about it. A year ago I worked on a book that compared porpoises and domestic cats, an experience that I believe will help me bring a lot to the table when it comes to this new project you’re embarking upon.

    If you have any other questions for me, or if you’d like me to send you some additional writing samples, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me; my email is larryburger@notareal.email, and you can also reach me by phone at (555) 123-4567. Thanks again, and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Best,

    Larry “The Burgmeister” Burger
    Senior Textbook Writer at ITC

  2. Thank-You Email Example 2: Project Manager

    Subject Line: Thank You – Kate Grass

    Dear Mr. Marmen,

    Thank you for speaking with me today about the project manager position at XYZ Corp. Learning more about XYZ’s upcoming Big Media project was a real treat, and I’d be ecstatic to work on it and other projects with you.

    My experience in project management extends to tech projects like this, and having a technical background myself makes me confident that I could communicate with such a large and diverse team.

    I appreciate you considering me for this position and taking the time to talk to me this morning. I’m very enthusiastic to work together and look forward to hearing from you regarding the Project Manager position.

    Sincerely,
    Kate Grass

    kgrass@gmail.com
    554-443-3332
    www.linkedin.com/kgrass/

  3. Example Answer 3: Marketing Assistant

    Subject Line: Thank you for meeting with me

    Dear Mrs. Sajak,

    Just writing to thank you for taking the time to meet with me about the Marketing Assistant position. It was great learning how ABC’s Marketing and Product teams work together so closely.

    It sounds like a role with a lot of collaboration that would be very rewarding. My background in SEO and copywriting would be an excellent fit for the position you described.

    Thanks again for considering me for the role. Feel free to reach out to me if you need any further materials or have any questions about my application.

    All the best,
    John Timber

    john.timber@gmail.com
    999-888-7777

Final Thoughts

For some people, following up on their interview will be a breeze. It’ll be a natural impulse for them; they’ll knock out the email in a couple of minutes, or make the phone call while barely even thinking about it.

For everyone else, the follow-up email or phone call is a source of much dread and anticipation. Either option may be equally anxiety-inducing, especially you’re not confident in your writing abilities.

But if you follow our guidelines above, you’ll have no problem writing a perfect post-interview thank-you email. That will help you stand out with hiring managers and land more job offers, according to the data.

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Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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