How to Write an Interview Thank You Note (And Why You Should!)
Inside: How to write a great interview thank you note. Sample included!
If you’re wondering how to write an interview thank you note that will leave a lasting impression, then you’re in the right spot.
And if you’re wondering if you need to write a thank you note after an interview, you’re DEFINITELY in the right spot because the answer is a definitive…
Alright, let’s get down to interview thank you note brass tacks.
Why You Need to Write an Interview Thank You Note
First things first. Why do you need to write an interview thank you note? There are a few reasons.
1. Thank you notes are nice, and you’re nice. So be nice!
2. More specifically, someone took time out of their day to speak with you about something you want. (This job.) That’s a gift to you, and gifts deserve thank you notes.
3. A great thank you note can stack the odds in your favor.
How you might ask? Great question! Gosh, you’re so smart.
People like to work with people they enjoy spending time with and people they respect. If you show an interviewer that you enjoyed the experience of meeting with them and that you respect their time, that is always a good thing.
Plus, you can use the thank you note to drive home why you are a good fit for this job and what value you could add to the team.
More on how to do that right….now!
How to Write an Interview Thank You Note That Impresses
You could write a thank you note that simply says “thank you for your time today” and that would be better than nothing.
(As long as it’s not covered with typos and sent from your email@example.com email address from back in the day.)
But the even better way to prove that you’ve got the right stuff is to write an interview thank you note that gets all this ISH right. That’s “ISH” as in stuff, but also ISH as in the thank you note acronym I’m coining for this that stands for Individual, Specifics, and Highlights.
If you met with several different interviewers, they should all get individual thank you notes.
I know this takes more time, but you like being treated like an individual right? Give your interviewers the same courtesy and write an interview thank you note to each person. Some content will absolutely be the same across your notes, but you can make them more personalized by covering the S and H part of our acronym.
Your amazing thank you note should reference specifics from your conversation with this individual.
Did the person do a great job helping you understand the culture of the company? Did you learn something interesting or inspiring about their career path? Are you both graduates of the same university, or grew up in the same state?
Reference the specifics of your conversation to be more memorable in a sea of other candidates and show the person you valued what they contributed to the conversation.
Leave them remembering all your awesome by closing out with a highlight of the interview.
If you spoke about a problem the company is facing and some interesting ideas you had to address that problem based on your past experience, mention it!
If a big focus was put on communication skills and you have them in spades, talk about it!
And, if you forgot to mention a career highlight and it is relevant to the role, use the interview thank you note to bring it up. Link to an article you wrote on the topic or a web project you worked on if appropriate. This type of follow up isn’t pushy, the employer genuinely wants to know if you could be a good fit so give them all the information they need!
Sample Interview Thank You Note
I like to make our sample communications fun around here, so my kids are making a comeback to show you an okay thank you note and a great thank you note.
In this situation, my preschooler recently interviewed to be the line leader at school. It’s a coveted leadership role with high levels of competition. (I mean, have you seen how quiet Aiden is in the hallway? Spectacular!) So even though the interview went well, the pressure is still on.
Okay Interview Thank You Note
Dear Apples and Oranges Preschool Team,
Thank you for interviewing me for the Line Leader position today. I enjoyed speaking with your team about the role and think this position is a great fit for me. I hope to hear from you soon.
Great Interview Thank You Note
Dear Ms. Grace,
Thank you for meeting with me today to discuss the Line Leader position with the Apples and Oranges Preschool.
I greatly appreciated learning more about your career progression from preschool student to Line Leader to teacher and your goals for the classroom. In particular, your philosophy on leading by example was refreshing and aligned with my own experience as a big brother. It would be a privilege to bring my leadership skills to your class and contribute to the success of the Granny Smith Room.
Again, thank you for taking the time today. I hope to speak with you again soon.
Breaking Down the Great Interview Thank You Note
Why was the second thank you note so much better than the first?
It was individual and Ms. Grace feels good that Jack took the time to write to her as a person, not just an employer.
It was specific, focusing on certain parts of the conversation with Ms. Grace and the impact that information had on Jack.
It covered the highlights and made sure to drive home that Jack has the leadership experience needed for the role.
Great job buddy!
Email vs. Snail Mail
A lot of people ask if an interview thank you note should be handwritten or sent by email.
As much as I love good old fashioned mail, I almost always say email for interview thank you notes because it is more immediate and can be sent the evening after your interview. In our fast-paced society decisions are getting made quickly, so snail mail might leave you lagging behind.
The exception? If you can hand write the thank you notes (neatly!) later that day and drop them off in the office in person – sure! Just make sure you are still following the guidelines above. The content matters more than the medium.
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Read More on Interviews:
5 Interview Tips You Wouldn’t Expect from Flying a Kite
SOAR Method for Answering Behavioral Interview Questions