The Post-Interview Thank-You Letter: The Most Underutilized Tool in a Jobseeker’s Arsenal

A post-interview thank-you letter is a necessary and highly overlooked tool in the job seeker’s arsenal. This post will cover the key components of a strong post-interview thank-you letter, what to include and not include, and a framework to help you structure your letter and set yourself apart from your competition. Let’s begin!

First, why is the post-interview thank-you letter important?

There are many reasons why a post-interview thank-you letter is important in the hiring and interview process.

It has the power to leave a solidify a positive impression with your interviewers by:

  • Reminding them of your unique value, credibility, and expertise
  • Reinforcing your interest in the role while demonstrating good business etiquette
  • Influencing hiring decisions, such as a second interview or a job offer

Believe it or not, many employers expect a thank-you letter. However, according to an Accountemps survey of 300+ HR Managers across the US, only 24% of candidates send one. That gives you an incredible opportunity to cement your interest in the role and leave a positive, memorable impression on your interviewer(s).

When should you write a post-interview thank-you letter?

Writing a thank-you letter is a great habit to get into, whether the interview occurs over the phone, video conference, or in-person. This gesture shows the interviewer(s) that you appreciate their time to meet with you. Thank-you notes can (and should) be sent to anyone who helps you in your job search.

Common scenarios can include:

  • Colleagues who introduced you to someone at one of your target companies
  • Someone who helped you network with the right people
  • Someone who told you about an upcoming opportunity
  • A former manager who provided you with a reference
  • A networking contact that recommended you to an employer

When should I send a post-interview thank-you letter?

Ideally, the same day, a few hours after the interview, and within 24 hours.

You can send the note by email since it’s the primary form of communication in today’s fast-paced business world. I recommend sending an email thank-you note over a hand-written one. While hand-written notes are also appropriate, they take longer to deliver, and the hiring process can move quickly.

To whom should I send a post-interview thank-you note?

Everyone who interviewed you!

Each letter should be personalized, using each person’s first and last name and sharing specific details of what you discussed with each person. In the next section, we will discuss the key components of a post-interview thank-you letter.

Key components of a post-interview thank-you letter:

A strong letter should aim to accomplish 3 things:

  • Make a connection with the interviewer(s)
  • Restate your enthusiasm for the position
  • Urge the interviewers to act again—schedule a second interview or make an offer!

The key to writing a strong thank-you letter is to take good notes during the interview, specifically:

  • Each interviewer’s first and last name
  • Notable aspects about each person
  • Details discussed that are essential for the position

After the interview, you can refer to these notes, draw attention to specific talking points, and produce a personalized thank-you note that communicates your thoughtfulness and attention to detail.

From there, think relevancy—what do you want the interviewer to remember about you?

  • Relevant experience, specific job titles, educational/professional credentials
  • Career highlights that apply to the company’s key challenges
  • Types of problems you solved or helped solve
  • International experience, foreign language skills, technology tools
  • Military service, volunteer work, student activities, internships, etc.
  • Address concerns brought up during the conversation*

*Overcoming objections is part of the hiring process. If any concerns came up in the interview, use this letter as an opportunity to address them, share how you plan to overcome them, and re-emphasize your relevant, unique mix of skills, knowledge, and achievements.

A Framework for Composing a Post-Interview Thank-You Letter

  • Subject line. “Thank you for your time” or “Position title | Thank you for your time.”
  • Personalized salutation. Always use the interviewer’s name or title.
  • Body of the letter. Start by expressing your gratitude. This could look like:

“Thank you for your time on [Day of Interview]. I enjoyed our conversation and hearing about your vision and perspective for the [Name of Position] opportunity. I would be excited to join your team and use my [Relevant skills, qualifications, personality traits] to help [Name of Company] meet its goals. As we discussed, I offer [Name of Company] a [Relevant details of your background].”

Note: Always reference the specific position in your letter since Hiring Managers may be trying to fill multiple roles at once.

  • Recap your value. Keep this section brief since the interviewer should be aware of your qualifications after reviewing your resume and meeting with you.

For example, you could say:

“I would be excited to join your team and apply my [X years of experience] in [Insert specific industry] to support [Name of Company] in solving challenging problems.”

  • Encourage the reader to take the next step.

“Thank you once again for considering me for the [Name of Position] role. I would gladly meet with you again to provide additional details about my background, and I look forward to hearing from you.”

  • Close your letter with a professional sign-off and a signature block with your contact phone and email address. If relevant, you may also wish to add your LinkedIn URL, Twitter profile, or personal website.

Note: While the interviewer should have your contact details on file, we want to make HR’s job as easy as possible.

Keep the following guidelines in mind when writing your letter:

  • Pay attention to your tone. A casual manner may be appropriate for a startup, but a more established company might prefer a formal tone. Use your best judgment and keep it positive.

  • Don’t bring up salary. Save it for when the employer makes you an offer.

  • Go beyond “thank you.” Remember, the purpose is to reaffirm your interest, qualifications, and cultural fit.

  • If you interviewed with multiple people at a company, personalize the language in each note. Think of something helpful each person shared that reaffirmed skills and knowledge you bring to the role, and how you can address their key problems.

  • Bear in mind that other people, besides the addressee, may read your letter. This is true any time you submit something in writing to a company. Sometimes, this is a good thing. If a Hiring Manager is sending your letter up the chain of command, that could be a sign they are interested in making you an offer.

  • Don’t wait too long. Send the letter that same day and within 24 hours of your interview.

  • Don’t beg for the position. Desperation is not a good look and will likely backfire on your candidacy.

  • Proofread your letter (multiple times) to catch typos, grammar mistakes, and spelling errors.

  • Always send a letter, or employers will take this as a sign of disrespect and a lack of interest on your part.

A thank-you letter has the power to influence hiring decision-makers and increase your chances of subsequent interviews or a job offer. When written well, the letter should serve as a reminder of your candidacy and why you are the best fit for the position and the company culture. Our next post will cover tips on how to follow up with your interviewers after sending your thank-you letter.

Scientech Resumes is dedicated to helping science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals find fulfilling work through targeted, branded, and keyword-optimized resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and other career marketing documents. Schedule a FREE 20-minute discovery session to get some real-time feedback on your current resume and job search strategy or connect with me on LinkedIn. Let’s get you where you want to go, with greater results!

Kate Williamson

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