How to Write a ‘Thank You’ Email After an Interview
When Mike Manoske coaches job seekers, his goal is for them to think of interviews more like dialogues and less like piano recitals.
“And the way you finish a good dialogue,” he said, “is to send a thank you.”
Sending a “thank you” email to a hiring manager after an interview seems like a simple, straightforward task. After all, how complicated can writing a brief letter of gratitude to a new acquaintance possibly be?
More complicated than people think.
When you feel like a job offer is hanging in the balance, it’s easy to overthink every detail — from the subject line on down to the sign-off.
So if you want to hit the “send” button with confidence, consider these tips. They just might make your thank-you email stand out among the crowd of fellow candidates.
Tips for Writing a Post-Interview ‘Thank-You’ Email
- Send it within 24 hours
- Simplify the subject line
- Keep it short and to the point
- Sound appreciative and excited
- Summarize the interview highlights
- Don’t bring up interview mistakes
- Sign off professionally
Yes, You Should Send a ‘Thank You’ Email
You might be thinking: Why do I need to send a thank-you email in the first place? After all, wasn’t the hiring manager’s opinion of me solidified in the interview? What possible difference would an email make now?
If you interviewed for a sales or customer success position, a follow-up thank-you email is not a step you can afford to skip. Neglecting to send it may signal a lack of initiative and communicativeness that hiring managers look for in customer-facing roles.
“With sales, you want [to see a candidate’s] follow through, you want to evaluate their forms of communication, because it gives you some indication of how that candidate will be at your company in the role,” Stephen Jensen, director of mid market at KeepTruckin, told Built In. “You want to see those built-in best behaviors.”
In most other cases, the post-interview thank-you email probably isn’t going to make or break your chances of getting the job. It’s more of a nice-to-have. But you should probably send one anyway.
“It’s never a bad thing,” Jensen added.
Kirsten Nelson, a career coach, said the post-interview thank-you email is a chance to further demonstrate your interest in the role.
While sending one might not cinch the job for you, if you don’t send one, the hiring manager may notice — and doubt your enthusiasm for the position.
There’s an additional upside to sending a thank-you email: These emails help candidates stay top of mind, even after the interview process is over.
Shwetha Shankar, vice president of customer success at Tray.io, said she once hired someone for a role, but the other final candidate’s thank-you email stuck out to her. So when a better-fitting role opened up down the road, the thank-you emailer was the first person Shankar reached out to.
Send the Email Within 24 Hours
When it comes to sending your thank-you email, don’t delay.
“Ideally, do that within 24 hours,” Nelson said.
If you interviewed in the morning, send it that afternoon. And if you interviewed in the afternoon, send it the following morning.
A prompt note shows that you’re responsive, a strong communicator with follow-through — and that you’re excited for the role.
If you wait two or three days to send it, though, the hiring manager might get a different impression of you — that you’re slow to respond, or not too interested in the position.
Simplify Your Subject Line
Resist the urge to get clever or wordy in your email subject line. Keep it straightforward and to the point.
Manoske, career coach and co-author of The Job Search Manifesto, recommends people use the word “appreciate” throughout their email — and that includes the subject line.
“Appreciated your time yesterday” is an example of a subject line he suggests applicants use.
Wendy Saccuzzo, a career coach, said subject lines like “Following up,” “Thanks for the conversation” and “Thanks for the interview” all work well for the occasion.
Keep It Short and to the Point
The hiring manager is probably busy, so you want to make sure your follow-up email is quick and easy for them to read. So keep it brief — a few short paragraphs is a commonly prescribed length.
That said, make sure the reader can tell you put time and effort into your email. Even though it’s short, it shouldn’t read like it was dashed off as an afterthought.
Sound Appreciative and Excited
The tone of every post-interview thank-you email should be “appreciative and excited,” Jensen said.
Makes sense. A thank-you note that fails to properly convey the sender’s appreciation of the recipient is a pretty lousy one. So don’t play it cool or hard to get: Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you, and say you appreciated the conversation.
You’ll want some excitement to be evident in your tone of voice too. After all, you’re interested in the role, and you had a great conversation with the interviewer. Make sure they can sense your enthusiasm. Your note shouldn’t read like an overly formal robot wrote it, or like this is the third follow-up email you wrote that day.
Be careful not to let your excitement veer into desperation though. Hiring managers don’t want to see candidates begging for a job.
Summarize the Interview’s Highlights
When it comes to the actual body content of the email, in addition to thanking the interviewer, you want to focus on referencing two or three high points from the interview.
Mine your conversation for highlights by reflecting on these questions:
- Did the interviewer make an interesting point?
- Did something you discussed excite you?
- Did you learn something new about the role or company?
- Do you two have something interesting in common?
In your email, say you enjoyed learning about X. Or that you appreciate that the hiring manager shared Y. Or, when you heard them say Z, you became even more interested in the role.
Giving a couple quick highlights demonstrates you were an active, attentive participant in the conversation.
Don’t Bring Up Interview Mistakes
What about if you flubbed an answer in your interview? Is the thank-you email a place to explain yourself, clarify a mistake you made, or provide a better answer than the one you gave in the heat of the moment?
In most cases, you shouldn’t bring it up at all, experts say.
“Don’t remind an interviewer of negative aspects of an interview,” Jensen said. “Finish on a positive note.”
Manoske thinks it depends on the severity of the flub. He gave an example of a recent client of his who gave the interviewer an incorrect number (a number they both knew). In her follow-up email, she briefly mentioned, “I meant to say it’s X, not Y.”
“That was one word, and it was so obvious, you didn’t want to leave it out there,” Manoske said. “In general, I’m 80 percent in agreement with the idea of, if I flubbed one, I don’t want to bring it back.”
Sign Off Professionally
The final short paragraph of your thank-you email should cover a couple of things: Invite the interviewer to let you know if they have any further questions, and tell them you hope to stay in touch.
After that, it’s time for the sign-off, where it’s probably best you stick to one of several classic options:
- Best Regards
- Kind Regards
- Best Wishes
Experts are divided on the use of “Cheers” for closing out an email. Some think it’s fine. Others think it’s too casual for professional correspondence.
Some hiring managers find the first three above options overly formal, Manoske said. For that reason, he thinks closing out emails with a simple “Thanks” is probably the best choice.
Above all, Manoske cautions candidates not to get cute or clever in their sign-off, as a last-ditch effort to get the interviewer’s attention.
“I don’t like the ones [that say], ‘I hope you know I’m a badass candidate.’ You don’t need to do all the bro stuff.”
Thank-You Email Examples
To help you get started, here are some samples of post-interview thank-you emails. Keep in mind that these are just starting points, though. You’ll want to add your own details and write with your own voice.
Subject: Appreciated your time today
Thanks for meeting with me today; I appreciate you taking the time.
I really enjoyed our conversation, and was especially excited about what you shared about the company’s new initiative for aligning the sales and marketing orgs. It’s always great to chat with someone who’s passionate about RevOps.
Let me know if you have any further questions. And no matter the outcome, I hope we can stay in touch.
Subject: Thanks for the conversation
Thanks for the great conversation today. I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me, and for sharing your thoughts on product management strategy — especially your insight about how it’s important for PMs to carve out time each morning to do strategic work.
That made me even more excited about this role, and how it fits in with what your company is doing for product roadmaps.
Let me know if there’s anything else you need from me. Looking forward to hearing about next steps.
Subject: Following up from yesterday
It was great talking with you yesterday. Always fun to meet a fellow General Assembly bootcamp grad!
Thanks for sharing how you see the new mobile app fitting in with the company’s existing platform — it was really exciting to hear. Especially since you’ve noticed how much more engaged users are on mobile devices.
Feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions for me. Thanks again for your time, and I hope we can stay in touch.