“It was a pleasure speaking with you today. Thank you for the recommendation to read The Power of Less, maybe we can trade notes when you're done with Tribes! We will be in touch about next steps soon.”
That was part of a reply I received to a post-interview thank you email I wrote to a VP of sales. Four hours after receiving that reply, I got a call from the recruiter offering me a job.
A month after I was hired, I had a one-on-one with that VP and the first question she asked me was about the books we recommended to each other.
Leading up to the thank you email, we had spent 40 minutes on the phone together talking through introductions, behavioral questions, and case studies to see if I was a good fit for the role. While that conversation factored into the decision, my answers weren't what stood out in her mind.
It was the personal touch that stuck.
As a candidate, you want to be focused on two things during the job search:
- Building relationships with people who can influence the hiring decision
- Standing out from all of the other candidates vying for this job
The post interview thank you email is a highly effective (and incredibly easy) tactic that covers both bases. It's also overlooked by 76% of job seekers. Talk about low hanging fruit!
After interviewing at dozens of companies with over 100 people, I've had the chance to send (and test) plenty of thank you notes. This article will walk you through the template I've found to be the most effective and helped me land jobs at leading companies like Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and more.
In this post, we'll cover:
- Why A Post-Interview Thank You Email Matters
- The Basics Of A Great Thank You Email
- Post-Interview Thank You Email Templates & Examples
- 2 Common Thank You Email Mistakes To Avoid
- The Most Effective Email Template
- How To Follow Up If You Haven't Heard Back From Your Interview
Why A Post-Interview Thank You Email Matters
Before we get technical, it's important to understand why writing a thank you note is important in the first place.
Most people think their interview is over when they walk out of the building. Whether they absolutely crushed it or things didn't go according to plan, it's out of their hands now, right?
Not so fast.
Hiring managers at top companies pay very close attention to how and when their candidates follow up. Most are expecting some sort of thank you and failing to send one could actually cost you the job.
The data reveals that close to 80% of hiring managers feel that thank you emails are helpful when deciding between candidates. 22% of employers are less likely to hire a candidate who does not send a thank you and 91% actually like being thanked (imagine that!).
In addition to playing into your potential employer's expectations, thank you emails are an easy way to stand out from the competition. Despite all of the data above, only 24% of job seekers actually take the time to send a thank you note after their interview.
Part 1: The Basics Of A Great Thank You Email
Before we dive into our post-interview thank you email templates and examples, we're going to walk through the fundamentals of sending a thank you note that will boost your chances of landing the job offer.
Should I Email, Call, Or Hit Them Up On Twitter?
If you run a Google search for “interview thank you notes,” you'll get all sorts of suggested mediums for sending – email, phone calls, Twitter, text messages, and even hand written notes.
All of these can get the job done but we want to choose the method that's going to make things fast and easy for the interviewer on the other end.
Rather than sliding into their DMs, the data shows that interviewers prefer receiving thank you notes via email (with phone calls coming in at a close second):
When you're in the room on interview day, it's much more natural to ask for someone's email than their phone number. On top of that email allows you to spend time crafting your response and you can track them using a tool like Yesware to help gauge interest.
For those reasons, I recommend sending all of your thank you notes via email.
“But what if I forgot to ask for their email and don't have it?”
No problem! There are plenty of tools out there that make it super easy to track down someone's email address. My favorite is Mailscoop.io.
All you need is the person's full name and the link to their company's website (so if they work at Spacex, it would be www.spacex.com) and Mailscoop will spit it out in just a few seconds:
After you've got your hands on their email, you can head over to Mail Tester, or another email testing website, and plug it in to verify that it exists on the company's email server. If it does, you're good to go!
If all else fails, you can always email your recruiter and ask them for the person's contact info. Sure, it's best to get it upfront but you're better off swallowing your pride to send your thank you email than sending nothing at all.
When Is The Best Time To Send A Thank You?
This is a question I get a lot.
When it comes to following up with hiring managers, posting articles on social media, or sending breaking news to a contact, timing is everything and there is a science behind it.
When it comes to thank you notes, the golden rule is simple:
Q – The Best Time To Send Your Thank You Note?
A – As quickly as you can while still allowing yourself enough time to craft a quality email!
If you're a numbers person, shoot for 30 minutes – 2 hours after the interview, but don't pull your hair out if you can't get it out until later in the day. Life gets in the way and it's far more important to send it later than not send it at all.
What Subject Line Should You Use For Your Thank You Note?
Sometimes coming up with a subject line can be the hardest part of writing an email! In this case, you don't need to go crazy — something short and to the point will do just fine. My recommendations are:
- Thank you for your time today [Name]
- Following up on our interview today
- It was great speaking with you
- Thank you!
Any of those will do the trick!
These are all short, sweet, and leave no room for confusion. If you're really struggling to come up with something, feel free to borrow one of them.
Should You Send A Handwritten Note?
Sending a handwritten note is a great way to make sure your thank you stands out, but it takes time. If you're able to get your email sent within the first 24 hours, you're better off doing that.
If you're set on sending a handwritten note, my number one piece of advice is to use good old fashion snail mail.
Sending a thank you via USPS is going to take a few days, but it will almost certainly be a lot harder to ignore.
How Long Should A Thank You Email Be?
Your interviewer is likely busy. So, try to keep your post interview thank you email short and sweet. 80-150 words in 2-3 concise paragraphs are all you need.
Can you write less? Maybe. But there’s a good chance that your short email will sound generic or lack some key ingredients.
Express Your Appreciation
Let the interviewer know exactly what you’re thankful for. Perhaps you’re thankful for their time or for meeting with you. But those things are pretty generic, right?
Instead, be specific about a part of the interview you actually enjoyed. For example, maybe your interviewer told you about one of the company’s new programs or projects. How has learning about that program or project made you more excited about potentially working at this company?
Personalize The Message
Your interviewer may get thank you emails from other candidates. And you don’t want your email to sound like all the others. So, you must personalize the message.
How do you do that? For one, you address the interviewer by name. But you should also mention specific details about things you and the interviewer talked about.
For example, you can briefly share an idea of how you would solve a company challenge that the interviewer mentioned during your conversation. If you haven’t already, it could also be a good time to share a Value Validation Project to really demonstrate your interest and ability to solve a specific problem.
Finally, Proofread Everything!
Last, but certainly not least, is proofreading every single detail of your thank you email before you send it!
If you're writing your thank you note in something like Gmail, I definitely recommend installing a plugin like Grammarly or Hemingway. They will catch any spelling errors and make suggestions for better grammar to help improve your writing.
Once you have your final draft in front of you, read it out loud! Then send it to a friend to get a double confirmation. If everything looks good after that, you're all set to send!
Part 2: Post-Interview Thank You Email Templates & Examples
Now that we've covered the basics of great thank you notes, we can dive into the science behind writing one that will stand out from the crowd and get you hired.
We'll start by calling out two common thank you email templates that you should avoid. These are email templates that everyone ends up using because they're easy and average. Our goal is to stand out — to zig while everyone else zags — which means we don't want boring, boilerplate templates.
Next, I'll walk you through the methodology behind my thank you email strategy. I'll show you how to craft an email that will set you apart from the competition and bump you up on the interviewer's short list. Then you can get a copy of my post-interview thank you email template along with several thank you email examples from real people in my community!
2 Common Thank You Email Mistakes To Avoid
Now that you know why, when, and how to send your thank you email, let's dive into the science behind crafting an email that helps you build a relationship with your interviewer and stand out from other candidates.
We'll start by looking at the mistakes most candidates make when sending their post-interview thank you emails.
When it comes to thank you's, the most common formats tend to fall into two buckets:
Bad Email #1 (Don't Use This!)
Dear Mr. Last Name:
I enjoyed speaking with you today about the assistant account executive position at [Company]. The job seems to be an excellent match for my skills and interests.
In addition to my enthusiasm, I will bring to the position strong writing skills, assertiveness, and the ability to encourage others to work cooperatively with the department.
I appreciate the time you took to interview me. I am very interested in working for you and look forward to hearing from you regarding this position.
This email showcases zero personality and is so painfully formal that it can actually come off as unprofessional. You just spent an hour in a room trying to build a relationship with this person, you want your thank you note to be a reflection of your conversation!
Here's what the second most common email looks like:
Bad Email #2 (Don't Use This, Either!)
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I really enjoyed speaking with you about the position and am looking forward to next steps.
While this is far better than Email #1, it leaves a lot on the table. Again, after chatting with someone for an hour, you should have a little bit more to say than “thanks, hope to hear from you soon!”
Remember, your thank you note is a huge opportunity for you to stand out, continue building a relationship with your interviewer, and cement that positive association in their mind.
We want to make sure we're doing everything we possibly can to capitalize on those three things.
Click Below To Get My “Copy & Paste” Post Interview Email Template Completely Free:
A Great Thank You Note Starts During The Interview
In order to maximize the value we deliver with our thank you note, we need to gather as much information as we possibly can during the interview.
These details come from the small talk you make before the interview starts, the conversations sparked by your answers or your resume, and the questions you ask your interviewer.
This is more of an art than a science and truly a case of practice makes perfect. Here are some pointers to get you started:
- There is always a few minutes of small talk before the interview starts – use that to spark up a conversation. For example, if it's a Monday or Tuesday, ask how their weekend went. If it's Wednesday – Friday, ask if they have plans for the upcoming weekend.
- If they begin talking, ask follow up questions. The longer you can get them to continue, the more information you get and the higher the odds of them creating a positive association with you in their brain.
- At the end of the interview, have questions prepared (here's a list of my favorites). I always end an interview by asking them about their personal life outside of work.
The more personal information you get during the interview, the more ammo you have to include in your thank you note.
Remember the response I quoted in the opening paragraph of this post?
That VP had asked me about a book I read recently that made an impact on me. As soon as I answered, I asked her the same question. I hadn't read the book she mentioned, but I was very familiar with the author (Seth Godin).
I followed that up by asking her what she likes to read (“are you a non-fiction only kind of person?”) and how she finds the time to read with her crazy schedule.
Those two follow up questions sparked a conversation that lasted 15 minutes and helped me build a rapport.
In my thank you note, I mentioned that I ordered the book and appreciated the recommendation. A week later (after reading it), I followed up with her and mentioned my two favorite points the author made.
The mention in the thank you note helped me land the job and the follow up helped me start my new career with a fan in upper management.
The Most Effective Thank You Email Template
As mentioned above, I went on 50+ interviews and spoke to well over 100 people during the course of my job search. That meant a lot of thank you notes and, better yet, a lot of opportunities to test what format works best.
After all was said and done, the template below is the one my data showed to be most effective. I measured “effectiveness” by the percentage of people who replied as well my success rate for scoring a slot in the next round of interviews (or getting the offer).
What To Include
To start, we lead off with our “thank you.” It sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many people fail to actually include the words “thank you” in their note, (seriously, I see this a surprising amount with the people I coach). Instead of actually saying it, they imply it by saying stuff like “great chatting with you.”
People are busy, especially as you get further up the food chain. Their time is valuable and it goes a long way to acknowledge that. So don't just imply it, write out the words!
Next, we make a point to show them that we listened and understood.
Full attention is a rare thing in today's world and people like interviewers expect to get it from you. By recapping a point that you spoke about in your conversation, it shows that you were listening and engaged.
Bonus points if you add in an action you took based on the conversation, or share a relevant (and quality) piece of content!
Then, at the end of the email, we do the exact same thing by taking a personal angle in the PS. For best results, mention taking action against advice your interviewer gave you, illustrate your results, and finish with a follow up question.
This helps solidify your level of engagement in the interviewer's mind and keeps the door open to continue the conversation and build the relationship.
Now that you understand why each piece of the thank you email puzzle is important, let's check out a few examples of what an awesome post-interview thank you email looks like:
My Post-Interview Thank You Email Template & Examples
Click below to get a free copy of my proven Thank You email template, along with real-world examples of Thank You notes that worked. All you need to do is copy, paste, fill in the blanks, and hit send!
Click Below To Get My “Copy & Paste” Post Interview Email Template For Free:
How To Follow Up If You Haven't Heard Back After Your Interview
When it comes to getting the result you want (a job offer), persistence is key.
Sending a post-interview thank you email is always a must, but your work doesn't end there.
Hiring teams are busy – they're interviewing other candidates, they're corralling colleagues for feedback, and (most importantly) they're still doing their jobs! Sometimes things fall through the cracks. While it's not ideal, we're all human and it happens.
If you want to boost your chances, you need to follow up.
Following Up When You Haven't Heard Back
The key to a great follow up is being politely persistent without being overbearing.
First, check back to see if the hiring team gave you a timeline. If the recruiter said, “we'll get back to you in a couple of weeks,” don't send a follow up one week later. Respect the timeline, but don't be afraid to follow up right when it ends.
Set a reminder in your phone or calendar for two weeks!
If you didn't get a clear timeline, my rule of thumb is to follow up every five business days.
Austin's Five Day Follow Up Rule
My rule of thumb is to follow up every 5 business days when you haven't heard back and haven't been given a timeline.
Here's a quick email template you can use:
I hope you are having a great week!
I wanted to reach out and express my continued interest for the [Job Title] role. I know this is a busy time and I completely understand that there is a lot going into this decision.
If there's anything else I can do or provide that would be helpful, please let me know!
Updated Follow Up Email Template For COVID-19
Given the current circumstances with the COVID-19 outbreak, we will want to change up the language in our email.
The tests I've been running with my clients have shown that following up with empathy is what's working right now.
Here is the interview follow up email template I've been using during COVID-19:
I hope you are doing alright given everything that’s happening right now.
I know this is an uncertain time and that there is a lot to deal with both personally and professionally.
With everything going on, I completely understand that there may be delays in responses and/or with the process. Please take the time you need and stay safe.
I did want to reach out to let you all know that I am still very excited about this opportunity. If there is anything I can do or provide that would be helpful, please let me know.
I’m sending my best to you, your family, and your colleagues.
There you go! You should be all set to send an awesome thank you email and stay on top of the company to make sure you're top of mind and standing out from the crowd.
If you missed it earlier, here's a link to my post-interview thank you email template complete with multiple examples:
Click Below To Get My “Copy & Paste” Post Interview Email Template For Free: