How to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview

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June 10, 2020
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min read

To send or not to send: Should you send a thank you email or note after an interview?

There is a lot of debate on this topic and frankly, the guidance is very subjective. Our advice here at Teal is "it can't hurt". We understand that it can be time-consuming but we've got templates for you down below that should make that a non-issue. Unfortunately, there are still enough people out there that expect them that we generally believe it's a good practice. That said, job interviews go both ways, so if you are no longer have interest in the role after you finish the interview, then, by all means, do not send the thank you note. Let's dive into some of the most common questions we hear when it comes to sending a thank you after a job interview.

Thank you after interview: How soon should I send a thank you email after an interview?

When you have an in-person interview, it makes sense to wait until you get home to send your email out. But when you have a phone or virtual interview, how long should you wait before hitting send? According to interview experts, the best time to send a thank you letter is between 2 and 24 hours after your interview. If your interviewer is one of the people that care about thank you notes, why let them end the day thinking you did not send one? Make sure you take some time to decide what you want to say in your thank you email. You can include things like details about the position that you discussed during your phone interview or mention the things you liked. What we recommend is finding a few email templates that you like and having them pre-drafted before your interviews. If you're using the Teal Interview Tracker to manage your job search, the templates are built right into your workflow.

Thank You Email Templates in Teal Job Application Tracker
Thank You Email Templates

If you forgot to ask any questions about the job or company, include them in your thank you email. You want to avoid sending your thank you note as soon as the call is over though. Otherwise, it might seem like you didn't put any thought into your follow-up.

Interview Length: Does it matter how long the interview was?

Regardless of how long the interview lasts or who in the company you speak to, we believe you should send a follow-up note (assuming you have decided to send one at all). Whether it is an initial screening interview or the final interview in a long process. We think sending something is better than nothing. If you made a great connection in the interview that is even more important than the interview length, a thank you note will most likely be appreciated.

Thank you letter length: How long should your message be?

Everyone in the hiring process is busy, so brevity is your friend. The intention behind the thank you note after interviewing is less about showing your writing skills and more to show your gratitude and possibly ask any follow-up questions. You should not think about it as a thank you letter and more as a quick thank you note. With that the thank you note, should not be longer than 2 paragraphs or 4-6 sentences. Ideally, it is just 1 paragraph and less than 4 to 5 lines. You want to say thank you, address the position, and if possible something that came up in the interview.

Individual interview thank you note: Do you send one to every person you interviewed with?

We believe that if you're going to send a thank you note, might as well do it right. Sending group emails defeats a bit of the purpose and will likely reduce the likelihood of someone replying. We suggest that after each interview, you send a personalized thank you note to each interviewer. Each interview thank you email can be the same. If you want to take your thank you note to the next level, you can add one line that personalizes the thank you note.

Panel Interviews: Should you send separate thank you notes to each person on the panel?

We get this question a lot, should you send an interview thank you email to each person that was part of an interview panel? Again, we believe, if you're going to send post-interview thank-you emails, we think you should send them to each person individually. If you do not have each person's email address you can try a few different ways to get in touch:

  1. Check the calendar invites for the attendees and see if the emails are listed.
  2. Ask the recruiter to please share the email addresses of the interviewers.
  3. Find them on LinkedIn and send a connection request with the thank you note as the custom message
  4. If none of these work out, then we'd assume they won't worry too much if you don't send one. If they did they would not make it so difficult to get in touch with interviewers.

Before you send, proofread everything.

Before you hit send on that post-interview thank you note, make sure you proofread your message. Some people are real sticklers for grammar and spelling and might go as far as to assume errors of this kind indicate a lack of attention to detail. Given this part of the process is entirely in your control, there really is no excuse for having these sorts of errors in your thank you email. Using a tool like Grammarly or HubSpot could be a huge help to avoid spelling and grammar issues throughout your entire job search.

A few different scenarios can come up.

An interview thank you note may not always be the next best step. Here are a few scenarios where you may not want to send one and what you might do instead:

  1. You did not feel treated well in the interview and did not get a good feeling about the company culture. You should not send one.
  2. You learned something in the interview that lead you to believe the position is no longer a good fit. You can send an email withdrawing yourself from the process.

Add Customization to Your Interview Thank You Emails

Sending a generic interview thank you note may work against you. It would signal that you're just checking a box and not genuinely saying thank you in an email after an interview. What we recommend is adding a reference to the company and position. The templates below use [brackets] to indicate the areas in the text to replace. These brackets are also built into the templates with the Teal Job Application Tracker. They are also in all the other email templates for the various job search scenarios.

Use the [Brackets] to fill in your own text in Teal Job Application Tracker
Use the [Brackets] to fill in your own text.

Subject line: What should the subject of a thank you email be?

The subject line should include the words "thank you", your name, and the position you're interviewing for. For example:

  • Subject line: Thank you - John Doe - Project Manager

Depending on the rapport you built with the interviewer, you can also get creative with phrases like:

  • Subject line: Great chatting with you yesterday
  • Subject line: Great meeting you
  • Subject line: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me

Keep it simple, write a clear subject line. Do not overthink the subject line of an email after an interview. The goal is to get them to open the email after an interview, don't let that set a bad impression.

Sample thank you emails: The Post-Interview Thank You Email Template & Examples

Depending on who your interview is with, it will affect what you include in your note. You might have multiple interviews during your job search. Here are a couple of sample emails that you can customize based on your interview.

Sample Thank You: Screening Interview

Here is an example of a post-interview thank you email to send to a recruiter or member of human resources after a screening phone interview.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today about the [POSITION] at [COMPANY NAME]. After learning more about the role, I would love the opportunity to have a conversation with the hiring manager. I think my background and experience make me a great candidate for the position.
Based on what you told me about the team culture, I think I would fit in well and be a strong asset. I look forward to hearing what the next steps are in the process. Please do not hesitate to contact me know if you need any additional information.
Looking forward to hearing from you,

Sample Thank You: Hiring manager phone interview

When you have an interview with the hiring manager during your job search you may want to be a bit more formal. Here is a post-interview thank you template you can try:

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me about [POSITION]. It was great learning more about the team and how impactful this role is for the organization. My skill set and work experience has prepared me well to succeed in a role like this. As we discussed, my experience doing [SPECIFIC EXAMPLE] would serve well in [SPECIFIC JOB RESPONSIBILITY].
I look forward to continuing the interview process. If I can provide any further information in the meantime, please don't hesitate to reach out.
All the best,

Sample Thank You: General purpose thank you letter

Hi [NAME],
I wanted to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. It was great to hear about [REFERENCE TOPIC OF DISCUSSION] and how you see the [DEPARTMENT NAME] department playing a role in these initiatives. [COMPANY] seems like a wonderful place to work—and not just because you mentioned [ASPECT OF COMPANY CULTURE]!
I really admire the mission that drives your business, and look forward to the opportunity to work with your team to implement some of the ideas I mentioned around [IDEAS DISCUSSED].
Please do not hesitate to contact me know if you need any additional information.
Have a great rest of your week, and thanks again,

In Summary, Here are tips for when you write a thank you letter after an interview

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when sending your thank you letter:

  • Always proofread your emails before sending them.
    If it's a role you're very excited about, you may even want to have a friend read it over before you hit send. Sometimes another person catches a mistake you missed. But do not let that slow you down.
  • Include one or two points that you spoke about in your call.
    It shows you put time into customizing your note and were paying attention.
  • Always ask the person you have an interview with for all of their contact information.
    It's smart to have their first and last name along with their email address and job title. If they are unwilling to provide it, that’ll be an indication of how the interview went.
  • Use a professional subject line and keep your thank you email short and specific.
    You want to make sure the person reading it can easily digest what you are writing. Find a way to mention something you saw on the company's website to show you did your homework.
  • If you need to provide availability for a follow-up interview, include a few options.
    Do not just give one day or date. Provide a few times that work over the next week or so.
  • Include a personal anecdote that could make you more memorable.
    Every candidate will send a message to the employer so you want to be unique.
  • Always use polite language.
    This includes phrases such as thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you soon. 
  • Lastly, never send the same exact note to multiple people.
    In case the interviewers compare notes, it's better for each person to have a unique thank you email from you.

A good thank you email will position you well for when it comes time to negotiate your salary as you have built and maintained a good rapport. We hope these examples and ideas will help you better craft your next thank you note after a phone interview!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal length for a thank you email after a phone interview?

The ideal length for a thank you email after a phone interview is typically between three to five short paragraphs. Keep it concise and focused on expressing gratitude, reiterating your interest in the position, and highlighting a key point from the interview that aligns with the job's requirements.

Should I send a thank you email to each person who interviewed me on the call?

Yes, it's best practice to send a personalized thank you email to each individual who participated in your phone interview. This shows attention to detail and appreciation for each person's time and contribution to the conversation. If you spoke with multiple people, tailor each email to reflect the specific interaction you had with them.

How quickly should I send out a thank you email after my phone interview?

Aim to send your thank you email within 24 hours of your phone interview. This prompt follow-up demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role and ensures that your message is received while the discussion is still fresh in the interviewer's mind. It also keeps you top-of-mind as they consider candidates for the next stage of the hiring process.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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