You’ve probably heard that you should send “thank you” emails after your interview.
You’ve probably also wondered: Does it really make a difference?
Is it worth your time?
And what happens if you don’t send one?
I’m going to reveal how employers really view “thank you” emails and the situations where it can make a difference in deciding who gets hired.
What employers really think of interview “thank you” emails
First, I’m not going to tell you that every hiring manager cares about “thank you” emails.
Some do, while others don’t.
However, it’s impossible to know which hiring managers care and which don’t, and there’s no real down-side to sending a post interview “thank you” email to a hiring manager who doesn’t require or want it.
They’ll simply note that you were thorough enough to follow-up and made the extra effort (and that’s not a bad thing to demonstrate after an interview).
I’m also not going to tell you that sending a “thank you” email will put you over the top and get you hired if you seemed unqualified, if you walk in without researching the job and company, etc.
However, in most cases where your interview went pretty well, the employer is considering you along with a few other candidates. This is where sending an interview “thank you” email makes the biggest difference and is why I believe you should always send one.
Benefits of sending a great “thank you” email
Sending a “thank you” email can be the tie-breaker between you and another candidate.
It shows employers that you care about their job and are interested in what you discussed in the interview.
Employers NEVER want to hire you if you don’t seem to want the job and show that you’re excited about the work you’ll be doing.
Their fear is that even if you’re qualified, you’ll lack motivation and may get bored and leave soon after being hired.
This is a significant fear for employers because it costs a lot of money and resources to hire and train someone.
Sending an email to thank them and reaffirm that you’re still interested will remove any doubt they have about you wanting the job.
That can go a long way toward getting you hired.
Thanking them after the interview also shows that you don’t take things for granted and are grateful overall. This suggests that you’ll be easy to work with and have a positive impact on the company culture.
Hiring managers care a lot about the character and personality of who they bring onto their team. Sometimes it’s as important as your job-related skills.
Finally, a “thank you” email is a chance to remind them why you’re a great choice for their position from a technical perspective.
Maybe they’re on the fence between you and another candidate, and pointing out one of your biggest strengths could be the tie-breaker.
A post-interview “thank you” email example
For example, you might write:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. I enjoyed hearing about what the day-to-day work would look like as a Senior Account Representative.
I’m confident that my 2 years of experience in customer support at XYZ Company would give me an advantage in this role, especially since both positions involve responding to a high volume of customer requests primarily via email.
I’ve learned that communication via email requires a unique approach, since you can’t gauge their reactions in the moment, and it’s easier to have miscommunications if you’re not careful.
This is something I’ve worked on mastering in my previous position and I’d love to continue working in this area.
Thank you again for your time yesterday, and I look forward to hearing about the next steps!
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Key pieces to include in your “thank you” email
I’d recommend including the following in any “thank you” email you send:
- The person’s name. You want this to be a personalized email, sent to one person. Don’t send one email out to multiple people, and don’t send it without a personalized greeting like “Dear Robert” or “Hi Robert.” If you met multiple people, send a separate, customized email to each.
- A sentence showing appreciation for their time and thanking them for meeting with you.
- A comment on something specific that you enjoyed hearing about. Customize this part and make sure they know this email is written just for them, based on the conversation you had.
- Reaffirm your interest in the role. Tell them you’re excited by what you learned in the interview, and that you’re eager to hear about the next steps. If you’d like, you can also remind them of why you feel you’re a great fit for the job (see the full email template above for an example of this).
I’d recommend sending this at lunchtime the day after your interview.
If you interviewed on a Friday, you can send it the same evening when you arrive home, so that you’re not sending it on a weekend.
The bottom line is:
While sending a “thank you” email isn’t a substitute for walking in prepared and ready to impress the employer in your interview, it can be the difference between a job offer and a rejection, especially since most companies have multiple candidates they like for each role.
By following the steps above, you can send “thank you” emails that show employers you value their time and truly want their job, which will help you stand out from other candidates and win more job offers.
Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter and founder of the job search website CareerSidekick.com . As a recruiter he has partnered with Fortune 100 companies down to six-person tech startups while helping hundreds of job seekers advance their careers.