During a job search, there are a plethora of little details a candidate can make that can lead to landing the job or being rejected. Perhaps one of the easiest—and most forgotten—tasks a job seeker can do is to send a “thank you” note after their interview.
In fact, ZipRecruiter CEO Ian Siegel called not sending a thank you note the No. 1 mistake job seekers make. Taking the time to send a note of gratitude shows that you’re truly interested in the job and willing to go the extra mile. If a hiring manager is between two candidates, the thank you note could be the deciding factor. If you’re looking to craft the perfect thank you note, consider the following tenets.
Send it soon
While you don’t need to send your note the second you leave the interview, it’s best to do it quickly while the interview is still fresh in your interviewers’ minds and while you remember key points you’d like to address.
Sending one too quickly risks your note looking canned or generic, but you should strive to send it within 24 hours after your interview, writes Upwork’s Sean Cope. Indeed says that 24-48 hours is acceptable, adding you want to do it quickly but to make sure you carefully craft your note. Context is important as well. If your interview was at the end of the day on a Friday, waiting until Monday to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the weekend shuffle is fine.
Send it to everyone you spoke with
You want your thank you note to be as personable as possible, so if you had more than one interviewer, make sure they each get their own note.
“Remember If you are talking to 3 or 4 people in an interview it is crucial to make a good impression with each one. A thank-you note goes a long way towards this step.” –Apollo Technical
If you can add a personal anecdote specific to each interviewer, thank will make your response much more genuine, show that you’re a good listener, and prove that you’re willing to put in a little extra work. Christopher Littlefield adds to make sure every name is spelled correctly and to address each person by the name they introduced themselves to you.
A good thank you note doesn’t need to be long. If you are clear and can address your points quickly, the note should only be around 300 words or so.
Ian Segal says that if you address the following points with one or two sentences each, you’ll be covering the necessary ground:
- Thank your interviewer for their time
- Reiterate your interest in the role
- Mention a detail you learned about them or their experience
- Remind them why you’re the right candidate for the job
“Your follow-up is not the place to add all the things you wish you had highlighted in your interview,” –Lourdes Olvera-Marshall
When answering the above prompts, make sure that your responses are as specific to the job and interview as possible. Sending a thank you note is good, but if that letter sounds generic or scripted, it won’t come off as sincere.
How can you make your note sound personal? MasterClass says to include something you learned about the workplace culture, something you discussed during your questions, or new insights about the job. Tying it back to something you discussed shows that you’re a good listener and that what you discussed really stuck with you.
“If there was an anecdote or a shared interest that both you and the interviewer seemed to connect over, you may briefly nod to that in your email, but only if it feels natural and appropriate.” –Deborah Acosta
While you don’t want to rehash your entire interview and cover things you forgot, you do want to point out the value you’d bring to the position and to reiterate your sincere interest in the role.
JobHero suggests that you elaborate on something you discussed in that interview, such as adding a suggestion or an idea that can highlight the skills you’d bring to the position. That’s why being specific can help—you can add to the points you’ve discussed with tangible ideas to show your knowledge and passion.
Be sure to actually directly thank the interviewer as well!
If you’ve embraced these tips, you’ll have created a brief but value-loaded note to your interviewers in a timely manner. Crafting the perfect thank you note only requires a little bit of time, and you can even have a template to work off of to save you even more time. But that little extra time will be noticed after your next interview!