It may be one of the most commonly dispensed pieces of job-search advice, but sending a thank you note after an interview really is crucial to sealing the deal. Thanking the hiring manager for his or her time isn't just polite — it also demonstrates a sincere interest in the position and the company. Fail to follow up, and you may end up costing yourself the job, no matter how well your interview went.
According to a survey by online job-matching service The Ladders, 75 percent of interviewers said that receiving a thank you letter from a candidate affects their decision-making process. Amanda Augustine, a career expert at The Ladders, said that not receiving such a letter can be the deciding factor in rejecting a candidate who is otherwise a great fit.
Beyond showing your enthusiasm for the position, a thank you note also allows you to reiterate why you are the best person for the job, said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of staffing firm Accountemps. The letter is best sent via email within 24 hours of the interview, while you're still fresh in the interviewer's mind. It should be brief — no more than two to three paragraphs — and reference particular points from the conversation, Messmer said. While you can certainly send a handwritten letter for extra emphasis, you should at least send an email first. [10 Things You Should Never Write in a 'Thank You' Note]
In an article on Job-Hunt.org, author Susan P. Joyce reminded interviewees not to be casual with their tone or language, despite email being a relatively informal method of communication. Don't slip into informalities, or use emoticons or "text speak" such as "LOL," she wrote.
As with your résumé and cover letter, customize your thank you note, and double- and triple-check it for grammatical and spelling errors. A typo-filled follow-up can easily ruin the stellar impression you made during the interview. If you met with multiple people, be sure to send one note to each person, if you have his or her contact information.
Sample thank you letters
Based on these tips, here's an easy template you can follow for a thank you letter after the interview:
Good afternoon, Jeanette,
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me yesterday about the staff writer position with Business News Daily. It was a pleasure meeting with you, and I truly enjoyed learning more about the role and the company.
After our conversation, I am confident that my skills and experiences are a great match for this opportunity. As we discussed, I believe my background in pitching and interviewing and my ability to manage an editorial calendar will serve me well in tracking down great stories for Business News Daily.
I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of joining the BND team and would greatly appreciate a follow-up as you move forward with the hiring process. If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone. Thanks again, and I hope to hear from you in the near future.
Other sample thank you letters can be found on the following websites:
- Career Confidential
- Job Interview Tools
- Quintessential Careers
- Career Nook
After you send your email, keep an eye on your inbox. Joyce noted that you shouldn't panic if you don't hear back from the recipient right away, but if several days or weeks go by, you should follow up to see if there's been any progress in making a decision. However, don't take this as an invitation to bombard the hiring manager's inbox. One or two spaced out follow-ups is plenty: Don't contact the person daily or even weekly asking for a decision, Joyce said.
For more tips on writing a great thank you note, visit this Business News Daily article.
This story was originally published in 2013 and updated July 24, 2015.