You’ve completed the interview, and you’re feeling confident that you made a good impression. However, the interview process isn’t over yet. An interview follow up – be it via email or a handwritten letter - is an important part of the process, and it might just seal the deal.
Steps to writing the perfect interview thank you email or letter:
Writing the perfect interview thank you email or letter can be time consuming, but the benefits can be great. An email interview follow up should be succinct, courteous and personal.
- Make sure you get the name or names of everyone in the interview. If in doubt about the correct spelling, look them up on LinkedIn.
- Start the email by thanking them for their time.
- Ensure the email is personalised and references specific detail about the role that you gleaned from the interview. If there was a standout moment in the interview, mention it. It’s critical that the email doesn’t look like a copy-and-paste.
- Keep the emphasis on the positive and state or restate your suitability for the role.
- If there is the potential of a second job interview, do not ask directly but state your availability to meet again.
- Keep your tone formal. Your grammar and spelling should be perfect. You may have struck up a rapport in the interview; however, any written communication should be completely professional.
- Draft your email, but don’t send it straight away. Take a break, do something else, and then come back and give it a final proof-read. One simple spelling mistake could cost you the job.
- Send the interview follow up email within 24 hours, or latest, 48 hours. Any later and you could look lazy or disinterested
If you are interviewing with a conservative company, a handwritten interview thank you letter might be appropriate. Choose a professional, high-quality paper stock to write on, and make sure you post it within 24 hours of the interview.
Sample interview thank you email or letter:
Thanks for taking the time <insert ‘today’ or ‘yesterday’> to discuss the role of <insert role name>. It was great to meet you.
I was really impressed with <insert detail about the role that was highlighted in the interview, such as ‘the vision of the company’ or ‘the great company culture’ or ‘the opportunities for career development’> that you described.
As we discussed, I’m confident that my skills and experience, most specifically <list specific skills/experience that are relevant> are a great match for the role.
<If you connected with your potential manager over something personal, here is a good time to mention it. For example, ‘I hope you have a wonderful time at Aria restaurant this weekend – the chocolate soufflé is my favourite dessert.’ Or ‘I hope your son enjoys his football match this weekend.’ If you didn’t unearth any personal details, don’t make it up or force it.>
I am available to meet with you any time, should you have any further questions. I look forward to hearing from you again.
Here’s why sending an interview thank you email or letter is important:
- It’s professional. Your potential employer has just given you his or her time for the interview, not to mention the time spent reviewing your resume and coordinating the interview. It’s good business etiquette to thank your potential employer and demonstrate that you’re appreciative of the opportunity.
- It keeps you relevant. You have managed to get your resume to the top of the pile, now make sure you keep it there. If an interviewer is seeing multiple candidates, you want to ensure that you stand out from the rest and writing an interview thank you email or letter helps you do just that.
- It shows you’re keen. Any potential employer wants a proactive employee – a follow up demonstrates your enthusiasm and commitment. In addition, you will remove any doubt about your interest in the role.
The next steps
Hopefully, the employer will respond to your email or letter to line up a second interview – or even better – offer you the job. If you haven’t heard back from the hiring manager, it is acceptable to follow up on an interview via a phone call, but ensure you wait a few days. It is never appropriate to call daily or weekly for a decision. Want more advice? Read our blog on 'The Do's and Don'ts of interview follow-up'.
Remember: it is not enough just to be interested in a job, you must show that you are interested.
Take a look at our job interview page for more interview follow-up tips and advice.