I’d like to talk about how to write a job interview thank you email, but first I’d like to mention some excellent advice a friend of mine once gave me: “Go on every job interview you can,” he said. “It’s an experience you can’t pay for.” He was absolutely right. You can pay someone to drive your car to Seattle or toss you out of an airplane or bury you up to your neck in sand, but you can’t pay someone to interview you—you can, of course, and your friends probably need the money, but what good would it do? As all job seekers know, the interview, phone or, even better, face to face, is like knocking at the gates of Oz. It’s all about exhilaration and terror and trying to stay at the absolute top of your game for at least an hour.
So let’s say you’re job search has been a fortunate one, and that you’ve just finished a phone or face-to-face interview with a hiring manager—lucky you! Let me tell you how to write a job interview thank you email (and yes, Virginia, it’s an email). You need to follow up your interview with a thank you email within 24 hours—while a handwritten letter sent via snail mail is far more stylish and winning, this is the digital age, and you need to send an email thank you note pretty much immediately post interview, shortly after you hang up the phone or leave the hiring manager’s office.
How to write a job interview thank you email? Keep it short, simple and smart. If you’ve exchanged an email message or two with the hiring manager prior to your interview, simply reply to the most recent email you’ve sent or received with something like one of the following in the subject line: 1. “Thanks for a Great Interview,” 2. “I Really Enjoyed Speaking with You,” 3. “Thanks for Speaking with me Earlier Today.” Done. Now you’re just writing a thank you note.
What you want to do is thank the hiring manager for his or her time and for an enjoyable conversation. You then want to reiterate some of the key points you made during the interview and point out that you remember a few of the hiring manager’s key points; once you’ve done this, let the hiring manager know you’d be happy to speak with him or her again, and that if he or she needs anything further, like more references or additional work samples, you’d be happy to provide them immediately. Sending an email to multiple people? It’s the same thank you email, unless one of them mentioned something in particular—if so, include this in your thank you note.
Here’s a sample job interview thank you email. Feel free to cannibalize or crib whatever you need from this for yours:
I just want to thank you again for a great interview earlier today. I truly enjoyed speaking with you, and I appreciated having the chance to find out more about this opportunity.
I’m very interested in your approach to social media, particularly as it applies to reaching the 55+ female audience—I think this is a great market for your products and services. As we discussed, I honed my social media expertise developing campaigns targeted at Generation X audiences; as you mentioned, there’s plenty of overlap between these demographics, and the best ways to reach them are quite similar.
Please let me know if I may provide you with further references and more samples of my work, or if you have any further questions. I’m really excited about the possibility of joining your team, and I look forward to speaking with you again.
Now, there’s no guarantee sending a thank you email will get you a job any more than being interviewed means you’ve been hired. The important thing here is to develop what Yogis and Zen monks call “a practice.” You want to get into the habit of sending a well-crafted job interview thank you email within a few hours of every interview. Not only is it polite and professional, but it helps you stay organized: once you send each job interview thank you email, you’re done for a week, at least, with this particular opportunity—if you don’t hear from the hiring manager within a week, then you simply reply to your own thank you email (or to his or her reply if there is one) and inquire as to the status of your application. There may be bad news, of course, but it never hurts to be systematic and to do your best. Here you’ve done both.
What else? Don’t get discouraged. Unless you’re impossibly lucky or a member of Skull and Bones, chances are you’re going to apply for hundreds of jobs before you land even a single interview. Just keep harvesting the rejections and don’t take it personally. As Quintus Arrius tells Judah in Ben Hur, “we keep you alive to serve this ship – row well and live.” Or as Winston Churchill put it, “never flinch, never weary, never despair.” Easier said than done, I know, but what choice do you have?
As the late American Top Forty DJ Casey Kasem used to say when he ended his show, “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”