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Sending a Thank-you Note After a Phone or In-Person Job Interview

Caroline BantonUpdated Nov 18, 20215 min

Sending a Thank-you Note After a Phone or In-Person Job Interview

Updated Nov 18, 20215 min
Sending a Thank-you Note After a Phone or In-Person Job Interview

Sending a Thank-you Note After a Phone or In-Person Job Interview

Caroline BantonUpdated Nov 18, 20215 min

Sending a Thank-you Note After a Phone or In-Person Job Interview

Updated Nov 18, 20215 min
Sending a Thank-you Note After a Phone or In-Person Job Interview

It’s considered good etiquette to write a thank you note after an in-person interview, and that includes a phone interview or a video interview. However, not everybody is a subscriber to etiquette. 

If that includes you, consider what Jessica Liebman, Global Managing Editor and Recruiter at Insider says about thank-you notes. For Liebman, not writing a thank you note after an interview is a deal-breaker because it implies the candidate is not particularly interested in the position.

You'll be convinced after reading this article to send a thank-you note after any kind of interview so that a deal is still on the table. The article provides email sample notes and explains when to send the note and to whom. 

Does Writing a Thank You Note Imply That You Are Old-Fashioned and Out of Touch?

It never hurts to say thank you, in business and in life, and it is not a pointless or antiquated practice. In a study by Accountemps, only a quarter of hiring managers reported receiving thank-you notes from applicants, so why not send one and set yourself ahead of at least a quarter of the candidate pool?

Liebman said that around ninety-five percent of applicants to Insider Inc. editorial send thank-you notes after interviewing, which suggests that most people consider the practice worth the effort. Liebman correlates the decision to follow up with a thank-you note with the level of interest a person has in a job. She states, “Over the years, we've made offers to people who didn't send a thank-you email, only to have the person turn down the job.”

Now, that is food for thought. Are you more inclined to send a thank you note if you really want the job? Probably. In that case, you should make the note a good one if you want a favorable hiring decision.

Timing Matters

It's best to send a thank-you email to a recruiter no later than twenty-four hours after the interview. That's not an arbitrary timeline. If you leave it any later in the hiring process, you lose the impact. It's a good idea to send a thank-you note sooner rather than later while you are still in the recent memory of the interviewer. 

To that point, if you interviewed with several people, send a personalized thank-you note to each of them.

The Components of a Good Thank-You Note

A thank-you note should do three things in terms of interview follow up:

  • Thank the interviewer for the opportunity

  • Reiterate your interest

  • Refer to some part of the conversation during the interview process to show that the company made an impression on you.

Expert Tip: You are interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing you. Let the hiring manager know that you are even more enthused after the interview.

Writing the Perfect Thank-You Email After an Interview

Let’s assume that your thank-you note will be in the form of an email. A hand-written thank you letter sent by snail mail is overkill unless you are addressing royalty or someone with exceptional significance. That said, if your interview was conceived through unusual means, a handwritten note might be appropriate. If you are unsure, consult a career advisor or a mentor that you trust.

Here's how to write and structure the thank-you note.

The Subject Line

This is easy, just go straight to the point. Include the words “Thank you” in the subject line so that the receiver knows what the email is about. Just “Thank you” is sufficient. But, if you want to elaborate, you could say, “Thank you for your time yesterday.”

Open With a Personal Greeting

You should send a separate email to each person that interviewed you. That can be a challenge because you may have to contact the HR person to get the interviewer's email address and the correct spelling of their name. Then, address each interviewer individually by name: “Dear Mr. Davidson.” You will have to use your judgment as to whether to use just a first name and address someone with just “Dear Tim, for example.

Thank the Interviewers for Their Time

Rather than just saying thank you for your time in the body of the email, expound a little more and say, “I understand how busy you are, so I appreciate the time you took to tell me more about the data analyst position and the current projects ABC company is involved in.”

Reiterate Your Interest in the Job

If you are still interested in the job, say so. Refer to some highlights from the conversation and explain that what you have learned has made you even more confident that you are the right fit for the job. 

What if you are no longer interested in the position after the interview? It’s fine to tell the interviewer that you are no longer interested in the new job. Nobody wants to have their time wasted. Just be polite in case you need to approach that company again.

Close by saying you can provide additional information if required, and use a professional sign-off that shows your contact information such as your phone number and your LinkedIn url.

Sample Email Example Thank-You Notes

Here is an email template for a thank-you note if you are still interested in the position.

Subject Line: Thank you for the interview

Dear [Interviewer name],

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me and discuss the position of [job title] with [company name] earlier today.

Our conversation has solidified my desire to join your analytics team. Your work on the projects that we discussed is something that I consider will be a model for business strategies to come. I am confident that my experience from my previous positions aligns with the goals of your company and makes me a natural fit for the position.  

Specifically, your work on tax software is exactly the type of work that my analysis in my previous position was designed to address. I’m sure my experience can contribute to your work.

I am happy to provide any additional information that would be helpful. Please feel free to contact me. 

Thank you again for your time!

Sincerely,

Jane Davies

212-666-0897

If you are no longer interested in the position, you might ask why bother to send a note? Well, you never know when you might want to apply to that firm in the future or come across that same interviewer. Moreover, it is simply the polite thing to do. You needn’t go into details about why you have decided not to pursue the position, so the email can be quick and easy.

Here is a sample thank you note if you are no longer interested in a job offer.

Subject Line: Thank you for the interview

Dear [Interviewer name],

Thank you so much for meeting with me yesterday to discuss the position of [job title] with [company name].

After our conversation and the interview questions, I sense that I am not the right fit for your analytics team. I do appreciate the time that you took to explain the position and the work of ABC company. However, at this time, I have decided to pursue other opportunities.

Best regards,

Jane Davies

212-666-0897

Final Tips for Post-interview Thank-you Notes

If you are still unconvinced about whether you should send a thank-you after a phone interview or an in-person interview, consider the following.

  1. There is no downside to your job search in sending a thank-you note.

  2. A thank you note is just a final pitch in selling yourself, which is fundamentally what a job interview and the hiring process is all about.

  3. Writing a thank-you message is an unspoken rule of etiquette for job seekers, even for a phone screen interview. Think of it as the same as showing up on time to an in-person job interview.

  4. Always have someone proofread your thank-you notes to check for typos.

  5. Lastly, these guidelines apply to second interviews too, not just first interviews.

Caroline Banton
Expert on career acceleration and business topics with vast experience writing for globally-recognized publications
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