The Top 5 MUST Items in a Job Interview Thank You Letter

Ah, the old job interview thank you letter . Most people do not realize how important the thank you letter actually is. some even have the firm belief that the job interview thank you letter is a sign of desperation and that by not sending one you keep the ball in your court.

My answer? Looks like you will playing ball alone for quite some time. The thank you letter is a crucial element to the hiring process. Here are my top 5 must items that need to be included into a job interview thank you letter .

1. You must actually send one – This statistic may shock you but national averages say that 95% of candidates that interview do not even send a thank you letter. Again, I think this is because some people do not see the importance of it, but the hiring manager has a different perspective.

I first became aware of this when I was recruiting for a Corporate Controller position. The CFO came into our office and interviewed 4 potential candidates. When I followed up with the CFO a few days later the first thing he said is that he only received one thak you letter out of the four he spoke with that day. I was shocked. Do your career a favor and write a thank you letter.

2. You should send one to everyone you met – Try your best to get the correct spelling and titles of everyone you interviewed with. it is important to include everyone in on the process. You never know in a team who has influence and pull over the others so you want to show each an equal amount of respect and attention.

3. You must send it within 24 hours – in other words, don’t delay! Now my opinion is that either email or snail mail is fine because both has its advantages. If the hiring process is moving quickly then go with email. Email also allows for the hiring manager to easily respond back to you and keeps an on-going dialog happening.

4. You must express your interest and then reinforce why – this is probably obvious to you (or at least it should be that you should express your interest in the position), however, I want you to take it a step further. Tell them EXACTLY why you are interested in the position. Use a specific example from the job interview as to why you have a high interest level in the position. Remember, they are asking the question, “Why should I hire you?” You need to tell them exactly why.

5. You must personalize the note – You have to make the note original. Now, there are many good templates to use in order to get your mind going. I even offer examples on this blog. However, you will still want to make it personal. Also, don’t be afraid to include something personal that you enjoyed learning about the hiring manager. Feel free to include information about their hobbies, family, or background that they shared with you that you found interesting and insightful. This will make you come across as genuine and likable.

There you have it. Make sure you include these items in your next job interview thank you letter. oh, and don’t forget to actually send it! Also, if you haven’t heard anything for awhile, maybe you need to send a is the position still available email. In another blog post, I share a few follow up emails to send when you haven’t heard anything after the interview.

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    13 thoughts on “The Top 5 MUST Items in a Job Interview Thank You Letter

    1. I agree with R Lloyd. At times when I’ve had to hire people, I knew the poeple I wanted to bring back for a second interview & those I didn’t. A thank you letter/email had no relevence or impact on my decision to call them back. If a candidate isn’t interested he/she won’t waste time coming in for another round.

    2. I disagree with RLloyd. They are appreciated and do make the corporate recruiter/hiring manager remember the candidate. It sets you apart from your peers. Specifically in the Finance arena where the extra work is always appreciated. Both a quick email thank you and a handwritten card cover all bases.

    3. Mr 5c.

      As a hirer the post interview email or letters i recieve almost alway’s smack of desperation, as you mention 95% of people dont do this anymore – the 5% who do always seem to be the needy and desperate ones who already flunked it at the interview (say 90%).

      So a word or warning you are more likley to be lumping yourself in with the discards than standing out from the crown

    4. I was recently at a seminar where a career coach/former recruiter said that if someone took the time and effort to actually write a letter and hand address an envelope personally to her, rather than simply hitting “send,” she really tended to remember that person favorably. Of course, the point about a fast-moving process is a good one – wouldn’t want my nice thoughtful handwritten letter to get beaten out by the other stellar candidate whose email got there first!

    5. A candidate might consider sending both email and snail mail. After working 3 months in a new job, my manager had only recently found my handwritten thank you letter in his mailroom inbox.

      • Hi Cara,

        I absolutely agree. Both is good definitely. The snail mail is a lost art these days not very many people are using it as much that means that it can work in your favor.

    6. Spot on top tips, I had an interview last friday and sent an email the same day – without realising I have included all 5 of the tips.

      The difficulty is trying to strike a balance between formal and informal and not trying to sound too desperate either!

      • Thanks David. To answer your question, I tell candidates to measure it according to rapport and whether the interview was more personal or technical. You have to use some intuition.