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Should you send a thank-you note after an interview?

Mary Lorenz | May 3, 2022

Post-Interview Thank You Note

Do thank-you notes really matter? Learn more about the best practices for sending your gratitude after an interview and how a brief message can help you get the job you want.

Since 57% of job seekers don't send a thank-you note, sending a brief message of gratitude is a quick way to help you stand out from other candidates. While it may seem old-school, sending a thank-you note to an employer after an interview is a great way to show your appreciation for their time, and it can help you make a positive impression on a hiring manager. Let's take a look at the best practices for sending a thank-you note after an interview and discuss why they're important, even if you're not planning on accepting the job.

Best practices for sending a thank-you note

The first impression you make on an employer begins when they look at your online profile, and it doesn't just end with the interview — sending a thank-you note can help you express your interest in the role. If a company is deciding between you and other candidates, expressing your gratitude can help give you the upper hand. Whether you met with a series of managers or had an informational interview, here's a list of best practices to keep in mind when crafting a message interviewers will appreciate:

Consider the benefits of email vs. snail mail

While it's important to send a thank-you note regardless of whether you opt for an email or a hand-written message, consider comparing the benefits of both options. Sending a thank-you note in the mail can make it seem more personal and provide the hiring manager with a physical object, which may leave a lasting impression. If you decide to send the thank-you note via snail mail, use a standard business letter format, and hand-write or type the message.

Plan ahead and send the note right after your interview, because sending something by mail takes longer than an email. If you choose to send the hiring manager an emailed thank-you note, send it within 24 hours of your interview. If you know that a company wants to fill the position as soon as possible, sending an email may be a better idea than a card or letter in the mail. An email allows you to ensure that the hiring manager receives your letter before making their final decision.

Keep it short and sincere

While it may be tempting to pour your heart and soul into a thank-you note, especially if you're very interested in the job, try to keep it concise. Limit your message to a few sentences. The shorter it is, the more likely a hiring manager will read the entire note. However, make sure to be sincere, and do more than just thank them.

Express your genuine interest in the role and your desire to work for the organization. This may be your last chance to make your case why you would be a good fit for the role and highlight why the recruiter should hire you. Remember, a thank-you note is an extra opportunity to make a good impression on your prospective employer, so keep your writing short, clear, and authentic.

Avoid sending a group email

Although sending the same email to multiple recipients may save you time, it's worth the extra effort to message interviewers individually rather than sending a group email or copy and pasting the same statement to several recipients.

This allows you to personalize the content of your message depending on the conversation you had with each professional individually, which can show your interest in the role and respect for their time and consideration. Avoid seeming impersonal or lazy and write three or four unique sentences to send in a thank-you note to every interviewer you spoke with. When it comes to the application process, a little effort can go a long way.

Send a thank-you even if you're not interested in the position

After an interview, you may feel confident that you no longer want to pursue the position. Don't assume that just because you're no longer interested in the role, you shouldn't send a thank-you note. Expressing your gratitude by sending a quick email can still make a good impression on a hiring manager, which can be useful if you ever apply for a job with that organization in the future or end up working with that same hiring manager at another company.

Since there's no guarantee that someone will work for their current employer for the rest of their career, you never know who you may interact with when you apply for another position. It's a good idea to seem professional and courteous whenever possible, and sending a thank-you note is an easy way you can do so.

Don't overthink it

When you're writing a thank-you note, remember that you already spoke with the professional you're addressing, so they know about you, your experience, and your personality. A thank-you note is meant to be a respectful gesture of appreciation, not an acceptance speech or formal address. A study published in the Journal of Psychological Science revealed that professionals typically overestimate how harshly interviewers and employers will judge the contents of their thank-you note.

It's important to submit an error-free message, so proofread it for any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, but try not to worry too much about the contents of the note. Since many candidates send nothing after an interview, you'll likely stand out just for sending the interviewer a thank-you message at all.

Many recruiters and hiring managers expect candidates to follow up and submit a thank you note, so it's important that you send them a message within 24 hours after your interview. This also allows you an opportunity to review what makes you unique or why you're a great fit for the position. The 10 minutes it takes you to write and send an email could be what helps you land the job you want, so consider a thank-you note after your next interview.


More tips for what to do after an interview

Should I take the job? Here's how to figure it out.

Learn about how you should follow up on a job application.

Want that callback? Learn how to get to the next round of interviews.