Should You Send a “Thank You” Note after a Job Interview?

You have heard the advice before: Send a short but sweet “Thank You” note to your interviewer to make you stand out from other applicants. But why should you? What good does sending a note do exactly? Most recruiters and hiring managers agree that a follow-up note is a must if you’re really interested in the job. Equally important, a note allows you to extend the conversation with the hiring manager.

So, if the intention is following up on an application, why not just call? Recruiting experts will tell you that an email is possibly the best way to ask for an update without being obtrusive. An email doesn’t put pressure on hiring managers to drop what they’re doing to take your call or give you a call back. They can reply at their convenience.

Some people prefer sending a handwritten Thank You note as opposed to an email. The advantage of a handwritten note is that it’s personalized, which is never a bad thing. Unfortunately, it can also feel ancient. Another problem with handwritten notes is the delivery delay. With an email, you’ll be able to get into the interviewer’s inbox as soon as you press SEND.

As for content, bear in mind that a follow-up email should be easy to run through. The reader shouldn’t have to set aside a lot of time for it. Here’s a basic framework of an effective Thank You note:

  • The first paragraph introduces the main purpose of the email. It explains who you are (as a reminder to the interviewer) and why you’re writing (to say thank you).
  • The second paragraph reinforces your specific skills that are a perfect fit for the job and what you bring to the table. This is also where you address any weaknesses from your end that popped up during the interview.
  • Lastly, you emphasize how grateful you are for the opportunity to talk to the interviewer in the third and last paragraph. Here, you can also ask nicely the best time and date for a follow up on your application.

Finally, consider when to send the Thank You note. The best time is usually between 24 to 48 hours after your interview.

In the end, you might question the effectiveness of the follow-up note all together. If you’re not a good fit for the job—if you lack the skills or the experience required—there’s nothing a follow-up email can do to land you your coveted position. However, a Thank You note does show character and if the hiring manager is dealing with multiple qualified candidates, then that follow up note can spell the difference and tip the scales in your favor.