After a Great Job Interview, Write a Killer Thank You Note

Once upon a time, almost anyone who could write, knew how to write a thank you note. But today, a well-written note is so rare that it places you ahead of the pack.

INTERVIEW LIKE YOURSELF, rev. (low rez)Before I tell you how to write a well written thank you note…

Want to find out how to get ahead of the pack DURING your interview? I wrote the book on it! Check out INTERVIEW LIKE YOURSELF… NO, REALLY!

The best thank you notes are short, sincere, and specific to each interview. So:

1. Be Prepared for Thank You Note Success

  • Before going to your interview, buy an attractive blank note card from a card shop. No humor, and nothing fancy or with writing on the inside. This needs to reflect you, so keep the card simple and write your note in your own words.
  • Take the card and a stamp with you to your interview.
  • Be sure to ask your interviewer for their business card, so that you know where to send your thank you.
  • After your interview, go sit quietly (if you’re an introvert, or want to take some notes) or call a friend (if you’re an extrovert, or want to talk things out) and think through what went well and what you’d like to do differently next time.

Now use this simple approach to craft your note:

2. Start By Thinking About Your Audience

In this case, your “audience” is the person, or people, who interviewed you. To put them solidly in mind, ask yourself:

  • Did they enjoy our conversation?
  • Where, in particular, did we connect?
  • Was their interviewing style more on the “warm and friendly” or more on the “strictly business” end of the scale?

OK, got it? Now you’re ready to write.

INTERVIEW LIKE YOURSELF, rev. (low rez)For tips on how to think about your audience BEFORE the interview, check out my book INTERVIEW LIKE YOURSELF… NO, REALLY!

3. Use “The Rule of 3″ to Write Your Note

Three sentences, plus a date, a greeting, and a close, are all you need to get this job done.

At the top of the note, in the right-hand corner, write today’s date.

Then, on the left, write, “Dear [Their Name].” If the person was super friendly, a first name will do; it they were super formal, use their title. In between “Mr.” or “Ms.” and their last name is correct.

Then write:

Sentence: #1 Thank the person for meeting with you.

  • If you liked them, or if they were particularly friendly, you can say something like “Thank you for making my interview today so pleasant.”
  • If they were more businesslike, just say something like, “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.”

Sentence #2: Mention something that you liked about the interview.

  • If they were personal or friendly, say something personal, such as, “I particularly enjoyed our talk about [whatever you—and they—particularly enjoyed talking about].”
  • If they were more businesslike, say something businesslike, such as, “I was glad to learn more about [name of organization].”

Sentence #3: Repeat your interest in the job (but don’t repeat your qualifications or act as if the interview is still going on!).

  • Friendly version: “I would be thrilled to work for [name of organization], and hope to meet you again as a colleague.”
  • Business version: “I am now even more interested in working with [name of organization], and appreciate your help with the process.”

The Rule of 3 can also help you PREPARE and ACE your answers to interview questions.To learn how, check out my book INTERVIEW LIKE YOURSELF… NO, REALLY!

Here’s what those two notes look like when you put it all together

Friendlier Version:

Thank you for making my interview today so pleasant. I particularly enjoyed our talk about [whatever you—and they—particularly enjoyed talking about]. I would be thrilled to work for [name of organization], and hope to meet you again as a colleague.

More Businesslike Version:

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I was glad to learn more about [name of organization]. I am now even more interested in working with [name of organization], and appreciate your help with the process.

Sign it “Sincerely,” then print your name so that you’re sure they can read it. If you have a business card, include it.

Should I Also Send an eMail Thank You Note?

There’s nothing wrong with saying “thank you” twice — unless you bore or annoy the person you’re thanking.

So if you’d like to send an email while your meeting is still fresh in your interviewer’s mind, do the thinking that’s described above first. Then write 1 or 2 brief, positive comments that aren’t worded in the same way as your written note, and click “send.”

And Last But Not Least…

Go home, put your feet up, and have a glass of wine or hot tea.

The hardest job in the world is looking for a job. [tweet that]

So congratulate yourself on a job well done today, and be kind to yourself while you’re waiting for the results.

****

INTERVIEW LIKE YOURSELF, rev. (low rez)

Want to GET THE JOB in 2014? My New Book On Preparing for Job Interviews Will Help!

If you’re ready to become an expert job interviewee, pick up Interview Like Yourself… No, Really! Follow Your Strengths and Skills to GET THE JOB in 2014. Available in paperback or ebook, it’s like having a job interview coach between two covers.

 

****

Please follow me on Twitter, like Speak Up for Success on Facebook, and sign up for my almost-monthly newsletter.

And if you’re new to this blog, welcome! To get future posts delivered to your inbox, just fill out this form:

Enter your Email Address to Get Future Tips Delivered to Your Inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Craig Klinefelter

    After three months of looking…I had my my first interview yesterday. Thanks for your help saying “Thank you”!

  • Jezra

    Congratulations! I’m glad to help, and hope you’ll have something to celebrate soon.

  • Terri

    10 years ago I interviewed for a secretarial job, I knew there were many applicants so I decided to send thank you notes to everyong I came in contact with on the day of my interview, including the receptionist.  It took time to do it, but the effort was worth it – I got the job and 10 years and 2 promotions later, I’m still happily employed at the same place!  The note doesn’t have to be long, just be sincere and keep it simple.

  • Jezra

    Terri, congratulations! I’ve never heard of anyone sending a thank you to the receptionist before, and wouldn’t have thought of doing it myself (though I would have thought to get her or his name and establish a connection). Sounds like you’re with a great company; I’d love to know what position you currently hold. I was a secretary for many years myself, so it’s great to hear about you moving up from that springboard.

  • Jezra

    Craig, I’m looking forward to hearing about how things go in your job search. Thanks so much for reading, and for your comment. 

  • Marie

    Hello  – I just wanted to thank you for this great advice – I actually interviewed for (2) positions with the same person at the same time. 

  • Jezra

    Marie, thanks so much for letting me know. I hope you get the job you want, and look forward to hearing about your success!

  • http://twitter.com/RemotePoss Craig Hadden

    This is great interview advice , Jezra, so thanks!

    I love the way your examples show the actual words someone might use, and you give both a friendly and a business version.

  • j John

    oh, my god, I have been interviewed for one month, but there is still no message, and i also did not write a thank you note, should I write now??? really need some suggestions , please help me

  • http://www.speakupforsuccess.com/ Jezra Kaye

    John, even though it’s a month since your interview, I don’t think it hurts to send a note — but the note should reflect that time has passed. You could say something like, “Over the last month, I’ve been thinking about our interview, and I really appreciate how friendly and helpful you were.” (Or whatever is true.) You could also try to get through to someone at the company, or a recruiter, and say, “I’m calling to find out if a decision has been made yet, and if not, when do you expect to make one?” Unfortunately, companies don’t always contact the applicants who didn’t get the job, and you have every right to follow up and ask what’s happening, as long as you don’t do it in a rude or harassing way. (Which you totally wouldn’t anyway :-)

  • http://www.speakupforsuccess.com/ Jezra Kaye

    Craig, I hope I thanked YOU for this wonderful note at the time you posted it. I appreciate your support!

  • danaan

    thank you thank you thank you for helping with a more casual approach. I am interviewing internally at my company and the hiring manager I have known for a few years, so I wanted to get the thank you note right! This is a winner!

  • farouk

    i have wrote this thank you letter to the managers who had interviewed me for a sales eng. position. On a scale from 0(bad) to 10(excellent) what do you think about the below letter? and does it need any modifications maybe for next time? your suggestions please.
    “Dear Mr. xxxxx, Mr. yyyyy;

    I appreciate that you have spent your time interviewing me yesterday 8 July 2013 for the Sales Engineer position with hhhhhhh company, and it was my pleasure meeting and knowing both you.

    Just to recall back the depth of my experience as a site manager and as a senior Sales engineer, by combining the management skills (when i was a site manager) and my current sales skills, i’m definitely an added advantage to hhhhhhh company team. Unlike other candidates, i can directly grab my duties and start working on them without any delays because i dont need any training in the diesel generator rental domain.

    Thanks again for your time.

    Best Regards;”

  • farouk

    and that what i sent also to another company, your suggestions please, does it need any modification or is it OK like that?
    “Dear Mr. xxx, Mr. yyyy;

    Thank you for your time yesterday 8 July 2013, it was a pleasure meeting with you.

    As agreed, please find attached the e-copy of the work course certificates that i have done during my career life.

    Keeping in mind the breadth of experience that i have in both fields as a Site Manager and as a Senior Sales Engineer in the diesel generator domain, unlike other candidates i don’t need or need little training to fill the required position either as a sales or as an operation, definitely i will be an added advantage to your company.

    Thanks again for your time, and looking forward to meet Mr. zzzz after few days.

    Best Regards

  • winkywonderful

    Second interview, second thank you. Both of them constructed impeccably. Thank you, Jezra. Even if my interviewing skills need a little work, I can impress with a well constructed thank you note. :-)

  • http://www.speakupforsuccess.com/ Jezra Kaye

    I’ll bet your interview impressed, too! Please keep me posted, and thanks for letting me know the technique has been helpful.

  • sweet moria

    just went for my second interview, the interview was based on behavioral interview.i want to send a thank you letter to the company. but i just don’t know what to write. can you help me with some ideas.

  • http://www.speakupforsuccess.com/ Jezra Kaye

    Farouk, I’m not able to give specific feedback on this site, but it sounds like you’re on track.

  • http://www.speakupforsuccess.com/ Jezra Kaye

    Moria, I’m sorry that I’m not able to give specific advice in these comments. But if you take what I wrote in the column and change every sentence to describe what you actually experienced, you should be fine.

  • Spader

    Hi,just got a job and would like to know on how to write a statement upon joining the company and getting to know my new colleague.thank you

  • http://www.speakupforsuccess.com/ Jezra Kaye

    Spader, what kind of statement are you thinking of? Job description? How you tell others what you do? Other? And CONGRATULATIONS on the job!

  • Chelsea

    I love this format! Thank you for sharing it. Just one note: there should not be a comma in the final sentence before “and” because it does not separate two independent clauses.
    Good luck to all job searchers out there!

  • http://www.speakupforsuccess.com/ Jezra Kaye

    Chelsea, you are of course correct, but I’m gonna claim Speechwriter’s Exception (I made that up!) and leave the comma there so people remember to breathe before… they read the last phrase. :-)

    Thanks for being part of this conversation!

  • Tammy

    What is the policy on sending a second thank you follow-up after a few days? I sent a hand-written thank you immediately after the interview on Wednesday. It is now the following Monday and I haven’t heard anything yet. Is it ok to email a quick follow-up?

  • http://www.speakupforsuccess.com/ Jezra Kaye

    Tammy, there isn’t really a “policy,” but my personal suggestion is to wait. The hand-written thank you doesn’t need to be acknowledged by the other person, and they’re probably not ready yet to give out any information about the job (they may not even have finished interviewing, and sometimes these things move very slowly).

    If you haven’t heard anything by 10-14 business days after the interview, I’d drop a very simple email saying something like, “Joe, it was great to meet you at our interview. Is it OK to check in from time to time to see if you’ve made a decision yet about the position?”

    If he says “yes,” WAIT (I’m going to suggest 3 weeks) before you contact him again. You want to seem interested, not desperate.

    And if he says “no, we’ll be in touch,” don’t take it personally — people are really busy and hopefully you’ll hear the outcome eventually. (I’m sorry to say that people who don’t get the job are not always notified, but hopefully you’ll hear either way.)

    In the meantime, keep up your job search. Don’t wait for something out of your control to happen, or for someone else to make the next move. Keep moving forward, and stay positive and strong!

    I hope this is helpful,
    Jezra

  • Tammy

    Thank you so much for your quick response. There is so much more I would love to discuss concerning interviews and thank you letters, etc. But I do appreciate your professional opinion! Thanks!