How to Write the Interview Thank-You Note

My daughter's friends in college are interviewing for internships and permanent positions. Days after their interviews some of them ask, "Should I have sent a thank-you?" 

To them I say, Yes! And this blog post will help them–and you–write it. 

The purpose of the all-important interview thank-you is to thank the interviewer for his or her time, express your enthusiasm about the position, remind the interviewer of your strengths, and show (by writing the note) that you have social skills. 

These ideas are not mine alone. In a survey of 686 working adults in the United States, 78 percent of respondents who have hired or participated in hiring decisions agreed. They indicated that a thank-you note has had a definite positive influence on their hiring decisions. So write it. 

The interview thank-you note typically has five parts: 

  1. The greeting. 
  2. The opening thank-you sentence. 
  3. One or more sentences stating what you admire about the company, the team, etc. 
  4. One or more sentences touching on your qualifications for the position. 
  5. A positive close. 

Here are two fictitious examples:

Dear Marla, 

Thank you for the pleasure of meeting with you to talk about the member marketing position. I am very impressed with the systems and programs you have in place to attract and retain members. I believe the club is doing all the right things to grow and thrive. 

As I shared in the interview, I believe my customer service experience prepares me well for the position. I like giving tours, and I am used to handling detailed paperwork and contracts. Also, I thrive in an environment where my efforts lead to measurable success. 

Thank you for the interview. I hope you will choose me for the position. In any event, I wish you and the club continued success. 

Best, 

Kaitlin Smith 

 

Dear Ms. Washington, 

Thank you for the initial interview for the position of product management trainee. I appreciated learning more about the opportunity. I am excited about the challenges you described and would be proud to join such a creative group.  

My university projects and extensive volunteer work have helped me develop strong time management, project management, and communication skills. I have enjoyed working in and leading teams to solve challenging, sometimes ambiguous problems. I believe those experiences are good preparation for the position.  

I would be honored to start my professional career at _____________ [company], and I hope you will move my application forward. Thank you for your time and interest. 

Sincerely, 

Greg Nielsen 

 

The first thank-you note above could be an email or a typed or handwritten note. As long as it is mailed quickly, the effort of sending it by post can make a positive impression. 

The second thank-you message is following up on a telephone screening interview. It needs to go out quickly, and emailing it makes sense. 

If you don't have an interviewer's email address, you can ask for it during the interview. On the phone, you can say, "I would like to follow up with a thank-you note. May I have your email address?" Or you may communicate through LinkedIn. In person, just ask for the individual's business card. 

 

Find the language that works best for you, for the interviewer, and for your relationship. Below are more examples for you to build on.

Sample greetings:

  • Dear Dr. Kim, 
  • Dear Raymond,
  • Hi Joanna, [for electronic messages only]
  • Hello Mohammed, [electronic only]
  • Good morning, Nathan. [electronic only]

 

Sample opening sentences:

  • Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you about the project manager position. 
  • Thank you very much for talking with me and giving me a tour of the plant. 
  • Thank you for the chance to meet with you and the team. 
  • I am very grateful for the time you spent talking with me about the sales rep position. 
  • Thank you for the enjoyable interview this morning for the customer-service position.  

 

Sample sentences stating what you admire about the company, the team, etc.:

  • In my conversation with you and the team members, I recognized how dedicated and focused everyone is on achieving the common goal. 
  • After talking with you, I am very excited about the possibility of working with you and the research team. The work is important and urgent, and I would love to contribute my skills. 
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to talk with you and your students. They obviously love being in your class and learning how to speak English. 
  • It was a pleasure to learn about the challenges you face and to talk about how I might help you meet them. 
  • I was very interested to learn about your goals for the team and about the remarkable progress you have already made. 

 

Sample sentences touching on your qualifications for the position:

  • The projects are similar to those I completed in grad school, and I know I would have much to contribute and learn. 
  • I am used to dealing with nonstop customer requests, and I thrive on solving problems and keeping customers happy. 
  • As we discussed, I am proficient in ______________, and I am very familiar with the two programs you are considering. 
  • I was thrilled to work as an assistant in the Global Health department. I would be very happy to use my skills and experience to support Dr. Gomez's research.
  • I worked on similar projects using _______________ [software] in my design internship. I am enthusiastic about applying what I have learned at _____ [company]. 

 

Sample positive closes:

  • Thank you again for interviewing me. It would be an honor to join the team.
  • Please let me know if you need any additional information. I very much look forward to hearing from you. 
  • I hope to have the opportunity to help you achieve your impressive goals. Thank you for the chance to talk with you about them. 
  • I am very excited about the possibility of working with you, and I hope to hear positive news soon. 
  • Whatever your decision, I admire your mission and your vision. Thank you for sharing them with me. 

 

Sometimes after an interview, you may want to share an article or some information that came up during the conversation. Here are sample sentences:

  • We talked about the NYT article comparing U.S. and Cuban health outcomes. Here is the link
  • I have attached my final paper, which won the Cybersecurity Award. Thanks for being interested in it. 

 

Do you want to bounce back from an interview question you answered clumsily? Read "Use a Thank-You Note to Fix Interview Blunders."

Do you have questions about writing a thank-you note for an interview? Please ask them. 

Do you have pointers for job applicants? Please share them. 

Do you have friends and relatives who are interviewing? Please forward this blog post to them.  

Do you need a gift idea for a graduate? Please consider my wise, practical book, Business Writing With Heart: How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time

Lynn
Syntax Training

10 COMMENTS

  1. I was taught that the greeting in a business letter was followed by a colon, which was formal and respectful. These examples use commas, which were for communications to familiar friends and relatives. Have we become less formal and more chummy? Is there a rule as the German Sie vs. du? The ultra friendly greetings used in email make my eyes burn.

  2. Hi Bart,

    Good point. Normally a colon follows the salutation in a business letter. For thank-you notes, however, the tone is different, and the relationship-building purpose merits the comma, which is friendlier.

    A colon would be correct, but it would be more formal, as you said.

    “Hi” and “Hello” as greetings are also relationship builders.

    I’ve written a lot about greetings here:
    https://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2006/01/greetings_and_s.html

    Nice to hear from you, as always.

    Lynn

  3. Thank you! This is a valuable and very helpful article. I’ve shared it with Career Services at my alma mater, Marist College, so they can use it as a resource with their students.

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