Can you get the job you want with a thank you email after a final interview too? Research says that the average job candidate spends seven hours researching the company they’re interviewing with. But many great interviews don’t turn into a job.
When interviewing at HubSpot, I sent a thank you email that impressed my interviewers so much they hired me within seven days. Apparently, that's 20 days faster than their average turnaround.
Should you send a thank you email after a final interview?
93% of Americans get nervous about job interviews, and you probably do too. That can lead to some confusion and stress about the best way to follow up. Recruiters and hiring managers are busy. You don’t want to bother them, but your timeline and priorities are important too.
At the same time, even in a great job market, there is a lot of competition out there. According to Gartner, only 16% of new hires have the skills they need to succeed today and in the future. And Robert Half’s research says that the shift from local to remote hiring means that employers are getting 54% more applications from skilled applicants.
With many jobs asking for three or more interviews per candidate, how can you stand out? Building relationships throughout the hiring process will take some time and creativity. But there is a simple and time-tested strategy that applicants don’t always remember – writing a great thank you email.
The best thank you email after a final interview is like the thank you notes that parents have their kids send after birthdays and holidays. It’s a way to show that you appreciate their time and effort, and to genuinely say thank you.
But this is for your dream job and not your favorite aunt. So, let’s talk about standing out with your thank you note so you can get the job you want.
How to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview
1. Review your research.
64% of candidates research the people who’ll be conducting their interviews. They look through company websites, Glassdoor, and social media. That research is necessary for a successful job interview. At the same time, this research doesn’t always surface during those conversations.
Because even the best interviews are stressful, it’s easy to forget the details. But those details are what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for in a candidate because they show how excited you are about the job.
While it’s not always possible to take notes during an interview, be sure to make notes afterward. For interviews where you speak with many people, try to write some quick notes after each conversation. This makes it easier to remember what was special about each person and interview.
Before you start writing your thank you emails, review your notes and research. This will make it easier for you to create compelling thank you notes.
2. Learn what not to do.
You want to be the perfect candidate for the job. That means that you might look to a thank you email template to craft your thank yous. But that’s probably not your best next step.
If you search "Follow up email after interview" in Google, you'll come across boring email templates like this one:
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me yesterday. It was such a pleasure to learn more about the team and position, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to explore a career with your company.
I look forward to hearing back from you about the next steps, and please let me know if I can provide any additional information.
So, what's wrong with it?
- Feels like a template email.
- Fails to mention any personal connection or topic of conversation that occurred during the interview.
- Conveys a lack of interest in the company.
- Provides no added value to the interviewer.
If I sent this as my follow-up thank you email, I might as well not have sent one at all. I needed to prove that I deserved the job. That I was the person this team needed.
3. Write a customized, detailed follow-up based on your interview conversations.
Here is the word-for-word email I sent my future hiring manager:
Thank you again for talking with me Tuesday night, I really appreciate the advice and all your help. It was great to learn more about the team and your experience at HubSpot.
Working with such a scrappy, fast-paced team within a company I truly admire would be an incredible learning experience, and I would love the opportunity to prove I'm a great fit for the role.
Attached is a how-to slide deck on SEO that I created for our [Client name] at 451 Marketing. I've also attached my resume and a one-pager to illustrate why I want to work for HubSpot and how I align with the culture.
Below are highlights of publications I've contributed to:
- Informational Search Queries Take the Cake, or Pie - 451 Heat
- My Summer at 451: An Intern's Inside View - 451 Heat
- Downtyme: Saving you from your Smartphone - Rough Draft Ventures
- Dyli: Personalized Fashion Discovery - Rough Draft Ventures
Finally, below is a link to my website where you can see more of my publications and projects. I've also included a link to a program I initiated at Boston University this year called the "Thanksgiving Homestay Program."
- My website
- BU Thanksgiving Homestay Program
Hope you're staying warm and surviving Juno. I look forward to hearing back from you!
I knew I wanted my post-interview follow-up email to convey these elements:
Context and Personality
I started jotting down notes after the interview to ensure that I could include some personal connection or common interest that would help the hiring manager remember me in a pool of hundreds or even thousands of candidates.
I tried focusing on these main themes to show how badly I wanted the job:
- Specific characteristics of the team that stood out to me
- Elements of the position that appealed to me most
- Values that I share with the company
I recapped why I would be an asset to the team and the company. Instead of talking in generalities, I cited concrete examples of how I would contribute by drawing from past experiences and provided links to various content, projects, and presentations that I have worked on, some of which I spoke about during my interview.
Employers aren’t just looking for a qualified and capable candidate. They’re looking for genuine enthusiasm. I was thrilled about this potential job, and I told them why.
4. Show your unique value in an authentic way.
Smart people want to hire smarter people. So I figured out how to stand out from hundreds of other applicants.
I demonstrated I wasn't just qualified for the position, but I was qualified for the culture. Years ago, HubSpot published a SlideShare on their "Culture Code."
I used that code to illustrate (literally) how my personality matches HubSpot's culture.
A few hours after sending this email, I saw (using HubSpot Sales) that the hiring manager, Anum, opened my emails and clicked my links.
I had two more interviews scheduled the following week. I was hired that Thursday evening.
They later told me the importance of this extra step in the hiring decision:
"Your personal culture code was a major contributor in deciding to move you along our interview funnel. Not only was its content reflective of how your values tied to our company's values, the act of making it showed hustle and that you understood the importance we place on culture at HubSpot."
And now I'm writing this from my desk at HubSpot.
All because of a unique thank you email.
How to Add Value in Your Follow-Up
If you can, try to tailor the accomplishments you mention to the type of interview you just had. For example, after a competency-based interview, you might want to mention your experience with a recent industry trend. You could also refer to a specific app or tool that came up during your conversation.
In a behavioral interview follow-up, it might be better to talk about how you think your working style aligns with the team.
Another tip: Video interviews are more popular than ever. The ease of virtual interviews means that candidates might have more interviews that end without a job offer.
So, don’t just think about what you should write in your email. Think about what else you can add that spotlights why you would be perfect for the role.
For example, if you want to teach an online class, attach a short video of you teaching a class. If you’re applying for a design role, add a graphic thank you note to your email.
If you want to learn more about emails that get attention, check out this video from Nancy Harhut, an INBOUND favorite:
5. Ask smart questions.
You absolutely want to show your value during your job search. But there’s another essential skill you also want to show potential employers. Curiosity.
The technological advances that enable employees to work from home are also responsible for the speed of change in the workplace. To roll with that constant change, you need to stay curious.
Workplace success also means teamwork, communication, and interactive problem-solving. Curiosity also shows empathy. It’s an easy way to show interviewers your investment in other people and their role in the big picture.
Asking informed questions shows that you’re not just proud of your work experience and accomplishments. It highlights that you’re also excited about what people at their company are doing and how they do it.
6. Review your note to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
There are a few things that every follow-up email, no matter how casual, should include.
First, create an original subject line so that your thank you email is easy to find in a crowded inbox.
Next, check that you send your personalized email to the right person and that you've spelled their name correctly. Then review your email draft to make sure that the contents of your email call attention to your ability and enthusiasm for the role you’re applying for.
Finally, nail down the next steps as you close your email. If you clearly outline your expectations, it gives prospective employers a better chance to meet them.
Do you want an update on your next steps? Or do you need to submit extra information for their review? Maybe you have a personal deadline because of another offer and you want to know when they plan to reach out with a decision.
So, instead of closing your email with something general like "Hoping to hear from you soon," add a closing that clarifies your understanding of what happens next.
7. Customize your emails after each step in the interview process.
Since the hiring process usually includes more than one interview and several interviewers, you’ll need to factor that into your thank you emails. Keep in mind that interviewers may share your emails as the team decides on the right candidate, so every email should be (mostly) unique.
Make sure you're emailing everyone involved in your application process. Then, customize your notes according to the stage of the interview process and what you discussed with that person.
These are a few examples that can help you draft emails throughout the hiring process.
Recruiter Thank You Email
Thanks for answering all of my questions about the role and setting up my next interview with [Hiring Manager]! I appreciate your insight into how the team measures success, and I believe my experience [Details] would bring a lot to the team.
Follow-up Thank You Email Template
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me about the position today!
It was great to learn more about your strategy and approach to [Details], and I completely agree with your philosophy on [Details]. I believe my experience [Details] could bring a lot to the role and the team -- here's my recent [Blog post, white paper, talk] on the subject if you'd like to read more about it.
I'm excited about learning more from your team's VP in our conversation next week, which I appreciate you setting up.
Final Interview Thank You Email
If you've made it to the final stage of the interview process and are awaiting a decision on the role, make sure your thank you email is enthusiastic and confident. This way the hiring manager has the most positive possible impression of you before making a decision.
I wanted to drop you a final note to thank you for setting up such an interesting and engaging interview experience.
I feel like I've learned so much about the [Company] culture from speaking to so many team members, and it was exciting to hear how enthusiastic and bought-in the team is to the power of [Team/Role].
After my final conversation with [VP/Executive], I'm more excited than ever about the position and discussing next steps.
Please let me know if you have any other questions or next steps for me! Thanks so much.
It's amazing how putting in a few extra minutes of thought and creativity can get you exactly where you want to go. If you need more inspiration, these follow-up email templates are a great place to start.
Your Final Thank You Email Is Just the Beginning
Clicking "Send" on your final interview email can be the key to the next conversation you have. Once your email is complete, it’s time to think about the other decisions that come after you hear about that elusive dream job.
Do you know your target salary? What are you expecting for your benefits? What about time off? If you’re not chosen for this position, are you still hoping to work for this company in the future?
The process of applying for your dream job can be intense. But the more you prepare, the more comfortable and confident you’ll be. Keep building on your knowledge and experience, and you’ll be heading for success.
This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.