When was the last time you sent an interview thank you email? Did you even think about or know that sending a interview thank you email is part and parcel of the interview process and unless you have been told (either in writing or otherwise) that you are not supposed to make contact with the employer, then you should send a
thank you email after each and every interview? The fact that you’ve not sent a thank you email -within 12 to 24 hours- to interviewers from your previous interviews could be part of the reason someone else got the job.
Before we go on let me just point out that there are a number of different versions of covering emails to send after an interview. Each email should be tailored to suit the individual and employer so I’ve given you – below -some key areas that you can include in yours.
Today I’m going to talk about an interview thank you email sent after your interview. Bear in the mind that each job application may have specific instructions for the application process, so it’s important to understand exactly what’s required – and comply – before you hit send.
Here are a few things you need to be conscious of when producing your interview thank you email.
Address all interviewees separately, by name
By now you should have the full names of all of the people who interviewed you especially if you arranged the interview yourself without the assistance of recruitment consultants. But even if you did use a recruitment consultants to get your interview that shouldn’t stop you from researching the names and email addresses of all the people who interviewed you and then going on to contact them to say thanks. Don’t ask the recruitment consultant if you should send an email because they might turn around and say ‘no don’t bother I’ll do that for you’. Just go ahead and send the email to what are now your personal contacts making sure that you send the message in order of priority i.e. start with the most senior person present and make your way down to the most junior person. If you can’t find the email on the Internet phone their reception explaining why you want to contact their personnel and they will hopefully oblige by providing you the details you need.
Keep it brief
When writing your interview thank you letter it’s really important that you empathise with the reader of your email. Chances are they’re probably really, really busy and don’t have time to read long and complicated emails as well as deal with their regular day-to-day responsibilities. So it should be your aim to make it as easy as possible for them to quickly read and absorb your message by keeping it brief by using around 150 to 200 words (as a rule of thumb) others might be slightly longer as you might need to go into more detail on some occasions.
Format the email in such a way that the reader can immediately pick out what they’re looking for and recognise that the message is from you. Keep the email above the fold and include the following succinct sections:
- thank them for the time during the interview and either timestamp or refer to the time of day that the interview took place
- reiterate your desire to do the job expressing how much more confident you are the ability to do the job now that you have heard more about it. Don’t be afraid to say that you are the best candidate for the job
- Refer to your most relevant skills and ideally, at least one relevant achievement that you know for certain is an absolute match for the job (this is an opportunity to state anything important that you might have missed during the face-to-face interview)
- Close with a positive call to action and if you do have other offers pending here’s where you should remind them whilst letting them know that the job is your preferred choice
You are not writing a covering letter
Unlike a covering letter the interview covering email is slightly more personal because by now you may have an insight into the individual’s personality. With this in mind a covering e-mail and letter both convey a similar message but the tone should be adjusted to suit the individual need.
A covering email is usually much shorter in length than a letter and there are one or two do’s and don’ts in the interview covering email.
Don’t set out your email with address columns and there’s no need to add a reference line for example because the subject box is the ideal place for making reference to the job and the fact that you had an interview. For example you could add ‘thank you for my interview today’ or ‘interview: 25th Feb @ 10am’. Circumstances will dictate the most appropriate subject to use but the idea is to allow the reader to see your message among the many other messages and absorb the message very quickly from their desktop or on-the-fly using their mobile device.
It’s acceptable to sign off an email with ‘Regards’ or ‘Kind Regards’, whereas a cover letter usually requires you to sign off using ‘Yours Sincerely’. Oh and don’t forget to put an e-mail signature – containing your phone numbers – to enable the reader to easily and quickly call you if needed.
Avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, full stop!
There is no excuse for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors especially in a message that is only around 200 words long. You’ve gone through the trouble of sending the email so you owe it to yourself to check and recheck before you go ahead and send. If you do make a mistake the chances are that someone reading the message will pick up on it and since you are still in the interview process, they will continue to judge you and make the final conclusion.
Make it relevant and use the employer’s tone of voice
There’s no doubt an interview thank you email is a challenge to construct because it’s necessary to keep it brief, relevant and punchy whilst at the same time reflecting the tone of voice of the employer and engage in the reader. But you should use this opportunity to sell yourself confidently indicating that you are the best candidate for the job.
The easiest way to tackle the issue of relevance is by asking yourself the question ‘what does the employer want to hear most of all and how can I demonstrate my success?’ Whatever you do, draft that the email before you send it and try to recall key aspects of your interview that could be relevant to the final interview thank you email.
Help the interviewers to visualise YOU in the role and be positive!
At a convenient point of the interview you will need to have presented your vision for the forthcoming 90 days in the role (especially if you are going for a management or sales role) and talk up the difference you will make to the business and team. This would’ve helped the panel to visualise you as an employee so follow up briefly in you interview thank you email to ensure they’ve understood your 90 day plan.
A key question to ask yourself throughout the job search process is “What is the employer looking for?” The answer to that question is not always obvious but by now you should have ample information to confidently understand their needs. One thing is certain the employer is looking for someone with a positive mindset because no one wants to work with someone who is negative so start as you mean to go on and inject some positivity into your interview thank you email.
Your choice of words can influence the tone of the email message, so avoid using too many of the clichéd words and phrases such as hard working, creative and good interpersonal skills. Instead focus on providing examples of relevant skills (using the skill statement technique).
Always end with a call to action
In the final paragraph you should maintain a positive and confident tone of voice and reiterate your ability to do the job in question (providing a short sharp example of another relevant skill statement). Prompt the reader to take action by saying you are open to answer additional questions.
If you have other interviews pending and offers on the table then by all means shape your call to action to indicate to them that you have other opportunities in the pipeline, whilst at the same time saying that their opportunity is your preferred choice. Believe me, if the interviewer likes you a gentle nudge will prompt them to take urgent action to make you an offer ASAP.