How to Write a Professional Thank-You Email After an Interview

Did you know that thank-you notes are so important that they have their own “National Day” on Dec. 26? This sleeper of a December holiday may not be well known, but the significance of expressing thanks, especially after an interview, continues to be a much appreciated courtesy. The thank-you letter has evolved since its handwritten roots in the 1400s, but the purpose remains the same — to politely express sincere gratitude. Here are tips on crafting a professional thank-you email after an interview.

Why Send a Thank-You Email?

Polite is a professional superpower. A recent 2021 survey by Zety found that integrity, sincerity and being kind rank in the top five traits hiring managers and recruiters target when making a new hire. In a world where there is more automation and distance, it is interesting (and not surprising) that employers want to work with genuine and thoughtful humans. A thank-you email after any interaction during the hiring process is an excellent way to demonstrate these traits.

Demonstrated interest. Although it doesn’t always feel that way during the hiring process, interviewing is a two-way process where mutual interest is important to a successful outcome. Given the volume of applicants and the volume of roles that many candidates are pursuing, a thank-you email makes it clear that you are indeed interested in continuing in the interview process after each step. It also enables you to stand out, since most applicants do not send thank-you messages. It is a simple, but high-impact way to distinguish yourself.

[READ: How to Professionally Handle an Uncomfortable Situation in the Workplace.]

When Should a Thank-You Letter Be Sent?

Interview processes have become more involved; candidates may meet with a range of employees across the organization, some on multiple occasions. Should you send a thank-you note after each exchange?

In general, send one to each new person you meet after the first time you interact with them. Also, send a thank-you email after each substantive interaction, like a second or third interview, even if it is with a person you have met (and thanked) in the past. If possible, send the email on the same day, especially if you know they are making swift decisions. However, only send an email if you have enough time to make sure it is well written and error-free. A poorly written email will do more harm than good — so don’t rush if it means sacrificing quality.

What to Include in a Thank-You Email

Start with an authentic expression of appreciation for the opportunity and/or the time that was spent with you. You will get bonus points if you include any unique insights you gained or additional details that support your candidacy. Close by expressing your continued interest in moving forward in the process. Some managers will share your notes with others, so vary your content slightly to avoid looking like you just cut and paste the same message. Send each person their own professional thank-you letter, customizing each based on the person’s title, department, interests and hiring criteria.

The ability to write clear, grammatically-correct, properly formatted and professional correspondence is important for almost every role. Your thank-you email demonstrates your written communication skills — so be sure to make a great impression every time you send an email. It is always helpful to have a trusted contact review your messages to ensure the email is as compelling as possible.

[READ: When and How to List Volunteer Work on a Resume.]

Professional Thank-You Email Samples

If you need inspiration before crafting your own thank-you email after an interview, refer to these examples.

— After an initial screening with a recruiter who is moving you to the next stage in the process:

“Hi Rick,

Thank you for spending time with me today to discuss the analyst role. I was pleased to hear that my background seems to be an ideal match for the team, and I look forward to the next steps in the process.”

— After an interview with a hiring manager:

“Hi Mary,

Thank you for your time today. I really enjoyed hearing more about the growth of the ABC team at Awesome Co. I would be thrilled to leverage the lessons learned when my current company experienced a similar expansion in 2019. If I can provide any additional information, please let me know. I am very interested in continuing in the interview process and appreciate your ongoing consideration.”

— After a team interview/meeting with the hiring manager:

“Hi Mary,

It was great to see you today. I really appreciated meeting the team and learning more about the upcoming software transformation. As a user of your future software, I would love to help with the transition and play a role in maintaining productivity during a challenging time. My interest in Awesome Co. has never been stronger. Please let me know if I can answer any questions or provide additional information to demonstrate my interest and qualifications.”

[See: How to Brand Yourself on Instagram for Career Success.]

Check Your Work

Remember to double-check the spelling of each recipient’s name and the company name. You can look back at any calendar invites, emails, the company webpage or LinkedIn to confirm email addresses and spelling. If full names, correct spelling or contact information were not given to you, it is always OK to contact the recruiter or interview coordinator to ask for those details. In summary, an effective thank-you email after an interview does not need to be long or painful to write. A succinct, sincere and error-free message is the best way to go.

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