Getting through a job interview can often feel like walking a tightrope. But a touch of common courtesy in the form of an interview thank-you letter can help you land your dream job.
During the whole hiring process, there are many different factors that cause one candidate to lose out to another. The workplace culture and personal preferences of the people doing the hiring play an important role. Still, most people like receiving appreciative emails. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the significance of an interview thank-you letter in your job search and help you craft the perfect one.
Finding the Perfect Job
There are many different types of legal jobs, although lawyers are often the most prominent. As a matter of fact, many people considering a career in law are actually thinking about being law professors and official court reporters. Figuring out what you want to do and deciding which job is the perfect fit for your ambition and talent is the first step.
From there, every job hunt starts with going through job postings. When you find the position you would like to apply for, you should start crafting the perfect resume and cover letter. Next, you should work on customizing the two for ads that sound like they may be the right fit. You should mention specifics in your resume that pertain to the desired position and do the same for the cover letter. That same level of dedication is required for the thank-you note.
A Successful Interview
In the meantime, you should be prepping for the actual interview process. The person or people sitting across from you at the table will likely have some trick questions up their sleeve. These are crafted to help them decide whether you’re the right person for the job. Therefore, it’s important to do your homework and go over common law firm interview questions.
The questions will likely differ depending on the position you’re applying for, which is why plenty of research can help you make the jump from job seeker to team member. For example, you should have answers ready for questions like “What do you do to stay up to date with regulatory changes?” or “Why do you want to be a paralegal?”
After the interview is done, it’s time to send a follow-up email, within 24 hours of your interview. This is the part where you thank the prospective employer for giving you this exciting opportunity.
The letter should be prompt and not just another generic email that anyone can write. A handwritten note sent via snail mail shows extra dedication, but it's not appropriate for every industry (e.g., tech); in these cases, you can use an email template found online for inspiration.
What Is the Thank-You Letter After the Interview?
Research shows that the majority of hiring managers consider the lack of a thank-you email as a sign that a candidate lacks follow-through. Thanking someone for taking the time to interview you, be it an in-person interview or video interview, shows good manners and will make you stand out in the interviewer's mind.
What's more, you can show you were listening attentively by mentioning a topic you discussed or naming people you met. This kind of email tells the interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in the position and showcases your communication skills again.
In short, this is another excellent opportunity to persuade the employer you are the right person for the job.
A hand-written note thanking the prospective employer for their time can help you stand out from the crowd. However, sending a traditional letter to a digitally-focused company can suggest a lack of awareness and do more harm than good, even if you're an otherwise qualified candidate. Also, the letter might take days to reach the recipient. Such delays can help other job seekers get the position you were hoping for.
The right amount of research and mere common sense will help you decide whether to send an email or a traditional letter.
Whatever you choose, the missive should reach the interviewer within 24 hours of the interview. The conversation between you and the interviewer is still fresh, and the email will only reinforce the positive impression you’ve already made. So, it should land in your recruiter’s inbox the day after your job interview, preferably between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
The only exception is if the interview takes place on a Friday. In that case, you should send the email on the same day, or on Monday morning. Avoid sending formal emails over the weekend.
So what should you write in your post-interview thank-you email?
Appreciation Letter Essentials
Here are some essentials that should be in your next thank-you note:
1. Clear Subject Line
If you’re sending your interview thank-you letter as an email, the subject line is one of the most critical elements. It should be descriptive enough to tell the recipient what’s inside the email before they even open it. One good option is: “Thank you for your time,” which works well in most cases. You can also opt for “Great to meet you today” for a more informal approach.
2. Appropriate Personal Greeting
When you’re thanking the recruiter for the interview, start with an appropriate greeting. A good tip is to take the interviewer's business card at the end of the interview to have all their contact information handy.
Always start with the interviewer's name, but tailor the level of formality to the company and the tone of your interaction to date. For example, some emails can start with “Hi, John,” while others require a more formal opening like “Dear Mr. Smith.”
3. Note of Appreciation
Your first sentence should be the one that expresses gratitude to your interviewer for taking the time to talk to you. For the sake of clarity, you should consider adding the job title you discussed in this part of the email because the hiring process for a particular position almost always involves at least a dozen candidates.
People trying to figure out what to say in a thank you card often underestimate the positive impact that these have on the recipients. The same is true when it comes to interviewer thank-you emails. A simple line expressing your gratitude will suffice: “Thank you for finding the time to discuss [add here the position title] with me today, it was a pleasure meeting you.”
4. A Short Recap of the Interview
You should also consider adding a brief recap of your qualifications. For example, “I believe my experience and expertise make me an excellent candidate for this role,” could remind the interviewer of how your previous experience relates to the job.
5. Ready to Make the Next Step + Additional Information
You’ll want the recruiter to make a decision as quickly as possible. The email’s content will depend on how the interview ended and which next steps you agreed on. For example, “Looking forward to the next interview round” might be a good option to include in your message to the hiring manager if they told you about the possibility of another chat before the final decision.
If you’ve agreed that you’ll be getting back to them with additional information on a particular topic, use this opportunity to include it. You can think of this part of the message as a follow-up interview email and craft it accordingly. If there's nothing, encourage the interviewer to ask any additional questions they may have.
Finally, it's important to sign off the thank-you note properly. An easy choice is to finish with "Best regards," followed by your first name and last name. Below that, you can list your address, email address, and phone number, as well as the link to your LinkedIn profile, although the last one is optional.
Bonus Thank-You Letter Examples
Depending on how your interview went and the company’s culture, you have several options for the thank-you note template and the type of email you should send. Here are two different examples:
An Informal, Short, and Sweet Follow-Up Email After the Interview
It was great meeting you and chatting with you about the [insert position here] today! Our chat was very inspiring, and it was good to learn more about the role.
It sounds exciting, and I think I am the right candidate for the job, thanks to my years of experience in [add here the field].
Thank you for the opportunity. Please contact me if you want to discuss it further.
As you can see, this email is relatively informal. It’s probably better suited for younger companies and those that have a more casual company culture. It can also work after an unofficial and informational chat with a potential employer.
A Formal Interview Thank-You Email
“Dear Mr/Mrs. Smith,
Thank you for meeting with me yesterday to discuss the [add here job title] opportunity at [company name].
I enjoyed learning about the organization’s [recent efforts] and was impressed by your company’s impact in the field of [add here something impressive about the company].
I am very interested in the role, and believe my experience and skills would be a perfect match for the position we discussed. I can begin to contribute immediately by [add the reason here].
Please do not hesitate to let me know if I can provide you with any additional information. Thank you once again for the opportunity. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
This second option works better with almost all legal companies. It’s a very formal and equally professional job interview thank you email.
Whichever option you decide on, don’t forget to add your contact information at the end of the email. Yes, your new employer likely already has your contact details on record. But it’s in your best interest to make it as easy as possible for your prospective employer to contact you.
How Long Should a Thank-You Note Be?
Now that you have some examples of a good thank-you email, you’ve probably noticed that they vary in style and length. Still, none of these go into a lot of details and are relatively brief. On average, recruiters who help people find their next legal job recommend that a thank you letter for an interview should be between 85 and 150 words in length.
It can go up to 200 words, especially if you’re applying for a high-level position or you have plenty of experience in the field. At the end of the day, the key is knowing the company where you’re applying for the job. This will help you decide what type of follow-up email after the interview works best.
If you’ve agreed on something in your interview, make sure to follow through, even if it exceeds the aforementioned word count. These aren’t rules set in stone, and it is up to you to craft the appropriate email for the job you’re applying for.
Should You Send a Thank-You Email After a Phone Interview?
Thanking interviewers with a letter or email is a must, regardless of how the interview was conducted. The job interview doesn’t have to be in person for you to thank the interviewer for their time. This is especially true in the digital age and the work-from-home era, when a growing number of job interviews don’t involve face-to-face meetings. Sending a thank you email after an interview over the phone is good practice. This is also true for a Zoom interview or any other virtual video meeting.
You should also send an email even if it’s your second or third interview round with the same hiring manager. Make sure to tailor these thank you notes to individual recipients. In other words, you should avoid sending a bunch of emails with the same exact content. One of the costliest mistakes you can make is to send the same note to multiple employers and come off as someone who doesn’t have any understanding of individual companies.
Here are a few more examples of what not to do:
Things to Avoid in a Thank-You Letter After the Interview
Apart from failing to customize your letter, there are several other things to avoid before hitting the send button.
Make sure to read through it a couple of times to ensure there aren’t any errors. Look for typos and double-check whether you’ve included a subject line. Also, make sure that the interviewer's name is spelled correctly.
Next, focus on the tone and length of your email after the interview. Are you being formal enough? Is your email too long to be appropriate? Check your attachment section and make sure the attached document is the one you want to send to your employer. Your potential employer will be happy to receive a thank-you note after an interview, but it has to be done right.
All in all, if done right, a follow-up thank-you letter after an interview can play an important role in securing the position you want. It might even be the sole factor that separates you from the competition. Even if it doesn’t work, at least you’ve shown that you have good manners. And it can be the reason for the recruiter to contact you in the future if another position opens up.