Best Thank You Letter After Interview

The Best Interview Thank You Letter Ever

Should you or shouldn’t you write a thank you letter after an interview? Or a note or an email (more on which to use here)?

A few years ago, I received the best interview thank you letter ever.

If you write as well as this candidate does, you’re genuinely appreciative, and you’re a great fit, then absolutely send a thank you letter after an interview!

The Best Interview Thank You Letter

Want some ideas? Read this interview thank you letter and the analysis that follows:

Dear Donna,

Thank you for taking time to speak with me regarding the CFO position at [Company]. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity both in terms of the organization and the job. I have a lot to offer [Company] as their CFO, and in other areas as needed.

My broad experience in nonprofit management would be a strong addition to the team currently in place. I understand the needs of my colleagues and see the CFO role as one that requires a service orientation. I want to be helpful when I can, but I also have the judgment to know when to step back.

I also think I could be helpful to the CEO. Often in my career, I have been asked to add challenging projects to my portfolio while keeping up with my daily responsibilities. I am not shy about sharing my ideas and thoughts but do so in a diplomatic manner.

I think a good indicator of that was when I was invited by the [Previous Company] Board to be a voting member of their Search Committee for a new CEO. I was able to gain the respect of a Board that had many members who were prominent in politics, business, and technology.

Finally, as a CPA, I have kept up with the educational requirements necessary to maintain my license. I’m an expert in nonprofit financial management matters and have detailed knowledge of the law and state regulations regarding nonprofit organizations.  

Most of all, I have a strong belief in the mission of [Company]. I have spent my career in nonprofits and feel my belief system and strong nonprofit management skills make me an ideal candidate for this position.

Donna, I would relish the opportunity to have further discussions with you where we drill down into the specifics of the position.  

Thank you once again for your time and for considering me for this position.

Best Regards,

[Candidate Name]

The Interview Thank You Letter Analysis

Paragraph 1: The candidate thanked me and then, indirectly, told me what he was going to tell me.

Paragraph 2: On-point industry experience, service orientation, and willingness and ability to take on additional responsibility.

Paragraph 3: Willingness to contribute ideas and evidence of the respect stakeholders have had for him.

Paragraph 4: Subject matter expertise and ability to bring multiple perspectives to the position.

Paragraph 5: Culture fit.

Paragraph 6: Reiteration of interest in the job and a final thank you.

Also, the letter provided information on a couple of points we had not covered in our interview and elaborated a bit on items we had discussed.

The thank you letter came via email several hours after we had completed our interview.

I liked it so much I called to tell him it was the best interview thank you letter I had ever received.  I had never, in all my years of recruiting, made a call like that.

Why Did I Like His Interview Thank You Letter?

Several reasons:

  1. I felt genuinely thanked.
  2. The letter provided useful, new information.
  3. It made me believe he could both do the job and be a wonderful colleague.
  4. And he didn’t make this interview thank you letter mistake.

Because of those four accomplishments, I asked him if I could share a redacted copy of his letter here to help job seekers with one of the hardest writing challenges ever.

The Power of Saying Thank You

Lest you doubt the impact of a sincere interview thank you letter, watch Dr. Laura Trice in this TED Talk on the power of saying thank you :

I predict you will be upping the level of your interview thank you letter game!

Bonus — A Sample CFO Resume That Worked

If you’re curious about CFO resumes, click here to see a job-winning CFO resume.

Image: Canva
Updated October 2018

© 2013 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 30

  1. Donna – thank you for this post. it could not have been more timely. I need to write a thank you letter to an interviewer this afternoon.

    Ely,

    🙂

    Donna

  2. I can’t tell you all how much I have enjoyed reading two “thank you” letters that people have written today, and shared with me via email, using this letter as a guide. It’s more helpful than I had even hoped!

    Donna

  3. Thank you for this post. A great resource that I can pass on to others.

    Thank you Ebony. Please do share this. Kind regards, Donna

  4. Hi Donna,

    It’s always nice reading you nicely written blog posts.
    I never thought a thank you letter could be this long??? The tone and organization of this letter sounds more like a cover letter to me? Am I mistaken?

    Hi Narcisse,

    Thank you. The letter worked so the length was fine. Interesting you mention cover letters because many of the sentence stems in the letter could be used to craft a cover letter as well as a thank you letter.

    Donna

  5. Interesting that this letter stood out for you. It’s precisely what I always read and hear that one should do, and I’ve been doing so following my interviews – demonstrating commitment, adding & reinforcing details, etc. So I will concur with Narcisse…I think it’s a bit long as hiring managers (should) get letters like this regularly.

    Hi Joe,

    Length is an interesting consideration. Direct mail letters can be quite long. Long form blog posts can do quite well. On thank you letters, it’s not so much the length as how interesting the letter is. While I rarely read cover letters, I will read an interesting thank you letter from a candidate who interested me in the interview.

    In fact, a follow up letter once reinstated a candidate I had ruled out. She knows who she is. Both of us tried to find her letter again a couple of years ago to feature here but neither of us succeeded. She’s been with the company I placed her at for over ten years now.

    I’m not sure what my attention span is, but this letter didn’t exceed it.

    Kind regards,

    Donna

  6. This is a good *cover letter*. It is far too long as a thank you letter.

    Hi John,

    I appreciate your perspective. Normally, I would agree 100%. However, there’s nothing I would delete from this.

    Thank you,

    Donna

  7. Hi Donna,

    This is a great example to follow. Even writing a brief thank you letter reaffirming your interest in the position will help your application to stand out at each stage of the recruitment process. The number of people who don’t take advantage of this opportunity never ceases to amaze!

    Simon

    🙂 Donna

  8. This is a good example of a “Follow-Through” letter. I think we should drop the name “Thank You” letter and begin to encourage candidates to write Follow-Through letters just as any good sales person would do after a sales call.

    Eric

    I like it Eric! Thank you, Donna

  9. I am recruiting for an executive position right now so I have been receiving thank you letters regularly. My two cents: I think it is a bit long. I would prefer some bullet points so it’s easy to read. Time is always of the essence and if it’s too long you risk the reader skimming and not finishing. The best cover letter I have received was all bullet points and I could just get through it quickly and see the exact reasons this candidate thought he fit the job. Not a lot of extra fluff and generic phrases you hear over and over…..so I appreciated that. Remember recruiters are human and therefore different. What one likes another might not.

    Hi Lynn,

    Thank you for your perspective. What I particularly liked about this letter is that it was not a heavy sales letter. It recognized a human connection between the candidate and me and revisited, in a personable manner, why the candidate was a fit for the job. When I get a “thank you” letter that is actually a sales letter, it mildly to acutely offends me and does more damage than good.

    That said, I appreciate your comment that what one likes another might not. Truer words were never written. There is a random element in job search regarding what works with one person and fails with another. Thus, it’s good for job seekers to listen to their gut a bit when deciding on how to interact with potential employers.

    I’m always glad to see additional perspectives shared in comments to my posts. It’s makes me more aware of the range of possibilities about a given topic and it deepens the story for readers too.

    Thank you again,

    Donna

  10. Donna, what do you mean by “This Type of Company” in “I have spent my career in [This Type of Company] and feel my personal belief system and my strong [Industry] management skills make me an ideal candidate for this position.?”

    Hi Michael,

    Helpful question!

    An example would be: I have spent my career working in hospitals and feel my personal belief system and my strong healthcare industry management skills make me an ideal candidate for this position.

    Donna

  11. What if you spent your career in offices?

    Most of all, I’m excited about the challenges and opportunities you described earlier today. Given my ability to do A and B, I would hit the ground running with the ability to generate rapid progress on C and lead growth in D.

  12. I have an interview coming up, I have never had a successful interview and am making sure i research, research, research this time. Its for a general assistant in a supermarket but a job’s a job! I was wondering is it really worth it to send a thank you letter or will the employer just think you’re being a “suck up”?

    Oh and another point, did he get the job? 😀

    Hi Siobhan,

    This isn’t sucking up. It’s courtesy. On your final question, please see my answer to Freddie above.

    Good luck!

    Donna

  13. Hello Donna,
    My Manager sent out a email today stating she was taking over another department. I would like the oppurtunity to apply for her position. I feel that I am qualified although I have no previous management, or supervisoral experience. I have however been a great team leader. My fellow employees constantly seek me out for assistance. My question to you is should I write a letter to our Director of Operations and request the position or apply internally through our website.

    Thank you!

    Can you get guidance from your Manager? She probably has the best sense of what is appropriate. That said, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to follow process so do apply through the website regardless of what else you do.

  14. Thanks! As others have already noted I agree that it is a tad on the long side, but well written.

    However, I am surprised no one has commented on using “personal” belief system. I don’t think that is a line that should be kept in the thank you letter. I do like his reference to the firm’s mission (i.e. core values, vision, etc.).

    Thank you John. Donna

  15. This email/letter, to me, is a little too long…esp to a sr. exec

    Thank you Jen. Donna

  16. I believe this is a very good letter, and the points that Donna has enlisted below (per paragraph) summarizes the letter perfectly. I will certainly keep the above key points in mind when I draft a “Follow-Through” letter to any potential employer. Thank you for sharing!

    Thank you Mohammad. Donna

  17. This is a great letter and an inspiration. Do you think however, that is ever acceptable to send a thank you card with similar information. I am a registered nurse and to me it seems more personable to send a hand written card. My job is all about being sincere/professional/personable. Would my interviewer appreciate it?

    Thank you for sharing!

    Hi Jordan,

    Different recruiters and hiring managers have different preferences. I don’t like anything that puts another piece of paper on my desk. Others think handwritten is the way to go. Follow your heart.

    Thank you for your kind words and asking a question that I’m sure many people wonder about.

    Donna

  18. Godfrey,

    What a fabulous story! I hope you get an offer.

    Yes, I’ve moved from a “page” to a public “group.” More interaction, more community.

    Kind regards,

    Donna

  19. Donna, here it is 2 years later after the initial post about “Thank You” letters. I remembered you had posted this and pulled it up. After 2 1/2 years of retirement I decided to submit a resume by email. Within an hour they set up an initial interview. The first of three interviews was today. I was told I will get that second interview later this week. Per your advice in the blogs, I threw out the snail-mail thank-you note and went for email. (I am 66 and do not need to be in the last 1% laggard group. My interviewer today was in her 20’s.)
    I used the “Best Ever Thank You Note” article to compose my letter.
    Thank you.
    PS I see you have a new home on FaceBook.
    (Does PS put me in the !%?)

  20. Your letter makes some great points and I suppose serves to refresh the hiring manager’s memory if you are one of many candidates being seriously considered. I work for a NYC based startup, have hired about 40 marketing, biz dev and support staff in 2015, likely will hire another 18-20 by year end. This is typical of my experience over the past 8-9 years at 2 startups. I can’t imagine an instance where a follow up/ TY note was a significant piece of my decision making or the tipping point for one candidate vs another or led me to reconsideri a candidate. Typically both I and the candidate know instinctively (if it hasn’t been expressly discussed) if and what the next step will be when she/he and I shake hands and say goodbye. In this time of mega info overload, screens in front of our faces day in and out, I would have a very negative feeling upon opening this email and seeing 500-600 words in a thank you “note” I believe this is a place for less is more. Thanks.

  21. Darren,

    You make a good point about startup culture and culture in general. It’s important to think about your recipient and use a culturally appropriate thank you.

    Thank you for commenting.

    Donna

  22. Extremely long for a thank you note to an exec. This person should have sold themselves in the interview so there would be no need to re-explain top reasons for their candidature.

  23. That’s what i needed the most right now because every time after my interview i always wonder what to write and how to write it, so thanks a lot for helping me out here and i am sure i am going to bookmark this for sure. cheers to this article.

  24. That’s a great article and i was searching for this content because i didn’t know that doing follow up after applying for job is have this much importance so i was looking for how to do follow up process, thanks a lot for letting us know.Going to bookmark this for sure.

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