The Interview Thank You Note: Why you NEVER thank an interviewer for their time!

The Interview Thank You Note: Why you NEVER thank an interviewer for their time!

Zachary Nold

Chief Recruiting Officer, Crucial Hire


The Interview Thank You Note is a CRUCIAL part of the job-seeking process and vital to getting hired. But too many people do it wrong, and it ends up hurting them. It’s tempting to thank your interviewer for their time after an interview, just like it is to tell the host, “Thanks for their time cooking all day!” Unfortunately, nobody wants to hear that. They want to hear how flavorful the food was and how they cooked the main course to perfection.

The truth is, you should never thank an interviewer for their time! In this article, we’ll look at 10 tips you should consider each time you write a thank you note from this day forward. (Yes, each time you write a thank you note.) Isn’t “Thank you for your time” the first sentence of every rejection note? So why would you lead that way about a company you really liked?

Let’s dive into some fundamental tips.

1. Thank the interviewer, but never for their time.

Thank your interviewer for what they brought to the table. Their expertise in the industry, the insight they gave into the company, or the fantastic overview of your future position. For more technical roles, thank the interviewer for their technical knowledge and expertise or maybe some opinions they shared with you about current tech or standards.

Always be sure to thank the interviewer for their kindness and for providing such a great experience. But DO NOT thank the interviewer for their time. Only salespeople say “thank you for your time,” and nine times out of ten, they’re not making the sale and never to me!

2. Tell them something you found exceptional about the company.

It’s stupid easy to go to a website, click the About tab, copy-paste, and say something like…

“I really love the company’s mission…”
[Insert generic mission statement]
“This truly represents the type of company I want to work for.”

Instead, be original. You should have done research before the interview if you’re good. But say you didn’t, go do some digging on the company and find something to highlight that truly separates them from other companies. Something that makes them exceptional.

  • It’s not hard. Think about things like…
  • Company Wikipedia page
  • Geographic footprint
  • Industry accolades
  • Sales – market share – growth rates
  • Employees, growth, retention, satisfaction
Example: “Seeing the tremendous employee retention at the company over the last few decades is so impressive! You must be proud to be a part of the 100 Best Companies to Work For and for nearly two decades. Wow! This leaves me eager to join the team! Knowing how you’ve grown at the company makes me excited for the long-term impact I can bring.”

3. Tell them why the role/job is important to them.

As long as you listen during the interview, this one is easy. Nobody hires for a role that isn’t important. They’re looking to hire you (or someone else) because they have a need (to fill a position) that has to be met. Tell them their needs and why filling this role is so important to them. They’ve already told you why this position is important, but hearing it from you is crucial and lets them know you were listening.

4. Tell them why you’re attracted to the company culture/people.

This one is simple but speaks volumes about you and where your head is at. Be honest, what about the company do you find attractive? Maybe you found the energy around the office exciting. Maybe you love the open-door policy in their organization. Whatever that is for you, they want to hear it, so be sure to include it in your Interview Thank You Note.

5. Tell them why now is an exciting time to join the company.

Have you noticed a trend? This note isn’t about you; it’s about the company your applying too. Have the approach that you’re getting the job. Speak like this is where you belong. Remember to share why now is such an exciting time to join the company. What about right now is so exciting. Think about big things. Maybe the company just got another round of funding, and you’re excited about the growth opportunities. Perhaps it’s a pivotal moment in your life, and this opportunity is the catalyst. Are they working on a nifty new product? Take this time to highlight why NOW is exciting and validate it.

Crucial Tip: If you really want to catch their eye and get yourself sent up the email chain dig deep into the history of the company and find something that no one else would bother to look for.

6. Never use a form letter or template!

You probably expect a template with this article. News flash: There won’t be one! You need to write every single Interview Thank You Note from scratch. Interviewers read hundreds, if not thousands, of emails every week. If you used a template, who’s to say the other candidates wouldn’t as well? You want to stand out right? Heck, you need to stand out. And there’s a good chance someone else is using the same template you’re looking at… Now imagine being the recipient of both. Not good, right?

So, could your note be reused for 90% of the interviews if you changed the company name and position title? If so, you’re probably using a form letter.

7. Begin with You/Your for the right tone. Not I.

Starting every sentence with “I” can sometimes show low intelligence or a lack of grammatical literacy. Additionally, your use of function words tells a lot about you, your outlook, and how you approach things. Therefore, you want to start most of your sentences with “You” and “Your” instead. Putting the focus on the person you’re communicating with lets them know you’re more focused on them than yourself.

Bad example: I really liked your insight into the company. I thought you gave a fantastic overview of the position.

Good example: Your insight into the company was excellent, and thank you for such a great overview of the job responsibilities.

Your insight into the company was excellent, and thank you for such a great overview of the job responsibilities.

I really liked your insight into the company. I thought you gave a fantastic overview of the position.

8. Proofread your note as if you’re the recipient. Check your tone.

After your interview ends, a response is never guaranteed. So, you must do everything to give yourself the best chance possible. That means proofreading, double-checking your grammar, and ensuring your note is worth reading. Check your tone! Is it warm? Is it confident? Does it show off your personality? Remember, they’re getting ready to let someone new in their house. Make sure that’s you. Do everything you can to connect, impress, and relate to them on a human level.

9. End it as if you expect to see them again!

You should never say, “I hope,” “I wish,” or “I want.” Don’t ask if they have any concerns because if they do, they’ll be sure to tell you. Show them you’re confident and know how to handle yourself at a professional level. Every coach says after a win, “Act like you’ve been here before,” and that’s the exact approach you must take after an interview. Finish your note by telling them you look forward to hearing from them soon!

10. Say something favorable about someone else.

If you want to grab the attention of your interviewer, mention someone you met along the way. When you mention someone else, that almost guarantees your note will be forwarded. Aim upwards—Nows your opportunity to decisively select who else is going to see this note.

Tell them what you find impressive about the department head or the CEO. Most Thank You Notes never thank the interviewer for anything but their time before regurgitating their resume and why they “think” they’re such a perfect fit for the position. When you mention something favorable about someone else, you can guarantee it’ll at least get said to them.