Understanding how best to navigate each of these stages can make a real difference to your success in applying for jobs and something that often comes up is what you should do after an interview.
Writing a thank you letter after an interview may seem like a bit of an outdated gesture. Still, it’s actually one that plenty of recruiters highly recommend to engineering candidates that want to stand out from other applicants and really make a difference in their success when applying for a job. In this article, we discuss why you should write an interview thank you letter as an engineer, explain what needs to be included, and suggest the best time to send this message.
Should You Write a Thank You Note After an Interview?
The first important thing to address is whether you need to write a thank you message after an interview for an engineering role.
Opinion is divided on the topic, but the majority of answers lean towards yes.
Sending a thank you note after an interview is first and foremost a good idea because it’s polite. Your interviewer has taken time out of their day to speak to you, and it’s good etiquette to thank them for the conversation you had and the opportunity to interview for an engineering position at their company.
Secondly, it’s a great way of keeping yourself in the interviewer’s mind. If they receive a message from a candidate soon after the interview, that candidate will be much more memorable when it comes to making a decision at that stage of the interview process, so as long as your interview went well this can really help your chances.
A thank you message is also a good opportunity to stress your enthusiasm for a job opportunity, which again can help your chances when it comes to getting selected during the interview process. You can mention specifics about why you think you’d be a good fit for the company and reference any particular points you talked about that you found interesting or useful, which can strengthen your case for why you’re the right engineering candidate for the role.
Finally, if nothing else, a thank you message to your interviewer can help you to build more connections with others in your industry. Even if you don’t get offered the job, this still gives you a way to build a relationship with the interviewer and potentially hear about other opportunities in the future, which you’ll already be better prepared for thanks to the connection you’ve made.
A Guide to Writing a Thank You Note After an Interview
A thank you message after an engineering interview doesn’t need to be particularly long, but there are several key points that you should cover. We’ve explained how to approach each of these below.
If you’re sending an email, which tends to be the best format for a thank you letter for an interview, the subject line is the first thing that the recipient will see. This can dictate whether they actually open the message, so it must be crafted carefully.
You want to keep your subject line short but informative so that the recipient knows what it’s about before they’ve opened it. Phrases like ‘Interview thanks’, ‘Thanks for today’s interview’ or even ‘Great to meet you’ can all work well.
You may also want to include key details of your interview if it’s likely that the person you talked to met with a lot of people, such as ‘Embedded Software Engineer Interview’ or ‘Electronics Engineer Role’ after your subject line greeting. Don’t include your name in the subject line however, as this will be clear from your email address.
Knowing the appropriate greeting for a professional email can often be difficult. It’s important to strike the balance between sounding appropriately formal and not coming across as expressionless or sounding like the email has been written as an automatic response.
You can gauge the right tone for an interview thank you email based on how formal the interview was. If you spoke very conversationally with your interviewer and the conversation was quite laid back, a simple greeting such as ‘Good afternoon’ or ‘Hello (Interviewer first name)’ will be fine. If the engineering interview was more formal, opening your email with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Dear (Title) (Interviewer surname)’ is the best approach.
Expression of Gratitude
The first thing that you should do after addressing the recipient of your email is express gratitude for the interview you attended. This shows the interviewer that you respect the time they spent speaking with you and indicates that you enjoyed the experience, which helps to stress your interest in the engineering job opportunity further.
Again, the formality of these thanks should match the tone of the rest of the message. For a more casual thank you email to the interviewer, you can let your enthusiasm be apparent in your thanks, talking about how you enjoyed getting to meet them and having a conversation, and that you’re really grateful for the opportunity.
In a formal message of thanks, rein this emotion in slightly and simply say thank you for the time the interviewer spent with you and the opportunity to interview for the available position. You can express your enthusiasm for the role, but don’t word this too conversationally if the rest of the message is quite formal.
You don’t need to overdo the gratitude here – one or two sentences will be enough.
After you’ve thanked your interviewer for the interview, it’s a good idea to recap what you talked about and quickly sell yourself and your suitability for the role again. It’s best if you can do this in a way that feels natural, mentioning particular achievements or skills concerning what you talked about instead of just stating them outright.
Perhaps list three of the skills or qualities that you think make you stand out as an engineering candidate and highlight why you’re such a good candidate for the opportunity. Or, mention a recent achievement or project that you talked about in the interview and link it to the role as a way to further demonstrate that you have the right experience.
If you’re looking for a good way to make the interview feel closer to you and potentially lay the foundations for a useful professional relationship, you can also use this section of your interview thank you email to bring up a topic that you discussed in your conversation. Talk about something that genuinely interested you to indicate that you’ve got a real enthusiasm for the relevant area of engineering, and maybe show that you went away and found out more about it if possible.
The purpose of this section of your message is just to remind the interviewer about your value as a candidate and provide a neat summary of your interview. Don’t try and sell yourself as you did in your initial application, but demonstrate that you know your value and believe that you’re right for the role.
Aim for between 3 and 4 sentences for this section.
The closing statement of an interview thank you letter for engineering roles should begin with a short, repeated thank you. Try and phrase this different from the thanks you opened your message with to avoid sounding like you’re repeating yourself.
You should also close your message with a point about hoping to hear back from the interviewer soon. This demonstrates your enthusiasm about the position, but also slightly increases your chances of hearing back about the verdict of the interview as soon as possible.
If it feels appropriate for the level of formality you’re writing in, you could also mention being excited about the potential job opportunity again.
When to Send Thank You Email After an Interview
Most engineering interviews involve several different stages, so you may be wondering when the best time is to send a thank you message. This really depends on how many interviews you have and how each of them goes.
A lot of engineering roles have an initial screening interview that takes place over the phone. This is an interview stage that doesn’t usually require a follow-up message, as you’ll likely be speaking to someone from the HR department instead of the person making the final decision, the interview is often very short, and you may be told at the end of it when to expect next.
The exception to this advice is if you don’t make it to the next stage after a phone interview. In this case, it can be worth replying to whoever delivered this news and thanking them for letting you know, potentially asking to be informed of future job opportunities if relevant.
After a technical interview, sending a thank you message afterwards can be appropriate, especially if this is the last stage of the interview process. Even if the interview wasn’t with the person at the company making the hiring decisions, you still might be able to make a professional connection with whoever did your technical interview, which is another reason why a thank you message can be beneficial.
You should always send a final interview thank you letter, as this is the stage where all of your behaviour and interactions really matter. This message should be sent on either the same day or the day after the interview depending on whether it happens in the morning or afternoon, or earlier if you’ve been told that there’s going to be a fast decision-making process.
You should also send a thank you email for interviews if you receive a rejection at the final stage. This is best practice because it keeps you in the company’s good books, allows you to make a final positive impression and potentially opens doors for future opportunities.
Worrying about what to put in an interview thank you letter for engineering jobs can mean that you end up not sending a message at all, which is a scenario you want to avoid. Taking the time to cement a good impression of yourself with a thank you message can have a really positive impact on your chances in an interview however, and helps to start building a positive reputation in your industry sector which you’ll be grateful for in years to come.
If you’re an engineering candidate in the electronics or embedded systems industry looking for help with job interviews and applications, working with a recruiter like KO2 could make a huge difference to your success. Get in touch with our team to find out more about how we can help you, or view our latest job opportunities here.