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The Thank-You Email and the Most Important Question to Ask in a Job Interview

14 May 2024 12:27 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

Bruce Hurwitz 7:35 am on April 4, 2024  

The Thank-You Email and the Most Important Question to Ask in a Job Interview

It is funny the things we remember seeing on television when we were children. For example, I remember a Nobel Prize laureate being asked, “To whom do you credit your success?” He replied, “My mother. When my friends returned home from school, their moms would ask them if they had given the teacher good answers to her questions, my mom would ask if I asked any good questions.”

It is my firm and sincere belief that the questions you ask in a job interview are actually more important than the answers you give. When you ask a question, it is an opportunity to show how well you prepare for meetings and, specifically, how well you have researched the employer and the interviewers.

The most important question you can ask is focused on the after-interview phases of the hiring process: the thank-you email. A good thank-you can rescue a fair interview; a bad thank-you can ruin a good interview.

Here’s the question: If I were to get the job, what would I be able to do to make your life easier? Ask every interviewer and write down their answer. This also means that at the start of an interview you need to get the email address of all the interviewers. (If someone says, “Just write to so-and-so,” then that’s what you do. But let’s assume that everyone provides their email.)

The thank-you email tells a great deal about the candidate. It shows if they were listening during the interview, and whether or not they understood what they were told. It also shows if they are able to send unique thank-yous to everyone and not some generic letter that could relate to interviewing for literally any job. Lastly, it is proof that they can actually write a professional letter.

The thank-you, which must be sent within a couple of hours of the interview, should be relatively short and go something like this:

Thank you for interviewing me this morning for the XYZ position. [Now you are going to remind them of why you are the premier candidate for the position.] Having done X, Y and Z, after hearing your insights, I am even more confident now that I will be able to not only fulfill your expectations for the position, but exceed them.

That paragraph will be relatively the same for everyone. Here’s where the uniqueness comes in:

I heard you when you said that you need me to do X. I understand that that will help you with Y. Just to remind you, as I said during the interview, I have no problem in that regard because…

Then a generic ending on the lines of, Thank you again for having taken the time to interview me. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely… will suffice.

The “I heard you” paragraph shows that you were listening, understood, and are onboard to be the interviewers’ partner to help them achieve their goals. Who would not want a new hire like that?

The Thank-You Email and the Most Important Question to Ask in a Job Interview | Employment Edification (

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