11 Mistakes To Avoid In The Interview Thank You Note

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By Valerie Martinelli, MPA

READ MORE: Career advice, Career development, Job search

After each interview, it is a common practice to send a thank you note. One common question that I oftentimes receive is “What should I write?” While I oftentimes walk my clients through writing these notes or emails, what is also important is what not to say. Saying the wrong thing can keep you from getting a second interview- or even a job offer.

So, what shouldn’t you include?

1. Avoid negativity and improper tone.

Using the wrong tone in this message will hurt you. Don’t ever be negative, particularly if you feel that the interview could have gone better or if you didn’t hit it off with the interviewer. As you know, not every interview will be great, but it should be taken as practice, honing your skills, and making a potential connection. Also, an improper tone will harm your chances of getting a second interview or even a job offer. In other words, if your interview was formal then the thank you note should be formal as well. If your interview was a bit more casual, then chances are that they’re not expecting a thank you note with a formal note in return. Be sure to get this right because it can get you to the next round.

2. Don’t wait too long.

In fact, do not let more than a day pass before you send out a thank you note. The idea is to do this while you are still fresh in their minds and let

ting more than one day pass will keep that from happening- no exceptions.

3. Don't ask for additional information.

A thank you note is not an opportunity to request additional information about the position or the organization. This includes requests regarding salary and benefits. There will be an opportunity for those questions should a job offer be extended to you.

4. Don’t apologize.

Everyone makes mistakes during an interview; however, it truly isn’t necessary or appropriate to use this space to apologize for a mistake you made.

5. Avoid sounding desperate.

Everyone wants an excited candidate, but no one wants a desperate one who is practically begging to be hired.

6. Don’t forget to proofread.

This is an absolute must. Failing to proofread a post-interview thank you will harm your chances of being selected for the next round. If you’re concerned that you may misspell someone’s name, then ask for a business card before the end of your interview.

7. Resist the urge to use a template.

This is supposed to be a personalized note. Write about your interview, such as something specific that made you think or meant something to you. Of course, you can tie this into a relevant skill that makes you a great fit for the position.

8. Don’t write one note for multiple interviewers.

It isn’t personalized if you’re trying to accommodate everyone in one note. If you had multiple interviewers, then write them separate thank you notes. Doing otherwise is impersonal and they will be comparing notes at some point, so be sure to get this right.

9. Skip writing the essay. 

A thank you note is meant to be brief, to the point, and only a few sentences in length. This is not an opportunity to convince them that you’re a great fit for the position.

10. Don’t forget to actually say "thank you."

This might seem like common sense, however, sometimes it is very easy to get so wrapped up in what you’re going to say that many actually forget to thank an interviewer for his/ her time. Don’t be that person!

11. Don't include a gift with your note.

Sometimes nonverbal communication speaks volumes, even if it isn’t included in the thank you note. Gifts are awkward as well as unnecessary. Many recruiters do not know what to do with gifts and sending one will not improve your chances of getting an offer either. It may be interpreted as a bribe, so, skip sending one and stick to sending a timely, well-written thank you note.  

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