It’s proper etiquette to send a thank you note after your interview for a job, especially if you want the job. But just like your interview, there are certain things you can write in the note that can cause you to lose the job rather than get it.
It sounds impossible, right? How could you lose a job just by saying thank you? After all, saying thank you is polite, but only if you do it right.
Here’s what could cause a thank you note to cost you the job.
You come across as boastful
It’s okay to gloat inside or to your BFF about the way you nailed the interview, but don’t come across as cocky in the thank you note. Be as sincere as possible.
Thank the interviewer for his/her time and summarize the key points you talked about in the interview.
However, don’t boast about how good you felt when you left or how you KNOW you’re the perfect candidate. Being boastful will send your application from the top of the file to the garbage fast.
You don’t check spelling or grammar
You diligently wrote your resume and cover letter and probably had several people look over it for you to make sure there weren’t any mistakes.
Now that the interview is over, though, you figure you’re not in the spotlight anymore, so you can get careless.
You show potential employers that you don’t care about your everyday communications, showing that you’ll get lazy on the job. Instead, proofread your thank you note just as much as you did your resume and cover letter. You’ll be glad you did in the end.
You apologize for your mistakes
There are two reasons you shouldn’t bring up your mistakes.
First, you don’t want to remind the interviewer of the blunders. You don’t know what they thought or noticed at the time. You also don’t know if they even remembered it. Why refresh his/her memory?
Second, everyone makes mistakes. This is a test. If you moved along from the mistake and kept your cool, that’s a good sign. You show the potential employer that you do well under pressure and can recover from mistakes. There’s no reason to apologize for it.
You make it generic
It’s easy to want to copy and paste your thank you notes to everyone you interview with, but don’t. Recipients can tell even when you think they can’t. When you send the same letter to everyone, there’s no sense of intimacy in the letter.
Instead, personalize the letter to each person. If you talked with multiple people at one company, make a separate thank you note for each person.
Your interactions were different with each person, right? Your letters should reflect that and give them a reason to reflect on your interview and the reasons to hire you.
You took too long
Remember, for every application you send in, 200 – 250 other people are doing the same.
The employer will likely only interview 3 – 5 people, but that’s up to 4 other people you are competing with. Chances are they are also sending thank you notes and following up after an interview.
If you wait too long to send your thank you note, the gesture could be lost on the employer. If you’re the last one to send it, they’re ‘over it’ at that point. Instead, send the letter within 48 hours of your interview for the best results. You don’t have to be the first, but you don’t want to be the last.
Make your thank-you note count
Your thank you note should be short and sweet. Keep it to the point with proper grammar and spelling.
Let the employer know that you are grateful for his/her time, and you look forward to hearing from him soon about the position.
It’s a chance to send a quick ‘hey remember me when you’re filling the position,’ but nothing too boastful.