Don't let your interview thank-you note cost you the job. Avoid these common mistakes.
A survey conducted by TopResume found that 68 percent of hiring managers say receiving an interview thank-you note has an impact on the interviewee's candidacy.
In other words, if you're not conducting proper interview follow-up and saying thanks, you're hurting your chances of landing the job.
However, not all thank-you notes are created equal. In fact, when written incorrectly, your thank you can do more harm than you think. Below are seven of the most common mistakes you should avoid when sending your post-interview thank-you email.
You forgot to follow up with an interview thank you
According to a national study, approximately 95 percent of candidates don't send a follow-up after their interview, even though the majority of hiring managers expect to receive one. Don't follow the crowd in this instance. Send a thank-you email after each interview round to differentiate yourself from the competition and help advance your candidacy.
You didn't proofread your interview thank-you email
When the competition is fierce, the littlest typo in your interview follow-up can be used to eliminate you from the candidate pool. Remember, spell-check isn't perfect. Before you send off your thank-you note, carefully proofread your message. Then read over it again. Then ask your friend – you know, the one who majored in English or writes for a living – to look over it to ensure everything is grammatically correct and spelled properly, including the name of the organization and the interviewer.
Your interview follow-up was generic
If you're going to take the time to follow up with your interviewer, don't use a generic template. Send a tailored message that demonstrates your genuine interest in the role and organization and reminds the interviewer of your qualifications. Take notes during your interview so you can remember what the interviewer liked most about your experience, and you can highlight those points in your message.
You only sent one interview thank you – but met with three different people
If you were interviewed by numerous people during your visit to the company, get ready to write a number of follow-up messages. Oftentimes, companies will request that all thank-you emails get forwarded to HR so they can be attached to a candidate's file. As a result, it's important to personalize each message you send. Again, this is where your notes from each interview will become extremely helpful.
Use the little details you learned about the interviewer, such as a shared hobby or an upcoming vacation, in your follow-up message to demonstrate your attention to detail and make your note more memorable.
You waited too long
When you're looking for a job, timing is everything. Send your interview thank-you notes within 24 hours of the interview. Also, be sure to ask for the person's business card or write down their full name and email address during the interview to ensure a timely follow-up.
You used snail mail — and the company is a high-tech startup
Consider the company culture before you send off your thank you. In most cases, an emailed message is a safe bet. In fact, a survey by Accountemps found that 87 percent of employers said that email is an appropriate way to express thanks after an interview. However, if you've met with a very traditional organization, their hiring managers may fall into the 13 percent that prefers a snail-mail note.
When in doubt, cover your bases. Shoot off an email right after your interview and follow up by dropping a hand-written note in the mailbox the following day.
You wrote a novel
The purpose behind the interview thank-you email is to highlight the main points of your conversation, address any concerns the interviewer expressed about your candidacy, and convey your continued interest in the position. Don't repeat your entire resume – keep your message just long enough to cover the points mentioned above.
If you're concerned your message is getting too lengthy, consider how much would fit in a standard thank-you card you'd buy at a stationery store. If it wouldn't fit there, I recommend reevaluating your message before you hit “send.”
Consider your interview thank-you note to be an opportunity to reconnect with the hiring manager, build a relationship with those whom you met, and keep your candidacy at the top of the pile. Dodge these common mistakes and you'll be one step closer to the much sought-after job offer.