5 Thank You Note Mistakes You’re Making and How to Avoid Them

Follow UpOnce you’ve landed an interview opportunity, you may be breathing a sigh of relief when it’s over. However, you’re not out of the woods just yet—how you treat the post-interview experience is just as important as the interview itself.

Have you been properly following-up after an interview? How about sending a thank you note to the hiring manager?

Here are a few mistakes you may be making during this part of the hiring process and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Not sending a thank you note following an interview.

You might think that sending a handwritten thank you note via snail mail is outdated. But it’s not—who doesn’t like to receive real mail, since it’s so rare these days? Because so few job seekers forget or fail to do this, it can help you stand out among other candidates and will certainly impress a hiring manager. It’s also a perfect chance to mention something else about yourself that you forgot to talk about during the interview.

Be sure to include the following statements:

  • A statement thanking the employer for their time
  • A statement reiterating your interest for the position and organization
  • A reminder about your qualifications and anything additional you failed to mention during the interview
  • A statement including anything additional the employer asked you to provide after the interview

Mistake #2: Following up too often.

The job search is a frustrating process for a lot of people, hiring managers included. Although the manager may have told you they would get back with you by a certain time, sometimes other things get in the way of their plan, and the hiring process is stalled.

Be patient; it’s okay to follow-up once per week (up to three times total), but no more than that. (Hiring managers are busy people, too!) Bombarding the hiring manager with phone calls and emails about the opening will not help you get the job. In fact, it might put you out of the running altogether.

Mistake #3: Not following up at all.

On the flip side of following up too much is not following up at all. Some people rationalize their lack of follow-up with statements such as, “I don’t want to bug them,” or “They’ll call me when they’re ready.”

Actually, failing to follow-up can hurt your chances at receiving a job or interview offer. I recently read that a company didn’t follow-up with job candidates at all and instead waited for them to follow-up about the position—essentially weeding out those candidates who weren’t that interested in the job. Lack of follow-up can indicate to the employer that you don’t care or aren’t interested in the position. Don’t forget about this important step in your job search—it might make the difference!

Mistake #4: Missing the opportunity to provide additional details in your thank you note.

During an interview, you can get nervous and forget to mention important details about yourself, such as skills or accomplishments from former experiences that could help you in this job. Don’t fret—this is perfect information to mention in your thank you note. After thanking the employer for their time, tie in additional information with what you already talked about during the interview.

Mistake #5: Failing to ask about the timeline.

Ideally, at the end of an interview, you should ask the hiring manager what the timeline for the open position looks like. When will they make a decision? Will they call all of the candidates to let them know their status? This can give you a good idea of how soon it will be appropriate to follow-up with the hiring manager.

What other thank you note or follow-up mistakes do you see job candidates making?


Guest Expert:

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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