7 common thank-you note mistakes

7 common thank-you note mistakes

In a remote-first world, post-interview thank-you notes are more relevant than ever. Here’s what NOT to do when writing yours.

Note: This is part 2 of our series on the art of the post-interview thank-you note. Start at part 1 to grab our formula for an effective thank-you note.

The thank-you note is a powerful tool for job seekers. Sending one can help you build a relationship with your potential future employer and position yourself as the strongest contender for the role.

But if done poorly, it can also backfire — or at the very least, undermine the strong impression you hope to make.

Here are the most common mistakes we see candidates make when sending thank-you notes after interviews — and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Waiting too long to send it.

It’s best to send your thank-you note within 24 hours after the interview. That way, the interviewer’s memory of the conversation is fresh and your note can solidify their good impression before any key post-interview decisions. 

Ideally, you would ask for the interviewer's email in advance, but if you were not able to do this, send your note to the person who set up the interview and ask them to forward it.

Mistake #2: Being careless with mistakes or typos. 

This is not the place to rush or get sloppy. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but a thank-you note with grammatical or spelling mistakes can backfire.

It’s shocking how many typos we see in thank-you notes — especially misspelled company names! Before hitting the Send button, have someone proofread it. Your recruiter would be happy to look it over! You can also try using free tools like Grammarly to double-check that your writing is clear.

In the following example, the company’s name is misspelled, and the note is grammatically sloppy, with words missing from several sentences.

Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedules to meet with me today. I enjoyed our discussion today. It was wonderful to learn more about the role with [misspelled company name]. It sounds like the culture of learning is exactly what I’m looking for in my next role.

I feel that [my] experience as an [job title] is a great match for this position. My experience client facing and working with internal teams would help me succeed in this role. [“client facing” is not commonly used in this way, so it would read better as “My experience working directly with both clients and internal teams…”]

It was wonderful to meet the team today. It would [be] an honor to join the company. I look forward to connecting again soon.

Mistake #3: Making it too long or too short. 

Say enough but not too much. It’s an email, not an essay. Cover the basics, make your case, and close it out. Three or four short paragraphs, structured like the sections we outlined in our formula for an effective thank-you note, makes for the ideal length. 

A recent candidate for an account manager role (with a $90-$100K salary range) sent this underwhelming note:


It was so great to meet you and learn about [company]. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.

I hope you have a great day!

All the best,

Here’s another equally unimpressive, too-short note (with a typo, to boot):

[Hiring manager],

Thank you for taking the time to meeting with me today regarding your [job title] role. It sounds like a great opportunity.

Thanks again,

Mistake #4: Being too generic.

Your note should not feel like it could have been written to anyone, about any role. Though we strongly encourage following a formula, the idea is to personalize it with specific details about the conversation and the role. Make it feel like a genuine continuation of your interview. A copy-paste job from the internet is worse than having sent none at all. 

And don’t forget, you’re a marketer, so act like it! No matter the role, be self-aware enough to market your strengths and skills as an ideal match for this particular role, and present yourself as a resource. But keep the next mistake in mind as you do…

Mistake #5: Making it all about yourself. 

A classic thank-you note mistake involves focusing too much on why you think you most deserve the role, or what you’ll get out of it. You do want to express your interest, and you should certainly be specific about why you’re excited about the role, but there is a fine line between confidence and overconfidence. 

A simple fix? Focus on what you can contribute to the company or team. What impact do you think you’ll have in the role? How will your work lead to specific improvements? 

Remember: If you were the hiring manager, you’d be less interested in what a candidate can do than in how those skills and experience will benefit you and your company. In marketing terms, this is about selling the benefits, not the features.

This approach also helps if you’re worried you’ll actually do the opposite and accidentally undersell yourself. By focusing on specific ways your unique skills will benefit your employer, you’re taking the focus off of you as an individual and placing it on the team and company you hope to join.

Mistake #6: Starting every sentence with “I.” 

It’s very easy to unintentionally start every sentence with “I” when you’re reflecting on your own thoughts about an interview, or pitching your own skills — but this can read as though you’ve made yourself the focus of the conversation (Mistake #5!) rather than the opportunity or the company. Take a look at how frequently you’re starting sentences that way, and mix it up.

A recent thank-you note from a candidate missed the mark on both #5 and #6:

I wanted to thank you for your time today in discussing the [job title] opportunity, along with sharing the work life at [company]. I really appreciated it and getting to know you as well. This role seems like a great opportunity and would be a great fit for me! Looking forward to hearing the next steps.

And this candidate’s note managed to begin every sentence with the letter “I”:

I hope you're having a great day so far! I appreciated our conversation yesterday and wanted to thank you for taking the time to meet with me! I was able to learn more about what the position would entail at [company name], and I hope you got a better picture of my background in [marketing field]. I look forward to hearing back shortly!

Mistake #7: Being too pushy. 

Sometimes candidates mention other places they’re interviewing or add details that could be read as an attempt to apply pressure. This doesn’t work in dating, and similarly, it will only backfire here. 

If you are under a time crunch due to another offer you need to respond to, mention that to your recruiter and let them discuss it directly with the hiring manager.

Your thank-you note should sell your skills effectively, but as a gentle nudge — for the interviewer to remember and recommend you for the next step. 

When done right, thank-you notes can help you make a genuine connection.

Sending an effective thank-you note can help remind your potential employer of why they enjoyed meeting you, and why you’d be a great choice for the role. 

Viewing this as a chance to make or continue a genuine human connection with your potential employer, rather than an obligation or outdated norm, will help make your thank-you note stronger (and much easier to write).

We’re here to help.

Have other questions about thank-you notes or other strategies to land your dream job? That’s what our recruiters are for. 

We’re not just here to match you to the open jobs of today. We’re also career advisors, looking out for your long-term prospects — and there’s never any fee for our services. 

Connect with us on LinkedIn and submit your resume at jobs.freemanleonard.com

And now that you know what NOT to say or do in your thank-you note, be sure to go back and read part 1: The art of the post-interview thank-you note so you know what should be included!

The art of the post-interview thank-you note

The art of the post-interview thank-you note

Yes, they’re still an important tool for job seekers. Here’s how to write one that wows.

In today’s unusual job market, with its rising salaries and higher expectations to match, candidates should take every opportunity to stand out and make a good impression. And though it may sound antiquated, the thank-you note is still an important tool for job seekers who want to improve their odds of receiving an offer.

We get it — thank-you notes can seem like just one more chore on a job seeker’s list. And the expectation of one can even seem like an unnecessary burden in a market where candidates now hold more power over the direction of their own careers.

But sending a thank-you note doesn’t mean you’re begging for a job or that the employer holds the power.

The thank-you note is a powerful tool to help you build a relationship with your potential future employer and position yourself as the strongest contender for the role. 

Think of a thank-you note as your final opportunity to shine, to demonstrate your communication skills, and to keep the conversation going. Such a gesture also shows the employer that you’re motivated and still interested in the job, that you follow through, and that you were paying attention to the details of your conversation. 

First impressions matter, but so do last impressions!

And in a remote-first world, where virtual interviews and onboarding are the norm, the thank-you note is more relevant than ever before.

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager: It can be difficult to evaluate a candidate through a computer screen and get a sense for who they are as a person, even if all the Zoom interviews go well. And making the wrong hiring choice can be a costly mistake. Employers are looking for any and every piece of information they can get about a candidate to help them narrow their list to a single individual — and that includes the communication they receive after the interview.

In fact, not sending a thank-you note can cost you the job. We’ve recently seen clients pass on candidates solely because they didn’t send a thank-you note — no kidding! (Hint: Making common mistakes in your thank-you note can also undermine your efforts.)

So let’s reframe the thank-you note: This is about much more than etiquette — it’s about genuinely connecting with your potential future boss. And it’s a small gesture with a potentially big payoff.

(And forget your grandma’s advice — you can send it via email, no handwriting or postage stamps required.) 

So how do you write an effective thank-you note? 

While there’s no need to follow a rigid template, knowing what to say when you sit down to write your email is half the battle. So we’ve developed a repeatable, customizable formula for post-interview thank-you notes. 

Here’s the anatomy of a good thank-you note:

Part 1: Offer a quick recap and express appreciation.

Open by reflecting on the interview itself and thanking your interviewer for their time. Mention that you enjoyed meeting them and appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the role and to share your story. 

Always try to call out something specific that you love about the position. You may also want to mention something you specifically enjoyed learning about the organization. 

One of our recent candidates opened a thank-you note with a simple version of this:

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me about the [job title] role on your team. I really enjoyed the conversation and know I could bring a lot to the position in terms of growing the offline media channels and helping both strategically and tactfully.

If you have something in common with the interviewer, be sure to mention that here as well.  

Part 2: Keep the conversation going.

Reference something you discussed, and find a way to continue that conversation. This could be a particular question that stood out to you, or something your interviewer mentioned but you didn’t have time to dive into. Work that into your message by making a follow-up point, sharing a recent article that’s relevant to the conversation, or sharing additional work samples that shed more light on your expertise on the topic.

This is your opportunity to show that you were thoughtfully engaged in the interview — that you were listening and paying attention — and if done well, it can be a chance to remind the interviewer of your strengths.

One recent candidate even used this as an opportunity to share praise received from former coworkers:

I found it especially insightful to learn what type of qualities and work ethic you would like a candidate to bring to the role beyond their technical capabilities. You mentioned that the ideal candidate would be someone who asked questions, but was also able to seek out answers and be a problem solver. I believe these are some of my greatest strengths, but rather than take my word for it – I offer the following testimonials from my former colleagues and superiors:

If the interviewer was personal and candid with you about the role, the qualities they seek , or the challenges the role would face, thank them for their candor and openness and respond with specific reasons you believe you're a good fit.

Part 3: Express your interest in the position.

Interviews have a way of bringing to light new information about a role not previously shared. So, it’s not a given that you’ll still be interested after learning those details. 

Don’t be shy. If you’re still enthusiastic about the role and interested in moving further in the hiring process, say so!

If you still want the job, make that clear as you close out your thank-you note. Be specific about why that is. What in particular makes this role a perfect match for your experience and the challenges you seek? Which specific aspect of the role or the company is most intriguing? 

One recent candidate, after speaking with two potential future colleagues in a second interview, followed up with the hiring manager directly to share how it went. You can use her note as a template:

I also liked [something specific an interviewer brought up]. I understand the role would require [describe something specific about the role] and I’m ready to dive in. After speaking with both of them, I’m even more excited about the opportunity.

You can also add a more personal touch here, and remind the hiring manager of something you have in common, if you’ve yet to find a way to work that in. One recent candidate closed her thank-you note by referring to a conversation she’d had about an interest they shared outside of work. It feels warm and inviting, and immediately helps the interviewer feel as though they’re already friendly colleagues:

I just want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. I once again thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and I really think we’d work well together. Looking forward to hearing next steps and hope to be a part of your team. Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions about my experience (work or [personal topic discussed]-related) and good luck with the [personal topic discussed]!

BONUS: If you want to really impress, add the following:

If I were hired, I would love to [insert what you’re most excited about doing there]. 

Part 4: Keep the lines of communication open.

Offer to be available should they need any additional information or materials. You may think this is obvious, but there’s power in stating it outright. Closing the thank-you note this way helps keep the lines of communication open while seeming friendly and helpful.

I hope to hear from you soon. If there is anything else I can provide you with, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Never underestimate the power of thank-you notes to make a genuine connection.

Remember: Thank-you notes are a powerful tool at your disposal to make or continue a genuine human connection with your potential employer.

At the end of the day, we all want to work with people we feel we can connect to and easily communicate with. A strong, genuine thank-you note positions you as that ideal future co-worker or employee.

We’re here to help.

Have other questions about thank-you notes or communicating effectively to land your dream job? That’s what our recruiters are for. 

We’re not just here to match you to the right job now — we’re also career advisors, and there’s never any fee for our services. 

Connect with us on LinkedIn and submit your resume at jobs.freemanleonard.com

And now that you know the formula for an effective thank-you note, read part 2 to learn what not to do: 7 common thank-you note mistakes