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!