Things Not to Include in an Interview Thank-You Letter

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Sending a thank-you email or note after a job interview can impress the interviewer and can lead to a second interview or even a job offer. On the flip side, writing the wrong thing in an after-interview note can make an employer think twice about moving forward.

Keep It Positive

The quality of your follow-up communication after an interview will impact an employer’s evaluation of your candidacy. Sending a thank-you note matters, but it needs to be sincere and not just a quick “thanks for the interview” email message.

Sending a thank-you note after an interview is a good way not only to thank the interviewer for his or her time, but also, to give a reminder about how well the job fits with your background, as well as your strong motivation to work in that position with that employer. Avoid saying anything that will raise doubts about your attitude, motivation, or qualifications.

10 Things Not to Include in a Thank-You Letter for an Interview

These tips on what not to include in your follow-up letter can help you avoid sending the wrong message to employers. 

  1. Don't include only a statement of appreciation: Make sure you also affirm your strong interest in the job and briefly explain why you're an excellent fit for the position and the company.
  2. Don't have misspellings, grammatical errors, or other issues: Proofread carefully and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. Make sure you have the correct job title, address, and name. This is an opportunity to follow up with a strong positive impression, so don’t make even a small mistake.
  3. Do not mention salary range in your letter: Wait until an offer is made to negotiate salary since your leverage will be the greatest once the employer has decided that you are the preferred candidate.
  4. Don't make any excuses or apologize for anything that went wrong during the interview: You are better off not drawing attention to these issues. Emphasize positive qualities that might counter any concerns that came up during your meeting. An exception would be if you think the interview was so bad that you’re out of contention. 
  5. Don’t mention any aspects of the position that cause you to question the suitability of the job: Wait until an offer has been extended to gain further clarification about components of the role that concern you. Don't give the employer any reasons to question whether you are a good match prior to finalizing their selection. An exception to this guideline would be when you know you don’t want the job, but you like the company. In that case, you might mention how impressed you were with the organization and ask if there might be another position that was more suitable.
  6. Don't include the exact same language in letters if you are sending them separately to different interviewers: Think of something each person shared which was helpful or stoked your interest in the position or the company. Another approach is to reaffirm assets that would help you to address priorities that the individual had mentioned. Interviewers will be impressed if you take the time to personalize your communications.
  7. Don’t make unsubstantiated or exaggerated statements like "The job is a perfect match for my background.”: While you want to be positive and highlight the skills and experience you have that fit the job, avoid going over the top. For example, you might say, "I am very excited about the possibility of landing the public relations associate job since it would enable me to apply my strong writing, event planning, and media relations skills."
  8. Don't take an overly aggressive approach by mentioning you will call to check on the status of your candidacy: You certainly can make a follow-up call towards the end of the time window that the employer has indicated for their decision. You just don't need to mention this in your letter.
  9. Don't include references unless you are asked for them: There is no need to include references with your follow up correspondence. When an employer wants a list of references, he or she will ask you for one.
  10. Don't include any questions about reimbursements for your interviewing expenses: Follow up communication should be sent as soon as possible after the interview. Your letter should be exclusively focused on your interest in the job and how well you fit the company's needs. Any other information can distract from your message. Send a separate note later to deal with any reimbursement issues.