The Interview Thank You Mistake That Can Cost You the Job Offer

Let’s say that you’ve written a fabulous interview thank you letter, like this one or this one.

In both those cases, the senders won their jobs. But what if they hadn’t? What if they had made a mistake in a thank you letter that killed their chance to get a job? 

The Interview Thank You Nightmare

Several years ago, I sent the perfect candidate out to a client to interview for her dream job.

The company was a market leader in a sexy industry, provided deliciously challenging positions, and planned to pay well into six-figures for the job. Plus, they had gorgeous waterfront offices.

She was a perfect fit for the position, a Ten.

She had a great interview, got good feedback on-site, went back to her office, and fired off a thank you note to the hiring Vice President — in which she misspelled his name.

He cared. I got a call saying she was out of contention solely because of this mistake. No appeals allowed. He felt as though it said something about her lack of attention to detail that mattered to him.

The Interview Thank You Protection Plan

So what do you do to prevent yourself from making the same mistake?

Be sure to take several of your business cards with you to interviews.

At the end of each meeting, offer the interviewer your card and ask them for one of theirs. No one walks around with business cards that misspell their name. No one.

Then, when you write your interview thank you email, letter, or note, make sure you use the name that’s on the card. It’s that simple.

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at for more information.

Featured by FastCompany
Image © iQoncept –
Updated June 2017

© 2013 – 2017, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.


Comments 6

  1. Donna,

    I love the story you told. People never believe me when I tell them it’s the little things that get them hired or in this case not hired! How are you supposed to do big things, if you can’t do the little things. Thank you for including my article in such an awesome blog post! It really means a lot to me!

  2. I went to an interview recently where the HR organiser had mis-spelled the name of one of the interviewers. I was expecting “Rex” when I got “Max”, I knew Max from another venue so wasn’t overly surprised but my estimation of the personnel dept and the company as a whole went down.

  3. The little things do matter. I remember an Oracle DBA I worked with who was always looking for his “next job”. He was very (very) good at what he did and couldn’t understand why the interviews/calls weren’t coming in this time. After a few weeks of trying he asked me to look at his resume. The answer was obvious – he has misspelled ‘Oracle’ in his objectives at the top of his resume! He had sent this out to many of the top employers in the region (Minnesota) and was going to have a hard time recovering.

  4. OMGosh, thank you Grant! Another good reason to get a business card. #WhenHRGetsItWrong

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