You’ve just wrapped up a great interview, and you sit down to carefully craft your job interview thank you note. Could your hard work be undone by unknowingly including one of these most hated email phrases?
Of course you already know the importance of a well-crafted job interview thank you note and how important it is to impress the hiring team beyond your interview. If you’re like most job seekers, you probably have a stock job interview thank you note you’ve used over and over again. But one thing you may not know: those notes you’ve been sending may have unwittingly annoyed the hiring manager by containing one or more common but widely reviled phrases.
Adobe recently shared results from their 2018 survey of email preferences, which included a question about the “most annoying phrase used in work emails.”
What not to say
The top offenders? “Per our conversation,” a common job interview thank you note phrase when sharing references or additional information with a hiring manager, came in within the top three most-annoying phrases. Job seekers also typically use “as discussed,” “per my last email” and “re-attaching for convenience,” all of which landed on the top ten “ugh-factor” list for emails.
“When you look carefully at these phrases,” says Susan Plunkett, a recruiter and career coach, “they’re canned, inauthentic, and way too formal. You wouldn’t speak this way in real life, so the word choice and the formality inadvertently send a message that you think your memory or organizational skills are better than the recipient’s.”
“If you’re going to move the needle with a hiring manager, there are much better ways to follow up with them,” she adds. Instead of sending a generic, formal note, she recommends writing emails that have much more of a personal voice.
Here’s what you CAN say:
If you need to follow up to provide more information:
“I thought more about our discussion, and …”
“I appreciate the discussion about (x) and I’ve attached (y).”
“I’m including (x) below for when you have a moment.”
Most of the time, there’s no need to say anything at all- just re-attach the document without calling attention to it and/or send the information that you promised you would. Most likely, the person’s just as likely to remember the context as you are.
(Side note: please don’t send a link or attachment you haven’t already promised to send or been asked for, unless you’re absolutely, positively, 100% sure the recipient would want to see it. After all, hiring managers want to hire you to take work off their plates, not make more work for them. The only exception to this is re-attaching your resume without commentary if it’s been a while since they had it and you think it might help.)
If you make a mistake and/or need to send a second email:
“I wanted to send a quick clarification of my prior email:”
“I have one more thought I wanted to share while it was top of mind:”
You may not even need to mention your prior email if you’re adding to the conversation or clarifying something. But in general, think carefully about a follow-up to your follow-up. Unless you have something new to add, maybe that second email doesn’t need to be sent at all.
You’ll get much better results if you keep the formal language to a minimum, add to the job interview conversation instead of referencing it, and tone down the “following up with you” admonishments. After all, given your hard work in the interview process, you want to be remembered as a great candidate and not as that person who sends annoying emails.