Post-interview thank you, but no thank you, thank you note
August 23, 2011 1:39 PM   Subscribe

What to say in a post interview thank you note - when you aren't the right guy for the job...

...and they just might not be too keen on making you an offer either.

I had an interview today for a project manager position at a large local public institution. The institution tends to use the Project Manager title pretty loosely but after the interviews, it was pretty clear that it was a classic, pure Project Manager position. I have some pretty strong apprehensions about my ability to do that work. It's probably not a good fit. A good fit might be doing some of the work that the PM will be overseeing.

I interviewed with Boss #1, #2a and #2b. I did fairly poorly with #1, and progressively less poorly with #2a and #2b, as I slowly figured out what they all were talking about.

So how do I say thanks, but no thanks without actually refusing something that they probably won't be offering? And maybe have them keep me in mind for other facet of a really interesting project? These are some pretty sharp people and I think I'd like working with them in some capacity.

Background humbly submitted: My current job is pretty secure and allows me to pay my bills on time. I don't need this PM position, but I am looking for a position that would allow me to apply skills and experience from previous career in addition to my present skill set.
posted by klarck to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Don't. Just send the regular thank you note you always do. If they make you an offer, you can figure out then if you want it or not. If they don't, they'll (hopefully) remember you on your merits, interview and thank-you letter and let you know if you fit something else. You can always follow up later with an email inquiring about any other opportunities they have and so on. But don't turn down something that isn't even offered to you.
posted by griphus at 1:46 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't say "no thanks" until you get an offer. But in any event, you don't need to say anything other than, "thanks for taking the time to meet with me; it was very interesting to hear about the position. Please let me know if you need any additional information or materials from me in connection with my application. Best wishes, klarck."

This is sort of like that shit my dad says tweet: “That woman was sexy…Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won’t screw you, don’t do it for them.”
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:49 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

You don't want to refuse the job if they would consider you for the job. You'll never learn anything new if you keep going to jobs where you know how to do everything there, besides, you can always say no thank you to the job if they do offer it to you if you don't feel it is right for you. Let them offer it first and then say no...

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me as a prospect for the post of Project Manager.

I look forward to speaking to you regarding my potential future with your organization.


Short and direct.
posted by Yellow at 1:49 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't think you need to preemptively tell them 'no thanks'--that seems to me like a useless waste of optionality. Why give up on the chance that they surprise you with a huge salary, even if the probability of that is very very low?

Just say that you enjoyed meeting with them and appreciate that they took time out of their busy day to talk to you. Generic and polite. Then when they do tell you that you didn't get the job you can follow-up with something about staying in touch or whatever.
posted by mullacc at 1:50 PM on August 23, 2011

You never know if they might have a more appropriate position for you, so make sure your note is personal and specific. No awful generic note -- those get tossed in the bin, as they have no heart, and they show no connection, and they close doors that are better left open, especially since you like these people! So do some version of:

"Dear [Interviewer], Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about the project manager position. It's clear from our time together that your team is smart, committed, quick-paced, and innovative [these are up to you] -- the very culture match I'm looking for in my next role. The work you're doing with [X-project] was definitely eye-opening and demonstrated your innovative approach [or mention what you talked about and why it interested you]. I'd love the opportunity to work with your team in any capacity in the future."
posted by mochapickle at 2:07 PM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

If you're not right for the job, they'll know it and you won't need to worry about a pre-emptive turn down. I had one of those job interviews and uh, they do solve that problem for you. Turning them down now just comes off as awkward.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:12 PM on August 23, 2011

« Older How do I walk more quietly?   |   Supersaturated salt solution help, please. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.