On the subtopic "Principals" within the rabbit hole that is Reddit, user micu25 asked the following question:
"I emailed the AP that interviewed me yesterday for a teaching job. It was a thank you email but in the email I had names of two different schools (one the same one different) I was tired and stressed and messed up. I sent a sorry email but I probably won’t get the job now huh?"
Micu25 was referring to the often-practiced "send a follow up email to the interviewing committee after you meet them in the actual interview to say thanks for their time."
For Micu25, they made a slight mistake in referring back to the name of the school they were interviewing for and were now worried that this accidental mistake would hurt their chances of landing a second interview or worse, the job itself.
I've found this practice of sending an email of thanks to be a very interesting situation. You don't not want to do it if the person you've interviewed for is expecting it, but at the same time you don't want to make an error in the reply or seem too eager (read: desperate) for the position.
Although I haven't applied for a job over the past six years, when I had interviewed for an administrative position, I'd always send the email to the principal or HR director afterwards. Now that I’m on the other side, I realize how little difference this email makes.
Point being, I’ve made up my mind whether or not you’re a candidate for the job a few moments into your response to the first question we’ve asked you. Sometimes, it’s just as simple as how you handle introductions. By midway through the questions, you can confirm that you’re a candidate by continuing to do well or completely slip up and no longer be a top choice.
While I don't use an actual point system in my mind, the following example may make a bit of sense: within the first 90 seconds of talking, you have a score of 1-100 with 100 being the best possible score. You may have walked in, been the most charismatic, caring adult we've ever encountered, started your response to the first interviewing question, and just knocked it out of the park. You'd get a really high score for this performance, right off the bat. Alternatively, you may have walked in, not made eye contact, used profanity during the introductions, and then just babbled about nothingness for the next three minutes, hijacking the interview before it even begins. This would be a score much closer to 0.
This initial score is important. It's the first impression score. I've found that no matter what happens during the interview, a candidate can only shift a dozen of points or so in either direction. Essentially, whatever score you've received by each member of the panel within the first 90 seconds of your interview, it's going to be really close to whatever score you end up with, holistic or tabulated, by the end of the interview.
This means that if only candidates with a 70 point score are sent forward to the second round and you started with 50, there's a strong likelihood that you're not a candidate for a return visit. When this happens, we are both wasting our time with the interview: there’s no way for you to get to 70 for the second round. Likewise, if you start strong and in the 90’s, it’s hard to slip up and not get a second round chance. The first impression you make during an interview is that important.
Thus, sending that letter of thanks makes zero difference in your chances of making it to the second round or being accepted for the final position. The interviewing committee has already put forth the worthy candidates by the time you've hit the send button. If anything, I think it can hurt more than help. If you've already been forwarded to the second round and then send an email with a spelling or grammatical error (examples: use “your” instead of “you’re”, make "thank you" into "thank u" or heaven forbid put two spaces after a period), you could lose a bit of luster for your second round chances.
This isn't to say it's not a nice gesture. If you're the top candidate and you send a nice, thoughtful message, it's definitely nice to see a "thank you" email. If I were to apply for a higher up position eventually, I’d probably send a “thank you” email too, even though I know it may not make a bit of difference.
But truthfully, sending the "thank you" email does nothing for your candidacy. You are either a second round candidate or not from within the first 90 seconds of the interview.
First impressions matter. A lot.