So, you have just heard back from an employer who is interested in bringing you in for an interview? Congratulations — that’s a big accomplishment! If an employer asks to interview you, it means they think you could be a good fit for a position. They want to learn more about you and your experience. In this guide, we’ll help you with step one and discuss how to respond to an interview request.
How to Respond to an Interview Offer
After you receive an invitation to interview for a position, you should send a response as soon as possible. Ideally, you should submit your response within a day. However, keep in mind that it is best to avoid communication with the company on Mondays and Fridays, which is when employers are typically most distracted.
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Sending a timely response to an employer will allow you to show your organizational skills. In addition, sending a timely response will ensure that an employer does not decide to interview another candidate for the job. So be sure respond in a timely manner to prevent that.
There are two types of interview requests you could receive: a phone invitation or an email invitation.
How to Respond to an Interview Request Over the Phone
If you applied for a job, you should make sure to take any calls that could be from the company. If you miss a call, return it as soon as possible.
Make sure that you have your schedule at hand. You will need it when you are asked to commit to a time for the interview.
The call you have with a company will start with an official invitation to come in for an interview. At this point, you may be asked to confirm if you are still interested in the position.
If you are still interested in the position, the recruiter or hiring manager will propose a few different times for your interview. Respond with a time that works best for you, and take a note of that time.
You may even want to ask the employer to send an electronic calendar invite or an email confirmation. This is simply to ensure that you are all on the same page.
How to Respond to an Interview Request by Email
To respond to an emailed invitation, you should first start with a thank-you note. This is common courtesy in an email responding to an interview request, and shows your gratitude for the company considering you for the position.
What comes next in your interview request response depends on the contents of the email sent to you by the employer.
Standard Interview Request
If an employer has asked for a certain time, you should follow the thank-you statement by agreeing to the suggested day and time. If you cannot agree to this time, politely ask if they have any other times available during which you can interview.
Here is an email template you can use to respond to an interview offer:
I appreciate your considering me for the position of [position] at [Company Name]. I am available on [date and time], and we can conduct the interview using the videoconferencing platform you mentioned.
In the interim, if there is any additional information I can provide, please let me know.
I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you to discuss this position in more depth.
There are a few points to highlight from this example.
First, our response is short and to-the-point. The message you send to respond to an interview request does not need to be long. The purpose of sending the note is to confirm your interest in an interview.
Second, the response mentions the time and date for the interview explicitly. This reduces the chance that the recipient of your email will be confused by the time at which you want to interview. If your interview invitation included multiple different times during which you could interview, it’s crucial that you mention a specific time in your response.
Email to Schedule an Interview
An employer may ask you to schedule an interview via email.
This is common in interview notifications, and it happens when an employer does not provide a list of times for you to choose for your interview. If you are asked to schedule an interview over email, you can use the sample email based on the following to respond:
I appreciate your considering me for the position of [Position] at [Company Name].
The best times for me to participate in an interview are [times and days]. If no time in this range can accommodate your schedule, please provide a list of times that would be better on your end.
I am excited to talk with you in more depth about this position.
Call to Schedule an Interview
In our first example, we supposed that an employer provided a list of times during which you could interview. However, this may not always happen. An employer may instead ask you to call to schedule an interview.
If this occurs, you should still consider sending a confirmation email to respond to the interview request. This will ensure the employer is aware of your interest in the position, and will allow them to anticipate your call.
Here is an email you could send to respond to this type of interview request:
I appreciate your considering me for the position of [Position] at [Company Name]. As per your last email, I will call you at [phone number] [date and time] to arrange a time for our interview. (It is a good idea to re-state the phone number to ensure it is the correct number to reach them at).
In the interim, if there is any additional information I can provide, please let me know. I look forward to talking with you.
In this email, the candidate has started their email with a thank-you, then proceeded to confirm that they will call to schedule an interview. Because this email is not the official confirmation, it can be even shorter than a typical interview request response. If it happens to be a phone interview, include a phone number they can best reach you. This is in case they are calling you to have the interview.
How Should I Handle Follow-Up Questions?
An employer may decide to ask you a few follow-up questions either as before or during the interview request. There are a few different types of follow-up questions that can come up.
Clarifying a Point
First, an employer may ask you to clarify a point you have made on your application, resume, or cover letter. For instance, if you provided an interesting answer to an application question, they may ask you to go deeper into your thought process.
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Explaining Your Job History
Second, an employer may ask you questions about your job history to ensure they understand your experience. For instance, if your resume states that you were a full stack engineer at Google, they may ask you to elaborate on how you contributed to the organization.
Third, an employer may ask you about your pay expectations. This question is common because employers only want to interview with people whose salary expectations meet the capabilities of the employer. If you are asked about pay expectations, you can ask to delay pay negotiations until later, or you can provide a range. This will allow you to both answer their question and appear flexible in terms of what compensation you are willing to accept.
Here is a template you can use if you are asked follow-up questions:
I appreciate your considering me for the position of [position] at [Company Name]. My responses to your questions are below.
[Your answers here]
Thank you for the opportunity to share this information with you. Let me know if you need any additional clarification on the points I have made. I look forward to hearing back from you.
This email starts with a thank-you, which allows you to convey your gratitude to the employer for considering you for a position. You can add in the answers to any questions you have been asked in the main body of the email.
Toward the end of your email, you should offer to provide the company with any additional information in case your answers were not sufficient.
Responding to an interview request may sound like a simple task–and it is–but that doesn’t mean that you should rush through the process.
If you are invited to interview for a job, make sure that you promptly send an email confirming your interest in interviewing for the position.
By following the tips in this article, you’ll be on your way to crafting an effective response to any interview invitation. The tone you set in your response will tell the company more about your character. If you send an impressive email, you’ll be able to position yourself as a good candidate for a job.
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