Responding to Interview Requests: A Guide
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 has asked to meet with you for an interview, it means they think you could be a good fit for a position, and want to learn more about you and your experience.
But how do you respond to an interview request?
In this guide, we’re going to discuss how you can respond to a job interview request professionally, so that you are able to make a positive impression on the recruiter or hiring manager who has reached out to you.
How to Respond to an Interview Request
When you receive a notification from an employer stating they would like to interview you, then you should send a response as soon as possible. Ideally, your response should be submitted within a day.
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, on account of your being unresponsive.
There are two types of interview requests you could receive: a phone call or an email.
How to Respond to a Phone Interview Request
If you have applied for a job and submitted your phone number, you should make sure that you actively try to take any calls that could be from the company. If you miss a call, return it as soon as possible.
Once the call begins, make sure that you have a copy of your schedule at hand, as 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 during which you can interview for the position. Respond with a time that works best for you, and take a note of that time.
You may even want to ask the employer if they could send over an electronic calendar invite or an email confirmation to ensure that you are all on the same page with regard to when the interview is scheduled to begin.
You may also be asked a few follow-up questions in the call. See our section “How should I handle follow up questions?” below for more information on how to respond to this scenario.
How to Respond to an Email Interview Request
To respond to an interview request, 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 you to meet for an interview at a certain time, you should follow the thank-you statement by a sentence to agree to the suggested day and time that the recruiter or hiring manager’s email included. 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 you can use to respond to an interview request:
Dear Ms. Wilson,
I appreciate your considering me for the position of Content Manager at Company Name. I am available on Thursday, May 14th at 2:30pm, 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 send an email to schedule an interview.
This is common in interview notifications, and happens when an employer does not provide a list of times from which you can choose to interview. If you are asked to send an email to schedule an interview, you can use an email based on the following to respond:
Dear Ms. Wilson,
I appreciate your considering me for the position of Content Manager at Company Name.
The best times for me to participate in an interview for this position are any time between 1pm and 4pm on Thursday or Friday next week. 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:
Dear Ms. Wilson,
I appreciate your considering me for the position of Content Manager at Company Name. As per your last email, I shall call you at 2:30pm tomorrow to arrange a time for our interview.
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.
How Should I Handle Follow-Up Questions?
An employer may decide to ask you a few follow-up questions either as part of their interview request, or before they request that you come in for an interview. There are a few different types of follow-up questions that can come up.
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.
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 briefly elaborate on how you contributed to the organization, so they can get a better sense of your experience.
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 discussions 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:
Dear Ms. Wilson,
I appreciate your considering me for the position of Content Manager 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 any other information the employer needs, 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 can 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 the interview request you have received. The tone you set in your response will tell an employer more about your character. If you send an impressive email, you’ll be able to position yourself as a good candidate for a job.