Nothing beats the feeling of receiving an interview invitation, but don't rush to respond just yet. You must ensure that you answer correctly and with clear availability to secure the interview.
There are several reasons why the interviewer may request to interview you:
- You fit their requirements and they want to interview you because of your qualifications.
- They want the experience (and judgment) of interviewing someone with a diverse background. This is common in multinational companies.
- You were recommended by an employee or another business partner.
- You were referred by a friend or already work for another branch of that company, such as when an individual move from one department to another internally (e.g., retail to call center). If this is not true, it's important to let them know about it since they will have wasted time setting up interviews for you if it doesn't pan out once they do the reference check at each company.
- You are simply one of many applicants who have applied for the same role, so they decided to interview you first to narrow down the list of applicants. This is common for companies with a large number of applicants or several roles open at once.
How you respond depends on factors such as the style of your interviewer, what you know about how many people are being interviewed for this role, why they contacted you directly in comparison to others, and whether there are other opportunities available that are also closing soon. For instance, if it's an internal transfer then their options might be limited but they will still want some time to prepare before your interview date approaches since it may be too late to ask someone else if they can come in next week. If you are the only one being interviewed for this role then, on the other hand, it would be acceptable to ask for a few days before replying.
It doesn't matter how many people are being considered or what style your interviewer is; everyone needs time to prepare before an interview. Sending an immediate "yes" may seem professional and responsible, but companies tend to appreciate thoughtfulness over speed because it shows respect for their time. The more notice they have, the better off they will be in preparing for your meeting.
As far as knowing why they contacted you directly, it may be that they used your resume or LinkedIn profile to gauge your suitability for the role, which is common when there are limited opportunities. Asking further questions will give you insight into what happened with other applicants so you can tailor how you reply accordingly.
When contacting an individual about a position, companies usually try to include the next steps in their correspondence so you know where they are in the process and when to expect additional contact from them even if it's just for confirmation. It's important that you respond in a timely manner however much notice is required since any delay puts extra pressure on them since time is money when it comes to recruiting.
Finally, when spotting several job openings at once, it's okay to ask for a few days before you can give a concrete answer. You can still give an indication that you would like the interview as long as it provides enough time to review your current position and discuss with your bosses not forgetting to mention what he/ she will have to do if they decide not to pursue opportunities at their company.
This is because some companies prefer candidates who are employed so they don't have to take responsibility for unemployment benefits or breaking an employment contract early even if it means losing out on a great opportunity. With this in consideration, it's possible that the interviewer is only calling those who are currently unemployed which means there may be no other positions available. This doesn't mean you should pass up the chance of finding out more though unless you are 100% certain since it may be a great opportunity.
As you can see, there are many factors involved when responding to an interview request which is why it's important to ask for clarifications before committing yourself if possible. This gives both parties enough time to prepare for the upcoming meeting and hopefully find mutual interest in continuing the process further.
In this article, we will walk you through how to respond to an interview request from a recruiter or hiring manager with several sample emails you can use right away.
We will also share the top mistakes you need to avoid. So read them to the end.
The importance of an interview request response
An interview request is the first direct communication you will have with a company once they shortlist you for an interview. Because this will determine your first impression of the company, it’s important that you don’t hurry your way through it.
Different interview requests will come with a list of requirements and information, including the details on your applied position in the company, the interview dates, and timing, or requests for any additional documents.
Tips for responding to an email request
The best way to respond to an interview request is to thank the employer, confirm your interest in an interview, and then share your specific availability.
Then end the email by letting them know you look forward to speaking.
Read the email carefully
To ensure that you understand all the questions, requests, and information in your interview request, read the email a few times. It can be helpful to create a bullet point list of things that you need to respond to so you don’t forget to send or prepare for it.
Start with a Thank You
Keeping a pleasant tone and including a courteous thanks is often neglected as people focus on gathering all the other information. Make sure that your reply sounds enthusiastic and grateful towards the opportunity. Incorporating words like “excited,” “glad,” or “looking forward” can help your response sound more friendly and professional.
Keep it short
You don’t want your response to be awkwardly long which equals unprofessional. Apart from a thank you and your assurance to be there for the interview, you don’t need to add any other formality.
Fulfill all requests
It’s important that you don’t forget to answer any question in the first place. You don’t want to send an embarrassing second email including the information you forgot to add before. For this, it is better to first draft a response and re-read the question to check that every requested document or information is included.
Focus on the timeliness
If you are expecting an interview request, always keep your notifications on for the email. While you don’t have to be instant in your reply, try to respond within the first 3 or 4 hours of the email request. Remember that sending out a response after business hours can seem unprofessional, so don’t delay until late evening.
Add contact information
The company may not have your phone number, which can make communication slower. Adding your phone number or any other contact information can help you look more friendly and professional. It also makes future contact quicker and more convenient for the company.
If invited to a video interview instead of a phone interview, ask which video platform they would like to use (if not already mentioned). This way you can familiarize yourself and prepare. If it's Skype, you can provide your ID. If it will be a Zoom interview, they will set up a meeting and provide a link.
Note that it may look better to include a few specific time slots if you are unemployed and available almost anytime.
For example, if your schedule is wide open, you can reply to the employer with the following availability:
Tuesday - Wednesday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thursday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
We are not suggesting that it might not look good to say, "I'm free all week. Just pick a time."
As an optional step, we would suggest adding a line that says "If these days and times don't work, please let me know and I'll rearrange my schedule to find another time."
Also, make sure to include the time zone when responding with your availability for an interview, as in the examples above.
Dates and times can get mixed up if you don't. Even if you're interviewing for a local job and the company has offices in a different location, you might be conducting a phone interview with someone in a different time zone.
Proofread your response
Your carefully crafted response can be ruined with just a single spelling or grammar mistake. It can also give out the impression that you hurried through your response without taking your time. For this reason, always proofread your response.
Other than these, you may not want to proceed with an interview and therefore need to refuse the opportunity professionally. Even if you are no longer interested, you should still conduct your reply with much diligence and apologize for your refusal.
Always follow up with some justification and reason for your refusal, so you don’t leave a negative impression on the company.
In case you are unable to envision the right words and phrases for your response, you can refer to this sample. You can tailor it to your needs, but the opening and closing can help you sound friendly while keeping things professional.
Thank you for reaching out. I am pleased to know that the company wants to interview me for the [job description] position. I will be free on [day] and [time] this week.
If these timings do not work for you, we can also hold the interview on [day] and [time] this week. Your team can reach out to me at [phone number].
I have attached the requested documents, including my references, portfolio, and a copy of my resume.
I look forward to joining the team for an interview. Thank you again for the opportunity.