When you're searching for a job, establishing a great impression plays a crucial role in securing the position. This applies to every aspect of the hiring process, including responding to an interview invitation. So, your response needs to go beyond "Yes, I can make it". Taking the time to deliver an appropriate response is essential to stand out from the crowd. Read on to learn how to make the best impression when replying to an interview invitation.
When to respond to an interview invitation
When you're engaged in a job hunt, checking your messages regularly and responding to an interview invitation in a timely manner is essential. A prompt response demonstrates that you are serious about the role. On the other hand, a delayed reply may create a perception that you are no longer interested, which could cost you the job. We recommend replying to an interview invitation within 24 to 48 hours of receiving the request. Whether you are accepting or proposing an alternative schedule, it is best to let them know at your earliest convenience.
How to reply to an interview request by email
Most recruiters or hiring managers send a job interview request by email. Consequently, it is common to reply and accept the invitation via a return email unless otherwise specified. Let us show you how you can structure your response the right way assuming you intend to accept the interview.
- Use a clear subject line
A single job opening typically attracts an average of 250 applications. Hence, if you need to start a new email thread, using a clear subject line is crucial, as it helps ensure that the recruiter or hiring manager can find your reply easily. If the interview request includes specific instructions for the email subject line, make sure to follow the direction provided. Otherwise, choose a subject line that gets to the point. It can be as simple as "Interview Confirmation for Position Name – Your First and Last Name".
- Address the right person in your salutation
The salutation is the first thing that the recipient will see when they open your email. How you begin your message will determine the tone of your response, which might have an impact on the employer's perception of you. When responding to an interview invitation, it is best to address the right person in your salutation, not just the hiring team or the company name, for instance.
- Express gratitude and enthusiasm
Expressing your gratitude and enthusiasm for the opportunity can help establish your reputation as a professional and courteous candidate. However, there is no need to go overboard. Keeping it short and straightforward is the best way to go. Start and end your email by thanking the recruiter or hiring manager for the invitation and mentioning how you are looking forward to the interview. While these statements may look simple, it shows your appreciation and genuine interest in working for the company.
- Confirm your availability
When confirming your availability, clearly indicate the day and time that works for you. This helps avoid schedule confusion and mix-ups. We highly suggest making time in your calendar for the employer's proposed interview schedule. However, if you are unable to accommodate what was suggested, apologise for not being able to make it and propose alternatives when you are free to attend. It's best to offer a range of dates and times so that the recruiter or hiring manager can select the one that best fits their timetable.
- Provide requested information
Apart from schedule details, interview invitations may also include clarifying questions or requests for certain career documents, such as a CV or certifications. This allows the employer to get to know you a bit more before the actual interview. So, it is important to read the email thoroughly to ensure you won't miss what the recruiter or hiring manager asked you for. If you need to send some documentation, you could send this attached to your acceptance email.
- Proofread your message prior to sending
Proofreading your message before sending is a must. Besides your qualifications, a professional and polished email also plays a vital role in establishing a good impression. While grammatical errors, typos, and missing attachments may seem minor mistakes, they can create the wrong impression that you have poor attention to detail. Furthermore, statements that are not explicit enough could altogether send the wrong message.
Email templates for responding to a job interview request
Once you've checked your calendar, you can compose a brief email response to the interview invitation. Below are a few sample email templates you can use for various scenarios.
- If accepting the invitation
I appreciate the chance to interview for the position of Account Manager. I am available to go to the interview on Monday, 1st of August at 11 a.m. in your Southampton office. Please let me know if you require more information before the interview. I am looking forward to meeting John Doe, Sales Director, to discuss this opportunity further.
- If asking to reschedule
Thank you for inviting me to interview for the role of Account Manager on Monday, 1st of August at 11 a.m. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend at the proposed schedule. However, I will be available all day on Tuesday, 2nd of August, or any time on Wednesday, 3rd of August. Please confirm if one of these alternatives works for you.
- If declining an invitation
Thank you for inviting me to interview for the Account Manager position at Company ABC. Upon further review, I do not believe I would be a good fit for the role. I appreciate the time you have taken to reach out. I wish you and Company ABC all the best in finding the right candidate.
How to accept an interview by phone
In some cases, employers may invite you for an interview by phone. This may happen if they have an urgent requirement for hiring. So, it's important to be prepared to handle them. If you are free to attend at the proposed time, you may accept the invitation straight away. But if you are uncertain, inform them that you'll call them back once you've checked your availability. It's best to do this immediately, as keeping your potential employer waiting too long may create a perception that you've lost interest in the job. Below are a few tips when calling to respond to an interview request.
- Call from a place with a stable phone signal and no distractions
When you make a call, make sure to do it during a time you can focus on the discussion and have more than enough time to talk. Pick a quiet place where you can speak without being interrupted. It is also important to choose a location with a strong phone signal. This is to ensure you can both clearly hear what has been said and speak in a professional but friendly tone.
- Explain the purpose of your call
Given the hundreds of applications recruiters receive for each vacancy, it's unlikely that you are the only candidate they are anticipating to call them back. So, never assume they would know who you are and why you are calling without you telling them. Make sure to introduce yourself and explain that you are calling in response to their interview invitation. Reiterate the name of the position to ensure it is the same one the recruiter or hiring manager called for.
- Provide details about your availability
After introducing yourself and explaining the purpose of your call, clearly state the schedule that best suits you. If the date and time suggested for the interview do not work for you, recommend alternatives. Briefly explain that you have a conflict during the suggested time and date, and let them know when you are available. We suggest providing several options so that your prospective employer can choose the one that best suits their schedule.
- Convey your appreciation and interest in the opportunity
The call is an excellent opportunity for you to establish a good impression prior to the actual interview. Hence, we suggest making it count. To do this, make sure to sound interested and confident in the call. Convey how happy you are for the opportunity to interview for the position. Having said that, there is no need to overdo it. Simply say thank you for the invitation and that you are eager to discuss the opportunity further, it should do the trick.
Phone call templates for responding to a job interview request
It's best to call the recruiter or hiring manager as soon as you've confirmed your availability. If you're unsure what to say, we've created a few phone templates that you can personalise based on your needs.
- If accepting the invitation
This is Jane Smith. You called me earlier about the interview for the Senior Manager position.
I am returning your call to confirm my availability for the interview on Monday, 1st of August at 11 a.m. in your Southampton office.
I am looking forward to meeting with John Doe, the Senior Director, to discuss this position further.
- If proposing an alternative schedule
This is Jane Smith, returning your phone call about setting up an interview for the Senior Manager role.
I appreciate you giving me the time to check my availability. Regrettably, I am not free at the schedule you suggested. Is it possible to schedule an interview on either Wednesday afternoon, the 3rd of August, or Thursday morning, the 4th of August? Otherwise, please let me know of another date and time that suits you.
- If declining the interview request
This is Jane Smith. You called earlier about the interview for the Senior Manager role.
I am calling to let you know I am no longer interested in pursuing this opportunity further. I have accepted an offer from another company. Thank you for taking the time to reach out, and I wish you the best of luck in finding the right person for the role.