Have you received an email with an invitation to attend an important interview?
If you have your sights set on a certain job position, this is likely to be an exciting event. However, it is important to take your time when answering the email to get the tone just right.
You only have one opportunity to make a first impression, and how you answer the interview request is important. While you want to make it clear you are interested in the job, you do not want to appear too eager.
So, let’s take an in-depth look at the best way to respond to an interview request to make the best impression possible.
- By Phone
- Having To Arrange An Alternative Time
- Tips On Replying To An Email Interview Invitation
- Select The Correct Formatting
- The Next Steps
- Additional Interview Info And Advice
- Final Thoughts
These days, interview requests are usually made by email. However, there is a chance that a member of the HR department could call you to arrange an interview. In this case, they will probably want to conduct a short screening interview over the phone before scheduling.
This can be tricky, especially if you are not prepared for a call. You may be in a noisy environment where talking on the phone would be inconvenient. In this case, ask if you can call back and set a time when you will be able to do so.
Keep your tone professional…
If you can take the call, make sure you take careful notes during the conversation. Keep your tone professional and repeat the interview details back to the caller to confirm them. Be sure to ask any questions you may have and remember to thank the caller for their time.
Even if the interview request happens over the phone, it is still best to send a confirmation email. Be sure to include all of the details of the interview in the email. This will create a written record of the interview and will allow the recipient to tell you if the details are incorrect.
Having To Arrange An Alternative Time
The time and day that the hiring manager or recruiter sets for the interview may be inconvenient for you. Therefore, it is best to try and schedule an alternative time for the interview.
However, this needs to be handled with finesse, as the interviewer is probably very busy. It is important to make sure that the interviewer knows you are genuinely interested in the job. Start by thanking them for contacting you and state that you are looking forward to the interview. Briefly state that the interview time they suggest is not convenient without giving too much detail.
Not too distant future…
Suggest an alternative time for the interview in the not too distant future. Make it clear that you are willing to be flexible as long as the interview time fits with your schedule. End by acknowledging that the recipient is likely to be busy, and you can try to rearrange your schedule if necessary.
Tips On Replying To An Email Interview Invitation
In most cases, the interview request will be sent by email. This gives you a little more time to craft the perfect response. Here are some ways to strike the perfect tone and create a favorable impression.
Respond as soon as possible
It is best to respond to the interview request within 24 hours. You may not be at your computer when you receive the request and may need a little time to craft your response. However, if you take too long, the sender is likely to think that you are not interested in the job.
Even if you are unemployed, you should approach the process of job hunting as your actual job. This means that you should dedicate several hours a day to searching for positions, sending applications, and working on your skills. This will help to ensure that you are busy working away when an interview request is sent.
Check who you are replying to
If several other people have been copied into the email, make sure you choose the ‘Reply to All’ option. This will make sure that everyone involved remains in the loop and simplifies the communication process. However, if the email states that you need to reply to a specific email address, take care to do this.
Be concise and polite
Make it clear that you appreciate being selected for the interview. However, it is important not to overdo it and appear overly eager. Adding a quick sentence such as ‘thank you for the opportunity and see you soon’ should be fine.
Select The Correct Formatting
Make sure that the tone of the email is formal and it is correctly formatted. Your email should consist of three or four short paragraphs. Here is an overview of the format and what to include in each section:
Take note of the way that the sender signs their name and stick to the same format. This should also be a guide to the tone of your email. If the sender simply uses their first name, the tone will be more casual than if they only use their last name. Include a short greeting such as ‘thank you for contacting me,’ or ‘good to hear from you.’
The email body
Keep this section of the email brief and to the point. If there are any points that you need clarifying, make sure that you mention them here. This could include how long the interview should take and how many people will be attending the interview.
Close the email by restating the time and date of the interview and a short sign-off. This could be something like, ‘I’m looking forward to discussing the position with you further.’ Include an email signature after your name, along with your contact information.
Use interview scheduling tools
Make sure you keep track of the date and time of the interview. This is particularly important if you have several interviews coming up. The last thing you want is to prepare for the wrong interview or miss the interview altogether.
Using a dedicated interview scheduling tool can help to make this very simple. Several special interview scheduling apps can be downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet.
Plenty of time to prepare…
They allow you to set alarms both on the day of the interview and a few days in advance. This helps to make sure that you have plenty of time to prepare. You can also add special notes about the interview that you need to remember.
Check your response for errors
Before sending your email, check it carefully for spelling and grammar mistakes. Reading your email aloud can help you to catch errors that your eyes may miss. Copying and pasting the email into a grammar checking tool can also help to catch any errors.
Because your email response is intended to be short, any errors will stand out to the recipient like a sore thumb. If errors are lurking, they are likely to make the recipient question your professionalism. If you are applying for a role where communication is essential, these errors could harm your chances of success.
The Next Steps
Now that you know you have an interview coming up, it is time to prepare. Whether your interview is in two days or two weeks, it is best to start preparing straight away. This will make sure that you are ready in case the interviewer reschedules the interview date at the last minute:
Review the job description
Take the time to carefully read through the job description, paying attention to the required skills. This will serve as a guide to the skills that you need to highlight in the interview. Make sure the associated duties are clear, and you can rise to the challenge.
If the job description is particularly brief or unclear, research similar positions in other companies. This will give you an idea of what you are expected to do in your day-to-day working life. It is a good idea to call HR to clarify any details rather than making an educated guess.
Review your resume
Take the time to look over your resume before the interview. Try to identify the elements of your resume that appealed to the hiring manager. These are the elements that you need to highlight during the interview.
There is a good chance that the interviewer will refer to parts of your resume during the interview. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the answers you give match what is written on your resume. It is worth printing a copy of your resume and reviewing it again just before the interview.
Prepare any necessary documents
Make sure that you have copies of any other documents you will need to refer to during the interview. These could be samples of your work/portfolio if you are applying for a creative role. Other essential documents could include references, certifications, and feedback from clients.
Research the company
Take the time to find out as much about the company you are applying to work at as possible. Memorize key points of the company history that you can refer to during the interview. There is a good chance that the interviewer will ask you a question about your knowledge of the company.
Take note of any special achievements or industry awards. Identify at least two things that you would like to know more about. This can help to break the ice or get the interviewer talking when there is a lull in the conversation.
Practice the route to the interview location
Make sure you know exactly where the interview location is and how to get there. If you are traveling by public transportation, look up the schedule in advance. Work out exactly how long it will take you to get there and allow yourself an extra thirty minutes.
If possible, travel the route a few days before the interview and record how long it takes you. Depending on the type of company, it may be possible to go inside the building and have a look around. This will help to iron out any potential issues and ensure a smooth journey on the day of the interview.
Work on your interview technique
Take the time to practice your body language in front of the mirror, paying close attention to eye contact. Take a look at the STAR method and use it to create answers to behavioral interview questions. If possible, role-play the interview with a friend or family member and get their feedback.
Prepare your interview outfit
Make sure you choose an appropriate interview outfit that makes you look professional. Generally speaking, a smart-casual interview outfit is the best choice for office jobs. If you are unsure about the correct dress code, it is best to call the HR department and find out.
Review the interview details
Last but not least, make sure you know exactly when the interview is scheduled for. Arriving at the wrong time or on the wrong day is likely to be disastrous. While mistakes happen, this type of mistake is likely to cost you the job.
Additional Interview Info And Advice
Let’s start with my selection of guides on Strengths And Weaknesses For Job Interviews, Answering Tell Me About Yourself In Interview, What Makes You Unique, or what about Why We Should Hire You, How To Answer What Are You Passionate About, and Why Do You Want To Work Here for some added insight.
Still feeling nervous? Then why not take a look at what we found online? Try reading INTERVIEW with DESIRE and GET HIRED!: How to Ace the Interview, Sell Yourself & Get Your Dream Job, Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, the Hiring Squirrels: 12 Essential Interview Questions to Uncover Great Retail Sales Talent, as well as my favorite How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions.
Additionally, we found two great guides on the proven STAR Interview Method with The STAR Method Explained: Proven Technique to Succeed at Interview, and of course The STAR Interview: How to Tell a Great Story, Nail the Interview and Land Your Dream Job also available online in 2023.
Lastly, as they say, practice makes perfect. The handy STAR METHOD INTERVIEW: Interview Journal: Notebook designed for job seekers can help with that!
The trick to creating the perfect response to an interview request is being prepared. If you have sent out several applications, there is a good chance you will receive a handful of requests.
Keep careful records of the applications you have sent so that you know roughly when the request should be received. Make sure that your tone is professional yet friendly when responding to the interview request. Any correspondence can influence whether or not you secure the job.
Always be mindful of the other person’s time and be sure to thank them for the opportunity.
All the very best with all your future Interviews!