Nothing beats the feeling of getting an interview invitation (except maybe receiving a job offer!)… but don’t rush to respond just yet.
You need to make sure you respond correctly to secure the interview. So in this article, I’m going to walk you through how to respond to an interview request from a recruiter or hiring manager… while avoiding the mistakes many job seekers make.
Then we’ll look at examples to help you respond to your invitation to interview even faster. You can use these templates for emails, but also phone calls and voicemails.
Let’s get started…
The best way to respond to an interview request is to thank the employer, confirm your interest in having an interview, and provide your availability. Do this whether or not they specifically asked for availability. This will help avoid additional back-and-forth emails and demonstrate to the employer that you’re someone who takes initiative and has strong communication skills.
This is how you accept an interview professionally.
Note: The advice in this article is appropriate for emails or phone calls/voicemails! Choose whatever you’re most comfortable with and play to your strengths! I do better with email, so that’s what I typically do myself!
If you would prefer to respond to the interview request by phone, or if they asked you to call them, then do that instead. And all of the sample email templates that I’m about to share will work whether calling or emailing.
If you’re contacted by a recruiter who you’ve never spoken with, then you can use the sample email to respond and express interest. Just reply to the same email address that they contacted you from.
Thank you for contacting me about this role. It sounds interesting. I’d love to hear more about the position.
Here is my availability to talk on the phone this week:
The best number to reach me:
Thanks, and I look forward to talking with you.
Note: Try to include multiple days/times in terms of availability. And if they don’t already have your contact info, then include that, too.
Also, make sure you have a professional-sounding voicemail recording! You don’t want employers and recruiters calling you and hearing an unprofessional voicemail that you recorded when you were in high school and forgot about!
If you’ve applied for a job and the hiring manager or HR department has responded to your job application and invited you for a phone interview, here’s a sample template you can use to respond.
Thank you for getting back to me. I’d love to have a phone interview to learn more about the position.
My availability is:
The best number to reach me is:
Please let me know which day/time works best so I can mark my calendar. Also, if you’re able to tell me who will be calling, that’d be a big help. I always like to research and prepare ahead of time!
This is a great way of responding to an interview request because you’re avoiding back-and-forth emails for the scheduling, and you’re also finding out the person you’ll be talking to so you can prepare ahead of time!
Next, if you’ve been invited to meet in-person, you can use this template to set up a day and finalize everything!
Thank you for getting back to me. I’d love to come in and have the interview. Is this a full-day interview? Or how many hours should I set aside?
I’m available at the following days/times:
Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you.
This is a basic structure for responding to the company, but you can also add other details/questions as needed. For example, if you want to ask for the names of the people you’ll be meeting with, or the number of people you’ll be meeting, that’s a good idea. If you need help finding the company location for a face-to-face interview, you can ask if they have instructions for arriving, too.
However, I like to get the scheduling sorted out first, and then ask other questions. That’s why I kept the email template above dead-simple. Take it one step at a time, and you’ll avoid confusion and complicated emails.
So I’d recommend using the sample email above, and then ask further questions once a day and time is set!
Finally, if you have an interview scheduled and just want to confirm the time or make sure that it’s still happening, you can use the following template (send it to the same email address you’ve been communicating back-and-forth with for prior scheduling):
I just wanted to confirm that we’re still having the interview on ___ (day) at ___ (time).
Thank you, and I look forward to talking with you!
If you’re not interested in having an interview, you can simply send a brief email saying, “I appreciate you thinking of me for the opportunity, but I’m not interested.”
You can also offer to stay connected in the future if you’d like (if it’s a recruiter or hiring manager you think you’ll want to speak with down the road).
And if you’d like to offer a reason for declining, that’s fine. But you’re not obligated.
You can also offer to refer a friend or colleague for the opportunity if you know someone who is qualified.
Next, here are a couple of questions to consider asking in your email or message when using the templates above. Just put your questions at the end if you’re unsure of any of these topics:
If you don’t know who you’ll be speaking to or meeting with, check this as well. Don’t worry – the templates I’m going to share coming up in the next section will help with this.
And if you’re not sure of the exact opportunity you’re being considered for, ask this as well. The easiest way to do this is to simply ask for a copy of the job description. Include this line in your reply: “Is it possible for you to send me a copy of the job description ahead of time? I always like to research and prepare.”
If you read the tips above, you should know how to respond to an interview request to get an interview quickly and make a great impression at the same time.
However, there are some BIG mistakes you need to avoid while doing this, so I want to make sure you know those, too…
First, don’t let your interview invitation sit for too long. You should try to respond within 24-48 hours if possible. You don’t need to be checking email constantly, but don’t leave the company waiting for a week, either.
Also, don’t respond without taking the time to indicate at least one day or time that would work for an interview. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate that you take initiative and are a great communicator. So I’d recommend providing multiple days/times to help them schedule the interview.
Next, always proofread your email! Having a typo or mistake in your email probably won’t cost you the interview (unless it’s a REALLY bad mistake), but it does make a poor impression.
So always check your email for mistakes before sending! Proofread from top-to-bottom, and bottom-to-top. That’s a good trick that will help you catch more errors!
And finally – the biggest mistake of all – going into the interview without preparing! It takes a lot of effort to find a good position to apply to, submit your resume and paperwork, schedule an interview, etc. Right?
So don’t throw away your hard work and waste the opportunity by letting other job seekers out-prepare you! In the next section, I’ll share my best tips and resources so you can beat the competition!
After you’ve set up a time to go on your interview, here are steps to help you prepare:
First, research the company.
Practice the common questions that employers ask, too.
Also, work on your body language. It’s not just about what you say in the interview; it’s about how you look and sound while saying it. This can set you apart from other job seekers!
You can also use the time before the interview to ask any further questions you have – about finding the company’s office, who you’ll be talking to (recruiter or hiring manager, etc.)
And finally… Monitor your email address in the days/hours leading up to the interview in case they contact you about any changes.
It’s not necessarily a bad sign if the company changes the timing of their invitation to interview. Hiring managers and recruiters have busy schedules and sometimes mini-emergencies happen.
So if they do request a change, just do your best to find a new time that’ll work.
However, don’t be afraid to say what works for YOU, too. It’s completely fine to say, “Thanks for letting me know about the scheduling conflict today. That’s no problem. Unfortunately, the new time you suggested for Monday won’t work for me. Could we do something from 3 pm – 5 pm Monday, or 12 pm – 5 pm Tuesday?” If a certain day or time doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to say so.