Job searching can be a grueling process, but it can all feel worth it when you see the subject line of a new email pop up in your inbox with a specific company name or job title you're interested in. So what happens when a company you submitted a job application for wants to bring you in for an interview?
Whether it's a video interview, phone interview, or in-person interview request, you'll want to respond as soon as possible if you receive an interview invitation.
In this guide, we'll cover how to reply to interview requests, whether via email or phone.
How to respond to an interview request via email
Many companies reach out to job seekers and qualified candidates via email, so you'll want to make sure an interview invitation from the recruiter or hiring manager doesn't fall through the cracks or end up in your spam folder. That means being more careful about reading emails before hitting the delete button and double-checking your email folders for the hiring manager's (or company) name. You may want to turn on email push notifications if you haven't already, either on desktop, mobile, or both.
Before you hit send on your reply, here are some best practices to keep in mind when responding to an interview request via email:
- Respond promptly—that same day (or within 24 hours of their initial email) is ideal.
- Ensure your email address and the contact info in your email signature are current and professional (in other words, not inappropriate, too silly, or confusing. If your email address is still something like "firstname.lastname@example.org," you may want to create a new professional email address like "email@example.com.).
- Your email signature can be simple: Your name, pronouns, email address, and link to your LinkedIn profile. You can also include your phone number if you feel inclined.
- Provide all relevant contact information when responding, including your phone number, email, and any questions you may have regarding interview details
- Confirm an interview date and time within business hours. If the employer asks about your availability, we suggest being flexible and suggesting a few options to avoid a scheduling conflict.
- Confirm who you'll be meeting with and what the basic structure of the interview process will be.
- If the recruiter or hiring manager wants to schedule an interview in person, make sure you have the correct office address or location.
- If the employer requests a virtual interview (either a video interview or a phone interview), ask which software the team uses internally so you can install it on your computer ahead of time.
- Show your enthusiasm and passion for the interview opportunity but maintain a professional tone in your email response—no need to go over the top with emojis or exclamation points.
- If you have any further questions, now's the time to ask. You can also inquire as to whether there are any other important details you should be aware of so that you can prepare to make a great impression.
Taking these steps can help you make sure you have your bases covered, and that you're not playing email ping-pong or keeping the company waiting.
To arrange time for an interview, it's typical for the recruiter or hiring manager to send an invite from their email address. From there, you can accept it if you're available and send a response confirming receipt, noting that you're looking forward to speaking with them. When you send a confirmation email, make sure the subject line is straightforward.
How to reply to an interview invitation email: sample email responses
Example subject line: Confirming [job title] Interview with [name of interviewer].
“Dear [Name of the person who reached out to you],
Thank you so much for reaching out to me about the [job title] at [company]. I'm looking forward to speaking with you and hearing more about the role and your company.
I'm available on the following dates and times, but am glad to work around a time that's best for your team:
- Day, Date, Interview Time - Option 1
- Day, Date, Interview Time - Option 2
- Day, Date, Interview Time - Option 3
To help prepare for the interview, would you mind sharing more information about the hiring process, who the interview will be with, and where the interview will take place?
As a courtesy, I've attached a copy of my resume (and cover letter, if necessary). Thanks for setting this up, and I look forward to interviewing with the company!
How to respond to an interview invitation over the phone
Though many companies utilize email for scheduling interviews, there's still a possibility you'll receive a phone call from the recruiter or hiring manager instead. These days it can catch you off-guard if a random number calls you and you don't recognize it.
Hopefully, your caller ID shows the company name so you know it's not a robocall. If you know this is a prospective company calling about an interview, it's important that you:
- Are in a quiet location
- Are available to talk
- Have a charged phone
- Answer the phone in a polite, upbeat manner
- Have pen and paper around or a digital calendar to record a potential interview date and take notes
If you're unsure if it's a prospective company or are currently busy or in a noisy location, it may be best to let the company leave a voicemail and call back at a better time.
Once on the phone with the company asking for an interview, you can respond by sharing your excitement and confirming the details.
Feel free to take notes on a piece of paper or your computer. You can also use Teal's Notes feature to automatically save and attach your thoughts to that role in your Job Application Tracker. It pulls up next to the job description, making it easy to analyze all the necessary keywords. Make any edits and additions you need, and your changes will be saved automatically.
Since you have the company on the phone, make sure you ask all relevant interview questions now including:
- The day, date, time, and location of the interview
- Who you'll be interviewing with and their job titles
- If there are any interview materials you should prepare ahead of time
- Any video conferencing software or video platform you may need to download or install in the case of a virtual interview
Once interview scheduling is complete and all details are finalized, you can express interest and mention that you're looking forward to the interview and thank the recruiter or hiring manager for their time.
How to respond to an interview request over the phone: sample answer
When answering the phone for an interview request, you can pick up the phone and sound polite and professional. Once you identify yourself ("This is he/she/they") and know who you're talking to, you can say:
“Thanks so much for reaching out. I'm still interested in this role and would love to move forward with an interview.
I'm available the following days and times [Option 1], [Option 2], [Option 3]. Would any of those options work for you and your team?"
Once a time is confirmed, you can ask:
“May I ask about the hiring process, who I'll be interviewing with, and if I should bring anything to prepare for the interview?”
Then as you're closing the conversation, you can say:
“Thanks so much for your time; I appreciate you getting in touch. I look forward to the interview scheduled on [repeat date and time you confirmed]. See you then.”
Once you find out who you will be interviewing with, make sure to conduct some research on the interviewer(s) and the company. You can keep track of the research you conduct in Teal’s Job Application Tracker. Tips and guidance are offered of where and how to conduct research. You can also log the research completed on any contacts you have made at the company.
Also make sure to update your interview stage status.
How to respond to an interview request via LinkedIn
If a recruiter or hiring manager reaches out to you via LinkedIn with an interview request, you can keep the communications on LinkedIn, or offer up your email address for convenience.
We know responding to interview requests can be time-consuming, so we've created built-in guidance within the Teal Job Application Tracker that lets you copy and paste messaging templates. You can check out these sample messages for how to respond to a recruiter on LinkedIn, or upgrade to Teal+ to copy/paste them right from your Job Application Tracker.
Mistakes to avoid when accepting a job interview
Figuring out how to respond to an interview invitation email or phone call can be a delicate matter. You want to sound just the right amount of enthusiastic and professional without coming off as eager or desperate. On the other hand, you don't want to ghost an employer either (you wouldn't appreciate that!).
Here are some mistakes to avoid when accepting a job interview:
- Avoid responding too late (generally after 48 hours).
- Avoid answering the phone and sounding angry, or irritable, or if you're in a place you won't be able to hear (looking at you, streets of NYC).
- Avoid typos and casual language in an email when accepting an interview (Grammarly can help your email be error-free).
- Avoid offering one option for an interview — multiple choices are better for everyone to avoid scheduling conflicts.
- Avoid being unprepared — have questions ready and your calendar nearby.
Learning how to respond to an interview request is a process of trial and error, but this guide can help you get started. When you're searching for a new job, check your email and phone on a regular basis (as well as your voicemail, missed calls, and spam folder, just in case).
If you're no longer interested in the role or not available for an interview and need to withdraw from the process, you want to be professional and direct. Knowing how to decline a job interview can go a long way. Let the potential employer know as soon as possible so you can each move on. Even if you don't work with that company right now, you never know where your job search may lead eventually. You might interact with someone you've spoken to later on, so you'll want to maintain good relationships.
If you have to reschedule an interview due to illness or a scheduling conflict that suddenly comes up, get in touch with the company ASAP. Express your apologies for the inconvenience and propose other dates and times as quickly as possible.
At the end of the day, getting an email or phone call about an interview request can be exciting and nerve-wracking. But it's one step closer to getting a new role that could change the trajectory of your life and career.
Need help organizing your job search? Use Teal's totally free Job Application Tracker to help track all your jobs and make sure you manage to-dos and next steps.