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How to Smartly Accept Emailed Interview Invitations

By Susan P. Joyce

How to Smartly Accept Emailed Interview Invitations Excellent! You've been invited to a job interview, and that invitation is a great sign! But, not a guarantee.

Some employers invite candidates to job interviews via a telephone call, which can be very awkward, depending on the timing and phone number used (hopefully, not your work phone number).

Usually, you will receive the invitation to interview for a job by email, typically from the recruiter or someone on the HR staff.

The message will be sent to the email address that you used on the application or resume or made visible on your LinkedIn Profile.

If you are employed, do NOT use your work contact information in your job search.

Using your work phone number can be a quick way to lose your job if a recruiter's phone call is overheard by someone at work. Your email may be monitored by the IT staff protecting the security of your employer’s network and computers, with the same risk of job loss.

Read To Be Hired, You Must Be Reachable for details on how to leverage LinkedIn to be reachable without putting your job or your privacy at risk.


Contents of a Typical Emailed Invitation

The emailed invitation you receive should provide the details about the interview:

  • Employer name, job title, and location of the job.
  • Location of the job interview (which may be different from the location of the job).
  • Type of interview: telephone, video/Skype, or in person.
  • Name(s) and job title(s) of the person (or people) who will be interviewing you.
  • Other information like directions and parking details may be provided (or may not).
  • A few date and time options, offering you the ability to choose the one which best fits your schedule.

If their message doesn’t contain this information, request the information in the message you send in response.

Reply Promptly and Carefully to Accept the Invitation

If you are using a specific email address for your job search and/or have posted an email address on your LinkedIn Profile which is not the email address you use most often, be sure to check that account every day.
To respond:

  1. Choose the “Reply All” option. If others in the employer’s organization were copied on the message, this will keep everyone on the employer’s side informed about your response.

    Exception: If the message tells you to send your response to a specific email address, be sure to comply. You will be demonstrating that you read messages carefully and can follow directions.
  2. Use the sender’s name in the salutation (see below).
  3. Thank them for the invitation to interview.
  4. Add that you are “very interested in learning more about this opportunity.”
  5. If they have offered you more than one date and time for the interview, choose the best date and time for you. If two date/time combinations work for you, share both, but indicate which one is your first preference.

    When choosing, consider the following:

    • If possible choose mornings over afternoons, preferably mid-morning.
    • Avoid Mondays and Fridays when possible because people are usually distracted.
    • Sooner rather than later is usually best.

    If they haven't indicated a date and time, you can suggest one or two that you prefer, or you can ask for more information (next).
  6. Ask for all of the details that may not have been in the invitation (names and job titles of the interviewers, location of the interview, etc.). Knowing these details are essential for your success.
  7. Also ask if they would like you to bring anything else with you to the interview.

    Many employers seem to be impressed by job candidates who bring work samples to an interview. Consider bringing those to this interview even if they don't state that they want to see anything other than your resume at the interview.

    Be VERY careful not to put your current employer's confidential information at risk, particularly if you are interviewing with a competitor.
  8. Professional closing.
  9. Your signature with contact information and more information about you like your LinkedIn Profile URL.

Sample Message Accepting the Interview Invitation and Asking for More Details

This is how the message could look —

TO: [person who sent you the invitation or the addressee specified in their message]
CC: [others who were copied on the invitation message]
Subject: RE: [subject from the invitation message] OR Subject: Confirming Interview on [date and time]

[Name of the addressee, like Mr. Jones]:

Thank you for the invitation to interview for the [job title] position. I am very interested in learning more about this opportunity.

I assume that I will be speaking with you and, possibly, one or two other people. Please, if possible, share the names and job titles of the other people who will be interviewing me.

If I should expect to spend more than two hours, please give me your best estimate of the amount of time needed.

The best times for me to attend this interview are: [first preference for date and time] or, if that is unavailable, [second preference for date and time]. Let me know which date is best for you.

I look forward to speaking with you. Thank you again for this invitation.

Best regards,
[your full name]
[best phone number for your job search]

Respond promptly when they reply to your message. See the sample below as an example, if they have provided answers to all of your questions and the schedule works for you..


Sample Message Confirming Date and Time When Details Are Fine

An invitation may provide complete information would give the date and time for the interview and answer the questions you may have asked. Or, you may have sent the message above and received a response with the information you requested.

When you agree with the chosen date and time, send a short and simple message, like this:

TO: [person who sent you the invitation or the addressee specified in their message]

CC: [others who were copied on the invitation message]

Subject: RE: [subject from the responding message]

[Name of the addressee, like Mr. Jones]:

Confirming the interview on [date] at [time] at [location] to speak with [names] about [job title].

I look forward to speaking with you [and/or other names] and am very interested to learn more about this opportunity.

Best regards,
[your full name]
[best phone number for your job search]

Then, Prepare for the Job Interview

Now that you have an interview scheduled, focus on being well-prepared for the interview. Read The Winning Difference: Pre-Interview Preparation for Your Job Interview for more details on being well prepared for your interview.

Bottom Line

Usually, accepting an interview opporunity is the smartest thing to do, even if you are not officialy in a job search. However, if you decide that this isn't the right time (or right employer), you can gracefully turn down a job interview invitaiton without burning any bridges -- Why and How to Turn Down an Interview Invitation.

Susan P. Joyce About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.

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Guide to Successful Interviews

Essential Job Interviewing Requirements:

Questions for YOU to Ask

Navigating the Interview Process:

Succeeding at Different Kinds of Interviews:

Steps to Prepare for Your Interview:

More Information About Successful Interviews:

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