Career Advice

4 Ways to Respond to an Interview Request (Plus Tips)

min read
Vera Chan

After you find a job and land an interview request — what do you do next? It may seem easy to accept a job interview but there are ways you can make it more seamless and hassle-free. You want to be polite and avoid any mistakes, no matter how simple. Below are some tips to help you accept your job interview request in a professional manner.


How to Accept an Interview Request


1. Respond Within 12-24 Hours

Do not take too long to respond to an interview request. Whether it be via phone or email, it is proper to reply in good timing. Return a phone call or send an email within 12-24 hours. If you are keen, this will reflect positively. It is in your best interest to find out more about the interview as soon as possible so you can prepare in advance. If you are declining, it will show that you are polite.


2. Be Gracious & Courteous

Be sure to express your thanks for the interview request. You want to show that you are grateful for the opportunity and would like to take it further. Thank the sender and mention that you would like to find out more about the role.


3. Give the Greenlight

Confirm your interest in accepting the job interview request. Make it clear that you are looking forward to the interview and that you are available.


4. Provide Your Availability

To avoid back-and-forth emails, provide your availability upfront. A winning tip is to provide several dates and time slots that may work for you if you have a busy schedule. You can also cater to the interviewer's calendar, by adhering to what is most convenient for them. This only works if you have a very open schedule. You do not want to turn them down if you leave the doors open for them, only to find that you are not available at a given time.


Phone Call Tips


1. Provide Your Contact Number

You may be thinking that your details are already on your resume or curriculum vitae. For convenience's sake, you want to take out the guesswork and make it as easy as possible to contact you. There is no harm in repeating or you can ask "do you have my contact details?"


2. Ask Who You Will Be Speaking To

Rarely will you be speaking to multiple persons at the same time or within the same call. Often, separate calls are scheduled for different stages of the interview process. You may find that you have an initial call with Human Resources on day 1. Then you may have an interview with the hiring manager on day 2. Then you may have an interview with your potential direct report on day 3. In any case, you want to know who you will be speaking with in advance to prepare and do your research on their profile.


3. Practice Your Greeting

It is important to take note of how you pick up your phone. It is likely that you will not know which telephone number will be used to contact you. Or the caller ID may not even show. To prepare yourself to sound the best, practice picking up your phone professionally. Do not use slang. Keep it straightforward with a simple "Hello" followed by your name — "this is [name] speaking.


4. Professionalise Your Voicemail

The same applies to voicemails. You may have an automated voicemail recording from your telecom provider. This works, but it shows good effort if you take the time to personalise your voicemail recording. Keep it concise and polite so the caller is not left hanging and waiting for the tone.


Email Tips


1. Proofread Your Email

A spelling or grammatical mistake can throw an interviewer off, so proofread. Scan your email several times before sending it off. It helps to get a fresh pair of eyes on it, as it can sometimes be hard to spot your own mistakes. If no one is around, send an email copy to your friend. If you are relying on yourself, re-read every inch of the email at least three times.


2. Ask Who You Will be Interviewing With

You may have to jump through hoops and interview with multiple persons within a company. This could be over the course of one day or several. To ensure you have all the tools you need to prepare, including research, know who you will be talking to.


3. Sign-Off

Use the correct email closing for your correspondence. If you do not know the name of the recipient, use "Yours Sincerely" or if you do know the name, you can use "Best Regards".


How to Decline an Interview Request


1. Keep the Connection

Do not burn your bridges. You never know when you might connect with this person again. They could become a client or you may reach out to them or vice versa for future opportunities. Maintain your network as you never know when they might come in handy.


2. Offer a Reason for Declining

If a headhunter reached out to you for an interview request, you can say that you are not interested. You do not have to offer a reason, but sometimes it can be nice to do so. If you are declining an interview request for a job that you applied to, it is polite to explain why you are bowing out. Circumstances that warrant a reason can include landing another role. Or you may have discovered more about the job description and the position is no longer up your alley.


3. Refer a Contact

It can be helpful to provide the correspondent with a referral. Know someone in mind for the position at hand? Put them forward. This will help both the recruiter or hiring manager and your acquaintance. Your rejection will be lighter on the ears and received more favourably.



What Next? Read how you can prepare for a job interview with these questions to ask.

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