Replying to an Interview Invitation
If you were wondering how to respond to an interview request, then I am presuming that you have already submitted your resume and/or job application, and perhaps even successfully passed a phone interview round -- and now after having received an email/message inviting you to the next round, a face to face job or internship interview, you are wondering how to best respond to such a request. You are in the right place but firstly 'Well Done', not only for passing the first couple of rounds of the recruitment process but also for 'researching' and aiming to get yourself ahead of your competition by looking into how best to proceed in the recruitment process i.e how to respond in a professional and appropriate manner to a interview request.
First: Note Down the Details
Probably standing out as one of the most important aspects of responding to a interview request, is actually carrying out the instructions set to you. If they tell you to respond via email, you respond via email. If they tell you to a select a time slot from 3pm to 5pm on the following friday, you pick a time slot from 3pm to 5pm on the following friday. Failure to understand or even carry out the instructions and details set to you, looks everything but good on your part -- unless you come reply back with a valid explanation. Make sure you note down all the important details, time, location, contact details, names etc.
Second: How to Contact Them?
If they haven't specified through which medium you can arrange the interview, you can use either a phone call (if they have provided you with a contact number) or an email -- not a letter. Choose which ever you feel most comfortable with, however if you are impartial, I would opt to ring them, especially if you are directly contacting the (new) interviewer, as it provides them with a voice to the application and hence a sense of recognition when you enter the face to face interview, providing you with a slight psychological edge. But, which ever form of contact you decide to carry out -- keep it professional. If I were you I may well even be tempted to carry out both, first contact them via phone to arrange the face to face job interview, and then send a follow up confirmation email of the time scheduled.
You can use such an example like.. (from 'how to respond to a phone interview request')
You: "Good morning, I am Phillip Jones".
Detailed Contactor: "Good Morning, Mr. Jones, this is Jane Potts. How may I help you?"
You: "Thank you. I was ringing to schedule my interview with Mr. Smith as requested by email/letter".
Detailed Contactor: "Yes. We have been expecting your call, what time would be appropriate for you?"
Third: Respond Promptly
My advice for when it comes to any form of contact with a potential employer is to respond with haste. In this case for two reasons: firstly, it gives the impression of efficiency, if you are able to respond fast it indicates that you are interested in the job role and are also organized individual who gets things done there and then, whereas one who responds a few days later, maybe portrayed as being uninterested or rather unorganized. Secondly, by responding early you get the best slot of the interview times -- well the time slot that is most appropriate not just for you, but also the interviewer (see below for more details).
Fourth: Scheduling the Interview
Actually think about the best time to schedule an interview not just for you but from the perspective of the actual interviewer as glassdoor.com points out , you want a time that features when the interviewer is most attentive. Hence, don't organize it for the last interview of the day, they are likely going to be just watching the clock go by, waiting to go home. The most ideal slot, is a time slot just after the first interview slot in the morning, second or third is about perfect. The morning is proven to be the time when we are all most attentive and alert (including you -- hence you should give off a better interview), however you don't want to be first, as the interviewer will have just got in to work and will have other things occupying their mind, hence by the second/third interview yours, they will be more so in the right mind set, also they have someone to compare you to (which you should blow out the water). Note: Also, be sure that you allow yourself enough time to prepare for the actual job interview itself.
Fifth: Thank You
Obviously be sure to 'Thank them' for the interview and their time to consider you, either in the phone call scheduling or the email you are conducting -- all apart of being polite and professional.
Sixth (Optional): "What Will the Interview be Surrounding?"
Another advantage of ringing them rather than emailing them is the potential opportunity to find out more about the specifics of the job interview and the style of questions that will be asked -- as they are unlikely to enclose such details in an email. This will offer you the chance to become better prepared for the style of questions that may arise -- from the classical standard to a technical based question interview. Some people may not feel comfortable with asking such a question in fear of it giving off a negative impression, which is fair enough. However, personally, I would ask -- I would think it would show the interview arranger that I am both confident and intuitive (how many would have the guts to do it, and how many more would think of it?), not only this it actually provides myself with a distinctive edge over other competing candidates when it comes to the actual interview itself. But all this is just advice -- you can do as you please, but I will offer one last piece for when it comes to any recruitment process for a job and that's read and study up on the "Headhunter" Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed... Forever! -- I am pretty sure you will be thanking me at least for this -- a really great read, and time extremely well invested. If you have any questions or remarks regarding how to respond to an interview request, please leave them in the comments box below.