You did your research, spent hours perfecting your resume and days locating the most fitting job offers on major job boards. Once you had your winners, you submitted your application to the employers and waited, hoping for the best, or fearing the worst.
But they didn’t call you–as you’d expect. There was not an initial phone or online interview. They simply sent you an interview request–either with a specific date and time, or they simply invited you, but did not provide any details about the big day.
What does it mean? And how should you react to such a request, when you want to have an interview, don’t want, aren’t sure, or want but are not available on the date they suggested? We will look at all these situations in this article, and I will also show you some sample messages you can copy-paste to respond to the employer.
Scenario no.1: You want to have an interview, and the date suits you, or they did not specify the date on their invitation.
This is obviously the best case scenario. You may be brimming with excitement right now, finally getting an interview request from a place where you actually want to work. Try to hold back your enthusiasm, however, and reply to their message professionally.
If they suggested a specific day and time, you can just briefly agree and confirm that you will come. For example:
Thank you for your invitation, I will come on [date and time], and look forward to meet you in person, and learn more about the job opportunity. If you need any additional information before the start of the interview, please contact me at [your phone number].
Additionally, you can try to extract more information from them, about the interview process. They may or not share them with you, but trying to learn more won’t hurt. For example, you can ask them if there will be an assessment center, if it will be one on one or group interview, if you should prepare for certain type of questions, etc.
Most hiring managers will see this as a positive sign, indicating that you really want the job and hence try to find out as much as you can. Even if they do not share any additional information with you, you earned a small advantage with asking them…
And if they do not suggest an exact schedule, be sure to make a suggestion. Ideally you can suggest two or three dates, not more than 14 days away from receiving their message. The sooner the better…
Scenario no. 2: You do not want an interview with the company, at least not at the moment
You should respond to the interview request even in this case. Maybe you already got a better offer, or married with a billionaire and aren’t interested in job interviews anymore. One way or another, your priorities simply shifted, and the company doesn’t look like an attractive place for en employment any longer.
Anyway, think twice before refusing their invitation. First of all, each job interview is a learning experience. They may ask you some questions you have never answered before, or give you a personality test, or perhaps do a role play with you. The more experience you have with these things, the easier they become. You will benefit from them in other interviews, in places that truly matter to you.
Secondly, it’s always good to have some connections in the field. You may not be interested in their offer right now, but who knows what will happen in two years? Going to an interview, you meet actual people working for the company, exchange business cards, and perhaps make connections you can benefit from in the future…
If you eventually decide to refuse their request, try to do it in a polite way, thank them, and explain (at least vaguely) why you decided to respond negatively.
Thank you for considering my job application, and inviting me for an interview. Regretfully, I have to refuse your invitation. I got another offer meanwhile, and decided to accept it. I sincerely hope that you will find a great new [name of the position] anyway, and wish you best of luck in the hiring process.
Scenario no. 3: You are not sure whether you want to come or not, and need more information to decide
This can easily happen, especially when you treat a job search like a game of numbers, and send out dozens of application, not necessarily doing any throughout research about perspective employers, or the jobs they advertise.
Most job boards allow such a luxury–sending your application with a simple click of a button. It is easy to get carried away and send our way too many of applications.
Some interview request eventually arrive, and you wonder: Did I really send my application to this place? What do they do in this company? Eventually you need more information to make a decision about spending your time and money to interview for the job with them.
Try to write such a reply sensitively, and do not forget to thank them for offering you a chance to demonstrate your outstanding skills in an interview. You can write something in this fashion:
Thank you for inviting me for an interview on [date], for the positions of [name of the position]. I’d like to come, but it is important to clarify a few things before accepting your invitation. Can you please tell me more about [things you want to ask about]? It isn’t really clear to me from the job description, and I could not find more information about it online.
Thank you again for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.
[your name and contact details]
Scenario no.4: You want to come, but suggested day and time does not suit you
This can easily happen, especially if you have other commitments, or interview for jobs while still having one. And though each company dreams of job seekers who leave everything behind once they get an interview request from them, it’s not how it typically works in real world.
To sum it up, it is fine to suggest a different day or time for an interview, as long as you show some flexibility, and explain why you cannot come on the day they suggested. Check the following examples:
Thank you for inviting me for an interview. I want to come, but the suggested time does not suit me, since I still have my job in a restaurant, and have nobody to replace me on a shift on next Tuesday.
Will it be possible to come on Wednesday or Thursday? I do not work these days next week, and can come at any time during the day. Please let me what you think.
Thank you again, and I look forward to talk to you in person soon.
[your name and contact details]
Thank you for offering me a chance to interview for this amazing job with you. I am looking forward to meet you soon, but hope to schedule it for another day.
I already have an important appointment on Monday morning in [name of the city], and cannot come to your place. Will it be possible to schedule the interview on Tuesday morning, or Wednesday afternoon?
You can also call me to [your number] and we can arrange the exact schedule on the call.
Thank you, and have a great day.
Conclusion, next steps
You should always respond to an interview request–even when you do not want to come. For sure you do not like to get ghosted by the hiring managers, so it makes no sense to do the same thing to them, ignoring their request.
Try to always explain why you cannot come, or need to schedule a different date for your interview. What’s more, show some flexibility, and do not forget to thank them for inviting you. Build bridges, not fences. You never know when you can benefit from the connection with the hiring manager.
And if you can afford to come, and they perhaps reimburse your travel expenses, I suggest you to always agree and interview for a job–even if you know that you do not want it.
Each interview is a learning experience, and you can certainly benefit from it in the future. And who knows, you may meet your future wife/husband or business partner while interviewing for the job…
May also interest you:
- How to negotiate salary over the phone – Ready to get as much as you deserve when they talk money with you? Follow our simple guide and improve the initial offer by 10%, or even more.
- How to know if you failed a phone interview – Five clear signs that you flopped the interview terribly, and should not waste time waiting for a positive response from the company.
- How many candidates are usually shortlisted for an interview – Number of shortlisted candidates in different situations, companies, and positions. Learn more about your chances.