7 Tips on How to Write an Email to Schedule an Interview
You’ve just sifted through a mountain of resumes and found some great candidates. The next step is contacting them to set up an interview. What is the best way to write an email to schedule an interview?
There’s a lot of moving parts from start to finish in the hiring process. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential candidates, it makes sense to reach out and schedule an interview.
But before you dash off an email, there’s something to keep in mind. Any communication you send to potential candidates is a reflection of your organization.
When it comes down to it, the hiring process is really like trying to find a match. Is your company and a potential candidate the right fit?
Sending an email to a potential hire is one more way you can stand out, show someone what your organization is like, and make a good first impression. Make sense?
Wondering how to write an email to schedule an interview?
Here are 7 things to include in the email:
1. Job title & position
Chances are pretty good that most people applying aren’t taking the one-and-done approach. Most individuals are probably applying to multiple jobs, networking for job leads, and considering multiple offers.
Tip: Make it easy on them, include the job title and position you’d like to interview them for in your email. It’s a thoughtful way to avoid any misunderstandings and keep it clear what you’re hiring for.
Example: Hi [First Name], We’d like to schedule an interview for the position you applied for: [Title/name of position].
2. Name of your company
It seems so obvious, right? But that’s because you’re answering the phone and emails all day and talking about your organization. In larger organizations, sometimes the subsidiaries can get lost in the shuffle. And your candidates might not make the connection.
Tip: Specifically mention the name of your company in your email when you’re reaching out to schedule an interview. Include this detail in the body of your email, instead of just counting on your signature to convey this information. You may want to even include this in your subject line as well.
Example: We’re interviewing candidates at [name of company] this week.
3. Employees who will be part of the interview process
Maybe you do the first round of interviews, and if they make the cut there’s another round. Or, maybe you have your candidates meet with a panel of staff members for a round-table style interview.
Tip: Every organization’s interview process is a little different. That's completely fine. Just let your candidates know who they can expect to be meeting with for the interview. It gives them time to do a little homework, and be prepared to make introductions. Even better, include a link to each employees LinkedIn profile, so they can easily access more background information.
Example A: I’d like to interview you for this position and see if you’re a good fit for this position.
Example B: We’ll conduct a round-table interview with you that will include [name and title of each person attending].
4. Interview discussion topics
What will you be talking about during the interview? Maybe it’s round one, and you’re just reviewing their qualifications and experience and want to facilitate an opportunity to meet by scheduling an interview. Or, maybe you’re really trying to sift through your list of finalists to make an offer and fill a position. In other cases, some organizations have candidates interview for a position followed by a test run of some kind like a skills assessment test or a mini-project.
Tip: Let your candidate know what you’ll be discussing. If it’s a typical get-to-know-you interview, tell them that. If you have a specific question set, consider sharing that with your candidates ahead of time. Is there something they need to prepare? Set your candidates up for success. Doing this ahead of time can actually help you find out which candidates prepare and which ones try to wing it.
Example: In the interview, we’ll be talking about [list of topics].
5. Time and duration of the interview
Sometimes this is the hardest part to nail down. People are busy. Maybe they’re working another job, managing kids and family, have a full-time and part-time hustle, etc. In your email, be specific about the time, date, and duration of the interview. Or, offer some options, and then follow up with a confirmation email with all the details. You may even want to use calendaring software to make it easy for you and your candidates to add an appointment to their digital calendar. It also makes sense for you, candidates, and any staff who will be part of the interview, to know how long the interview is expected to take.
Tip: Be specific about the date, time, and duration of the interview.
Example: Your interview is scheduled for [day], [date], [time] and will last about [X] minutes.
6. Need-to-bring list
Do you want candidates to bring anything specific to the interview? Some organizations request candidates to bring things to the interview like:
- Copy of resume
- Cover letter
- Licenses or certifications
- ID documents
- Portfolio of work
Tip: If there’s anything specific candidates should bring to the interview, include the details when you send them an email.
Example: Please bring the following items to your interview: [list of items].
7. Interview location & instructions
COVID-19 restrictions have changed the hiring process dramatically. Beginning in early 2020, more and more initial interviews are conducted via video conference instead of in person. One reason for that is that more employers have transitioned to work-from-home rules to comply with state mandates. But that’s not the case for all organizations. You may still have staff on-site, maintain regular office hours, or have staff working in the field.
Tip: Whether you plan to host an interview at a local coffee shop, on-site at your corporate office, or via video conference, give your candidate all the details.
Example A: We’ll meet at [name of business], [address]. [If there’s anything unusual about directions, parking, meeting location, security access, etc., be sure to explain it.]
Example B: We’ll meet via video conference at [provide a link to the call] [Include any specific instructions about the software and audio/video requirements.]
Now you know how to write an email to schedule an interview. Just follow these 7 steps. Craft your email and hit send. Once you have a chance to meet potential candidates, you’ll be one step closer to making an offer.
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