When you finally get a nibble on your application, knowing how to reply to an interview email and keep the hiring manager interested is vital. Having this opportunity is a big step toward finding employment, and you want to ensure that you handle the situation appropriately.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure that you handle your interview email response appropriately:
- Be gracious
- Confirm your availability
- Reschedule during scheduling conflicts with an appropriate tone
- Hold off on salary discussion unless the hiring manager addresses the topic
- Write professionally and proofread before sending
One of the first and most important things you should do when replying to your interview email is to thank the hiring manager for their time. It’s quite an honor that, out of the numerous applicants for the position, they’ve chosen you to follow up on.
As such, open your email with a brief one-lined thank you for the opportunity. Brevity, as always, is the name of the game. Demonstrate your ability to communicate concisely with each correspondence, and don’t overstay your welcome.
An interview email is simply a request for information; there’s no need to toot your horn or convince the hiring manager how enthusiastic you are about the job—your cover letter has already done all the talking.
Try to avoid following this example:
“Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to chat more about why I’m a great pick for your company. I have three years of experience working in this field, and I’m excited to offer my skills for the betterment of the company.”
Not only is the information in this reply redundant from what you’ve already explained in your resume and cover letter, but it might even come across as a little self-absorbed—even if that’s not your intention. A much better opening line would be the following:
Thank you for considering me for the open position in your company.
Your opening line should be a brief courtesy, not a restatement of all your fabulous attributes. Hiring managers go through dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants regularly, which is why the last thing you want to be doing as a prospective interviewee is wasting their time.
Communicate Your Schedule
After a brief courtesy, skip straight to the details. If the hiring manager has suggested a time and date that works for you, then great! Confirm your availability and close the email:
I am available this Friday at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the position. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you need any additional information.
What to Do If You Have Scheduling Conflicts
Often, a company will give you a time to call their office and schedule a future interview date. You’re busy; they’re busy—it’s the easiest way to set up an interview. Call the office at the suggested time to confirm your availability to schedule and close the email.
There may be times when you have scheduling conflicts with the company, prompting the need to express that you aren’t available on the prospective date. Avoid sounding dismissive of the company’s time and willingness to meet with you, like the following:
“I can’t meet on the 30th since I have an important business meeting that takes precedence.”
While there’s not necessarily anything aggressive about the wording of this email sample, its brusqueness conveys the impression that your time is more important than theirs.
Not being forthcoming about your schedule and putting the burden of rescheduling on the company can leave a bitter impression, reflecting poorly on the prospect of you getting the job.
When responding to an email about a scheduling conflict, opt for a more neutral tone and propose a follow-up date. Doing so will demonstrate that you’re serious about taking the interview and communicating clearly.
Regrettably, I have a scheduling conflict with the suggested date on the 30th. I am available on the 2nd after 2:30 p.m. and on the 4th after 2:00 p.m. Please let me know when works best for you.
Communicating your availability is a simple matter of respect, and making an effort to reschedule goes a long way to creating a positive impression.
Discussing Salary Expectations
There’s always a not-so-fun game of cat and mouse when discussing salary expectations.
Prospective hires don’t want to seem desperate to know the ins and outs of the company’s salary and benefits, and employers don’t like to volunteer information without hearing the applicant’s expectations first.
Generally, you should only address salary expectations if the hiring manager asks. If the question is in the air, leave it to discuss during the interview, where your interviewer can lay out the details of your salary and answer any questions you may have.
There may be times when your hiring manager will ask you to address your salary expectations in your reply emails. Before you outline your list of demands, it’s worth carefully considering the relevant position with the company.
Is the prospect of steady work or a job with potential upward mobility worth the compromise of taking a lower salary? Are you experienced enough in your field to demand a wage above standard pay, and are you willing to risk losing the job should they be unwilling to compromise?
It’s a delicate balance between understanding the company’s position and evaluating your worth, but the bottom line is that you should be honest about your salary expectations.
The following example is honest yet allows some room for compromise:
I’m looking for a competitive salary that reflects the value of my work experience and education, with health care and paid time off, but I’m open to learning more about the job before discussing specific salary numbers.
The Bottom Line
Your goal in responding to an interview email is to answer any questions the company asks with proper respect to the company and prospective position.
If they’re just after a date to meet up, keep things short and simple – offer a quick thank you for the consideration and describe your availability.
Be sure to write concisely and professionally, taking the extra couple of minutes to proofread your work for any glaring mistakes. You’ll have the best chance of landing an interview for your desired position!
Here are a few examples:
Dear Mr. Dempsey,
Thank you for your quick reply and request for an interview. Unfortunately, I have a scheduling conflict on the 5th of February and won’t be able to meet with you. Can we reschedule for the 6th at 3:30 p.m. or the 8th at the same time to discuss my role?
I look forward to meeting with you. If you need any additional information before our meeting, please inform me.
Dear Mrs. Johnson,
I appreciate your consideration for the position of Clinical Research Coordinator. I’d be happy to meet with you this Friday at 4:30 p.m. if you’re available, and I look forward to discussing our future business relationship further
Please let me know if you need additional information from me before our meeting on Friday.
Dear Mr. Matthews,
Thank you for following up with me on my application for the Software Developer position at the St. Louis Innovation Station. I’m available to meet at your offices on Monday before 3:30 p.m. or anytime after 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss the position further.
I look forward to discussing the role more with you. Please let me know if you need more information before our meeting.