Whether an interview offer comes in an email or via a phone call, you’re reaction if often pure excitement. After all, you know the job market is tough and that there are droves of applicants. However, even though you might feel like jumping up and down and doing a happy dance in the streets, keep in mind that you need to respond to the offer with complete professionalism – and that the interviewer is sizing you up against the other candidates right from the start.
If the interviewer calls to schedule the appointment, you don’t want to act completely shocked by the offer, as you don’t want to seem desperate or like this is the only offer you’ve had. Thank the interviewer politely for the opportunity, but don't fall all over yourself with gratitude. This will raise a red flag that you’re possibly not well-versed in business etiquette. If the interview offer arrives via email, resist the temptation to shoot back an immediate reply of “YES!” Instead, take your time to compose an intelligent reply, thanking the interviewer for the offer, accepting the time offered, or if you’re not available at the offered time, suggest a few times when you are available.
Coordinate a Time and Date
You should be as flexible and accommodating as possible when scheduling the meeting. If you’re discussing the time slot over the phone, let the interviewer know what times are best for you, but don't push the meeting time in the direction of your own schedule. After all, this is your chance at landing the job, and you don't want to blow it. You also want to avoid pushy behavior because it may indicate that you would treat clients this way if hired. If the interviewer suggests a time and you simply can't make it work, explain why and humbly suggest the next best option. There is a caveat to this, however. If the interviewer suggests a time that is too soon for you to prepare adequately, you should stall. If you need four days or a week to get ready for the interview, simply state, "I can be available as early as next Monday." Certainly don't schedule an interview right away if you’re unprepared. You'll wish you'd had that extra time to research the company and shop for the appropriate outfit.
If you set up the interview over the phone, confirm the date and time with the interviewer by sending a thank-you email. Keep the email clear and simple. For example, it might read, "Thank you for the chance to interview for the position of (name the position). I look forward to meeting with you at your office on Wednesday, August 16 at 2:30 p.m." Include your contact information in the email so that the interviewer can contact you if there is a change of plans. If you are not in touch with the company via email and only have a phone contact, you can call and confirm the meeting the day before the interview. Use the same clear and concise message on the phone, stating that you simply want to confirm the time and location of the interview. If you only corresponded with the interviewer via email, make sure your final email confirms the date and time of the interview.
While you might have your interview attire pressed and ready, as well as a crisp resume tucked in your portfolio case, you also have to mentally prepare for the interview; otherwise, you'll be all looks and no game. Research as much as you can about the company between the time you accept the interview offer and the time you walk through company door. Know your stuff. You want to convey that you're more than just a warm body and stand out from the crowd of paycheck-seeking applicants. Do your homework and ready yourself for an important test that may change your career life.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.