How to Write an Interview Request Email

Manager writing an interview request email at work

Hitting the right note in an interview request email can help form a healthy, cordial candidate relationship that is more likely to encourage top performers to want to learn more about your open role. It can even tilt the scales in your favor when the time comes for them to consider an offer.

Writing an email that is as pleasant, informative, polished, and polite as possible is a critical first step in the candidate selection process for three very important reasons:

Drafting and emailing an interview request sounds simple enough, but there are some strategies to keep in mind. The following tips will ensure you strike an appropriate tone and include the right information.

Why Write an Interview Request Email?

More and more employers are asking applicants how they prefer to receive communications during the hiring process, which means that for many candidates, an interview request may be delivered via a phone call, text, or a direct message (DM) on a professionally focused social media platform. But in most cases, the first point of direct contact you’ll have with the interview invitees you’ve selected will be an email.

Even if you are contacting a candidate via a different format, it still makes sense to send an email as a backup form of communication for several reasons:

  • Emails can communicate the next phases of your hiring process at greater length than a text or DM.
  • Requesting an interview by email allows you to invite a candidate into the next phase of the process in a personal way, using a tone that reflects aspects of your company culture.
  • It’s not always feasible to use a phone call as your first direct contact, especially if the candidate currently works for one of your competitors.
  • It allows the candidate to read and respond to your invitation in a thoughtful and unrushed manner.
  • Sending interview invitations by email creates a convenient and easy-to-track record of which applicants you’ve contacted, when you sent their requests, who’s responded, and how long it took each candidate to reply.
  • Candidates can save and consult your emailed interview request prior to the next phase in the hiring process so that they can be as prepared as possible.

What to Include in Your Email

Your email message should be as succinct as possible, but at a minimum it needs to include:

  • A direct subject line, such as “Interview Request” and possibly the job title and your company name
  • Your name, position, contact information, and company name or logo in the top lefthand corner of your email
  • A salutation that includes the candidate’s first name
  • If the candidate has been referred by someone within your organization or by a vendor or other business partner, mention this as soon as possible after the salutation.
  • Some details about the role and a link to your optimized job post
  • Mention a few details from the candidate’s resume, cover letter, or professional portfolio materials that impressed or intrigued you, that you have identified as related to the required qualifications of the open role, and that the hiring committee is interested in learning more about.
  • Share concise information about your organization and link to more, such as your employer’s custom career pages.
  • Specify the format and approximate duration of the interview. For example, will it take place by phone, video, or in person?
  • If you know who will be present during the proposed interview, provide their names, titles, and, if possible, a link to their professional profiles on your company website.
  • If the interview will take place in person, provide location and travel details. A good way to do this is to provide a link to directions to the location of the interview, including mass transit options and instructions on navigating parking and security.
  • Provide times and dates, including the time zone, when the interview might occur and encourage the candidate to do the same, noting the overall timetable you hope to pursue for each round of your decision-making process.
  • Encourage the candidate to bring in any materials that might help your hiring committee assess the candidate’s suitability for the role, such as references or a work portfolios.
  • Close with an invitation for the candidate to reach out to you with any questions, repeat your contact information, and provide times when you expect to be available to field candidate questions over the coming days or weeks.

You might even provide hints about what to wear, with language such as “by the way, our workplace is business casual,” so that candidates will feel more confident during the interview.

Best Practices: Prioritize the Candidate Experience

The candidate experience refers to all engagements and interactions an employer has with a candidate during the hiring process. Since the interview request email is one of the first interactions a candidate will have with your company, this first impression matters and that means that the writing tone and voice of your interview request email is critical.

Job seekers who report having endured bad candidate experiences:

  • Are less likely to apply to the same company again, refer friends and colleagues to open roles at your organization, or even make purchases from your brand in the future.
  • Are more likely to leave harmful candidate reviews on social media that can tarnish your employer brand and discourage top performers from applying to future open roles.
  • Often ghost employers or abandon the hiring process midway through.

Your email should be composed to make selected applicants feel valued, welcomed, and excited for the opportunity to interview with your company. Strike a pleasant tone by thanking them for their application and letting them know what stood out to you about their application materials. Using a template to save time is fine, but be sure to alter your wording to make each invite feel personalized.

What About Passive Candidates?

Increasingly, recruiters are reaching out to passive candidates they’ve sourced via social media, professional association newsletters, professional portfolio databases, and other sources. These are often top performers with sought-after qualifications who haven’t applied for the open position, but who seem like they could be a good fit for your team. Typically, recruiters’ first step in reaching out to passive candidates would be to invite them to have a phone conversation about the role in question.

However, if time is pressing, you may want to reach out with an interview request before such an exploratory conversation can take place. In that case, you will need to:

  • Avoid sending your interview request to their work email address.
  • Explain why you’re reaching out to them—what the position is and what it is about their online professional profile or workplace accomplishments that you think makes them a good fit for the role.
  • Spend a healthy portion of your interview request email “selling” your organization and the open role, including links to the job description and your organizational mission and values.
  • Let them know that you’re available to discuss the opportunity in more detail by phone, email, or in-person.

Get the Word Out to Potential Interview Candidates and Attract Top Performers

Before you can start sending out interview request emails, you need to attract a critical mass of qualified applicants. Monster can help you get started with a job posting plan designed to plug you into a global pipeline of qualified candidates.