How to Invite a Candidate for an Interview (with Templates)

A businesswoman speaking on the phone in a brightly lit office

The hiring process can be tricky. It can take forever and a day to screen through that never-ending pile of résumés, but once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential candidates, things can get easier from there.

Whether you’re down to 50 applicants or a small selection of 2 or 3, inviting a candidate to an interview requires careful thought. After all, you don’t want to sound too pushy, impersonal or robotic, and you want to make sure you’re representing your organisation as professionally as possible.

So, calling all recruiters and HR managers! Are you lost in paperwork, rewriting email templates over and over again, and dreading that interview invitation?

Have no fear! We’ve prepared the ultimate guide on how to invite a candidate for an interview!

1. Pick Your Timing Wisely

What we mean is: know when the right time is to contact the candidate. This is especially important with phone call invitations. If the candidate is currently employed, they might feel uncomfortable answering your call in front of colleagues or, worse, their boss. Perhaps wait until lunch break hours or after 6pm to make that phone call.

Some recruiters choose to communicate through email, especially when headhunting. Timing is less relevant in this case, as candidates can check emails discreetly (regardless of their environment), read them in their own time and provide proper replies.

2. Make it Personal

Tailor your invitation to the specific person you’re inviting for an interview and clearly indicate the title of the position that the interview is for. The candidate may have applied for other positions simultaneously, so they’ll want to know which exact job application you’re referring to and for what company.

It’s also wise to mention what topics will be covered during the interview, like ‘getting to know the company’ or an exploration of their career goals.

You should mention what kind of interview the candidate should prepare for. Let them know if it will be a one-to-one, group, structured or unstructured interview.

You might also want to tell them how the interview process will play out and how long it might last. If this is the first step of a longer interview process, tell them. It’s also advisable to tell the interviewee what to bring, such as a portfolio or references.

3. Be Flexible

Most job applicants are already employed, which means they could work a full-time shift. In other words, it might be difficult for them to simply leave work and turn up to the interview. In this case, you can be flexible and convenient by offering them a selection of times to choose from.

A recruiter’s schedule, on the other hand, can be hectic. If you have no room for flexibility, and you prefer to stick to a fixed schedule for your interviews, the best option is to give candidates a predetermined date and time. If they can’t make it, suggest another available slot in your diary.

4. Be Specific

You want the interview process to be as straightforward as possible, and providing all the specifics can help your company sound organised.

Avoid delays and prevent the candidate from getting lost by giving the full address of where the interview will take place – including floor and door number. If you’re communicating via email, it can be useful to attach a map or link to the location.

If this is will be a telephone or video interview, give the candidate a phone number or send them a link to the video call (or Skype handle).

Let the candidate know who will be conducting the interview so they know who to ask for at the front desk. Give them the full name of the hiring manager and any other interviewers along with their position titles.

Make sure to also leave contact information (like your phone number, LinkedIn profile and Skype handle), should the candidate need to contact you.

5. Be Friendly Yet Professional

HR managers need to bear in mind their voice, tone and phrasing when it comes to inviting a candidate. Not only should they sound polite, approachable and professional, but they must also maintain a voice that reflects the company and that sets the mood of the interview itself.

  • Keep it light, friendly and conversational: Avoid sounding too direct, serious or robotic.
  • Use a voice that reflects your company’s personality: Refer to your social media posts or advertising materials to mirror the company image.
  • Sound welcoming and upbeat: Make candidates feel excited to be interviewed and appreciated for their skills.

Remember: waiting for an interview invitation can be nerve-wracking for candidates. And when they finally hear from you, they’ll want to feel as relaxed and excited for the interview as possible.

This all comes down to the way recruiters sound in their emails or phone calls.

6. Use an Invitation Template

If you haven’t been successful in writing an invitation email from scratch, or if you’re stuck on what to say during a phone call, consider these samples:

Email Template

Hi [first name],

Thank you for applying for the position of [job title]!

We have reviewed your application and would love to discuss your qualifications further in an interview.

This will be a great chance for you to learn about our company as well as the position in more detail.

The interview will be with our [interviewer’s job title], [interviewer’s name], and should last around 45 minutes.

Are you available for an interview next week? Here are a few available time slots:

  • [Date and Time]
  • [Date and Time]
  • [Date and Time]
  • [Date and Time]

If these aren’t suitable for you, please let me know what your availability is for next week.

Our offices are located at [address]. Here is a Google Maps link for your convenience: [link].

Don’t forget to bring your portfolio and ID with you!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

[Your name]
[Your job title]

Bonus tip? Subject lines also matter! To guarantee successful open rates, use a subject line that clearly states the company’s name, job position or general purpose of the email, for example: ‘Interview invitation at [company name]’.

Phone Call Script

[Ring, ring!]

Candidate: Hello?

You: Hi [candidate’s first name], this is [your first name] calling from [company name]. How are you?

Candidate: I’m well, thanks. How are you?

You: Great, thank you. I’m just calling to let you know that we’ve reviewed your application for the role of [job title] and would like to invite you for an interview.

Candidate: Brilliant, that’s awesome!

You: Are you available this week? We have Monday, Thursday or Friday at 3pm open.

Candidate: Yes, Thursday at 3 sounds perfect.

You: Great! Do you know where our offices are? I can send you our full address through email if you want.

Candidate: Yes, that would be great. My email is johnsmith@example.com.

You: Fantastic! I’ll send you our address as well as more details regarding the interview soon. Thanks, [candidate name]. Have a good day.

Candidate: Thank you. Bye!

You: Bye-bye!

As you can see, inviting candidates to an interview needs special attention. You don’t want to approach the applicant too seriously, nor do you want to sound like you’re talking to your best friend. If you follow our tips, though, you’ll be on your way to grabbing that candidate’s full attention.

Next is all about conducting the interview and making sure you ask all the right questions – yet another careful step in the hiring process that determines hiring the best candidate for the role.

Do you have anything you’d like to add? Join the conversation down below and share your thoughts with us.