Responsiveness and professionalism are two of the best traits you can demonstrate during the job interview and selection process. The timing and approach of your communication with recruiters and hiring managers can earn you points and perhaps even show that you're the best-qualified candidate. When the recruiter or hiring manager invites you to a second interview, it's a reasonable expectation for you to send a formal and timely response to the invitation.
Successfully Passing the First Interview
The job interview and selection process generally begin with a preliminary, screening interview with the employer's human resource department recruiter. Recruiters screen applicants to determine whether they have the basic qualifications for the job. During this interview, the recruiter may review your resume to confirm that the application materials you submitted accurately reflect your skills and that you have the basic requisites for the job. If you satisfactorily answer the recruiter's first-interview questions, there might be an opportunity for you to meet the person with whom you will have a second interview.
Confusion About Second Interviews
Also during the initial screening, the recruiter might ask questions about your salary requirements. Don't assume this is a premature question, or that you have been selected as a final candidate or for a second interview. Recruiters who discuss salary early in the interview process typically are using this information for screening purposes. There's no point in going forward if your salary requirements far exceed the company's pay scale. More detailed discussions about salary and benefits occur during second and subsequent interviews.
Responding to a Verbal Invitation
You might get an invitation for the second interview immediately after your preliminary interview. In this case, you can formally accept the invitation by saying, "Thank you for telling me about ABC Company and this position. I'm pleased that you want me to come back for a second interview with the hiring manager. I accept your invitation and I am looking forward to seeing you and the hiring manager on [state the day, date and time]."
Personalize Your Reply to Second Interview Invitation
Instead of referring to people by their job titles, always personalize your second interview email response. For example, use the person's name instead of just calling her "the hiring manager." Another characteristic to demonstrate throughout your job search is your ability to engage others, and the best way to do this is to use the person's name. Confirm the interview schedule in writing via email as soon as you can, preferably within a couple of hours after your verbal acceptance.
When to Send a Thank You Note
If you made a favorable impression during your first interview, perhaps your thank-you note to the interviewer and the interviewer's invitation for a second interview will cross in cyberspace. Always send a thank-you note for the initial interview. A thoughtfully written note can set you apart from your competition and convey the important message that you're interested in the job and that you appreciate the consideration for employment. It could be that your thank-you note actually compels the interviewer to ask you to come back for a second interview. Thank-you notes from applicants are appreciated and they can jog the interviewer's memory about you.
Email or Telephone Invitation to a Second Interview
When you receive an invitation for the second interview via email or phone, send an email accepting the second interview within the business day, and sooner is better, to formally accept the invitation and to confirm the day, date and time. For example, if the recruiter sends an email with a suggested day, date and time, send a reply that states, "Thank you for the opportunity to be further considered for this position. I am available on [day, date and time], and look forward to meeting with you again." If by telephone, tell the scheduler that you will follow up via email to confirm the interview time. Always confirm that you have the correct email addresses for the people with whom you are interviewing.
Be Assertive When You Accept the Second Interview
If the interviewer leaves it up to you to suggest a time to meet for the second time, don't throw the ball back in their court. Asking you to suggest a date and time might be a test to see how comfortable you are asserting yourself. And, if your job search is packed with interviews, it gives you a chance to let the interviewer know that other employers are considering you. If this is a phone conversation, confidently say, "Thank you for the opportunity for a second interview. I appreciate it because I'm very interested in this job. I am available on [state the day, date and time, or a time range]." Again, use the person's name when you are scheduling a meeting time. If you accept via email and want to give the interviewer several dates you are available, list two-or-three dates and give the hours that your schedule is open. Avoid providing a long list of possible dates, and be succinct.
- Forbes: Send the Perfect Post-Interview Thank You Note
- Impact Interview: How to Respond to an Interview Request: 2 Sample Emails
- Paxus: How to Respond Electronically for an Invite to Interview
- Robert Half: Things to Expect From a Second Interview
- Forbes: How to Handle Salary Questions Before the Job Offer
- Forbes: How To Answer The Interview Question 'How Much Money Do You Currently Make?'
- Ask the post office clerk for delivery confirmation for your business letter.
- Do not hit "Reply All" in the email when responding back to one hiring member of the company. It is customary for human resources departments to carbon copy, or "CC," department managers when making next-step or final selection decisions. Your reply to all email recipients might break the chain of command and create confusion.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she is a certified facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.