In today’s professional world, more businesses than ever are conducting interviews virtually. Virtual interviews are more time efficient for both candidate and interviewer, and they can help you easily connect with talent that’s based outside your city’s HQ.
How do you communicate with a candidate that you would like to invite them to this kind of interview? Our virtual interview email template can help.
Our template includes;
- Introducing yourself and the interview opportunity
- Confirming a time for the interview
- Organising the logistics of the interview
Interested? Download the letter template now!
What is an interview invitation email?
An interview invitation email is the way that you formally invite a candidate to interview for an open position.
Sending a polite and enthusiastic email is a great way to alert a candidate that they are moving forward with their application. An email invitation is generally the preferred way to organise an interview, as you can include all the relevant details and the candidate will have a written record of those details.
What should you include in an interview invitation?
An interview invitation should include all the necessary information that the candidate needs to know in order to attend their interview.
Firstly, write a clear subject line so that your email doesn’t get lost within the candidate’s inbox. Your subject line should be clear, mention the company’s name and highlight the opportunity. For example, a subject line for a Marketing Manager could take a few forms…
Subject Line #1: Interview Invitation: Marketing Manager at Employment Hero
Subject Line #2: Employment Hero Marketing Manager Interview
Subject Line #3: First Round Interview: Marketing Manager at Employment Hero
Secondly, especially if this is your first correspondence with the candidate, you should introduce yourself in the interview invitation and give some context to who you are. You should then say which company you’re reaching out on behalf of and for what job title. Remember, the candidate has likely applied to several positions with various companies so this information will help them connect the interview to their application.
If it’s not the candidate’s first interview, be sure to note the interview stage. This helps the candidate understand where they are in the recruitment process. This could be noted as ‘Second Interview’, ‘Third Interview’, ‘Final Interview’ or ‘Presentation’.
Interview date and time
You’ll then need to confirm an interview date and time through the interview invitation email. Be very clear when it comes to this one! Ask the candidate if the interview date and time works for them, or if they need another option.
Following that, let them know how you will conduct the interview. Will it be conducted within the office space, will it be via video call or would you prefer it to be over the phone?
If you’re conducting it on site, provide a location address and any instructions on how to enter the building. For example; “Please attend the interview at Level 1, 123 Hero Street, Sydney. Enter via the main doors and ask the person at reception to issue you a visitor’s pass, then proceed to Level 1 and take a seat in our lobby.”
If you’re conducting video interviews, make sure you’re clear about how to access the interview and let them know if there’s any kind of process they need to be aware of. For example; “We are running our video interviews via Google Meet. Please access the interview via the link below using the password ‘SYDNEY’. You will then be directed to our virtual waiting room prior to the start of your interview.”
If you’re conducting phone interviews, ask them if the number that they have provided as part of their application is the best way to contact them.
While it’s a non-essential step, we believe that providing the details of who will be attending the interview makes for a better candidate experience. Doing so gives the applicant a chance to do some research prior to the interview, and can generally make them feel more comfortable and prepared for what’s ahead.
You don’t need to give a detailed background, names and roles are a good place to start. For example; “Joining you for this interview will be the Director of Marketing Martha Jones and Marketing Specialist Ben Roberts.” We also recommend supplying links to attendees’ LinkedIn profiles where possible.
Looking for more help with your candidate experience? Download our free candidate experience checklist.
Warm sign off
With all the essential information covered, the only thing left to do is wrap up the email warmly. Let the candidate know that they can reach out to you if they have any questions about the interview process, and kindly ask for their confirmation of the supplied information.
Other ways you can send a video interview invitation
There are a few ways that you can communicate your video interview invitation. However, we believe that some methods are better than others.
Over the phone
As suggested above, communicating an interview invitation verbally over the phone is a popular option, but potentially not the most practical. Candidates like having all the details in a place that they can easily reference, like an email. If you communicate these details over the phone, they’ll have to scramble to note them down and could make an error.
With a calendar invitation
Are you feeling tempted to bypass the communication and just pop an interview slot directly into your candidate’s calendar? While you might save time, this is not an ideal way to invite your applicant to an interview. Without providing proper communication, including a warm introduction and an opportunity to confirm the time, you’re not providing a great candidate experience which could cause your candidate to disengage.
Interview invitation email
The interview invitation email is definitely our preferred method of sharing information about an upcoming interview. By using email, you provide a clear record of all interview details, and open up a considered dialogue between yourself and the candidate. Of course, our virtual interview invitation email template can help you structure this email.
Looking for more recruitment tips? Download our free Ultimate Guide to Recruitment.
Best practices when conducting a video interview
Now your virtual interview invitation has been confirmed, what are the best practices when it comes to conducting your video interview?
Share calendar invitations with all relevant parties
While your interview invitation shouldn’t be sent by calendar, you should definitely issue a calendar link after your candidate has confirmed their interview time. Remember to invite all attendees to the scheduled calendar event. Within the event itself, include a link to the video call and any necessary instructions required to enter the call.
Using recruitment software can help you keep track of who has attended which interview, and where your candidates are in the employee pipeline.
Check your own tech ahead of time
As a hiring manager, there’s nothing worse than logging on to do an interview, only to find your software has to go through a round of updates. Prior to your meeting, make sure that your tech is up-to-date and operating well to avoid lateness.
Be flexible to tech limitations
Technology and internet connections are sadly flawed, and that’s not your candidate’s fault. If you’re experiencing disruptions, glitches, or impacts to vision and sound, deal with it gracefully.
If the issue becomes so disruptive that you can no longer continue the video interview, consider leaving them a message in the chat box that you need to end the call. You then have the option of calling them on their mobile phone to continue or reschedule the interview, or emailing them to discuss alternative options.
Remember to be well presented
When working from home, it can be all too easy to take meetings from the couch, in your track pants. Even though you’re not technically the one in the hot seat, your presentation still matters in an interview.
By keeping to a smart dress code and positioning yourself within a well lit and nicely presented location, you’ll represent your business well and show the interviewee that you respect their time and effort.
Be conscious of eye contact
Do you work with a laptop, but mostly look at a monitor off to the side during meetings? Maybe your eyes are more likely to flick to yourself than your camera (we’re all guilty of this!)?
As much as possible, keep your eyes on your laptop screen and be sure to look directly at your camera plenty of times. If you look elsewhere, it could indicate a sense of disinterest or disengagement.
As suggested by Briar Goldberg of TED; “Direct eye contact can influence your audience’s perception of your credibility, trustworthiness, even your ability to lead. But most importantly, your audience will try harder to stay focused if you appear expressive and look them in the eye.”
Sell your business
Selling your business is incredibly important, no matter the interview style, but we would suggest it’s even more vital when conducting an interview over video.
When you’re running a virtual interview, you can’t show off a fancy office space or introduce the person to any friendly faces outside of the interview attendees. You can’t make them feel comfortable with a coffee or have them overhear laughter from outside the interview room.
When you’re running a virtual interview, the interviewers have to create a friendly and welcoming vibe and sell a great employee experience. Take the time to talk about your company culture, social get-togethers, perks and other benefits.
Know how you’ll be evaluating the employee
Be prepared and have a clear understanding between all interviewers about what you’re looking for in a star candidate. Which answers do you want or need to hear, and what traits or skills would be great to see?
Additionally, think about what kind of responses might highlight an undesirable candidate. Not sure where to start? Here are 14 interview red flags to look out for. We’ve also collated five interview questions which could reveal a bad hire.
What’s next in the interview process?
If you’ve conducted several successful virtual interviews, you’re probably ready to wrap up the interview process and move forward to the offer stage. You can read all about hiring and onboarding new employees in our small business guide, but here’s a couple of things to start thinking about.
References and background checks
Calling a candidate’s references is an essential part of any hiring process and, depending on the role, a background check may also be required. Learn more about background checks and how to conduct them.
If you’re ready to move to the offer stage, you’ll need to start writing up your employment contract. Learn more about what’s required in an employment contract, and think about how you might use digital employment contracts to make the whole process more streamlined.
Finally, you’ll be ready to move your successful candidate through to onboarding, yay! To learn how to create the best onboarding experience possible, learn how to build a standout induction and onboarding strategy.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is current as at 28 May 2022, and has been prepared by Employment Hero Pty Ltd (ABN 11 160 047 709) and its related bodies corporate (Employment Hero). The views expressed in this article are general information only, are provided in good faith to assist employers and their employees, and should not be relied on as professional advice. The Information is based on data supplied by third parties. While such data is believed to be accurate, it has not been independently verified and no warranties are given that it is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for the purpose for which it is required. Employment Hero does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such data and is not liable for any loss or damages arising either directly or indirectly as a result of reliance on, use of or inability to use any information provided in this article. You should undertake your own research and to seek professional advice before making any decisions or relying on the information in this article.