Interviewing - Getting That Job

by Jane Tredgett

Being invited for interview

Once the deadline has passed for applications, be prepared in case the organisation telephones you rather than writing to invite you for interview. Keep the position details at hand and have a pen and paper by the telephone.

If you get neither a telephone call nor a letter within a month of the closing date, follow up and ask for feedback. If an organisation can’t be bothered sending you official notification or at least telephoning you to say you were unsuccessful, they might not have been one a great place to work for, as this pays little respect to the time and effort you have invested. Remember, though, that the organisation has no legal obligation to give you feedback on why you were unsuccessful.

An invitation to interview letter

A good interview invitation letter should contain the following information. If any of this is unclear, you may wish to telephone to check the details:

  • Where the interview is (address, which building, which room and so on)
  • When it is (date and time)
  • What the process will be (how long it will take and the format)
  • Who will be conducting the interview
  • Any documentation you are required to bring
  • How and by when you should confirm your ability to attend
  • A request for information on any special needs you may have, such as a wheelchair accessible venue
  • Any site-specific information, such as parking/reception/security arrangements and so on.

Try to make the specified time, but if you cannot, ring at the earliest opportunity and ask if there is an alternative. If you have impressed them with your application, a good organisation should be prepared to have some flexibility over when the interview is held – after all, a good candidate, who would be ideal for the job, may have existing work commitments to honour and may not be able to attend one fixed date.

A rejection letter

If you do get a rejection letter, read it carefully. Interviewers are often advised to explain in general terms why your application was unsuccessful, rather than giving you detailed information.

If you would like further feedback, ring up and ask politely for more information. Don’t get defensive – the aim here is to learn so you increase the chances of getting the next position you apply for. Also, the organisation may not find the ideal applicant the first time and you may get another chance – so try not to leave a negative impression.

Legally the organisation is not obliged to give you any further feedback and it is their right to decline to do so.

If you consider that you have been discriminated on grounds of having children, being disabled, or because of your race, religion or gender, you may want to think about taking this further. A decision to not pursue an application based on any of these factors is generally against the law. See this page on Discrimination.