Looking for a new position is one of the most stressful things you'll ever do. Perhaps it's the high stakes behind the search that makes it easy to over-analyse every part of it, especially when it comes to how you respond to the emails recruiters send. I know that before I became a recruiter, I spent way too long trying to write the perfect responses to every single email I received. They had to be perfect, I thought, because there was a job on the line.
But when I started writing emails to candidates, I quickly realised that people put way too much pressure on themselves to "get their responses right." So, before you spend all weekend trying to figure out how to sign-off (is it best or sincerely?), here are three emails recruiters send, and the answers they truly want from you.
#1 Scheduling a Phone Interview
It makes sense if you want to avoid offending someone when he or she is just trying to schedule a phone interview. But, based on my experience in recruiting, I know two things: Recruiters are busy and when they want to schedule a phone interview, it will take the most offensive email ever to ruin your candidacy at this stage.
How to Respond
If a recruiter asks for a particular time that you're available to speak, feel free to write back and say, "That time works for me. Please let me know if you need anything else in the meantime." That's it. If he or she asks for times that you'd be available to speak, use this template:
Hi [Recruiter Name], Thanks so much for reaching out. I'm available to speak at [insert dates and times you're free for a phone interview]. Please let me know if you need anything else in the meantime. Looking forward to discussing the role with you! [Name]
That's all it takes. It doesn't need to be wordy, or even go too far to reemphasize your interest in the role.
#2 Can You Resend Your Resume?
You're probably thinking, "Wait, what? You need an updated resume? Do you not believe the original version I sent you?" If that's the case, take a deep breath and relax. Even when a company has a sophisticated system for tracking applicants, sometimes technology doesn't cooperate, and websites go down, files get corrupt, and a wide variety of things can happen to your resume that would make a recruiter have to ask for another copy. Don't read into this too much if it happens. Just send it along again and trust that you didn't do anything wrong.
How to Respond
This one's relatively straightforward:
Hi [Recruiter Name], Hope this finds you well. Attached is a copy of my resume. Please let me know if I can resend any other materials. Best, [Name]
Seriously, that's all this requires. Don't keep yourself up trying to figure out why a recruiter asked for this. Just send it.
#3 Do You Have Time to Chat Today?
This is different from the phone interview email. Much different. It could mean a lot of things. You could be on the verge of finding out you didn't get your dream job. Or, that you got it and that it's time to celebrate. I used to overanalyze this type of email to the point where a half-hour would go by, and I'd realise, Oh shoot, I should probably respond.
Don't worry about what you say when you answer this one -- either way, you're getting some news, and you're about to have a much longer conversation with the recruiter, one in which you'll be able to use your all your words.
I get it. Interviewing is hard, and it's even trickier because every single layer of is tense. After all, there's a position with a real salary, and real benefits, and probably very real happiness on the line. You should be commended for wanting to nail every part of it. But don't worry: When it comes to these kinds of recruiter emails, saying less in your responses won't cost you your dream job.
This post originally appeared on The Muse.