Coleman Gailloreto

How to follow up on a pending job offer correctly

Finding a job

How to follow up on a pending job offer correctly

Artwork by: Kate October

  • Politely greet recruiter and thank them for their consideration
  • Ask when you can expect to receive a formal job offer
  • Express your willingness to provide extra information or documentation
  • Close by restating your gratitude and excitement about the job
  • When should I move on from a job offer?
  • When to call your recruiter by phone
  • Key takeaways

When waiting for a business to deliver a formal job offer, you can send them tactful, thoughtful follow-up messages using these guidelines. As with most forms of job correspondence, helpfulness, courtesy, and genuine expressions of gratitude are key.

With a little bit of luck, the right job application materials, and a great interview, you might get a message from your recruiter saying they want to hire you. There’s a difference, though, between being told you got the job and actually receiving a formal job offer with written terms of employment. But if you feel you’ve been waiting too long for the formal offer, how do you follow up on a pending offer correctly? Not to worry. It is ok to write a follow-up email; and by keeping a few steps in mind while writing it, you can send an email that will keep you in the employer’s good graces and convey your continued interest in their position.

Most of the time, new hires will receive a formal job offer by email a few days after being told they’ve been hired. If you’re a fresh hire whose formal job offer has been pending for a week or more, it makes sense to write a follow-up message asking your recruiter when they’ll send you written terms of your employment. By following the guidelines below, you can create follow-up emails that are polite and clear in tone, and that give your recruiter the info they need to deliver your formal job offer right into your inbox.

In this blog, we’ll cover: 

  • How to greet recruiters and thank them for their consideration

  • How to ask when you’ll receive your formal, written job offer

  • How to offer extra information and documents

  • How to close by restating your gratitude and excitement about the job

  • When to move on from a stagnant job offer

  • When to call your recruiter by phone

Politely greet recruiter and thank them for their consideration

Above all else, the first paragraph in your follow-up email should be polite and pleasant. Greet the recruiter you talked to by name and express genuine hopes that they’re doing well. Thank them for considering you as a job candidate. Remind the recruiter about their previous interaction with you by mentioning the interview date or citing memorable topics the two of you discussed.

Copyable Example

Boilerplate phrases you can include in introductions for follow-up emails:


“Thank you for taking the time to meet with me last [date here]!”


“I greatly enjoyed our [interview/time walking/dialogue].”


“Our discussion about [topic here] was very illuminating.”


“I appreciated the feedback you offered on [topic here].”


“I’m looking forward to learning more about this [job name here] position.”

Trim down the word count of this introductory paragraph if you feel it goes on for too long (no more than three sentences of average length). The email’s introduction, after all, shouldn’t distract its readers from the key questions you want to ask. 

Ask when you can expect to receive a formal job offer

After your introduction, ask the recruiter when you’ll receive an email with a formal job offer – i.e. a written document containing information about start dates, benefits, and salaries. Like the introduction, your inquiry should be short and direct without coming across as demanding or confrontational.

Expert Tip

Negotiating the Salary


If the salary listed in the formal offer doesn’t meet your expectations, there are ways to negotiate a better salary. Read here to learn how.

Do

Don't

…use phrases like

…use phrases like

“I was hoping to check in on the status of the [job name here] opening and see whether a hiring decision has been reached.”

“When will I get my job offer?”

“Should I expect to receive a written job offer sometime around [date here]?”

“I’ve been checking my email for days, and still haven’t gotten any messages about job offers.” 

“Do you know roughly when I’ll receive an employment contract?”

“If I don’t receive an employment contract soon, I’m going to accept another job offer.”

To follow up on a pending job offer without sounding aggressive, avoid language that criticizes or guilt-trips the recruiter for not immediately sending you formal, written terms of employment. Instead, ask positive questions that HR staff can answer with a “yes,” a “no,” or a “this or that” response. Ideally, recruiters should treat your email as a helpful reminder and a chance to share important information with their prospective employee.

Express your willingness to provide extra information or documentation

After asking the central question of your follow-up email, share your email address, your phone number, and any other contact information your recruiter may need in order to reply. Explain what forms of communication would work best for you and when you can be contacted.

Next, ask your contact if they need extra information to complete their formal job offer document. Be ready to share resumes, cover letters, work portfolios, or letters of reference upon request, but don’t inundate them with stacks of documents right away.

Close by restating your gratitude and excitement about the job

As with many business messages, the end of your follow-up email should be as polite and direct as your opening. Reiterate just how grateful you are to be considered for this position, express genuine interest in learning more about the job, and negotiate a final job offer with the recruiter if appropriate.

Sign off on the email with a friendly closing statement, followed by your name and any relevant titles worth including. Re-read your email back to front, checking for any vocabulary/grammar mistakes before sending it off.

When should I move on from a job offer?

If you’ve received a better proposal from another company, worry that your self-identified work values don’t mesh with the company, or continue to not receive any responses to your follow-up messages, you may want to consider moving on from your pending job offer. Before deciding to move on, double-check your Inbox and spam folder to make sure you haven’t missed any emails, use any contact forms on the company’s website you can find, and send one final follow-up message asking your recruiters if they still want to hire you.

Statistical Insight

Trends of Job Seekers and Recruiters “Ghosting” Each Other:


According to this 2021 Forbes Article, ”Ghosting” – a phenomenon where a job-seeker or recruiter suddenly ceases contact without explanation – has become more frequent in post-pandemic years. In a February 2021 survey, 77% percent of the interviewed job-seekers stated they were ghosted by prospective employers over the course of the previous 11 months, while 76% of the interviewed employers reported being ghosted by job-seekers in the same period. Explanations for this uptick in ghosting range from complications caused by COVID-19 to a surge in the number of job applications that overwhelms both employers and would-be employees.

If a week or so has passed, and you still don’t receive any recruiter emails with formal, written job offers, that’s a sign the job you sought was filled…or that the business you applied to isn’t as well-organized as you’d hoped. In either scenario, you’re better off letting go of the opportunity so you’re free to seek new ones.

When to call your recruiter by phone

If you’ve sent one or more follow-up emails to your recruiter and days have passed without any response, it’s worth calling them on their work number to see if they still want to employ you. Make the phone call during standard office hours and check the time zone the recruiter is working in to make sure you’re not calling them at awkward hours. Not every recruiter will be in a position to talk with applicants via phone; still, if they’ve listed their work number in a previous email or on their website, they probably won’t turn away an unsolicited call.

If a recruiter takes a while to respond to your messages, you can always research their business online to discover possible reasons behind this delay. For example, the business may have relatively few employees on-site at the moment, leading to a backlog of tasks they need to clear; or their hiring manager might have recently resigned; or there may even be special protocols the company needs to follow before their HR department can send a formal, written job offer. Learning about factors like these can help you better predict when (or if) the business will be able to send you a written document or contract with terms of employment.

Key takeaways

  1. When sending a follow-up email about pending job offers, start and end your message by expressing your gratitude to the recruiter.

  2. Any questions you ask about when you’ll receive the job offer should be positive, clear, and non-confrontational.

  3. Offer to share informative documents if recruiters request them and make sure they have the contact info needed to reply.

  4. If weeks pass and you still haven’t gotten any formal job offer emails or replies to your follow-ups, send a final email or make a final phone call to your recruiter before moving on.

Coleman Gailloreto

A Chicago-based writer and freelance translator. Seeks to prepare his readers for the next renaissance or apocalypse, whichever comes first. Experienced at creating incisive feature articles, professional product reviews, informative interviews, and quality resumes/cover letters. Publishes long-form fiction on Inkshares.com and storytelling games on itch.io under the pseudonym Aldo Salt. Enjoys hobbies such as dog-walking, jogging, book-binding, and board games with friends.

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