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  3. What's your next move? Here's to follow up with a recruiter
What's your next move? Here's how to follow up with a recruiter

What's your next move? Here's to follow up with a recruiter

Artwork by: Aleksandra Zabnina

  • Why should you follow up with a recruiter?
  • Keep yourself in the running
  • Let them know you’re interested
  • Take the opportunity to say “thank you”
  • When should you follow up with a recruiter? It’s all in the timing
  • Before an interview
  • After a phone interview
  • After an in-person interview
  • If you get a “we’ll let you know” email
  • If you didn’t get the job
  • So, how do you follow up with a recruiter? (with examples)
  • After submitting an application
  • Before an interview
  • After a phone interview
  • After a final interview
  • What do you do while you’re waiting after you’ve followed up?
  • Key takeaways

Following up with a recruiter after an interview isn’t pushy — it’s practical, and a good way to make a positive impression. This article will discuss how, when, and why you should follow up with a recruiter to help you land the job you want.

The job interview process can be tough, and it's often a game of "wait and see." Did they get your application? Did the recruiter read it? Or, maybe you got an interview, but you haven't heard back yet. While you might be hesitant to follow up with the recruiter — you don't want to seem desperate — it is appropriate to reach out, as long as you remain polite and professional. 

In fact, most hiring professionals expect you to follow up. They are usually dealing with a large number of applicants, but they don't want a potentially qualified person to fall through the cracks. Crafting a well-timed, well-written follow-up can keep you informed about the hiring process, give you peace of mind, and maintain a positive relationship with the recruiter.

In the article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of following up with a recruiter, including

  • Why it's important to follow up

  • When should you reach out to a recruiter?

  • How to follow up with a recruiter, with examples

  • What to do while you’re waiting

Why should you follow up with a recruiter?

If you're still looking for a job, you want to put in the effort to follow up, especially if you feel you're a good fit for the job. But there is a fine line between professional and pushy; you want to stand out, but you still need to respect professional boundaries. Following up will keep you front of mind (in a good way), allow the recruiter to do their job efficiently, and potentially increase your chances of getting the position.

Following up with a recruiter also shows that you possess the all-important soft skills that employers value. Writing an engaging email or leaving a coherent, articulate voice message demonstrates tangible examples of your written and verbal communication skills.

Statistical Insight

According to a 2021 Jobvite survey, 56 percent of recruiters say applications per requisition have increased, and 54 percent of them take two weeks to a month to fill a position, (although 30 percent say it takes 30-90+ days).

Keep yourself in the running

Remember, you're not the only one applying for a job. Recruiters work with many people to fill multiple roles. Following up with the recruiter reminds them that you indeed still exist and are solidly interested in the position. Reaching out to a recruiter in a polite way can potentially keep you on the "short list."

Let them know you’re interested

While you want them to know you're excited about a potential job opportunity, don't go overboard. When following up, be restrained and concise. State your interest in the job and provide examples of why you're a good fit for the position. This doesn't need to be an epic novel or a list of achievements directly from your resume — a couple of bullet points quantifying your qualifications should do the trick. You can also use this opportunity to assist the recruiter, by asking if there is any other information you can provide so that they don’t have to hunt for it.

Take the opportunity to say “thank you”

Everyone likes to know that the work they do is appreciated. Following up with your recruiter and thanking them for their time will not go unnoticed. You might want to consider sending a handwritten "thank you" note. The recruiter will appreciate the effort and they'll have something tangible to remember you by.

When should you follow up with a recruiter? It’s all in the timing

While it's clear that it's important to follow up with a recruiter, when you do so depends on where you are in the job interview process. While a thank you note should be sent within 24 hours of the interview, subsequent follow-ups should be timed according to your intention. If you've applied for a position and not gotten a response, then consider sending a follow-up email in a week or two. But be aware of their deadlines: if you've applied for a job, don't send a follow-up until after the application deadline. They're probably still processing resumes and haven't gotten to the "call back" list yet. Don’t get frustrated — remember that the hiring process takes time!

Before an interview

Although it might sound odd, sending an email a day or two before an interview might be in your best interests. A "pre-follow-up" email can clarify any questions you might have, confirm the date or time, or simply ease any worries you might have. If you choose to do this, as always, keep it concise, courteous, and professional.

After a phone interview

If you have an initial phone screening, follow up that same day, as if you're sending a thank you note. Let the recruiter know that you enjoyed speaking with them, appreciated their time, and reiterate your interest in the position.

After an in-person interview

If you’ve taken notes during an interview, the recruiter may have given you information on the hiring timeline. If they didn't, and you forgot to ask (it happens!), check the original job description. The information you need may be there. If not, go ahead and send a follow-up one to two weeks after your interview — no sooner.

If another two weeks pass without any word, you can follow up again, but don't just cut and paste your original email. But be aware that the upper limit for follow-ups is two. If you still don't hear back at that point, move on.

The exception to this rule is if you get another job offer. In that case, you should let the first recruiter know that you have another offer and give them a chance to decide what they want to do. And while nothing is 100 percent certain, letting the first recruiter know that another company is interested may be enough to encourage them to reach out to you.

If you get a “we’ll let you know” email

Let's say you had your interview and sent your thank you note. After a few days, you hear from the recruiter, but it's a "we'll let you know" email. While that's certainly frustrating, and although you might be tempted to follow up every day, don't. You just have to resign yourself to waiting, and understand that the company has a process they have to follow and that you need to be patient.

However, there are two scenarios when it’s okay to send a follow-up:

  1. If you get another job offer, it’s fine to let this recruiter know you have another opportunity on the table.

  2. If it's been seven to ten business days and you haven't heard anything, you can consider reaching out, but only if the original message from the recruiter doesn't state that you shouldn't.

Whether or not to follow up, in this case, may be subjective, and you can probably take a risk without jeopardizing your chances of getting the job. But it might be best to trust the recruiter and assume that they will indeed reach out if they've decided to move you on to the next round.

If you didn’t get the job

If they offer you the job, great! They’ll most likely provide you with a time frame for moving forward. If you’re planning to accept, reach out to the recruiter to verbally accept the offer via phone (or their established procedure for accepting a job).

But what if you didn’t get the job? Should you just go on “radio silence” or “ghost” them? Absolutely not. The important thing is to make sure you don't take the rejection as a personal affront. It’s important to take the time to thank the recruiter for their efforts. This leaves the recruiter with a good impression, and they're more likely to keep you in mind for future opportunities if you're polite and don't act like a sore loser.



Remember to follow up. You may be wary of "bothering" the recruiter, but that's telling them that you're not interested.

Remember that one email every 7-10 days is enough. If you don’t hear after two attempts, move on.

Stick to one method of communication. Don't email, then call, then contact them through LinkedIn.

Lie about another job offer. They may just respond with, “good luck!”

Overwhelm the recruiter with emails. It doesn't make you look enthusiastic; it makes you look like a stalker.

Don't get too personal or casual. You're not trying to make a friend, you're trying to get a job.

So, how do you follow up with a recruiter? (with examples)

Now that you have the “whens” and “whys” of following up with a recruiter, it’s time to move on to the “hows.” While it's perfectly okay to call a recruiter, you might want to eschew that in favor of an email. Recruiters are incredibly busy, and they may not have time to field your phone call and you'd have to leave a voice message anyway. Sending an email gives the recruiter a chance to respond when they have the time and can give you the attention (and information) you need. You'll also have an electronic paper trail, eliminating any possible confusion and allowing you to easily keep track of when you've followed up.

Something else to keep in mind: even if you had a great interview with a recruiter, you don't want to flood them with social media likes, follows, or send emails to their personal account. Keep it professional, and respect their boundaries, otherwise, you might earn a "red flag" on your application. Remember, whatever industry or field you're in, it's a small community. If people are going to talk about you, make sure it's positive.

No matter when you’re following up, your email should have an overall positive tone and include the following six elements:

  1. The recruiter’s name in whichever way they prefer to be addressed

  2. Informing them that you’re following up on the status of your interview/application

  3. The job title and the date you applied/interviewed

  4. A statement of interest in the position

  5. A question about your status

  6. Thank them for their time

Expert Tip

Before you send your follow-up email, take a beat. Make sure you've run it through a spellchecker and have another person proofread it. Make sure there are no typos (including the recruiter's name), and that your overall tone is positive.

After submitting an application

If you're applying for a job online, you probably won't get an immediate response. If there's a deadline in the posting, wait until it's passed before following up. Otherwise, you can send an email after five to ten days.


Subject line: Progress of Marketing Director recruitment

Dear Ms. Lahey,

I applied for the position of Marketing Director on 2/12/23, and am reaching out to learn if I am being considered as well as the next steps in the process as well as your hiring timeline.

I have a history of outstanding client satisfaction and have helped to increase my current company’s revenue by 12 percent. I feel my background and experience are a good fit for your position and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Mark Thompkins

Before an interview

Sending an email before an interview helps you ensure that you’re prepared and it demonstrates interest and excitement about the role. it's not mandatory, but it's a nice touch.


Subject line: Tomorrow’s interview

Dear Jeff,

My name is Susan Solomon, and I'm scheduled to interview for the position of Lead Accountant tomorrow at 2:30 PM. I'm eager to learn more about this opportunity and want to ensure that I am properly prepared, so please let me know if I need to bring anything to the interview or anything I’ll need to prepare ahead of time.

Please feel free to email or call me if necessary. Otherwise, I look forward to our meeting!

Yours truly,

Susan Solomon

After a phone interview

You should always follow up a phone call with an email, ideally within a day or two. it shows your interest in the position, reiterates your qualifications, and puts your contact information in electronic form.


Subject line: Phone interview follow-up

Dear Mr. Anderson,

Thank you for taking the time to speak to me earlier today. I enjoyed talking to you and learning more about the position as well as your company.

As requested, I've sent a copy of my resume and attached some samples from my portfolio.

Please feel free to contact me via email or at 312-555-1212 if you need anything other information. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Yours truly,

Margaret Sampson

After a final interview

If you've made it to the final round of interviewing, congratulations! A  follow-up email at this point may not get you the job, but it shows respect for the recruiter as well as the time they've spent with you. It should be sent no later than 24 hours.


Subject line: Thank you for your time

Dear Tina,

Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the Editorial Director position, and I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity.

While I hope you seriously consider me for the position, no matter your decision, I would like to let you know that it was a great experience from start to finish, and I have nothing but the highest regard for Sunshine Publishing.

Please feel free to contact me via email or cell phone. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Emma Smith

What do you do while you’re waiting after you’ve followed up?

Remember, even if your follow-up is the most polite and professional email ever written, in some cases, you simply won't hear back. Some companies have a policy not to respond to unsolicited emails. Others might respond if they choose to, but it's not a hard and fast rule. Maintain your composure, be patient, and make sure not to take the lack of response too personally.

In addition to continuing your job search, avoid beating yourself up after an interview about any mistakes you may or may not have made. Take some time to plan out your responses, working around any areas that might have given you trouble.

It's also important to keep busy. If you're currently employed, focus on your work. You might be looking for something new, but focusing on something other than your job search can make it easier to cope if you haven't heard back from a recruiter. If you're not employed, don't dwell on the negatives. You can do volunteer work (especially helpful if it's relevant to your career), update your resume, and do more networking to strengthen your professional contacts. You might also consider getting an additional certification or taking some professional development courses. All of these will keep you occupied and increase your value in the workplace.

Remember, recruiters have a lot on their collective plates. The job you applied for is important, and they want to fill it, but it may not be first on their list of priorities. Don’t get irritated — recruiters aren’t intentionally trying to frustrate you — and keep in mind that the hiring process takes time. While it may seem agonizingly slow on your end, remember that the company is just trying to find the best candidate for the job. Hopefully, that will be you!

Key takeaways

  1. Following up after an interview or job application will keep you on the recruiter’s radar, increase your chances of getting the position, allow the recruiter to do their job efficiently, and potentially increase your chances of getting the position.

  2. When following up, you want them to know you're excited about a job opportunity, but don't go overboard. Be restrained and concise.

  3. Remember that one email every 7-10 days is enough. If you don’t hear after two attempts, move on.

  4. While you’re waiting, keep busy by volunteering, updating your resume, networking, or taking professional development courses.

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