How To Best Ask A Recruiter For An Update (With Example)

by | Finding A Job

Is it okay to ask a recruiter for an update, or will they get annoyed if you follow up? If you do decide to follow up, how long should you wait, and what should you say? And, what if they still don’t respond to you?

There are a lot of nuances when it comes to checking in with a recruiter or hiring manager. If you’re like many job seekers, you might be hesitant to ask for an update because you worry you will come off as annoying. The truth is, it’s a delicate balance between demonstrating strong follow-through and coming off as pushy.

In this article, I answer common questions about when and how to best reach out to recruiters and hiring managers. I also provide a sample email that you can use to ask a recruiter for an update after your interview, since writing a strong follow-up message can be tricky.

Is It Okay To Ask A Recruiter For An Update?

Whether you submitted your application online, completed an initial recruiting screening call, or are waiting for a potential job offer, there are a lot of situations in which you might consider asking a recruiter for an update on your candidacy.

It doesn’t hurt to check in with the recruiter about your application or the next steps in the hiring process, so long as your message is professional and concise.

Do Recruiters Get Annoyed If You Follow Up? 

Now, you might be thinking something like, “I know it’s technically okay to follow up with a recruiter, but won’t they get annoyed with me for checking in? I’m sure they’re busy with other work, and I don’t want to bother them.”

The short answer is, no, they’re not going to get annoyed if you follow up. Two major components of a recruiter’s job are (1) providing you with updates on your candidacy and (2) supporting you in having the best experience possible while interacting with their company. In other words, you’re simply helping them to do their job.

Rather than annoying the recruiter, you can think of your check-in message as an opportunity to help the recruiter do their job as effectively as possible. In fact, recruiters often reply to my clients’ check-in messages by thanking them for following up, saying that their inquiry served as a helpful reminder to check in with a hiring manager or other decision-maker who never got back to them.

Remember: While your job search is a major priority to you, the recruiter is likely juggling 20 or more open requisitions, so it’s normal for them to forget to send updates.

How Long Should You Wait Before Following Up With A Recruiter For An Update?

So, once you do choose to follow up with a recruiter, you’ll have to decide on the appropriate timing for your message.

Before asking for an update, be sure that any target date they have provided has passed. If they said they’ll get back to you in two weeks after they’ve met with all candidates, and it’s only been a week, you’ll want to wait before following up. Otherwise, you can risk coming off as someone who struggles to follow directions, and this can impact your candidacy.

Similarly, if the job posting had a date listed as to when they’ll be reviewing applications, it’s often best to wait until after that date has passed to ask for an update.

If they didn’t provide you with a timeline for the next steps in the hiring process, however, you can send a check-in asking about what to expect.

Can You Follow Up With A Recruiter Too Much?

While I find most job seekers rarely follow up with recruiters, I find there are a select few who follow up too much, often as a result of being anxious about the job search. This isn’t the best look when you’re trying to make a strong first impression.

A great way to avoid coming off as pesky to a prospective employer is to always know the timeline and the next step in the hiring process.

This can be as simple as ending each interview by asking the interviewer, “What is an appropriate timeline for me to follow up with you after the interview?” says Tejal Wagadia, a sourcing recruiter at Amazon Web Services.

[Read: Why Do Recruiters Ghost Job Applicants? 4 Explanations]

How To Ask A Recruiter For An Update: Sample Email Message

How Do You Follow Up With A Recruiter For An Update After An Interview? Sample Email Message

Here’s a sample email message you can use to ask a recruiter for an update after an interview:

Subject Line: Checking in re: Interview on [Date] for [Position Name] Position

Hi [Recruiter’s Name],

I hope you’re doing fabulously. 

Thank you, again, for meeting with me on [Date] to discuss the [Position Name] position with [Company Name]. I’m writing to check in and see if you need anything else from me to facilitate your decision-making process.

Thank you,

[Your Name]

As I shared with the New York Post, you want to include a clear subject line that summarizes your email message. You also want to include a single, clear call-to-action (CTA) that makes it as easy as possible for the recruiter to respond with the info you’re requesting.

This follow-up email isn’t the time to showcase your storytelling chops either. Instead, aim for three sentences in length, as this requires you to keep your writing tight and focused.

Then, before hitting send, also be sure to have a trusted friend, mentor, or career coach review your email.

Please remember that recruiters are busy, so allow them at least a day or two to respond. If it’s been more than three business days, you can send a quick, one- to two-line follow-up message bumping the email to the top of their inbox.

Note: Stick with the same communication channel throughout the entire application and interview process. Asking for an update isn’t the time to switch up communication methods with the recruiter.

Conclusion: How To Ask A Recruiter For An Update

To put it simply, when in doubt, follow up and ask the recruiter for an update on your interview or job application. Rather than considering yourself an annoyance, think of your check-in message as a friendly reminder in a sea of emails. Just remember to keep your message concise and professional and wait until any timeline they have mentioned has passed before asking for the update. You’ve got this!

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).

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