How Often Is It OK To Contact A Recruiter During Your Job Search?

You've put yourself back on the job market and have decided to work with a recruiter to help you land your dream job. After all the preliminaries are done, you might be wondering—how often is it OK to contact your recruiter during the job search or application process?

contact recruiter

You don't want to call too soon and come across as annoying and desperate. Yet, you don't want to wait too long and find yourself pushed off your recruiter's radar or make them think you're not interested. It can be tricky determining the right balance. Realistically, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are some general guidelines.

Where Are You In The Recruitment Process?

Before you reach out, think about where you are in the process because, like any other relationship, you'll want to build a rapport and camaraderie. If you've only just gotten started and are in the application phase, allow five to 10 business days before making contact.

Once the ball is rolling, and you've had a phone screening or in-person interview, it's probably OK to take a more assertive approach. Drop a note later that same day or the next day. When you follow up, offer a quick thank you, tell them you enjoyed chatting, and you look forward to the next step in the search process.

If you're further along in the process and have completed the screenings and interviews, this is where you'll want to show patience. According to staffing consultant firm Robert Half, every week or two is the industry practice. If you're at the "We'll get back to you" stage, stick to this rule and definitely keep up your job search in the meantime. Additionally, if you receive another offer, let the recruiter know. You never want to burn bridges, especially if the current deal on the table falls apart or the position doesn't work out.

Drop A Friendly Email

If you're serious about finding a new job, you'll want to show your interest to the recruiter. With the unemployment rate being the lowest it has been in decades, recruiters are likely going to keep closer tabs on candidates who are actively pursuing new opportunities.

That being said, you want to be conservative about how you approach your recruiter. Keep in mind, they are typically pretty busy people and usually have their days fully booked sifting through resumes, managing screenings, and conducting interviews. Email is your best bet if you want a response.

  • Be brief. Reiterate specific points about why you'd be a good fit. Connect these points to specific needs the company is seeking.
  • Keep it professional. Don't be overly familiar. Remember, this is a business relationship, not a note to your buddy.
  • Thank your recruiter for their time.
  • Proofread carefully before you hit the send button.

Email is a quick way to touch base and shows you still have a high interest in finding a new job. It also allows the recruiter time to look up your status before they get back to you and makes it much easier for them than being put on the spot during a busy day. Chances are you'd go straight to voicemail anyway and possibly get lost in the shuffle.

Respect Boundaries

When contacting recruiters, you never want to invade their personal space. If they haven't connected with you on Facebook, don't go to their personal profiles to message with questions about your job search. Stick to professional channels only. Some recruiters may prefer and/or invite you to text them. If this is the case, use common sense and text only when appropriate.

It's within boundaries to be straightforward and simply ask when you can follow up and what communication method is preferred. This gives you a tangible time frame and peace of mind, and the recruiter isn't bombarded with update requests.

Follow-up plays a huge part in the job search process. Even if you nailed an interview or two, you can blow your chances if you don't handle follow-up well. In a nutshell:

  • Just talked to your recruiter earlier in the week—don't contact just yet.
  • A couple of weeks—definitely want to reach out.
  • Radio silence and ghosted—a good sign it's time to move on to discussing another position.

The waiting game is never fun. When working with a recruiter, it's good practice to avoid calling repeatedly, leaving multiple voicemails, or sending redundant emails. Instead, use this time productively to improve your professional appearance. Brush up on your LinkedIn profile, focus on networking, or spend this time reviewing your online reputation.

All good relationships take time. Make the effort to build one with your recruiter and things will start to naturally fall into place.

Search for your next job now:


Back to listing

The Washington Post Jobs Newsletter

Subscribe to the latest news about DC's jobs market