This Is When It's OK to Follow Up with a Recruiter During the Interview Process

Your recruiter set you up on a phenomenal job interview. You definitely want the job, and you can hardly wait to hear back. But days go by, and all you hear is crickets in the background. What should you do?  If you follow up too soon, you might appear overzealous, which can be a turnoff. But if you wait too long, the job might go to someone else, and you’ll be kicking yourself for not being more assertive. So, when is it okay to follow up with a recruiter during the interview process? Here’s some advice that can help you sort it all out.

Gauge the situation

Executive Recruiter Biron Clark recommends your follow-up communication be in the form of a well-crafted email sent exactly five business days after the interview. The exception is if the recruiter or the interviewer told you not to expect a reply for a week or two. You don’t want to appear desperate by jumping the gun; and you also don’t want to give the impression you weren’t listening. So, if you were told it will be two weeks—hold off on the follow up. You can (and should) send a thank-you note right away. But calling or emailing to see if they’ve decided yet before you were supposed to hear anything could work against you. You’ll need to consider all the information you have to gauge the situation appropriately before acting.

Don’t make assumptions

If you haven’t gotten any feedback about your interview in a couple of weeks, you may jump to the conclusion that the job went to somebody else. But that’s not necessarily true. According to Ladders, “the vast majority of recruiters say they often take up to a month to lock in an applicant.” The competition is stiff out there. There may be hundreds of viable applicants to sift through. So, don’t assume one or two weeks is a cutoff time. It may just be a midway point.

Be professional

Badgering your recruiter is not only annoying, it’s unprofessional. Calling or emailing your recruiter an hour after the interview could turn him against you, even if he’s been in your corner from the get-go. Even worse, repeatedly trying to contact him after not hearing back is quickly going to put you at the top of his do-not-call list. What you may think demonstrates passion or enthusiasm is probably coming off as too intense. No matter how eager you are to find out if you landed your dream job, you need to ground yourself, and behave like a rational professional. Give the recruiter at least two days after leaving a message or sending an email before you try to contact him again. He may not be going dark on you like you think; he could just be super busy.


You’re much less likely to obsess over a single position if you have your proverbial eggs in multiple baskets. If you’re sitting by the phone waiting for the recruiter to call, you may end up contacting her too soon and appearing desperate. But if you continue your job search, you might not even notice it’s been days since you’ve heard anything. After all, you are busy sending out additional resumes, polishing up your interviewing skills, and looking for more “perfect” positions. Who has time to freak out with all of that going on?

As Tom Petty once sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” There’s no denying anticipation can be brutal, especially when you’re waiting for life-changing news. But you can persevere! Now that you know the rules of thumb and how to find the balance between over-eagerness and apathy, you can feel confident your follow-up timing will be on point. 

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