How to Ask a Recruiter for an Update

Being in the job market often brings along some nerve-wracking moments. A common scenario we all face is waiting anxiously for feedback after a recruiter has reached out to you about your dream role and you’ve had that first interview.  When and how to ask a recruiter for an update is of topmost concern.  If you find yourself grappling with this question, seeking to strike the perfect balance between interest and patience, you’ve arrived at the right spot.

As a trusted career mentor, I’m here to help you figure this out and arm you with effective strategies to handle such situations with finesse. This article will guide you on the best practices for professionally and tactfully asking a recruiter for an update, ensuring that you know when to ask for an update, how to ask for an update, and what to do if you don’t get a response. Ready to transform uncertainty into action? Join me as we dive into the essentials of seeking progress updates from recruiters, ensuring your communications remain effective and professional.

Embarking on our exploration of “how to ask a recruiter for an update,” it’s important to first understand why timely updates from recruiters are crucial in the job-seeking process.

Why Timely Updates from Recruiters are Important

Staying updated on your job application’s progress doesn’t just ease the tension of anticipation. It provides valuable context that enables you to make informed decisions about your professional trajectory. It could be deciding between multiple job offers or simply gaining the certainty needed to invest more time into other job prospects. Receiving updates allows you to navigate your career path with clarity and conviction.

Furthermore, timely communication with recruiters fosters a two-way relationship based on transparency and respect. It shows that you, as a candidate, are genuinely interested in the role and the company, while demonstrating the recruiter’s commitment to ensuring a smooth and engaging hiring process. It’s a cycle of professional courtesy that enhances the overall experience for all parties involved.

Understanding the importance of staying updated is the first step to mastering “how to ask a recruiter for an update”.

Right Time to Ask a Recruiter for an Update

Timing plays a vital role in knowing when to ask a recruiter for an update. Asking too soon could be perceived as pushy, whereas asking too late might signal a lack of interest. Striking the perfect balance is key.

Often, the hiring process comes with its own timeline, usually communicated during the interview stage. If a recruiter mentions a specific timeframe, such as “we’ll be in touch in two weeks,” it’s generally wise to wait until that period has passed before reaching out for an update. This shows respect for the recruiter’s time and the process they have outlined.

However, if the timeline isn’t provided or the specified period has lapsed without communication, you have a justifiable reason to ask for an update. Usually, waiting for a week or two post-interview before initiating a follow-up is considered professional and respectful. Remember, recruiters are often handling multiple roles and candidates, and a slight delay doesn’t necessarily equate to rejection.

Moreover, if you’re faced with another job offer or a significant decision that hinges on the status of this job application, reaching out for an update becomes a matter of urgency. Recruiters generally appreciate knowing if you’re juggling multiple offers as it allows them to expedite the process where possible.

With a clearer understanding of the right time to ask for an update, let’s explore the ideal way to frame your communication, ensuring it’s professional, respectful, and effective.

Dos and Don’ts When Asking a Recruiter for an Update

First off, let’s go over some basic Do’s and Don’ts when asking a recruiter for an update to ensure your follow-ups are effective and well-received.


  1. Be Patient and Respectful: Always remember that hiring processes can vary greatly in length. Respect the recruiter’s time and maintain a level of patience. Remember, they are juggling multiple candidates and roles simultaneously.
  2. Stay Professional: Keep all your communication professional. Your follow-up should reflect the same level of professionalism showcased in your job application.


  1. Avoid Frequent Follow-ups: While it’s essential to keep in touch, avoid bombarding the recruiter with frequent updates. They’re aware of your interest; now it’s a matter of waiting for the process to unfold.
  2. Don’t Get Personal: Keep your communication focused on the job application. Avoid any personal comments or questions that may come across as unprofessional or irrelevant.

With these dos and don’ts in mind, you’re now better equipped to navigate the process of asking a recruiter for an update.

How to Politely Ask a Recruiter for an Update: Step-by-Step

Navigating the subtleties of how to ask a recruiter for an update requires a blend of professionalism, respect, and tact. When done right, a well-timed and carefully crafted follow-up can highlight your interest in the role and keep your application at the forefront of the recruiter’s mind.

Step 1: Choose Your Medium of Communication

Your initial form of contact should be the one the recruiter has been using to communicate with you, whether that’s email or phone. Emails are generally preferred due to their non-intrusive nature, allowing the recruiter to respond at their convenience.

Step 2: Craft a Professional and Polite Message

The tone and content of your message are paramount. Start your email by acknowledging the recruiter’s busy schedule, and express your gratitude for the opportunity to interview for the role.

Step 3: Clearly State Your Purpose

In a concise manner, state the purpose of your email — to request an update on your job application. Remember to specify the position and company for which you’ve applied, especially since recruiters may be handling multiple vacancies at once.

Step 4: Reiterate Your Interest

Make sure to reiterate your interest in the position. Not only does this reinforce your enthusiasm for the role, but it also signals your potential commitment to the company.

Step 5: Closing and Proofreading

Conclude your email on a positive note, thanking the recruiter for their time and consideration. Before sending, proofread your message thoroughly to eliminate any errors. Your communication should reflect your attention to detail and professionalism. I highly recommend using Grammarly for all proofreading – whether emails or to improve tone and content on written documents/PowerPoint slides, etc.

A well-executed email could look something like this:

Subject: [Your Name] – Application Status Inquiry for [Job Title]

Dear [Recruiter’s Name],

It was a pleasure talking with you on [date of the last discussion]. I understand how busy you must be managing numerous candidates and appreciate the time you’ve taken to engage with me during the interview process for [Job Title] at [Company].  I am writing to inquire about any updates regarding the position. If you could let me know the current status or the expected timeline for the next steps, I would greatly appreciate it.

I remain very interested in the opportunity and I am eager to demonstrate how my skills and experiences align with the [Job Title] role.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to any updates you might have.

Best regards,

[Your Name]
[Phone Number]

Armed with these steps on how to ask a recruiter for an update, you can effectively navigate your job application process. Up next, we’ll explore some common mistakes to avoid when following up.

What to Do If You Don’t Hear Back

Not hearing back can be challenging, but it’s important to keep perspective. If, after following our step-by-step guide on how to ask a recruiter for an update, you still don’t receive a response, consider it as a cue to keep exploring other opportunities. Although disappointing, a lack of response can sometimes reflect the company’s communication style. Remember, each interaction during the hiring process offers insights about the potential employer. Keep the momentum going, and apply elsewhere while maintaining an optimistic outlook.


Navigating the job search journey can often feel like a delicate dance, especially when it comes to figuring out how to ask a recruiter for an update. However, by maintaining a professional approach, and utilizing the tips and techniques we’ve discussed, you can successfully manage this aspect of your job search. Remember, patience and persistence are your allies in this process. Don’t hesitate to seek updates, but also remain understanding of the recruiter’s timeline. The key is to strike a balance and ensure your follow-ups communicate interest without crossing into the territory of being overbearing. Continue refining your approach, and you’re sure to make strides in your career journey.

For more tips on managing your career, don’t forget to check out other insightful articles on Simply Great Resumes!  If you found this article on “how to ask a recruiter for an update” helpful, you might also be interested in our guides on “Do you want to tell us anything else about yourself” and “Preparing for an Executive Interview”. Both articles offer invaluable insights to support you through your career journey.

About Simply Great Resumes

Simply Great Resumes, led by Kerry Gustafson, provides unrivaled resume writing and career coaching services. As Milwaukee’s best executive resume writing service, we deliver personalized career strategies and easy-to-use ATS-friendly resume templates to help you excel.