So, you just had your initial interview with a recruiter and you want to know where you stand in the running for the position. It can be hard to know what the next step is. You want to check-in, but you don’t want to come across as too pushy.
Recruiters are very busy — and often working with multiple candidates to try and place them — so how you handle the follow-up email is important. We gathered some of the best advice from recruiters to help you put your best foot forward and stand out among the crowd.
Show enthusiasm, but don’t be overbearing
It’s important to be enthusiastic when following up with a recruiter. But keep in mind, if you’ve had an initial interview, then your recruiter already thought you were qualified enough to reach out.
Recruiter and career coach, Yolanda Owens, says you should keep it straight forward, but make sure your interest is clear.
“Be subtle and succinct. Remind the recruiter of your interest in the job, and back it up with specific examples of why you’d be a good fit,” she said. “This doesn’t need to be a dissertation or regurgitation of the information on your resume—just one to two bullet points that quantify what you bring to the table.”
“Candidates should ask probing questions like ‘When is an appropriate time to follow up,’” he said. “When candidates ask this, they show interest and follow the guidelines without overbearing the recruiter or manager. It is important to know though that candidates need to show urgency. Candidates shouldn’t forget it is a candidate’s market and they hold the upper hand MOST of the time. If a manager is resistant to move things quickly, it is important not to be pushy. Every situation is different and every communication shows how you would handle a situation. Be strategic.”
Update your resume ahead of time
Always make sure you have your resume up to date and send it to them in your follow up. This is how a recruiter will determine if you are the most qualified candidate for the position, and will make it easier for them to push things forward.
ResumeSpice said it’s important not to underestimate the power of a good resume.
“The demise of the resume has been severely overstated,” they said. “Always have one at the ready. Recruiters will typically offer insight on how you can tighten your resume, but actually reformatting and rewriting your resume is up to you. If you need help strengthening your resume, a professional resume writing service may be the best route to take.”
Understanding Recruitment said it’s also important to make sure your resume is up to date on LinkedIn, as well as other job boards because this is how recruiters will find you. Make sure you tailor your resume to fit the type of jobs you want to be recruited for.
“Looking through CV’s is a huge part of a recruiter’s day and they come across the same buzzwords again and again… To stand out, tailor your CV to each role you apply for. The best way to do this is to run through the job description and highlight the key experiences required for the role. Then show how you tick every box and let your personality shine through.”
Get to know your recruiter
Investing in your recruiter and forming a relationship with them will put you at the top of their list. Recruiters are often working with multiple candidates and trying to fill multiple roles at once, so getting to know them will help you stand out.
Ryan Linn, recruitment consultant at Nigel Frank International emphasized the importance of this relationship.
“The most important thing is to understand what the recruiter is recruiting for and what their specialty is,” he said. “Get to know the recruiter and know how they can help you.”
Chris Relihan, talent manager at Strategic Industry Solutions, echoed this, adding that recruiters want to place their candidates just as much as their candidates want to be placed.
“Take time to get to know your recruiters. The better you know them, the better they’ll know you,” he said. “Trust your recruiters have you in their best interest.”
Don’t be afraid to reach out
Again, recruiters are extremely busy people! Don’t take it personally if you haven’t heard back from them in a few days. It’s likely that they don’t have any new information yet, or maybe you just weren’t the most qualified candidate for the position.
Understanding Recruitment said you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out if you have questions.
“Having [more than] 100 applicants for a position is not unusual so if you sent in your CV and haven’t heard back from them after a few days, give them a call to follow up. This will help recruiters prioritise your CV as someone who has shown interest and will set you apart from other candidates… getting in touch is a sure way to find out if you weren’t the right fit, if the maximum number of candidates have been sent to the client already or if there are other similar roles that you might be more suitable for.”
Relihan added that another way to get your foot in the door, is to offer to help your recruiter. Any additional information you can provide them that they don’t have to dig for will increase your chances of landing an interview.
“Offer your help to Recruiters where/when you can,” he said. “It’s a two way road and in most cases, candidates don’t pay a fee for recruitment services. By offering project intel, referrals, recommendation, etc.. that could be what makes you stand out to recruiters.”
Keep things professional
While it’s important to form a positive relationship with your recruiter, Owens emphasized that it’s also important to stick to business. Keep in mind that they are doing their job and professional boundaries still exist.
“Even a great initial interaction with the recruiter doesn’t give you license to follow up with social media invites, emails to personal accounts or websites, or asks for recommendations,” she said. “Recruiters interact with dozens of candidates a week to fill roles, not interview potential BFFs. And they don’t appreciate candidates invading their personal cyberspace with inquiries about application statuses or hiring team contact information.”
Owens added that failure to respect these boundaries could send out red flags and ultimately do more damage to the relationship with your recruiter.
Keep check-ins to a minimum
This goes back to our first point — you want to show interest, but you don’t need to be pushy. Your recruiter wants to place you in a job and is doing their best to make that happen. Trust that they will keep you in the loop if there are any updates.
ResumeSpice said most recruiters will recommend a weekly or bi-weekly email for temporary assignments and every 2-3 weeks for direct-hire positions. Just be patient and trust the process.
Thomson also said that you don’t need to stress yourself out, as these processes take time.
“Breathe. Take time to evaluate the scenario. Ask advice from a colleague. If you make it to the final stage in the recruiting process, you have done something right,” he said. “Now before you get too anxious, slow down and make sure the next move is the right one. If you do it right, you will have the upper hand. “