How to Reply to a Recruiter The Right Way in 2020

Jun 10, 2020

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Career Expert, ZipJob

An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

The job search process is always a challenge! Many of us aren’t sure what to expect unless we’re in the middle of job searching: scrolling through job postings, debating how to network effectively, and puzzling over messages from recruiters.

Recruiters can actually help cut down the time you spend job searching by quite a lot–if you know how to communicate with them the right way. As many as 77% of recruiters are using LinkedIn regularly to find and source candidates. If your LinkedIn is up to date and optimized, you’re likely to hear from a few people about your job search!

In general, recruiters only have one goal: to find the best candidates for the positions they’re trying to fill. As a result, the messages you get from recruiters tend to fall into some common categories. Knowing this, you should be able to properly prepare for those contacts and provide a prompt, confident response to any message or email you receive.

Here are four possible recruiter requests, and the proper way for you to respond.

Replying to a Recruiter

How to respond to a recruiter (correctly)

There are four broad reasons a recruiter will reach out. We’ve categorized them by the basic question each message seeks to answer.

1. Are you available for a phone interview?

This question might not seem like it would throw you for a loop, but you’d be surprised how many people get caught up searching for just the right words to use in their reply. Look, if someone wants to talk to you on a scheduled call, chances are that you’re in the running for a job. Keep your response simple and to the point.

For example:

“I’d love to speak with you, and appreciate the opportunity. Please be sure to let me know if there’s more information that I can provide between now and then.”

If the email asks for times that you’ll be available, just include a quick line that provides those details. Yes, it sounds simple–but that’s really all that you need!

💡ZipTip: read our expert’s advice on job searching during the COVID-19 outbreak.

2. When would you available for another interview?

Don’t be alarmed if you’re asked for a second interview. This is a requirement for some companies that use tiered interviewing processes–not a sign that your first interview wasn’t good enough.

Just reply with something short and sweet:

“I look forward to the opportunity to meet with your team. I’m available (insert the best days and times). Please let me know which time works for you, and if there’s anything else that you need from me between now and then.”

These days, many recruiters use tools to schedule interviews. If you schedule something through a link they provide, it’s still polite to send an email noting the time you have selected.

3. Do you have time for a chat?

This question is usually not the prelude to a formal interview on the phone, and could be indicative of just about anything. That uncertainty could make you anxious, but take breath.

The fact is that the company might want another interview, could have questions about your resume, or may simply want to hand down its decision on your application. You won’t know until you make time to chat with the recruiter.

Regardless, your response should be simple:

“I appreciate you following up on our earlier contact. I’m available to talk (insert the best time), so if that works for you then let me know. Otherwise, I’m open to meet your scheduling needs.“

This response shows that you’re flexible, open, and accommodating–not anxious or desperate!

4. Can you send your resume again?

This message seems confusing at first–shouldn’t the recruiter already have your resume? Do you need to send an updated version of your resume? What’s going on?

There are any number of reasons why your resume might get lost or damaged. Digital systems can be unreliable, and even traditional filing systems are fallible!

Your electronic resume may have been accidentally deleted, lost, or damaged. Paper copies may have been misplaced.

Whatever the reason, just resend it with a short message:

“Thanks for contacting me again. I’ve attached a copy of my resume to this email. Please contact me if you’d like to send other materials as well.”

This message is a polite response, indicates you’ve complied with the request, and invites further conversation. However, like all the response templates on this list, it is short. Recruiters tend to deal with huge volumes of applicants, so it’s important to communicate clearly and succinctly.

What else do you need to know about replying to a recruiter?

Before you become paralyzed with anxiety about how to respond to any of these requests, keep one thing in mind: every single one of these contacts represents an opportunity to reinforce that positive first impression you’ve made with the company’s hiring personnel.

Most of these messages provide an opportunity to continue your conversation with the company’s representatives. All the questions on this list can all indicate that you’re still being considered for a job.

With those things in mind, try to maintain your optimistic outlook and simply respond in the most straightforward manner possible. Above all else, respond promptly. Don’t worry that an immediate response might be seen as a sign of desperation.

Quickly respond with the requested details, thank the recruiter for the contact, and then wait for the next reply. Once you learn how to communicate with a recruiter in a simple and clear way, you’ll wonder why these types of contact ever made you nervous in the past!

Bonus: working with a recruiter can get your resume directly into the hands of an employer. Zipjob’s team of professional resume writers know how to highlight your experience and skills on a resume that will impress employers. Click the image below to learn about how it works.

How it works Zipjob


Responding to a recruiter’s email doesn’t need to be scary! Recruiters are just people…albeit people who can open doors for you. Once you’ve identified why a recruiter is contacting you, the email templates on this page will help you respond quickly and correctly.

Good luck with your job search!

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An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

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