How Do You Do received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 78, based on 19 reviews.AllMusic editor David Jeffries commented that Hawthorne's songwriting ability compliments his "adherence to an aesthetic" and "love of nostalgic soul", and stated, "that the man sounds more natural and loose than on his debut might be this album's greatest asset, making the vulgar drops and other nods to the present feel less mannered than before." Barry Walters of Spin called Hawthorne a "credible crooner" and commented that "his increasingly confident cries and grooves and songwriting aplomb are undeniably pro." Colin McGuire of PopMatters dubbed it "Hawthorne's masterpiece to date" and stated, "What makes How Do You Do so much better than the singer's debut [...] is his foray into up-tempo groove-happy soul music."Los Angeles Times writer August Brown complimented its "fantastic pillow talk" and wrote that the album "splits the difference between the well-ironed soul revivalism of Adele and R. Kelly's baroquely dirty mind." Brown added that Hawthorne "comes into his own as a vocal powerhouse" and commended the production as "refined and dynamic in a way that's wholly missing from pop radio."
However, Slant Magazine's Jonathan Keefe found Hawthorne's singing "technically poor" and marred by a "shaky sense of pitch". Keefe noted its musicianship as "simply flawless in recreating a '70s-era R&B groove" and stated, "Hawthorne just doesn't have the vocal chops to pull off an otherwise solid album."Rolling Stone writer Chuck Eddy found "Hawthorne's oldschool pop-R&B homages [...] so meticulous that it's tempting to overrate his pipes", and concluded, "Don't expect emotion for the ages, and you'll have fun with this." In his consumer guide for MSN Music, critic Robert Christgau indicating "the kind of garden-variety good record that is the great luxury of musical micromarketing and overproduction". He called the album a "civically revivalist Motown / Ford homage" and stated, "What we're hearing here is the Temptations turning into the Delfonics—the way his midrange gives up the verse and his falsetto takes the chorus is as nice as his boyish sexism."