not interested

Not Interested? How to Respond to Recruiters

How do you feel about recruiters?

For some people, lots of people, too many people, talking to a recruiter is a waste of time. They view them as useless, clueless and more than anything else, an annoyance. As someone who has been in the industry since 1997, I wholeheartedly disagree. Yet, I can understand why some people feel the way that they do.  Let me explain.

There are different types of recruiters. For example, there are “contingency recruiters” who do not get paid until a hire is made and “retained search firms” who have been paid an upfront fee to produce a hire within a reasonable amount of time.  When quotas are unmet and the clients start barking, recruiters tend to go into survival mode. Some of these “survivalist recruiters” may log into a job board, grab all the emails of candidates they can find and spam a proposition until they get lucky. In these cases, recruiters are focusing on keywords in your resume more so than your entire work history. (Just in case you ever wondered why you were approached about jobs you were obviously unqualified for.) Will recruiters ever stop spamming candidates based solely on the keywords on their resume? Probably not. As the saying goes, “a few bad apples spoil the bunch.”

If you are someone who is often contacted for opportunities that you are not a fit for or, are simply uninterested in, use it to your advantage.  How?

1. Create an email addressing the job opportunities that would be of interest to you.

2. Track your interactions with recruiters and develop those encounters into relationships.

Hmm… Just in case I lost you there, let me step-by-step it. The next time a recruiter contacts you about an opportunity, try sending an email based on the template below.

Dear Recruiter,

Thank you for contacting me about (insert job title here).  With respect, I must decline any interest in that opportunity and ask that you remove me from further consideration. However, I do hope this does not conclude our relationship. Feel free to contact me for opportunities of which I am reasonably capable of performing.

Please use the following  job titles as a point of reference:

# Job Title I

# Job Title 2

# Job title 3

I am open to relocation. Specific areas of interest are:

# City 1

# City 2

# City 3

In order to save us both some time, I have an interest in companies focused on (fill in the industry of your choice) who foster a culture of (describe a cultural attribute you like) and allow me to (work virtually / promote work-life balance / whatever floats your boat).

My most notable professional achievements are: 

# Bragging right 1

# Bragging right 2

# Bragging right 3

I am not interested in jobs that:

# Add your criteria. For example...  require managing teams greater than four.

# Add your criteria. For example... require extensive travel.

Finally, I have also researched the most common interview questions and prepared statements on each. I understand that this could help expedite the recruitment process? I will make this available to you should an opportunity you present capture my attention.  For your information, some of the questions addressed are:

# How do you handle stressful situations and working under pressure?

# What are you like working in a team?

#  What has been your biggest professional disappointment / achievement so far?

I appreciate your time and consideration.


Your Name

Once you have replied to a recruiter with this data,  I suggest you add a reminder on your calendar to follow-up. Make sense? What do you think of this approach? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories: Jobs