Getting a message from a recruiter is a great feeling even if you aren’t searching for a new job. It’s good knowing that you’re in demand and have skills that companies are looking for. And if you are on the hunt for a new job—that’s one of the best emails you can get.
But even if you aren't interested in the opportunity, the recruiter’s email still warrants a response, but how you respond depends on how you want to proceed.
How to respond to a recruiter if you’re interested
Did reading about the opportunity make you want to do a happy dance? Let them know that you want to hear more by expressing your interest, sharing why you’re interested or why you’re cut out for the job, and letting them know your availability.
This is effectively where your interview begins. So, in your response, you should share more about your skillset or your experience that make you a great fit for the role.
Thank you for reaching out to me about this position. I’m definitely interested in hearing more. I’m excited to see that the position calls for expert-level knowledge of Magaya Cargo System. Last year, I designed and conducted company-wide training at ACME Corp on that software.
I am available this week after 2 p.m. Tuesday–Friday. If that doesn’t work for you, I can take another look at my calendar. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
How to respond to a recruiter if you’re not sure whether you’re interested
Sometimes recruiter’s emails are vague. This may be because they’re using a mass template, it may be on purpose to gauge general interest in a company, or because their client only wants certain information to be shared before a phone screening. It’s frustrating, so you can ask for more.
If you're not sure if the role is right for you and would like to have things clarified before investing time in a phone interview, a good way to respond to a recruiter’s email is by asking for more information with one or two questions.
Thank you for reaching out to me about the unit controller role. I’m interested in hearing more, but I’d like to understand a bit more before I proceed.
Can you let me know what company this is for and more about their services? I’d also like to know if this position is a management role, which is really what I’m in the market for right now.
I appreciate your consideration and hope to hear back from you soon.
How to respond to a recruiter if you’re not interested at all
I’ve had many clients who’ve heard from a recruiter about a position that was completely wrong for them. I once had a senior sales executive get a call from a recruiter for a forklift operator position. While I’m not sure how this happens with some recruiters, it does happen.
Sometimes you’ll hear about a job and it’s just not a great fit or the timing is bad to be searching for something new. Regardless of the reason why you want to say “pass”, you should consider keeping a relationship with a recruiter, because even if you don’t need them, someone in your network might.
Thank you for considering me for this position. At this time I am not interested in this role, but I’ll be sure to pass this along to anyone in my network that may be interested. I wish you great luck in your search.
How to respond to a recruiter if you’re not interested (but want to leave the door open)
If the position was not the right fit for you, but you’re looking for another opportunity or just want to keep the door open, it’s important to be clear with the recruiter.
In your response, let the recruiter know what you're looking for and how you’d like to proceed.
Thank you for considering me for this position. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good fit for me because I’m looking for a position that is front end–focused and this is a back-end role. I’ll be sure to pass this along to someone in my network who is a better fit.
I would love to stay connected, as I am currently searching for a position where I would be able to use my X,Y, and Z skills. For your consideration, I’ve attached my resume. If your agency requires candidates to submit an application, I’d be happy to complete one this week.
I look forward to staying connected with you and wish you great luck in your search to fill this role.