How to Respond to a Recruiter Who Contacts You Out of the Blue

Have you ever been stumped by how to respond to a recruiter who pings you without warning?

Have you ever suddenly wanted something you never knew you wanted before? Maybe you saw a commercial for a product you can’t live without. Or your friend gets something and now you have to have it too.

This sudden upheaval of feelings can also happen when a recruiter contacts you with “we think you are a good fit for this opportunity” message.

Let’s say you are perfectly happy at your job but now you start thinking “What if I could make money? What if I could move? What if this is more exciting?”

How to respond to a recruiter can be tricky whether you were expecting (or hoping) for the inquiry or not. Let’s take a look at some options you have.

Why are you getting contacted?

There are several reasons why you might be contacted by a recruiter even if you aren’t looking for a job. Your online activity and social media engagement could have something to do with it, especially when it comes to LinkedIn. The more active you are the more you may get noticed by recruiters looking for candidates in your field.

You may also have an older resume or application floating around on the web that is still coming up in searches. If any of your social media profiles contain phrases such as “looking for opportunities” or “open for something new” or anything pertaining to a job search, then you might also get pinged.


Career Tip: If you have recently been looking for a new job and secured one, be sure to go back and update all of your profiles.

How to Respond to a Recruiter

It is good business practice to provide some kind of response. While it may be tempting to simply ignore the inquiry if you aren’t interested, you never know what kind of contact you could make. It might not serve you now, but it could prove useful in the future. Plus, being polite and professional is always worthwhile.

If you aren’t actively seeking a new job it is still normal to be curious and want to find out more. Just be honest upfront and tell the recruiter.

“Thank you for contacting me. I am not currently looking for a new position but I wouldn’t mind hearing more about the opportunity you have.”

You can have a confidential conversation without your current employer being tipped off. Recruiters engage in these types of conversations all the time.

If you are NOT interested

If you aren’t interested in a new position at all you can simply thank the recruiter and inform he or she that you are not looking at this time. It may be helpful to suggest that they check back with you in a year to see how you are doing.

If you aren’t interested in this particular opportunity but you are open to hearing about ones that are better suited for you, you can suggest that you would like to update the recruiter on what you are looking for.

If you ARE interested

If you are interested respond quickly. Your first step in engaging with a recruiter is to gather as much information about the position as possible. Request that he or she email you the job specification or schedule a phone call so you discuss the opportunity further.

For your sake, this is the preferable way to start rather than fill out a lengthy form from the recruiter or send your resume right away. Find out more before you give up too much of your personal information.

Related: 5 Types of Recruiters: Which One Do YOU Need?

Once you have a phone call scheduled do your own research. Investigate the recruiter and the company he or she works for. Research the company or type of position you were presented with. Do a salary analysis and prepare some questions.

Be sure that you understand what the recruiter’s policy is, what the next steps are, and how the entire process works.

If a recruiter reaches out to you out the blue it is a good thing. It means you are recognized as s professional with experience in your field with employable skills.

Regardless of whether you are interested in the opportunity or not, it is important to be professional throughout the process.  You might learn something about your current position too. Recruiters can be part of your professional network and may even help you advance your career.

Good Luck! Happy Career Hunting!

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