How to Respond to a Recruiter Inquiry (Updated, 2019)

Updated on September 7, 2019
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How to Respond to a Recruiter Inquiry

How to Respond to A Recruiter Inquiry
How to Respond to A Recruiter Inquiry

Email Templates For Responding to a Recruiter

So a potential new employer has contacted you about a potential career opportunity. Congratulations - most of the time that tends to be a great feeling! But remember that there is still some distance to go and it is imperative to respond appropriately and professionally to unsolicited approaches. Learn how you can respond to a recruiter inquiry with confidence and professionalism.

If you are interested in the job then, of course, you don't want to appear desperate as chances are this will negatively affect the remuneration package on offer. On the other hand, if you are not interested there's also no sense in burning your bridges as who knows what may occur in the future? Whatever the situation, knowing how to respond to a recruiter inquiry is an essential career skill. Here are five examples to help point you in the right direction on how to respond to a recruiter.

1. You Are Simply Happy Where You Are

Not everyone is happy to bounce between companies every couple of years to advance their resume. In fact, finding a company where you are a valued employee and perform an enjoyable role is for many people their career Holy Grail. Should you be lucky enough to be perfectly content where you are - but also don't want to appear rude or dismissive - this is a sturdy example for a professional yet informal response:

Hi (Name),

What an interesting sounding job - thanks so much for considering me a suitable fit.

While I really appreciate your interest, at present I am very happy working for (Your Company) and am not looking for a change of scenery right now.

Should this situation change in the future I'll be sure to be in touch with you.

Thanks again for your interest and all the best,

(Your Name)

Short and sweet is usually the best policy here. But there maybe someone else in your organization who could be interested. If so, feel free to mention this in your reply—but wait for their confirmation before passing that information on to your colleague.

2. Open to Offers if It Is the Perfect Opportunity

So, you are pretty content where you are, but if the job on offer is going to either provide a considerable career boost or allow you to pursue particular projects of interest you might be interested. The key here is to play your poker face and let them prompt them to lay their cards down on the table. Look towards being available for an informal phone chat with no guarantees:

Hi (Name),

Thanks very much for your intriguing email!

Currently, I'm happy working with (Present Company) but I'm always interested in discussing developments in (Employment Sector). This is especially the case when it concerns (What Interests You In The Role). Would you happen to be free for a quick call on (When Suits Your Schedule In A Few Days)?

You can reach me here (Number) during standard office hours. Very much looking forward to chatting with you!

All the best,

(Your Name)

Simple and to the point without being remotely committed. Note that it is best to schedule the phone call a little while into the future even if you have a totally empty diary. It implies that you are busy yet willing to make time for them.

3. Looking to Move but Not Interested in This Opportunity

Exciting as is to be approached by a potential new employer, it is not uncommon to realize soon after that it may simply not be quite as enticing a prospect as initially seemed the case. Don't fling that email into your recycle bin just yet though - the fact that you have been approached may still open doors further down the line. This is an important rule for good email etiquette.

Chances are that this recruiter will have extensive contacts through their networking with other industry professionals - and may be able to help direct your resume towards alternative openings. One thing is certain, there's no point in not trying, you never know.

Hi (Name),

Thank you very much for considering me for the (Vacancy Name) position.

While it is an enticing prospect and I am certainly looking for a new career direction, I am looking for one that will allow me to (Fill in your objectives here. Perhaps work remotely/from home, undertake more responsibility, adopt a freer approach etc).

Unfortunately, I do not believe that this opportunity quite matches what I am looking for, but please let me know if you are aware of any other openings in the (Your Industry) that may be suitable.

I have attached a copy of my latest resume if you may be free to give it a quick review. Should you need to contact me, my direct office line is (Your Number).

Best Wishes,

The objective here is clearly to let them down gently yet professionally. Remember that should you handle this well, it is not impossible that they may even modify the conditions for their current vacancy to be more in line to what you are looking for. Presenting a good professional impression is the sole objective here.

4. This Is An Opportunity You Want To Interview For

OK, now we're in business! The opportunity that you have been approached for is very interesting indeed and you are seriously interested. It may not be a life/death situation but if offered it you'll gladly take it. So the key is to be invited for an interview to discuss it further and establish that it is as promising as it sounds. Note the more business-like tone here.

Dear (Name),

Thank you very much for suggesting this role to me.

It is certainly one that I would be interested in looking further into and I do agree that I could be a very good match. As you will have noticed from my resume (Briefly list relevant experience, qualifications, and achievements while keeping it industry specific).

Moving forward I would be delighted to schedule a time to discuss this opportunity further and what I can add to (Organization/Team Name). Would we be able to do so this week? My direct line is (Number) and I can be reached outside of office hours on (Personal Number).

Look forward to hearing from you soon!

Yours sincerely,

(Your Name)

The primary goal here is taking the contact outside of email exchanges and talking it through either by phone or ideally in a formal interview setting. Allow them space to arrange these to fit their own schedule - there's no need to be pushy as after all they are the ones who are interested in you. Go with the flow and keep it cool no matter how interested you may be.

5. The Dream Job!

Hold your horses! No matter how much you may wish to dance on your desk you haven't been formally offered the job just yet. In this ideal situation you are already pretty much guaranteed for being offered an interview, but most probably so are at least half a dozen others. So what needs to be done now is to make your response here stand out from those other candidates. Recruiters will all agree that controlled enthusiasm is always the best way to do this while also demonstrated knowledge and interest in the prospective new employer.

Dear (Name),

Thanks for getting in touch and sharing the details of this fascinating opportunity. I'm very interested in learning more.

From what I gather you are recruiting a (Job Title) who can (Skills Description) with a proven track record in (Job Specifications/Objectives). As you may have noticed from my resume I can offer a great match in all of these specifics and would love to grow further working with (Company Name).

For the past (Time With Current Employer) I have progressed significantly and added (Core & Secondary Skills) that have led to (Mention Your Successes). While I have enjoyed this role it is time to take it to the next stage and I feel that (Company Name) offers an ideal next step in my career.

I'd really like to discuss this vacancy further and can be available (List Times) on (Contact No. & email).

Really looking forward to hearing from you and thanks once again for your interest.

Yours sincerely,

(Name)

The above is an effective yet simple sample email to a recruiter. But also look for anything extra you may be able to include that helps add a splash of color. It can be anything vaguely relevant—shared education or shared former employers are the best—and just add it towards the end of your email. This will demonstrate that you have performed your homework not only about the job but also the recruiter—and nowadays that is seen as indicative of invaluable networking skills.

Don't Sell Yourself Short

Reply To A Recruiter Email

Reply To A Recruiter Email
Reply To A Recruiter Email

How To Effectively Decline A Job Interview

How To Effectively Decline A Job Interview

We've discussed above how to appropriately respond to a job offer that may not be the right fit but you are potentially interested in a move. Trying to engage an external recruiter in your industry can provide a wonderful boost to your prospects. But what if you simply are not interested in a job?

Recruiters invest a huge amount of time in trying to find the right professionals to fit into their teams. Matching a person to a company ethos is essential to successful productivity and this is why they may interview dozens and contact hundreds of people during their search to fill just a single vacancy.

Naturally, this process involves sending out hundreds of emails. More often than not, targeted professionals simply will not even bother to reply if they are not interested in the position. That is poor form! Just a simple ten-second "thanks but no thanks" email will be appreciated and if done well may keep you in consideration for more appropriate positions further down the line.


Hi (Name),

Thanks for contacting me regarding your vacancy for (Job Title).

While, I'm grateful to be considered I'm not going to be pursuing this further at present. However, should this change in the near future I'll be sure to let you know.

Feel free to keep me in mind should you have alternative vacancies in the near future.

* Optional: Here you may want to briefly describe what your ideal & realistic next career step may be. Offer to forward on your resume if they do not already have it but do not include it automatically.

All the best in finding a suitable match for the vacancy.

(Name)

Keeping it short, polite and to the point is the sensible way to reject a job offer. Even approaches which are entirely unsuitable can turn out to be an essential first step further down the line. So never burn a bridge especially if you work in a profession where networking is essential to move forward.

Respond To Recruiter Email With Confidence & Professionalism

These are my tidbits on how I think one should go about in responding to recruiter emails. With so many positions, the ways to respond are endless. Hope this helps, and remember, be fearless and understand that mistakes are a great revenue for you.

Responding To Emails

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Edgar M

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Andrew 

        5 weeks ago

        Recruiters use a copy and paste message and you are suggesting replying with a novel. It’s not practical and I don’t have the time or energy. I’m happy in my current job but always looking for advancement. If the recruiter could cut to the chase and let me know salary and benefits I’d be more willing to apply.

      • profile image

        Johan Van Der Merwe 

        6 weeks ago

        Requesting updated professional information - for Executive Management letter of recommendation - what are the new trends and professional tips.

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