When A Recruiter Calls (Part 2) …And You’re Not Interested or Not Qualified.

Talent has become our most sought-after resource.  Seventy-five percent (75%) of senior human resource managers say that “attracting and retaining” talent is their number one priority.

Professionals who exercise a high degree of judgment (tacit decision-making) as a part of their job are in the most demand. 

How you handle yourself when a recruiter reaches out to you can either kick open the door of opportunity or isolate you from a source of career growth.  In this article we will discuss how to handle yourself when a recruiter contacts you and you are either not interested or not qualified for the position.

If you are contacted by LinkedIn InMail, it is permissible to simply not respond. The recruiter will interpret this as not being interested.

Avoid rejecting or declining the message. A communication history is created when you do this and the recruiter could skip over you next time even though the new position would be of interest to you and your situation about a job change is different.

The best approach when receiving an InMail message from a recruiter is to acknowledge the InMail but indicate that you are not interested but to stay in touch.  By responding you make a positive impression in the mind of a recruiter that can pay big dividends in the future.

It’s permissible and encouraged to speak with recruiters even though you are not interested in making a career move. When responding, tell the recruiter that you are not actively pursuing a career move, but would like to have a brief introductory conversation. On the call, provide some background information about yourself. 

Speaking with recruiters helps you be in control of your career.  All employment is temporary.  Change can happen suddenly in the form of restructuring, layoffs, and downsizing.  Listening to and speaking with recruiters will keep you in touch with the industry trends. Recruiters can be an excellent source of industry information as well as future opportunity.  Always build positive relationships with recruiters.

Whenever possible, provide a referral name for further networking. Recruiters have long memories and they remember those who help them.  Recruiters are in the networking business, and you should be, too! Referrals could include the names of colleagues within your company or someone outside your organization.  Good recruiters respect confidentiality.  If you provide a referral and do not want your name released as the source of the referral, ask that it not be.  However, the referral system works best when the recruiter can identify the referral source.

Ask questions about the recruiter.  Could the recruiter be a good source of information and a valuable member of your professional network?  Reasonable questions would include the recruiter’s tenure in the business, positions s/he specializes, segmentation (kinds of organizations s/he works with), and geographical reach (in case you ever want to relocate).  If you like what you hear and get a good feeling about the recruiter, make sure you get connected on LinkedIn.

Volunteer a resume.  If the recruiter specializes in your industry and position type, it is a good idea to volunteer a resume.  When future opportunities come around, a recruiter does not have to rely solely on notes if a resume is provided.  That extra information could put you at the top of the list for future opportunities.  Although it goes without saying with most recruiters, ask that your resume not be released without your prior permission.

Finally, openly share information.  This could be information about your own company as well as what you’ve heard about others (mergers, acquisitions, and so on.).  This information sharing will help you and the recruiter (and you foster a good relationship…one that could be very valuable to you in the future). Recruiters will reciprocate and both of you will be more informed about the industry as a result.

If you follow these guidelines, you will have handled yourself professionally with the recruiter even though you are not presently interested in a career move.  You will have laid the foundation for a productive relationship with a recruiter that could be a valuable resource for information as well as future career opportunities.

Brian Howard, J.D. is a Certified Career Management Coach (CCMC), a Certified Job Search Strategist (CJSS), a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), and an actively practicing executive recruiter. He is the author of the Motivated Series of job search books which include The Motivated Job Search (2nd Ed.), Over 50 and Motivated, The Motivated Networker, Motivated Resumes and LinkedIn Profiles, and The Motivated College Graduate.