Thanks but No Thanks — How to Respond to a Recruiter When You Don’t Want the Job

It’s exciting. It’s flattering. It’s very tempting to continue the discussion even when you know that the job is not worth pursuing. The recruiter genuinely wants what is best for you and the company, so turn the situation into a positive, ongoing relationship:

  • Listen carefully and ask qualifying questions.
  • When you are sure you are not interested, respectfully decline and explain why it isn’t a good fit for you.
  • If you have a colleague who might be a good fit for the position, refer them to the recruiter.
  • Manners matter! No elbows on the table. Napkin in lap. Don’t start until everyone has their food and is ready to eat.
  • Ask to connect on LinkedIn and to stay in touch.

There is no harm in letting the recruiter know what type of role you consider is a good next step for your career and ask that they keep you in mind.