How to Respond to a Recruiter Inquiry in the Right Way in 2020.
How to Respond to a Recruiter: The job search process is always a challenge! Many of us aren’t sure what to expect from recruiters. In general, recruiters only have one goal: to find the best candidates for the positions they’re trying to fill. As a result, the messages you get from recruiters tend to fall into some common categories.
Knowing this, you should be able to properly prepare for those contacts and provide a prompt, confident response to any message or email you receive. Here are possible recruiter requests, and the proper way for you to respond.
1. If You’re 100% Not Job Searching
You love what you’re doing, and there’s nothing anyone can say or do to convince you to consider a new opportunity—at least not for the foreseeable future. But, you don’t want to close the door on what could be a potentially helpful relationship down the line either.
Thanks for reaching out! This certainly sounds like an interesting job, and I appreciate your consideration.
I really love the work I’m doing for [Your Company] and am not in the market for a new opportunity at the moment. That said, if I find myself looking to make a change in the future, I’ll be sure to get in touch.
If you happen to know someone who might be interested in this role, you could also add something like, “I may have a colleague who could be a good fit for this role; would you mind if I passed your contact information on to them?” For recruiters, the next best thing to finding the right candidate is finding someone who knows the right candidate.
2. If You’re Open to the Right Opportunity
You’re pretty happy where you are and haven’t given a lot of thought to finding a new job, but this role sounds like it could have some potential. The goal here is to be upfront about your status while also conveying your interest. You’re essentially playing it cool—if this person wants to schedule a quick call, great; if he doesn’t, that’s fine, too.
Thanks for getting in touch!
I’m pretty happy in my current role with [Your Company] and am not actively looking to change jobs, but I’d be open to discussing this role, as I never turn down a chance to chat about [compelling trait about the job description, e.g., software development or sales enablement]. Would it be possible for us to connect sometime next week? I should be available for a quick call on [dates and times that’ll work with your schedule].
Moving forward, you can reach me directly here: [your email address and/or phone number].
Looking forward to speaking with you!
3. If You’re Actively Searching But Aren’t Interested in This Job
When you’re in the market for a new job, hearing from a recruiter’s really exciting—until you realize that the job she’s approached you about isn’t at all what you’re looking for. But don’t worry too much about the role itself; this is a great opportunity for you to establish a relationship with someone who might be able to help you find the right one. Now’s your chance to tell them what you’re looking for and ask whether they know of anything that lines up with your goals.
Thanks for thinking of me for this role! I am currently exploring new opportunities, but would ideally like to find a position that would allow me to [traits of your ideal position here, e.g., work from home, expand on my content development experience, step into the nonprofit space, earn at least $X annually, etc.]. It sounds like this particular role isn’t quite what I’m looking for, but do you happen to know of any other opportunities that may be a better fit? If so, I’d love to connect!
I’ve attached my resume for your review and can be reached directly at [your email address and/or phone number] moving forward.
4. If You’re Intrigued By This Opportunity
Now we’re talking! You’re open to new opportunities, and this one sounds like it could have some serious potential. You can keep your response pretty straightforward—the goal here is to confirm your interest and get an initial interview on the calendar.
This sounds like a really interesting opportunity—thanks for thinking of me!
As you probably saw on my profile, I have [X years] of experience in the [industry or job function, e.g., digital marketing or project management] space, and am particularly interested in opportunities that allow me to [relevant job duty/deliverable, e.g. leverage my creativity in a design-focused role or build new programs from the ground up]. Based on the information you’ve shared, it sounds like the role certainly could be a great fit!
I’d love to schedule a time for us to discuss how my skills and experience could benefit the team; would it be possible for us to connect sometime this week? I’ve included my availability below:
You can reach me directly at [your e-mail address and/or phone number]. Looking forward to connecting!
5. If This Is Hands Down Your Dream Job
Be cool. Your dream job just literally fell into your lap. You’ve got this.
Demonstrating enthusiasm for a role’s always a great move (recruiters love working with motivated candidates), but don’t forget that you’ll want to highlight the myriad reasons that you’re absolutely perfect for this job. A response that demonstrates your excitement and emphasizes your transferable skills should all but guarantee that you’ll land an initial interview.
Thanks for getting in touch! Based on what you’ve shared about this role, I’d be eager to learn more.
It sounds like you’re looking for an [job title] with [relevant skills/experience] expertise and a talent for developing [insert outcomes, e.g., unique and compelling marketing campaigns across a variety of digital channels]—that’s me!
As someone with [X years of experience] in the industry, I know what it takes to deliver [deliverables based on job description, e.g., flawlessly executed e-mail campaigns from start to finish]. In my current role at [Your Current Company], I [description of relevant experience and tangible results based on job description, i.e., guide the production and execution of 25 unique monthly email campaigns and have grown new lead generation by 50% in just six months].
I’d love to schedule a time for us to discuss how my skills and experience could benefit the [Company Name] team; would it be possible for us to connect sometime this week? I’ve included my availability below:
You can reach me directly at [your e-mail address and/or phone number]. Looking forward to connecting!
If you happen to have something in common, like a shared connection or alma mater, it wouldn’t hurt to mention that at the end of your message. Try saying something like, “By the way, I noticed you’re a Chico State alum, too. It’s always great to hear from a fellow Wildcat!” or “it looks like you’re also connected with [Name of Mutual Acquaintance]. I used to work with her at [Company Name]!”
Going beyond the basics serves to establish a more personal connection and might just give you an edge.
How to Respond to a Recruiter (correctly)
There are four broad reasons a recruiter will reach out. We’ve categorized them by the basic question each message seeks to answer.
1. Are you available for a phone interview?
This question might not seem like it would throw you for a loop, but you’d be surprised how many people get caught up searching for just the right words to use in their reply. Look, if someone wants to talk to you on a scheduled call, chances are that you’re in the running for a job. Keep your response simple and to the point.
“I’d love to speak with you and appreciate the opportunity. Please be sure to let me know if there’s more information that I can provide between now and then.”
If the email asks for times that you’ll be available, just include a quick line that provides those details. Yes, it sounds simple–but that’s really all that you need!
2. When would you available for another interview?
Don’t be alarmed if you’re asked for a second interview. This is a requirement for some companies that use tiered interviewing processes–not a sign that your first interview wasn’t good enough.
Just reply with something short and sweet:
“I look forward to the opportunity to meet with your team. I’m available (insert the best days and times). Please let me know which time works for you, and if there’s anything else that you need from me between now and then.”
These days, many recruiters use tools to schedule interviews. If you schedule something through a link they provide, it’s still polite to send an email noting the time you have selected.
3. Do you have time for a chat?
This question is usually not the prelude to a formal interview on the phone and could be indicative of just about anything. That uncertainty could make you anxious but take breath.
The fact is that the company might want another interview, could have questions about your resume, or may simply want to hand down its decision on your application. You won’t know until you make time to chat with the recruiter.
Regardless, your response should be simple:
“I appreciate you following up on our earlier contact. I’m available to talk (insert the best time), so if that works for you then let me know. Otherwise, I’m open to meet your scheduling needs.“
This response shows that you’re flexible, open, and accommodating–not anxious or desperate!
4. Can you send your resume again?
This message seems confusing at first–shouldn’t the recruiter already have your resume? Do you need to send an updated version of your resume? What’s going on?
There is a number of reasons why your resume might get lost or damaged. Digital systems can be unreliable, and even traditional filing systems are fallible!
Your electronic resume may have been accidentally deleted, lost, or damaged. Paper copies may have been misplaced.
Whatever the reason, just resend it with a short message:
“Thanks for contacting me again. I’ve attached a copy of my resume to this email. Please contact me if you’d like to send other materials as well.”
This message is a polite response, indicates you’ve complied with the request, and invites further conversation. However, like all the response templates on this list, it is short. Recruiters tend to deal with huge volumes of applicants, so it’s important to communicate clearly and succinctly.