How to Respond to Job Recruiters: Interested or Not

Navigating Job Recruiters with Grace and Strategy

Are you facing these issues? You may not be responding to job recruiters correctly.

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Lost Opportunities

Ignoring senior recruiters means missing career chances and growth.

Damaged Reputation

Silence to recruiters harms your professional image, affecting future opportunities.

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Damaged Reputation

Silence to recruiters harms your professional image, affecting future opportunities.

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Limited Networks

Ignoring recruiters restricts valuable professional connections and opportunities.

Reduced Market Presence

Silent professionals fade from the job market, missing out on key positions and opportunities.

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Reduced Market Presence

Silent professionals fade from the job market, missing out on key positions and opportunities.

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The job market is evolving, and whether you are experienced or a newcomer in your field, there are valuable positions available and job recruiters trying to fill them

But what should you do if a recruiter reaches out to you about an executive opportunity that you aren’t interested in? It’s easy not to respond at all, but should you reply anyways? And if you are interested, how can you stand out? 

Here we'll look at the many ways to engage and discuss why and when it’s important, and how to respond to a recruiter on LinkedIn or over email whether you are interested in a position or not. 

But first, let us identify what makes a recruiter ‘good’, as it may make the difference in how you reply.

7 Non-Negotiable Qualities You Want in a Recruiter 

Job recruiters are masters of screening, negotiating, and placing the right executives into highly desirable job positions. But there are endless types of recruiters out there, such as private equity recruiters, life science recruiters, or pharmaceutical job recruiters, and not all are created equal. 

Here are some variables you’ll want to have when dealing with recruiters:

A personal touch: Is the recruiter curious about you professionally and personally? If you do not feel comfortable with them after a short period of communication, move on. Experience matters, sure, but not as much as how they connect with you. If there is a bond, they are more likely to pair you with a company that is a good fit for someone like you. 

Shared Values: To build on the last quality, good recruiters work with who they share values and who they can guarantee. Often, these values encapsulate passion, motivation, commitment and integrity. It might be good to consider what your values are.

A greater perspective: Recruiters should know the full scope of your history, skill set, and the company where they are trying to place you. This will more likely lead to a healthy, long-standing match, and avoid any snags in the negotiation process. 

Put the relationship first: A good recruiter looks out for all parties involved, including you. So if an opportunity does not work out, you should feel that they will continue your relationship into the future. Sometimes, a recruiter might even realise that you are a better fit for a different position than what you were originally considered for. A good recruiter cares. 

Emotional intelligence: Having a recruiter with the language to express themselves and empathise can lead to a thriving partnership. Often, recruiters have a grasp of the dynamics between all parties involved and can identify any potential hang-ups before they become large issues.

Impact: Recruiters should demonstrate their capabilities without making you feel they are being pushy. Actions speak volumes, but they also build reputation. They should prove themselves to you! 

Challenge: Recruiters should challenge themselves and their clients. They will know your goals and through innovative thinking take you out of your comfort zone to help you grow professionally, often when you least expect it. 

What to avoid?  

Now that we’ve identified the qualities of a headhunter that you should look out for, here are some things to avoid: 

Vagueness: Whether it's the initial meeting or the contract signing, if your headhunter is unclear, there may be cause for alarm. One red flag in any relationship is vague language. This might look like imprecise numbers during negotiations or not answering questions directly in the initial stages. If your recruiter is being vague, especially after being asked questions explicitly, consider working with someone else. 

Disconnection: Does your recruiter seem disinterested? Are you getting uncomfortable feelings that you just can't explain? It is possible that you just aren’t connecting with that particular recruiter—it happens. In this case, it’s best to step away until another comes along that feels like a right fit. A good recruiter, like anything, will feel right.

Varying Interests: There might be times that you feel a recruiter is favouring the opposite party, or themselves, over you. In this case, we recommend passing on them to avoid misplacement and the headache of finding another job down the road.  

Now that we’ve identified the qualities of an exceptional job recruiter, what should you do if one reaches out? 

How To Respond to a Job Offer 

If a reputable recruiter with a global recruiter network reaches out, the good news is that you’ve already done something right. Whether that be your leadership, skills, personality, or a combination—it's working. 

Here’s an example of how to respond to a job offer if you’re interested in the opportunity. 


Dear [recruiter’s name], 

I appreciate you taking the time to reach out about this position. It sounds interesting and aligns with my professional goals—I’d love to know more. 

To reiterate my qualifications for this opportunity, I'm committed to [insert your field or goals]. I have [insert qualifications for the position]. And at my current position I have [list achievements relating to the new opportunity]. 

I would love to schedule a chat to discuss this position at [potential employer]. Is there a good time that works for you? Some dates and times that work for a call are [list dates and times]. 

Once again, thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you.

Kind regards,

[Your name]

This template should guide you through a generally acceptable response if you are interested in the position, but what happens if you are not interested in the opportunity? 

Pro Tip: Make sure to inject your voice wherever possible—individuality is the first step in standing out! 


Dear [recruiter's name], 

I appreciate you reaching out about this exciting position. I’m thankful that you have considered me, however, I am currently satisfied with my current role at [insert current employer’s name], so I’m not open to any new opportunities at the moment. 

I hope we can remain in touch, and when I’m ready for the next challenge, I’d love to chat then if that’s alright with you. 

Once again, thank you for your time.

Kind regards, 

[Your name]

If you are not interested in the position, coming across professionally opens doors for future opportunities; you never know what’s just around the corner. 

Responding to job recruiters is the first impression you will make. That means you want to ensure your integrity and representation are obvious. These are things that recruiters remember, including how you make them feel, as that will translate to how you will act at a job. They do not want to place you if they think you will represent them poorly—a recruiter's success is their reputation. 

PRO TIP: Consider each job solicitation fully. Rejecting one too quickly might cause you to miss a beneficial opportunity, which sometimes can surprise you the most. 

So, Should You Always Respond to a Job Recruiter?

The short answer is yes, but only when the message is customised to you. It doesn’t matter so much whether a recruiter is ‘good’ or not, it’s an easy and respectful way to keep in their good graces for the future if circumstances change. 

On the other hand, if you receive a job solicitation that has been sent to many potential candidates like yourself, don’t feel obligated to reply. Time is valuable, and you should only match the effort that has been put in by the headhunter. 

As recruiting shifts towards automated solicitations, quality, and personalisation will become less common. So when a recruiter reaches out with a solicitation designed and targeted just at you, your skills, and your history, it will become more important to engage humanely whenever possible—it’s your livelihood after all, and it shouldn’t be determined by software. 

If you have any further questions, feel free to schedule a consultation today with the life science executive recruiters at Mazards.

Responding to recruiters strategically shapes your career trajectory. Learn how to navigate these opportunities effectively. Schedule a consultation today for personalized insights.

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