5 great solutions to reply to unsolicited contacts from recruiters

You know the drill when job-hunting: you put together a CV, browse job ads and then you apply. With the advent of professional networks like LinkedIn and intrusive, commission-hungry recruiters, dealing with unsolicited contacts from recruiters is a fact of life. Here are 5 tips on the best way to respond…

Now your resume lives online as a commodity in numerous ATS databases, or in your LinkedIn profile, where it is farmed for other people’s profit. While you still need to browse jobs ads and send CVs, recruiters can now browse CVs and contact you directly.

We think this is just plain wrong. This new database farming paradigm has created a new recruitment process which most of us aren’t familiar with. So how should you deal with unsolicited contacts from recruiters?

Here are the 5 great solutions to help you out:

1: Avoid ATS driven job portals and seek out alternatives

The Hidden Job Market is the best way to avoid ATS Job portals. Many job ads on these sites are just used to farm peoples details so recruiters can brag to employers about the size if their database. Because your details are farmed, you leave yourself open to these unsolicited contacts. This is also where over 80% of positions are filled, even before they’re advertised on well-known job sites. The smart job hunters only ever look for a job here – going anywhere else is a waste of time… seriously. If you only ever search on these job portals, it means you are competing against the greatest number of people for the fewest number of jobs. Avoid it if you can.

2: Give a brief and polite response

If a recruiter contacts you out of the blue, your natural instinct may be to delete the email. However, it is important that you at least offer a polite ‘no, thank you’. This is the best way to handle an unsolicited contact from recruiters if you do not want to burn any bridges.

3: Be nice

After the initial contact, you may be contacted or even invited to a more formal interview or to speak with a hiring manager. While the initial conversation will always be worthwhile, think long and hard about your motivation before you dive head-first into their recruitment process. If you’re happy in your current role, you should only respond to the opportunity if it will significantly improve your career.

4: Stay focused

If you do enter into a recruitment process, make sure you don’t let it distract you from your existing responsibilities. The worst thing you want to do is let unsolicited contacts from recruiters damage your position with your current employer.

Remember that these contacts are usually invitations to apply and not job offers.

Social media has really changed the recruitment process. It has made it easier for you to connect with a potential employer and for that employer to find out about you. Social media has also made it easier to submit a job application or for employer’s to come to you first. When that happens it’s important that you offer an appropriate response, which means more than clicking ‘delete’.

Solution # 5: Send them a cool reply [Personal Favourite]   

 Hello, and thank you for sending me your job posting for a  JAVA DEVELOPER  in  GODFORSAKEN HOBNOB, COMPANY . I regret to inform you that this does not meet my needs for the following reasons:

  This position is not in my area and does not mention relocation.

This is a contract position for under a year and makes no mention of contract-to-hire.

The position’s main technology requirement isn’t even on my résumé.

The position’s main technology requirement is for “5–7 years” of a technology that burst onto the scene two years ago.

Your client’s business model is a transparent attempt to clone someone else’s success.

Your client’s business model is a transparent attempt to clone someone else’s failure (N.B. ask for your full fee up front).

You do not seem to understand that “Javascript” is unrelated to “Java”.

I don’t expect you to be a programmer but you apparently can’t even use your mail client correctly and for God’s sake turn on spell-check….

I understand that it saves you time to do a keyword search on a résumé database followed by blasting out form letters that specifically target those who are:

  • Underqualified
  • Desperate
  • Just as willing to do a half-assed version of their job as you are to do a half-assed version of yours

 I understand this works for many clients: there are enough underqualified, desperate people with half an ass to go around, and recruiters who care about their clients’ needs frankly charge more than you do. However, any company that would use someone like you for recruiting is a company I wouldn’t want to work for (and would be hesitant to use products/services from, since I know the quality of their employees), and so I respectfully ask you to remove me from your contact database.

So this letter isn’t as much a waste of your time as yours was of mine, I’d like to offer a new slogan for your firm, free of charge: “Matching miserable people with miserable jobs at miserable companies since YEAR .“ It has a nice ring to it, and it’s exclusively yours,  RECRUITER NAME of  BUZZWORDS STRUNG TOGETHER INC !


Joe Blow

Did you like this? Do whatever suits you best and remember to remain professional and only send option #5 to obvious rookie recruiters. There are many out there and they change as often as you and I change pants, just remember to hunt wisely!