Is it OK to ignore a job agency recruiter?
January 21, 2013 7:55 PM   Subscribe

A job agency recruiter sent an e-mail about a possible job opportunity at a very large company. The recruiter mentioned that she got my information through my friend (who currently works at that company). Initially, I thought it was spam however my friend does work at that company based on a quick search on LinkedIn. I haven't spoke to my friend for 5-6 years since graduation. Also, the job agency recruiter appears to be real and has a legit profile on LinkedIn. I am not looking for a new job at the moment. Should ignore or write 1-2 sentences back? Thank you
posted by Mountain28 to Work & Money (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I hate recruiters and their slimy ways with a fiery passion, but given that this one might have come to you through a friend, a simple, Thank you but I am not on the market at this time, would probably be best.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:57 PM on January 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

Write a couple sentences, indicating that you'd like to stay in touch with the recruiter, but that this is not the right opportunity at this time, etc. When you're ready to move jobs, you'll then have a contact.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:57 PM on January 21, 2013 [12 favorites]

Don't burn bridges, never know when you'll meet the recruiter down the line. My standard go to email when I get contacted:

Thank you for your interest in myself as a candidate for position XYZ, however at this time I am not looking for a new opportunity. Thank you again for your interest in myself as a candidate.

Thank you,
posted by lpcxa0 at 8:01 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've never replied to a LinkedIn-based recruiter, and I don't think they take it personally. I consider them a last resort.
posted by hanoixan at 8:03 PM on January 21, 2013

It is totally fine to ignore recruiters. They are never going to know or that you ignored them in the past if you ever run into them again. Its a numbers game for them and they typically just send out fishing emails in bulk to build their contact list.

The odds are that no one "referred" you, they just found your contact info through linkedin. I sometimes will humor them with a return email or sometimes ignore it depending on my mood and how busy I am. I've not noticed a bit of difference in their attitude towards me the next time they come to me. Of course, I've always been on the hiring side when we run into each other again, so they have to be nice to me.
posted by Lame_username at 8:07 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

The "your friend at (company x) referred me to you" tactic is used by recruiters all time whether they really know the friend or not. Nothing to get mad at, it's just what they do.

If the recruiter is involved in a field similar to yours, a quick no-thanks is all you need. DO NOT accept their LinkedIn invite if it comes or else all your friends will be scraped and approached as well. Ignoring them is fine as well.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:08 PM on January 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Don't burn a bridge you may need later. Trust me. I've been there. Recruiters were my means to finding my current job, which I love.
posted by MMALR at 8:08 PM on January 21, 2013

I get so many 'job opportunities' sent to me from recruiters that writing letters back to all of them would be a full time job. You can either ignore them or write the back, it's up to you.
posted by empath at 8:33 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ignore them, anything else is just encouragement.
posted by mattoxic at 8:44 PM on January 21, 2013

If a job agency recruiter contacts you with a job that sounds good, contact the hiring company directly. They're more likely to give you a signing bonus if they aren't overpaying a recruiter as part of the hire.

If the job doesn't sound interesting, respond with a polite no so they'll keep feeding you leads. You never know when those leads will come in handy.
posted by Sauce Trough at 8:54 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't expect an answer, in case it's too personally identifying, but I'm curious: are you an engineer in the software industry? Because the unsolicited advice I get from family, friends, and coworkers about this topic is wildly different depending on whether they are currently working as software engineers.
posted by tantivy at 8:56 PM on January 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

As it's an agency recruiter and not an in house recruiter for the company, I wouldn't place a ton of faith in it, but it costs you nothing to write a polite note back saying "I'm not looking right now, thanks anyway." You never know when someone like that could come in handy and it's not as if they're asking for a meeting.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:14 PM on January 21, 2013

In the software industry, I have had recruiters email me cold from LinkedIn in which they have blatantly lied about being introduced to me from someone else. It's entirely possible that your old friend did put your name in somewhere, but it seems more unlikely that you wouldn't be hearing from someone in-house at a "very large company" for a personal referral. It's also entirely possible that the recruiter made up the referral, as integrity is not exactly found in droves among many external recruiters. I recently had a woman start emailing me numerous times to try to get me to quit my current job, while the same woman has been calling the office repeatedly to try to get my boss to hire her so she can find us new engineers.

I don't think ignoring it is a problem in any way, but there's nothing particularly wrong with a very short reply indicating that you're not interested. Keep in mind that, especially if you reply in any way, they may contact you again every few months to check in, so be prepared for that. Do not let them get hold of your phone number however.

If you ignore the email and end up contacting the recruiter in the future when you're job hunting, I very much doubt that it will end up really counting against you. The external recruiter will just be glad to have a candidate and isn't the one hiring you anyway. That situation may be different in other industries or situations however.
posted by zachlipton at 10:00 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I did some recruiting a bit back and while no expert, I do know that a big part of the job is “throwing it at the wall to see what sticks”. You find a person who you think will match with the data you have at hand and, while not flooding the buyer, you do put out as much as you can. I doubt this recruiter talked to anyone you know. More likely they found someone online who has a cursory relationship to you and they name-dropped to keep you in the fold.

Yeah, it is a bit slimy, but not as bad as a high pressure Florida bridge and timeshare salesperson. Give them a quick reply so as not to burn bridges and let it go. They will probably not contact you again unless it is a reasonable match. If it is a good recruiter, you can add some info about what you might be looking for if you were looking and they will keep note of that. However, given you are not looking for a job, probably best to make that clear. If you need them in the future, either the recruiter will still be there or you can choose from one of the other 1,245,434,947 recruiters still in business and looking for candidates.
posted by lampshade at 12:28 AM on January 22, 2013

I had a recruiter call every extension on a phone list and I ended up taking the job.

You never know.

You owe it to yourself to investigate if it's a job in your area and it might pay more.

To that end you can write an email:

I am very happy in my current position and while I'm perfectly satisfied, I'm always interested in bettering my situation. If the job is in the $$$ to $$$ range, and if the benefits are commensureate with what I'm getting now, I may be interested.

If not, thank you for your consideration.

The job I got from the recruiter paid $20,000 more per year than my previous gig, so it was worth it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:28 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you are not looking, then you can ignore. If you want to the recruiter to keep you in mind for future opportunites, Ruthless Bunny has it. The recruiter is not going to care much if you ignore them now and reach out to them later, not in the sense that it'd penalise your search in some way. There are certainly some not-great, not-so-legit recruiters out there who just mine for your information via whatever social network you are using and spam as many folks as possible, but many reputable firms work through referrals and will use your LinkedIn to contact you.

By the way:
If a job agency recruiter contacts you with a job that sounds good, contact the hiring company directly. They're more likely to give you a signing bonus if they aren't overpaying a recruiter as part of the hire.
If the recruiter made you aware of the job, the company will still pay the recruiter if the recruiter finds out you were hired (and they easily can) and brings it to the hiring manager/HR's attention. Your sign-on bonus, relocation package, whatever... is not related to what the recruiter earns from your placement.

And... you can hide your contacts on LinkedIn.
posted by sm1tten at 6:55 AM on January 22, 2013

smi1tten brings up a useful tip here, but the trick is finding the company directly.

If you can get a written description of the job, you can pipe it into Google and usually find the job listing itself. The majority of recruiters aren't that bright about obscuring the job details. They'll usually just cut-and-paste the description right from their incoming email.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:12 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

And... you can hide your contacts on LinkedIn.

I don't have my contact information in LinkedIn and recruiters have googled my organisation and found our phone number anyway. I took the "I'm happy in my current position" approach.
posted by wingless_angel at 10:33 AM on January 22, 2013

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