Should You Connect with a Recruiter if You’re Not Looking for a New Job?

Earlier this year, I worked with a client to land a new job, in a new industry, company, and location. They were basically switching all 4 buckets, which is the hardest search to do….but they navigated it flawlessly and landed in a great position.

Now that they’ve made the pivot and are enjoying their new job, a recruiter from one of their top companies in their search reached out to see if they were interested in a role.

So, they wanted to know...how do I respond to and interact with this recruiter when I’m not really ready to leave where I’m at, but it is a company that I’m very interested in?

My advice to them, relates to anyone in a similar situation.

First and foremost, there's no harm exploring opportunities and building strong relationships for the future. And, given the current state of talent in this country, I would anticipate a lot more recruiters doing even more cold outreach to high quality candidates, in the coming months.

Here are a couple of helpful tips to navigate this situation, if you find yourself in it. 

  • Remember you don’t have to say yes, just because someone reaches out.
  • Remember to not get pulled into devoting a lot of time and energy, or getting into a formal interview process, if you’re definitely not ready to make a move.
  • You can shut it down for now, but keep the door open by saying, "I’m not looking right now, but please stay in touch."
  • You can take the call and ask questions about the role, company, and recruiter, and build a solid connection with the recruiter to leverage for later. Any good recruiter will care about your career goals, and want to build a long-term relationship.
  • You can move into a conversation with the hiring manager or team to learn more, and be candid that you’re not likely to move right now, but would love to continue the conversation in case there are more openings in the future. Then, keep the relationship warm until you are ready to make the leap.

In any of these instances remember to navigate the opportunity with curiosity, conscientiousness, and honesty about where you’re at to maintain the relationship for the future.

While it’s totally fair game to explore, no one wants to feel like they were just strung along.

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