Networking and Career Advice

How to Respond to a Recruiter Through Email? (Tips & Examples)

Lauren Hamer

Professional Resume Writer, Career Writer and Career Coach


Rather than wading through an endless list of open roles, wouldn’t it be nice if relevant job opportunities come to you?

Well, this is where recruiters come in. These sourcing specialists proactively hunt for job candidates that meet employer qualifications and invite them to apply. But depending on your career plans, knowing how to respond to a recruiter can get tricky.

"Quick start guide" for how to respond to a recruiter

How to Respond to a Recruiter?

Working with a recruiter can be your golden ticket through the shiniest gate. They’re the ones who pass your resume directly onto the employer, after all. So, you’ll want to know how to respond to a recruiter professionally.

First and foremost, respond to any and all opportunities that seem promising—and quickly. Prompt responses are more likely to gain traction with the hiring team. Remember that your response could be the first impression you make with the company’s representative, so keep your messaging brief and straightforward.

Still, recruiters often cast a wide net with their outreach attempts, so it’s worth having a few “response” templates in your pocket that address all possible scenarios. For example, you might pass on one lead but pounce on another that’s a better fit. Here are a few examples to consider.

When You Like the Opportunity and Want The Job

Your inbox just chimed with your dream job—congrats! But before you manically type a response and accept the job offer, take a moment to gather your thoughts and think about how to respond to the recruiter professionally. Demonstrating enthusiasm for the role is allowed (and encouraged), but you should focus on the many reasons why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. 

Take every opportunity to make yourself the most memorable candidate. If you have a connection to the recruiter, such as a shared alma mater/interest, or a reference to a current company employee, don’t be afraid to mention it here.

Thanks for your email! Based on your description, I’m excited to learn more, and it sounds like I’m the candidate you’re looking for. Here’s why:

  • I’m a digital marketing manager with extensive paid and social campaign experience for e-commerce companies
  • I execute influencer outreach strategies by aligning content, sales, design, and product teams under a common goal
  • My most recent product campaign saw a 12% increase in TikTok impressions over 30 days

Let’s plan a time for us to chat more about [company name]’s needs and how my experience can benefit them. My phone number is [555-555-5555], and my availability is below:

  • [Date/time]
  • [Date/time]
  • [Date/time]

Looking forward to talking soon,

When You’d Like to Learn More

Recruiters know how to spark interest in a few words, so we don’t blame you if every outreach intrigues you. But respond in a way that will express interest and qualify the lead.

This sounds interesting—thanks for reaching out.

I’ve been passively hunting and am open to considering the right opportunity. To give you a brief rundown of my experience, I have [ X years} of experience in the [industry, job role, skill set] with a particular interest in [specific skill set you want to expand on or your next career objective, e.g., three years of experience in account management for digital marketplaces and am targeting opportunities to lead a team of account managers.] The description you provided indicates that this might be a fit. 

Here are a few things I’m prioritizing in my hunt:

  1. Fully remote work
  2. An established company in the healthcare industry
  3. Mid-to senior-level role

If the role in question is a match, let’s chat soon. I’m available on [X, Y, and Z day/time]. I look forward to connecting soon.

When You’re Looking for a Different Role

Recruiter activity can feel exciting when you’re knee-deep in a job search, but not all emails will include your vision-board dream job. This type of message is not all bad; it’s an opportunity to forge a connection with someone who might be able to help you find the right one soon. 

In your response, outline what you’re looking for and ask whether any other open role comes to mind. 

Thanks for considering me for this role! Your message comes at the right time, as I’m currently exploring new career paths. Ideally, I’d like to find a role that meets the following criteria:

  1. Fully remote work
  2. Management-level responsibilities in the personal finance space
  3. Compensation of at least $X annually

Unfortunately, this role isn’t quite what I’m looking for, but I’m all ears if you know of any other opportunities that are a better fit. 

I’ve attached my resume for your review and can be reached directly at [phone number] moving forward.

Warmly,

When The Job Aligns, but the Company Does Not

As a job seeker, it’s wise to have an ideal company in mind and an ideal job to ensure you land somewhere you can make an impact and stay a while. (This also helps ensure you don’t have to rescind a job offer or decline one you have already accepted.)

For example, are you targeting companies in a specific industry or niche? Do you prefer to transition into a smaller company, or would you rather have a larger team? And what about the company’s culture, mission, and values?

If a recruiter shares an opportunity that is just slightly off, let them know why using similar vocabulary to the example above.

Thanks for considering me for this role! Your message comes at the right time, as I’m exploring new career paths focusing on the company type. The role in question is a perfect match, but I’d like to join a company that fits this description:

  1. A start-up company with open positions within a small team
  2. A player in the tech space
  3. A diversity-focused culture with opportunities for professional development 

Unfortunately, this company isn’t quite what I’m looking for, but I’m all ears if you know of any other opportunities that are a better fit. 

I’ve attached my resume for your review and can be reached directly at phone number] moving forward.

Warmly,

When You’re Not Looking for Job Opportunities

If you’re happy in your current role and embarking on an interview process sounds unappealing, be direct in your response. If warranted, feel free to refer a qualified colleague or friend who is in the market.

Thank you for reaching out! This sounds similar to what I’m doing currently, and I appreciate your consideration.

That said, I’m not in the market for a new opportunity at the moment. If that changes in the future, I’ll be sure to get in touch. 

Thanks again, 

The Best Practices for Responding to Recruiters

Like most job-related tips, a prompt, friendly, and straightforward message is the key to a successful recruiter response. Here are a few things to remember. 

  • Respond quickly: The quicker you respond, the higher up on their priority list you’ll fall. Don’t worry about looking too eager; recruiters love a responsive and interested prospect. 
  • Thank them: Thanking the recruiter, even if you are responding to a rejection email, is one of the best ways to show gratitude and keep the relationship open. You never know if they will reach back out with another opportunity. 
  • Ask questions: Some messages will include a job description, but if not, don’t be afraid to request one. Before jumping on a call, make sure the role meets your most basic job requirements—this helps ensure you don’t waste time and enables you to get on the same page with your new connection. 
  • Be specific about your goals: Recruiters love to hear about your goals and preferences—the more they know, the better they can match you with the right opportunity. 
  • Keep the lines of communication open: When the opportunity isn’t a match, don’t write off your recruiter. Instead, invite them to stay in touch and share your contact information. They might not have a role for you now, but they might source an even better one down the line. 
LinkedIn graphic for how to respond to a recruiter on linkedin

What About Responding to Recruiters on LinkedIn?

Knowing how to respond to a recruiter isn’t limited to email communication. Recruiters have become active on social media and may reach out on platforms like LinkedIn.

The Linkedin Recruiter tool connects recruiters to thousands of job seekers that match their pre-filtered criteria – “open to work” filters and specific job titles. Through this tool, recruiters send messages regarding job opportunities they think you’re a fit for. If you are not already connected, then you will have to “accept” their message request before replying. Make sure to accept and respond to the message in one sitting, as recruiters will likely prioritize responses over candidates who simply accept the incoming note.

When You Like the Offer

LinkedIn is merely an outreach tool, not the primary communication method. So keep your responses brief. 

Thanks for your email! Based on your description, it sounds like I’m the candidate you’re looking for and I’m eager to learn more.

Let’s plan a time to chat more about [company name]’s needs and how my experience can benefit them (I’ll come prepared with examples, I promise!). My phone number is [555-555-5555] and my availability is below:

  • [Date/time]
  • [Date/time]
  • [Date/time]

Looking forward to talking soon,

\When You’re Unsure

It’s difficult knowing how to respond to a recruiter when you are unsure. So, if the recruiter didn’t include a job description, request one. This will help you filter out roles that don’t meet your salary, experience level, title, or location requirements. 

Thanks for reaching out. I’m currently targeting mid-to senior-level remote sales manager roles. Could you please share the job description? If it’s a fit, I’d love to continue the conversation. My email is [email address] and my resume is attached. 

If the description still leaves you with questions, try this response.

Thanks for sharing this role with me. As a [sales manager] with [3 years] experience [growing the North Carolina beverage territory/customer list], the job seems like a great fit. That said, I’m prioritizing roles with a [ job preference or characteristic, e.g., salary range of $X to $X annually]. Does this align with the role you’re sourcing?

If so, I’d love to continue the conversation. My email is [email address] and my resume is attached. 

When You Don’t Like the Offer

Again, don’t waste an opportunity to make a networking connection—even when the role isn’t a match. 

Thanks for considering me for this role! While I am searching for new opportunities, I’d like to find a fully remote senior-level role with a salary range of $X to $X annually.

Unfortunately, this role isn’t quite what I’m looking for, but I’m all ears if you know of any other opportunities that are a better fit. 

I’ve attached my resume for your review and can be reached at [phone number] moving forward.

Warmly,

Final Thoughts

Getting approached by a recruiter is a sign you’re doing something right. So, don’t waste a good networking opportunity by responding curtly or carelessly. Instead, take a few moments to consider how to respond to a recruiter. Then answer the message with details that will help nurture your relationship. Remember, the recruiter is a potential valuable career connection that will help you land exactly where you’re meant to be. Who knows, you might have several irons in the fire before long. Then, you’ll need to learn how to stall a job offer next!

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