Recruiters are people

Despite the news stories about tech company hiring freezes, rescinded offers, and layoffs, recruiting emails don’t seem to be slowing down. My role is not the most in-demand (it doesn’t include “ML”), but even I receive around one email a day asking if I’d be open to a quick chat.

I decided years ago to apply the Golden Rule and to review and reply to every single recruiting message. Depending on how interesting the role sounds, I may check out the job posting and the company website to get a feel for what the job would be like. And then 99 times out of 100, I respond with:

First name,

Thank you for contacting me but I am not looking for a change at this time.

Nathan

In some ways recruiting letters are a cold sales pitch, and I would not respond to every marketing message I receive. But individual recruiters, no matter how copypasta their message seems, are people. As a fellow people, I appreciate that each recruiter is doing their job and deserves a response, no matter how simple that response might be.

And I even type it all out every time, no copypasta here.

Since my kids are working fast food jobs, I see first hand the stark contrast between jobs that wouldn’t even feed—much less house—my family and the well-paid career I’ve been fortunate to enjoy. I don’t ever take it for granted that not only does one company think my contributions are valuable, but many companies are willing to compete over me. It’s a vast departure from where I started adulthood, and every recruiting email makes me grateful to be on the path I’m on.

Now I just need to stop lying to all those recruiters. If I were to be open to a change and I’m just not open to that change, how would I word it? I’ve been debating something like this:

First name,

Thank you for contacting me but the change I’m looking for is not represented in your email.

Nathan

That sounds a little melodramatic. What about…

First name,

Thank you for contacting me but that sounds boring as fuck.

Nathan

That’s definitely what I’m thinking many times (NFT, blockchain, fintech 🥱), but recruiters don’t always get to choose what they’re selling, so I’ll be kind.

First name,

Thank you for contacting me. While I am considering a change, this role does not sound like what I’m looking for.

Nathan

There we go. That may encourage some recruiters to try again, but it’s more honest. People deserve honesty.