Received a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn? Here’s what to do

7 min read | Nick Deligiannis | Article | Career development Job searching

Hand holding smartphone in workspace

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director for Hays ANZ, shares advice on how to respond when you find a message from a recruiter in your LinkedIn inbox. 

It’s not uncommon to find you’ve received a message on LinkedIn from a recruiter saying that they want to have a discussion with you about a job opportunity. They might be getting in touch or a number of reasons. Perhaps you have your LinkedIn profile set to “open to hearing about opportunities”, or you’ve been very active recently. In all likelihood , your skills and experience match to the available vacancy. 

In the message you received, the recruiter will most likely have asked if you are interested in discussing the opportunity further, either over the phone or in person. Are you intrigued? Or are you not interested? Either way, there’s a right way to respond. 


Responding to a recruiter at a glance 

It’s always best to keep your options open. Even if this opportunity doesn’t appeal to you, make sure you’re kept in mind for future roles and ask the recruiter to get in touch when something more suitable comes up. If you do want to know more about this particular role, suggest a phone call and prepare by updating your CV and having some questions ready to ask. After that call, the choice is yours on whether to proceed. 


Step 1: Responding to the recruiter 

There’s no harm in learning more about this job opportunity. If you want, you can have a confidential discussion with the recruiter - remember, you don’t need to share anything until you are ready. On the other hand, you may be adamant that you are happy in your current role and not interested in hearing about new opportunities. 

How to respond if you aren’t interested 

Message the recruiter and suggest when they could check back in to see if your circumstances have changed. If you are open to new opportunities but this role isn’t right for you, let the recruiter know what you are looking for so they can ensure that you are only contacted about relevant roles in the future. 

You may also like to send the recruiter your current CV. While you aren’t looking for opportunities now, you may want their help in the future and you don’t want to cut your ties. It’s always worth your while taking the time to tailor your reply for the sake of building a better rapport with the recruiter – think of your future long-term career advancement. 

How to respond if you are interested 

If you are interested in the job opportunity, reply to the recruiter’s message as soon as you can. You could ask them to email you the job specification, or suggest an initial phone call so that you can have a conversation about the role. Remember, this is simply an exploratory conversation. It doesn’t tie you into applying or taking your application forward. 

If you decide to speak on the phone, then before the call: 

  • Research the recruiter on LinkedIn. This can give you a better idea of their area of expertise, and which other roles they may be able to place you in 
  • Make sure you’re in a space where you can talk confidentially and take notes about the opportunity 
  • Have a copy of your up-to-date CV in front of you, and be ready to talk through it, highlighting your key skills and experience 
  • Prepare some questions about the role and organisation, depending on what your career priorities are. For instance, does the organisation offer training and progression opportunities? How does the organisation describe its culture? 


Step 2: Do you want to be put forward? 

As the conversation draws to a close, the recruiter will ask if you are interested in being put forward for the job. 

If you need more information or time to think 

Be honest. If you haven’t already received a job specification, ask that they email this to you. Then draw up a list of pros and cons about the opportunity, factoring in what this role can provide you with versus your current job. Crucially, consider how the role fits with your career ambitions. You could also use this time to research the organisation, looking at their website and employee review sites. 

Just make sure you don’t take longer than a day to go back to the recruiter with your decision. 

If you want to be put forward for the role 

If you are interested in the role, then let the recruiter know. They’ll send you a job specification if they haven’t already, and request a copy of your CV. Before you send it, I advise that you review the job description, highlight the keywords and phrases, and tailor your CV accordingly. The recruiter will also suggest arranging a meeting so that they can get to know you and your ambitions more and discuss any other job opportunities they have available. 

If this isn’t the right role for you 

If you feel that this isn’t the right opportunity for you, inform the recruiter. Thank them for reaching out, and explain why this opportunity isn’t a good fit. 

Don’t leave things there though. You could connect with them on LinkedIn and send them an up-to-date version of your CV so that they can consider you for further opportunities that do match what you are looking for.


What you need to remember about replying to a message on LinkedIn 

Having a recruiter reach out to you on LinkedIn is a positive sign. It means you have a strong profile and relevant, employable skills. Regardless of whether you are interested in the opportunity or not, by keeping the lines of communication open you will build your professional network, learn about current opportunities and mark the start of a new promising career partnership. 


About this author

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand

Nick Deligiannis began working at Hays in 1993 and since then has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business, including the role of Director responsible for the operation of Hays in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. In 2004  Nick was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors, and was made Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

articleId- 49971719, groupId- 20151