When a recruiter contacts you, it’s to discover whether you would entertain a conversation about a specific position. No recruiter expects that every person they reach out to will be a great fit, but something they learned about you—your resume, LinkedIn profile, portfolio, website, etc.—was enough to trigger a conversation.

We get it. If you’re receiving a constant barrage of outreach emails from recruiters, responding nicely might be the last thing on your mind. But you also don’t want to miss a future opportunity by responding rudely or ignoring the outreach. Your responses don’t need to be long—most recruiters prefer short and sweet. Here are a few ways to politely decline recruiter outreach that won’t hurt your future chances.

I’m Not Interested in Travel

  • Thank you for the email for the [position] at [company]. While the position looks very interesting, and the responsibilities are a good fit with my background, I’m not that interested in the amount of travel required. I do quite a bit of business travel now, but I’m not interested in increasing it.
  • Thanks for reaching out about this opportunity. I read this a few times and looked at the full description on their website. Parts of it are very appealing to me, but after some thought, I’m not up to as much travel as this position will need.

It Doesn’t Match My Career Path

  • My strengths are primarily in information technology.  It looks like an exciting position, but not in my area of expertise.
  • Thanks for thinking of me, but it’s not a great fit.

I’m Happy Where I Am 

  • I’m flattered, but I am very happy where I am. Thank you!
  • Thank you for reaching out. At this time, I am not interested in the position personally. However, if you would like I can certainly forward the position to any colleagues I think may be interested. At this time, I do not have anyone in mind specifically.
  • Thanks for the info. Not interested in this position but please keep me in mind for others that might come your way.
  • Thank you for reaching out regarding the opportunity at [company]. I am currently happy with my employment at [company], but thank you again for considering me.
  • Thank you for reaching out to me, I appreciate the inquiry. I would normally be very interested in exploring this particular opportunity further. However, I recently accepted a senior leadership role with [company].

I’m Not Interested in Making a Move

  • Thanks for reaching out, but this position is not of interest to me. 
  • Thanks for reaching out to me. I am currently not in the market but feel free to send me anything you think may be of interest. If I know someone who would be a good fit, I’ll happily send them along to you.
  • Thanks for the email. I appreciate the thought. I am very happy where I am, and I’ll see if I know anyone who might be a good fit for the role.
  • I am not interested in making a move at this time.
  • Thank you for thinking of me for this interesting position—I truly appreciate it. However, I am very happy in my current job and do not have any plans to leave or relocate. I will gladly keep my eyes and ears open for a candidate that might satisfy the requirements and skill set outlined in the position description.

More Resources for Your Job Search

When you are ready to consider new opportunities, check out our current openings with some of the nation’s leading associations, nonprofits, and social enterprises. We are honored to partner with mission-driven organizations that work to make the world a better place for others.

And for practical job search tips, from determining your most valuable skills and the work situations you prefer to conducting research and developing interview strategies that work, download the Staffing Advisors Guide to Executive Job Search.