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Aug 16, 2022
Sep 15, 2022

How to Respond to a Recruiter on LinkedIn

Kaitlin Marks

Getting a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn is exciting. But crafting the perfect response can be tricky. Here are sample scripts to help you reply.

The prom queen steps onto the stage, dress sparkling, shocked, to accept the crown. Another video goes viral of a deserving teenager sliding open an envelope and finding out they earned a full ride to school. In almost every movie, book, and quite frankly, in our lives, there’s one common denominator: wanting to feel chosen, wanting to feel special. Although getting a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn might not be quite as exciting as those big-screen moments, it is a huge deal!

Especially when you’ve been trudging through the challenges of the job search process. To help you land your dream role, we’ve put together a guide on how to respond to a recruiter on LinkedIn. 

How Do Recruiters Find You On LinkedIn? 

Let’s start with the basics. Before you learn how to respond to a recruiter on LinkedIn, you need to know how recruiters even end up on your profile! 

If you haven’t already taken the time to optimize your LinkedIn profile, now is going to be the time…especially if you’re interested in having recruiters reach out to you

When a recruiter is trying to find the perfect candidate for a role, they’ll use LinkedIn’s search feature to look for profiles. And the way profiles show up in those search results? Keywords and optimization. 

Once a recruiter lands on your (optimized) profile, they’ll review everything you’ve added, and if you seem like a good fit, they’ll message you through InMail. This component of LinkedIn lets recruiters and hiring managers reach out to you even if you aren’t connected yet. 

Start Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Brainstorm keywords based around the role you’re hoping to land. To make this process easier, do a little digging into people in roles similar to what you’re looking for, and see what keywords they’re using on their profiles. 

You should also add skills, get recommendations from colleagues, and fill out all the different sections of your profile. Quickly create a custom cover for your LinkedIn profile on Canva — and be sure to upload a professional profile picture, as well. 

How To Respond To A Recruiter On LinkedIn: The Basics

You spent a few hours optimizing your profile, and now, your phone chimes with a notification — and it’s a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn about a role. This is amazing, and you should feel so excited! 

Before panic sets in about crafting the perfect response, take a deep breath. Learning how to respond to a recruiter on LinkedIn will help you make an impeccable first impression and bring you closer to landing the role. 

In 2022, nine out of ten employers use LinkedIn during the hiring process, and a whopping 97% of Fortune 500 companies use LinkedIn to recruit and source new talent. Of course, with millions of active users on LinkedIn searching for new roles, it’s hard to stand out…which is why you have to focus on crafting the right response. 

When You Are Interested

We spoke to Stephanie Yu, career coach and “The Unicorn Recruiter”, on how to respond to a recruiter on LinkedIn and make an impression. 

According to Stephanie,  a good recruiter response should: 

  • Demonstrate your gratitude
  • Clearly state whether you’re interested in the specific role or not
  • Identify whether you’re actively looking for a new role or just exploring your options
  • Include your phone number and email, along with your availability to chat over the next few days (make sure to include your time zone if you pass along any specific times)
  • Share the values you’re passionate about as you search for your next company

Stephanie also passed along a template you can borrow to help you save time and craft a stellar recruiter response. 

Thank you so much for reaching out to me. I’m really interested in this opportunity and would love to chat more about the role. 
Here is my phone number and email. Feel free to connect with me via email. 
Also, here is my availability to chat over the next few days: 
As I explore new opportunities, I also want to point out these values that are super important to me in my next role: 
INSERT VALUES HERE (examples below)
  • Performance-driven culture
  • Strong leadership
  • Growth 
Thank you so much! Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

And…How To Respond When You Aren’t Interested

Now, of course, there will likely be scenarios where, for different reasons, you don’t really want to hear more about a role. 

After reading the description, maybe you know immediately that this role or company isn’t the right fit for you. Or maybe you're not quite ready to make an active career leap yet, but are open to a change in the future if the right role comes along. 

Spoiler alert: even if you aren’t interested in a role, you should still respond to the recruiter’s message. It’s only going to take you a few minutes to do, and it shows your professionalism and helps open you up to an ongoing relationship with that recruiter. And having that long-term relationship will help you land a new role more easily in the future when you’re ready! 

Scenario #1: You’re Interested In The Company, But Not This Role

If you review the recruiter’s message and love the company, but don’t think the role will be a good fit, here’s how you should reply. 

Thank you so much for your message and for thinking of me for this role. I’m actively searching for a new role, and I absolutely love COMPANY NAME, so I was thrilled to see your message pop through. 
However, this role doesn’t align with what I’m currently looking for due to XYZ reasons. 
Ideally, I’m looking for XYZ in my next role. If you have any opportunities more aligned with those qualities in the future, I would love to stay in touch and hear about them! 
Thank you, 

Scenario #2: You’re Confused About The Role and Want More Details

Sometimes, recruiter messages are a little vague. This happens for a number of reasons, including NDAs and needing to vet candidates before providing more details. But if you think you could be interested in the role, absolutely ask for more details! 

Here’s how to respond to a recruiter on LinkedIn when you just aren’t quite sure yet whether it’s a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’

Thank you so much for your message and for thinking of me for this role. I’m actively searching for a new role, and I’m eager to hear more about the role you’re hiring for. 
Ideally, I’m looking for XYZ in my next role. If this role aligns with those qualities, I’d love to connect with you and chat about the role and company. 
Thank you, 

Of course, once the recruiter replies to this message, decide whether you’d like to learn more, and go from there. 

Scenario #3: You Aren’t Interested At All

If the role and company don’t interest you, that’s alright. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) say ‘yes’ to every opportunity. Trust your instincts and core values. 

But how do you respond when you aren’t interested? Here’s a template for you: 

Thanks so much for reaching out about this role. It sounds like an interesting role and exciting company, but at this time, I’m happy in my current role and am not planning to make any changes at the moment. 
That said, if something changes and I’m looking to make a career move in the future, I will reach back out! 
Thank you, 

Learning how to respond to a recruiter on LinkedIn is like anything else: it takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to enjoy having people seek you out and weed through opportunities more easily! But it all starts with optimizing your LinkedIn profile to get more views. Check out Teal’s LinkedIn Review Tool to analyze your profile and get free personalized suggestions to help you improve.

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Kaitlin Marks

Kaitlin Marks is a freelance writer and content strategist. She's passionate about empowering women to feel their best. When she’s not working on her laptop, you can find her snuggling her little rescue puppy, Peanut, or reading a good book at the beach.

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