Recently I was talking to a recruiter about applying for a position and after a few exchanges, he sent me a take home test before I could proceed.

As of recently, I started thinking a lot more about whether or not I feel now is the time to move and I ended up realizing I'm not ready to move yet. However, because the company that contacted me is fairly prestigious in my industry, I also don't want to lose the connection.

I feel I'm in an awkward situation because after being given this take home test, I feel letting the recruiter know I am actually not interested right now might come off the wrong way -- after seeing the test, it might seem like I'm not interested because of it.

What's the best way to communicate with the recruiter if we could follow up in a year? Perhaps I'm over thinking it?

  • 3
    Go the extra mile. Ace the test and give the recruiter a reason to remember you.
    – ASA
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 10:56

2 Answers 2


I would tell the recruiter the truth, that you've just reconsidered your plans, and it has nothing to do with the test.

Recruiters can be very persuasive, and will always be friendly to you, but ultimately you are not their customer; the company trying to fill the vacancy is. That's who pays them; you're the commodity. If you turn a recruiter down they will just move on and look for another candidate; it's all in a day's work.

Don't worry about any future contact with this recruiter. If you are remotely employable, and you contact him/her again in the future asking for work, the recruiter will jump at the chance.


Stop worrying. People change their minds all the time. It doesn't matter what your reasoning is.

You're just at the initial screening phase anyway. Do you really think that they care? Right now, you're just a resume to them. And yes, they may think that the take-home exam was too difficult for you. But who cares? There could also be one hundred other reasons you abandoned the screening process at this point. It doesn't really matter to them, nor should it matter to you.

Worst case scenario is that you have to wait one year before you can apply again. I assume waiting one year is not the end of the world for you.

  • I guess I'm unfamiliar with the process when it comes to recruiters and flagging candidates -- in fact the best case scenario is that I have to wait only one year before applying again but I don't know if candidates flagged by recruiters are given that same privilege.
    – Kevin Xu
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 6:02
  • Privilege? It's not a privilege. It's a business decision. Some candidates (wherever they may come from) may be worth revisiting after a while. This goes double for "prestigious" companies where the hiring process is so stringent, to begin with. Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 6:40

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