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This question already has an answer here:

Suppose a recruiter in a big company (such as Google, Amazon) sends out a message to a candidate on Linkedin about a job opportunity (such as a software engineer).

The candidate

  • either feels not ready for the position yet in terms of skills required, and/or interview preparation (although the candidate is working to improve himself on his own),

  • or is in the process of preparing to apply for the H1b working visa through the current company (and the candidate will not be able to change employer in several months or a year while waiting for the petition result, and it is too late to change employer to start over the H1b petition to meet the deadline of submission by April 6)

Does it matter if the candidate doesn't reply because he is not sure if it is a good idea to let the recruiter know about his situation?

But the candidate wants to work for the company, and therefore may apply for a position in the company in the future. Will not replying a recruiter's reachout message on Linkedin affect his chance in the future?

What would you do if you were the candidate?

Is it normal that a recruiter in a good company sends out messages to tons of candidates, and doesn't track who has been contacted, and doesn't care if there is reply or not?

marked as duplicate by Dukeling, gnat, Cronax, Snow, mcknz Mar 21 '18 at 19:54

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • When in doubt, do the thing that will work in every case. Not replying can hurt if they're tracking emails, replying shouldn't hurt if they aren't. – Dukeling Mar 20 '18 at 14:38
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Look at the email they send you in the beginning, does it look like they are addressing you personally (but more than just your name!), citing something from your past experience that they could only have gotten from thoroughly reading your LinkedIn profile, CV etc.? If so, it may be worth replying and respectfully declining. You could even remark that you would be interested in working for them in the future.

If it reads like spam or a mail-merge job, you'd be fairly safe in just ignoring it. Such emails are likely sent to hundreds of possible candidates and the company/recruiters will not expect or even follow up on emails to turn down the offer. The company/recruiter is unlikely to say "Don't hire Tim, he ignored a vague recruitment email five years ago that we sent to a million people!"

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    Chances are these people are sending out mass emails that fit a certain criteria or job title in your resume. Even in specific emails I would caution responding because it's very easy to create a replacement template. – Dan Mar 20 '18 at 16:48
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    Agreed. There could even be some bots that read a LinkedIn profile and try to appear more personal and genuine. To an extent, the recipient always has to rely on their own judgement and common sense. – user34587 Mar 20 '18 at 16:57
  • Yes, those kind of mass-mailing bots on LinkedIn exist: meetleonard.com – Robert Dundon Mar 20 '18 at 17:10
  • Thanks, Kozaky and @Dan! What is "a replacement template"? – Tim Mar 20 '18 at 17:59
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The dirty truth here is that independent recruiters are sales agents, and you and your talents are what they are selling. They will always be up to "selling" you in the future should you show interest in a current opportunity and haven't burned any bridges. Ignoring an email is definitely not burning a bridge between you/them.

I accidentally tested this when I was finding a new job recently. A recruiter was consistently "spamming" me with local opportunities. I always just ignored the emails. Finally he sent me a job I was interested in, so I replied. Boy did he jump at the opportunity to speak with me and discuss my skills.

  • I would guess most recruiters will not even actively keep track of who didn't answer at all compared to answered "thanks but no thanks". – skymningen Mar 21 '18 at 13:53
  • @skymningen, exactly, Highly doubt any recruiter maintains a black list of individuals that didn't reply to their emails. However they do probably keep a list of individuals that have turned them off for whatever reason so they and their group know not to work with you. – Jay Mar 21 '18 at 14:21
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This is going to depend on the recruiter and how they do their work. Some will just blast out a message to as many LinkedIn profiles as they can find that somewhat match the criteria they are looking for, others take more care in who they contact and could very well take you off their list if you never respond (why would they waste their time?). But it's impossible to know how the recruiter who just contacted you operates based on the message they sent.

If you are interested in the position they are offering but not in a place where you can accept it right now, the best thing to do would be to just reply and tell them so. You can say something like

Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, I am not in a position where I can switch jobs right now, but I am interested in your company and would like to hear about opportunities like this in the future.

This lets them know that even though you aren't going to be applying this time around, you want to stay on their list. You don't have to go into detail about your situation. The worst that can happen is they ignore your message, in which case you've lost nothing. Recruiters get paid when they get people hired, so most will be happy to stay in touch with someone who is actually interested in what they are offering.

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You're asking a lot of questions, and it's always hard to guess at answers for posts like this because we don't know the specifics about the recruiter's message or their tactics. That said:

Does it matter if the candidate doesn't reply because he is not sure if it is a good idea to let the recruiter know about his situation?

Neither of the situations you described in your post are inherently "bad" in the long term sense. To put this another way: They are both valid reasons to decline right now, but still be a potential candidate in the future.

But the candidate wants to work for the company, and therefore may apply for a position in the company in the future. Will not replying a recruiter's reachout message on Linkedin affect his chance in the future?

If the candidate wants to work for the company, the question is really broader than this specific LinkedIn message. What is the candidate doing to develop relationships with people at this company? How does a response (or lack thereof) to this specific message fit in with the candidate's overall strategy? If a candidate is targeting a specific employer, a message like this may be a golden opportunity to establish a relationship - even a minor one - with an important decision maker (a recruiter) at the target employer. I had a mentor once who taught me to "never waste a crisis." When you see something that you're worried may be perceived as bad, instead of focusing on that bad, look for a way to turn it into something good - developing a relationship with the recruiter, in this case.

What would you do if you were the candidate?

Gonna skip this one, since "what would you do" questions are not usually helpful in the context of this forum. You need to figure out what YOU would do, not what WE would do.

Is it normal that a recruiter in a good company sends out messages to tons of candidates, and doesn't track who has been contacted, and doesn't care if there is reply or not?

Yes, many recruiters at large corporations have pro LinkedIn accounts that let them spam potential candidates. They may not even know or care who the specific individuals are, and they certainly won't think badly of you if you don't respond. They're likely not keeping a scorecard on who didn't reply. That said, we don't know if that's the case here, and personally, I don't think it matters since as I mentioned above, I see this situation as an opportunity, not a problem.

I will preface my answer to your question with some questions:

What is your strategy for engagement with this potential employer? Do you know how they recruit? Do you know how they find, filter, and evaluate candidates? Where do they post jobs? Do they participate in career fairs or other recruiting events?

So, finally, Yes: you should respond to this message with a brief mention of why you're not going to pursue the current opportunity, but you also need to consider making this message a part of a larger strategy:

Hello So-and-so, I appreciate your message but I will have to pass up the current opportunity because of X. However, I have been following your company on X and am interested in X type(s) of roles in the future because of X. I know your company will be represented next semester on campus, perhaps I could arrange to speak with someone then? or: I know you often post jobs on LinkedIn, I will be looking out for X role in the future.

And, if this recruiter isn't already a LinkedIn connection, I'd go ahead and request.

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