I am in touch with an external/third party recruiter. He mentioned few interesting positions, so I'd like to stay in touch with him but I'd rather keep our interactions to emails.

I'm annoyed by his attempts to call me when I'm working, but I also don't see the point of schedule an off working hours call when I could easily read a job description and tell him if I'm interested and or qualified.

How can I explain him that I'd rather keep the communication by email? Are my expectations reasonable? I understand the preference for having a first voice conversation, but I don't see the point of planning when it could be done by mail.


brief summary of the answers:

  • explain first, ignore after - the pesky recruiter will eventually learn (s)he is waisting time
  • use a throwaway mail and phone number (Google Voice)
  • 1
    I suppose it's been several times that person has called you, right? How have you handled it so far, so we can suggest alternatives? Do you answer, or ignore the call?
    – DarkCygnus
    Jun 28, 2018 at 22:07
  • Block his number? Jun 29, 2018 at 1:56
  • When I'm working my phone is usually muted so it's an issue that 90% of the times fixes itself, but the remaining 10% it's annoying to have the phone ring. Once I answer by mistake (I was actually expecting another phone call) but I quickly interrupted the conversation.
    – ajeje
    Jun 29, 2018 at 5:59
  • I'm more interested in general solutions (i.e. how to convince recruiters to self-confine to emails) than how to deal with this particular pesky recruiter. Also, I wanted to understand if my expectations make sense. I recently moved to the industry and I don't feel I can ask my supervisor's advice on the matter :-)
    – ajeje
    Jun 29, 2018 at 6:08
  • 1
    I'm introvert and I never answer my phone. If it's important the person calls again. If it's not, they text/WhatsApp/email me depending upon the person
    – user47813
    Jul 1, 2018 at 22:00

4 Answers 4


How can I explain him that I'd rather keep the communication by email?

Next time that person calls, answer it. And then tell him something like:

R: Hello nic, nice to hear you. I am calling you to discuss about that offer I mentioned.

nic: Hello R, good to hear you again. I am currently at work, so I am unable to discuss this now. I'd prefer if we discussed this via email, as it is easier for me to read and reply promptly. My email is [email protected], mind giving me yours?

That would put it very clear to that person you wish to be contacted by email instead.

After this, if he insists on calling feel free to ignore it and reply back with an email when you have the time.

  • 2
    +1, I also suggest not answering the phone. I made a point of not answering mine if I wasn't expecting a call, and I always gave recruiters a way to schedule one with me. Google Calendar has Appointment Slots but at the time I used Calendly. I then added the Calendly widget at the bottom of my web CV and pointed recruiters to it, so there was no way to miss it.
    – rath
    Jun 29, 2018 at 9:43
  • @rath I also tried calendly when looking for a new job. Recruiters (from companies) don't seem to like it much in my case
    – user47813
    Jul 1, 2018 at 10:43
  • @VarunAgw That was my experience as well. Old habits and all that I suppose
    – rath
    Jul 2, 2018 at 8:33
  • @rath Soon I completely stopped using it. I maybe wrong but I felt like employers are taking offend by it (like I am too busy and don't have time to schedule a time over email conversation). Or maybe I am just overthinking. But I don't use it anymore.
    – user47813
    Jul 2, 2018 at 9:11

Recruiting is sales.

The recruiter is selling you a position, and selling you to their client.

Salespeople work best in real time, whether that's in person or on the phone.

Are my expectations reasonable?

Yes, but not for the recruiter, who wants to work in real time.

Real time is faster. Faster to convince you to buy, and faster to sell you on. On the phone the recruiter can quickly determine what you want to buy, and counter any possible objections you might have.

How can I explain him that I'd rather keep the communication by email?

The recruiter will always default to phone unless you can prove that you're not buying that way. You can prove it by not answering the phone, not calling back, and doing everything over email.

  • Thanks - I appreciate yours and @DarkCygnus suggestions.
    – ajeje
    Jun 29, 2018 at 6:12
  • I marked @DarkCygnus's answer as the solution as he answered first, but I wish I could choose two response. Thanks!
    – ajeje
    Jun 29, 2018 at 6:16

Send the recruiter's calls to voicemail.

Email him and tell him you're job hunting on the QT and calls during working hours could put your current employment in jeopardy.

If applicable, time zone differences can work in your favor. If you're on Eastern time and the recruiter is on Pacific time, scheduling a call at 1pm your time / 10am his time works well - just tell your employer you're going for lunch.


Use a Google Voice number (if Google Voice is not available for your country yet, look for a similar service). Tell the recruiter in question you've changed your phone number. He doesn't need to know it's a Google Voice number.

With Google Voice, you can screen calls/forward calls any way you like. It's super customizable. It also transcribes the voice messages and sends them to you by email or SMS.

I posted my real phone number and my real email address on my resume on Dice four years ago for less than 24 hours. That was a huge mistake on my part. I'm still getting spam calls from recruiters because of that. In hindsight, I should have used a Google Voice number and even a separate gmail address on my resume.

  • That's a great suggestion - I should definitely use a throwaway email/phone number for job-search! Thanks for pointing me to Google Voice.
    – ajeje
    Jul 1, 2018 at 19:45

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