I am happy with my current job. However, recruiters message me from time to time with career opportunities.

Is it rude to tell the recruiter that given my satisfaction with the current job, I would only take up their offer if there was a significant financial incentive to do so?

  • 11
    May I ask why you even want to respond? Just ignore them if their offer isn't interesting. I'd have to hire someone if I wanted to respond to every single recruiter to tell them I'm not interested. I'm not wasting my time on that. Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 9:41
  • 4
    @KevinWessels I don't know for OP, but I tend to reply to all and every persons who take the time to contact me, because I don't want to leave them in doubt (e.g. like when I contact recruiters and they never reply). I'd rather give them a clear reply.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 18:00
  • FWIW, there are places that wouldn't actually hire you if they can't offer you a better salary than your current one.
    – Josh Part
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 18:20
  • 7
    @Clockwork That's very nice of you, but keep in mind that they don't send you personally a message, they do a search on various keywords and send the same message to all search results. Whoever positively responds is their new lead.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 15:29

5 Answers 5


No, it's not rude.

If that's what the situation is with you, be polite but clear.

Thanks for reaching out

At this stage I would only be looking at offers at a total compensation of over $X (before tax).

Are you able to detail the compensation range for this role?

Many regards,


You are saving both of you some time.

  • 102
    Recruiters just want to get you into a new job, because that's when they get paid. They'll appreciate knowing what that will take, especially when it's as simple and objective as salary/day rate. Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 9:05
  • I second this answer. In my case I would only move for a 100% remote position and I make that very clear in my 1st response. Most of the replies I get from that thank me for not wasting their time. The ones that don't respond after that, they're the rude ones.
    – Skrrp
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 13:45
  • @MartinBonner Thanks. I've amended. Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 15:09
  • 11
    It's worth noting that there are recruiters / employers out there that will hear that and go, "We're not going to offer them that, but let's bring them in to talk anyway and see if we can negotiate them down." So, in addition to Gregory's advice, I would also add, it can be helpful to get a salary figure from them before you engage in any interviews. Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 15:24
  • 4
    They may also be willing to give you a raise, but then they'll give you less of a pay increase yearly than your previous job, fewer bonuses, and expect longer hours. Be careful when believing that the "grass is greener" somewhere else.
    – mbomb007
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 18:52

Why would it be rude? Is it rude to tell the salesman what color car you want? Is it rude to tell the chef how you want your steak cooked? Is it rude to tell the dry cleaner that you want your shirts starched?

It's not rude to tell people what you want. Be courteous and professional, and tell them what you want.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Neo
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 11:51
  • 2
    The context is a bit different if your are a paying customer (as in all of your examples) vs the one getting paid, I'm not sure any of those analogies would apply Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 15:58
  • 19
    It's not really different. You're paying with your time and commitment. What do you want to receive in exchange for that? Ask for the salary you want.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 16:08
  • 8
    It's also not rude for the car salesman (who is the one getting paid) to tell you how much money he wants.
    – Buge
    Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 9:53
  • @user2813274 OP is not the one who's getting paid. The recruiter is the one getting paid. Arguably - from the money that OP will potentially make for his future employer. Paid exactly to deliver a happy employee.
    – Agent_L
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 7:34

Frame challenge: I wouldn't respond to unsolicited recruiters at all. It just gives them hope that your contact info will some day bear fruit.

When you're open to new job opportunities, you locate a recruiter that is relatively respected in your industry (or has contacts with a company that interests you) and you reach out to them. At that point, as the other answers have stated, you can state whatever criteria you want and it's up to them to either tell you that your criteria are unreasonable or to find a job that'll match those criteria.

  • 5
    1. The OP has implied that an unsolicited position which does offer a pay increase would be of interest. 2. Most companies where I work only contact one (or maybe two) recruiters; if you don't contact them all, you will miss out on some jobs. Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 14:59
  • 5
    Different industries are different. I'm a .Net Developer, I've had 4-5 job hunts in the past 5 years, and all of my jobs were through recruiters contacting me, and some of them were when I wasn't actively looking for new work. When I'm actively looking (that is, updating my resume on sites) I get 5-15 emails and 3-10 calls per day. Not responding to them would be a bad career decision for me.
    – David Rice
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 15:04
  • The only ones I reply to are the ones that can (1) follow directions and (2) know what industry I'm in. If I see an email asking if I'd be interested to work in finance, I delete it. They obviously didn't read my resume that has over 10 years of software development work on it. If they call my phone and get to voice mail ("if you're a recruiter, do not leave a message") and leave a message, I delete it. If they call me 6 times, leaves a voice mail, send me 7 emails, and a text, and I get three colleagues also contacting me, I say "I didn't appreciate this, also no I'm not interested." Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 21:00
  • I'd advise OP to dialog with the ones that seem respectful and competent. Block the ones that don't respect your time and the "un-smart" ones. When the OP wants a new job, they already have a list of people with whom they'd like to work. OP can still look for additional recruiters if the current ones aren't enough. My experience with recruiter relationships is that you're in contact every 3-9 months unless something comes up they think fits. At first it is a little extra work (you'll turn down a few things that don't fit) but, after that it isn't a burden. Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 21:53

It's not rude at all to express certain requirements that are an important factor for you to consider leaving your current position which you are happy with. It's definitly in your interest to provide such information when contacted by a recruiter.

Being in a similar position (I'm quite content about my current role and my paycheck), I was also contacted last month by a recruiter (let's call her Mary) via E-mail and replied with (loosly translated via Noodle or what its called) :

Dear Mary!

First of all, I want to thank you very much for contacting me about this job offer!

For your information regarding any future job postings, I want to inform you about the following:

I'm currently working as a senior lead-developer and project-manager, with which I am extremely satisfied.

Should this change for any reason, of course, I'm happy about new offers - but these should be at least € xxx.xxx gross per year for similar responsibilities.

Best Regards,

  • 14
    This is good, but I would never advertise my current salary. Tell them what it'll take to make you consider moving. That's it.
    – Havegooda
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 16:27
  • @Havegooda Fully agree - Thanks for pointing that out, I'll edit my answer..
    – iLuvLogix
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 15:02

Having been in the recruiting industry myself, i think it is fair to tell a recruiter that you will only consider roles that pay higher than your current one. However if that is the only thing that motivates you to make a change, in a hot market it can make you appear like a risky person to work with. Recruiting a candidate, coordinating interviews, negotiating between Client and candidate can be a time consuming process and in order to ensure top quality service from the recruiter it is important to be transparent. What are the other motivators that would motivate you to change roles? If you are working with a good recruiter, they will only seek opportunities for you that match your requirements otherwise they are wasting your time and theirs. Recruiting is a team effort and you should build a good relationship with the recruiter and they should reciprocate with you. Not always an easy thing to do with how saturated the recruiting industry has gotten. I guess another key here is, if the recruiter has an opportunity that is higher than your current pay, would you turn it down because another company offered you 5k more even though the company and opportunity isn't as good as the one the recruiter presented? Will you consider other variables not just the pay if they are close in pay etc.

Hope that helps!

  • 2
    this post is rather hard to read (wall of text). Would you mind editing it into a better shape?
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 6:21
  • 1
    Your answer assumes the recruiter has been engaged by the OP and is acting in the OPs best interests (you talk about relationship building and working with a good recruiter). The OP is saying that they are getting (presumably unsolicited) messages from a multitude of recruiters. Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 7:29
  • I will consider more than just the salary offered. The higher pay is simply the first factor that would make me want to consider an offer. The context of the question is that I don't want to get offers for similar jobs to my current one with only a 5% increase in pay, but I would be willing to go through the process of interviewing if the increase in pay was 30%, for example. Taking up the offer would still depend on company culture, effort expected, how well I think I would fit there and so on. Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 6:17

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