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Some HR staff ask if you're interviewing in other places, and some ask to be kept informed of changes in your job hunting process.

I suppose "changes" could mean you're no longer on the market because a job offer was accepted or because you decided not to change jobs after all. "Changes" could also mean it's looking like an offer could be imminent due to how quickly you've progressed through a series of interviews.

I usually answer honestly: yes, I'm looking at other companies too (because who isn't). But for changes in status, it's a little ambiguous about what they want to be updated about and when. Maybe next time I'll ask.

Anyway, given that they made the request, I assume they don't want to know every little detail, but maybe they do want to know something. Since they made the request, and if the intention was to be kept up to date, not just no longer looking, what do they want to know and when is it a good idea to contact them?

  • The answer to this will likely depend somewhat on the overall approach and preferences of the recruiter. – dwizum Aug 27 '19 at 18:23
  • @dwizum I'm more specifically talking about the HR staff of a company recruiting for a specific role. I did say "HR staff", not staffing companies. – user70848 Aug 27 '19 at 20:37
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When you are engaged in an active job search, recruiters ask you how other opportunities are going to understand where you're at and whether investing time in you is a good idea or not, and how.

If you are close to taking a position through that recruiter, they will urge you to lay off other interviewing and urge the company to close faster.

If you are close to taking a position not through that recruiter, they may wait to push you to other companies till they see how that turns out, because they don't want to have someone early in the funnel have to be withdrawn.

If you seem serious about a search - like you have actively applied and/or interviewed, they will spend more time on you since you seem like you're actually in the market.

If you are just like "well, I don't know, whatever" then they'll try to push you to some places to test the waters but if no one is freaking out over your resume and you don't seem motivated they'll spend their time on someone else.

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Recruiters are always "fishing". I generally don't respond unless I'm interested in finding a new position. If I'm really interested in maintaining a relationship with a particular recruiter (which I'm usually not interested in doing) then I'll respond with one of the example responses below.

If you feel that you must respond then do so frankly, honestly, and briefly. This is a typical response from me to recruiters when I feel the need to respond:

"I'm not looking for anything at the moment. Thanks for reaching out to me."

"I'm currently looking for a new position. Feel free to reach out to me with anything you think fits my skill set. Thanks for reaching out to me."

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    I think OP’s context is more when you’re actually interviewing and the interviewer asks this question. – AsheraH Aug 27 '19 at 18:44
  • Yeah, this isn't a "regular" recruiter asking this - it's an HR recruiter for the company the person's interviewing at. HR recruiters, IMO, don't really share a lot of traits/behaviors with regular recruiters. – Kevin Aug 27 '19 at 19:35
  • Yes, this question is when you're on the phone with a member of HR staff recruiting for a position within a company you've applied to or they're trying to fill. This is not a question about staff from a recruiting company. – user70848 Aug 27 '19 at 20:38
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I'd view it as a compliment of sorts.

It helps if you put yourself in the shoes of an HR recruiter for a company. Let's say your specialty is graphic designers. So you get contacted by Abigail Artiste, who's got a great resume/work-history, and she's applying for a position that... you're not sure will be the best fit for her. You could simply say, "Sorry, we chose another person for the position" - but you know that it's only a matter of time until you get an opening that she would be good for. So you want to keep a line of communication open to her, so that there's a chance you'd be able to snag her when a job does open up.

So, basically: an HR recruiter asking this is basically saying: "I'm not sure you'd be the best fit for a current position, but I could definitely see you filling a position in the future and don't want to lose contact with you."

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  • I don't understand this response. – user70848 Aug 27 '19 at 21:30
  • The HR recruiter is asking you to keep them informed of the progress of your job search. In other words, they want to know while you're still available and looking for another job - because while they don't necessarily have something right now, they foresee having a spot you'd be good for sometime in the future. – Kevin Aug 27 '19 at 22:38

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