A few weeks ago, I received an email at my work email address from someone outside my company asking if I had seen a post they had put up on LinkedIn about a role they are recruiting for at their company.

I was skeptical of this, because I have not associated my work email address with my LinkedIn account- I guess the person had seen where I work on my LinkedIn profile, and just had a guess at what my work email address might be.

At the time, I just ignored the email.

However, a few days later, I received another email from them, asking if I had seen the email, which again, I ignored.

I have just picked up a third email from them about the role- so naturally, I'm a little curious that they are being quite persistent.

I am not at all interested in the role (having not given it any more thought beyond reading the job title), and am not actually looking into any new roles at all at the moment- I'm enjoying my current one.

But, given that this person has now sent me three emails over the last few weeks, I thought I'd look into it a bit more- so I searched for them on LinkedIn, and found that they are one of my connections (I don't know the person at all, but they have obviously sent me a connection request on there at some point in the past- it seems that they are also connected to a few other connections I have from my university- course mates & lecturers). This person is the CEO of the company which they are trying to recruit me for.

To be honest, I'm a bit annoyed that they have tried to get in touch through my work address, rather than just sending a message through LinkedIn- it seems quite unprofessional to me, especially given that I have not associated my work address with my LinkedIn account, and that there is nothing on my LinkedIn account to suggest I am looking to move (i.e. I haven't marked my profile as 'open to opportunities', etc).

I came across this question about what to do when a recruiter contacts you via your work email, and the consensus on there is to treat it as spam.

While this is the approach I have taken up until now (deleting the previous two emails without replying), and am used to dealing with recruiters who can be a bit persistent at times, given that the person contacting me is a LinkedIn connection (even though they are not contacting me through LinkedIn), and is actually a CEO, rather than a recruiter, although I don't want to reply to them from my work email account at all, should I email them on LinkedIn, informing them that I am not interested, and asking them to stop emailing me?


I appreciate people may view this as essentially the same question as the one I've referenced (as I've noted), but I would suggest (and expect) that the best way to handle this sort of situation will differ depending on who it is who has approached you (i.e. recruiter, who is not actually involved in the interview/ decision making process vs CEO, who obviously would be the doing the interview/ making the decision whether to hire or not, etc).

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    "is actually a CEO" ... no, they say they're a CEO. I've come across this where they turn out to be just another recruiter, who changes identity to impress the people being spammed. Oct 19, 2020 at 10:05
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    'CEO'? Do you know the company (personally or by reputation), how big is it? (I could set up my own company today with just £100 of paperwork and be CEO of it but I'd really just be CEO of myself!) Oct 20, 2020 at 19:12

4 Answers 4


You're overthinking this. Either:

  1. Keep manually deleting the messages, and accept that the person will probably keep spamming you with more in the future.

  2. Block the sender.

  3. Send a terse reply back of "Not interested."

  4. ... and if you're sufficiently annoyed, burn the contact by telling them off over how emailing your work address is sufficiently unprofessional that you don't ever want to hear about future opportunities from them. And then spam block their email and delete them as a linkedin contact as well.

#3 is my default for handling unsolicited and unwanted offers. I've only ever done #4 once, for a company whose spamcruiters somehow managed to get a hold of an email I've never used for anything recruitment related, who ignored politer requests never to talk to me, and that I despised to the point that I'd sooner live in a box and eat out of dumpsters than work for; and thus didn't care in the least that I was lobbing nukes on the bridge.

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    #3 is confirming to them that the email address they are guessing is you is a real email address and actually you. My default is #2 but your mileage may vary.
    – Eric Nolan
    Oct 19, 2020 at 11:06
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    @EricNolan Not getting a reply isn't getting the SpamEO to give up; and since company email addresses are normally generated according to a common rule the odds are that person isn't in the slightest doubt about having the right email to begin with. Outside of the one #4, I think all of the unsolicited offers I've gotten were over linked in, making it a moot point to begin with. Oct 19, 2020 at 14:39
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    @DanIsFiddlingByFirelight common or not it is still confirming that their method worked (btw out of all the companies I worked only 2 used the same method of generating addresses). IMHO it is much easier to create a rule and never see the emails from such person again whether they give up or not.
    – AlexanderM
    Oct 20, 2020 at 2:01
  • As mentioned in my OP, the point is that the recruiter has emailed me at my work address, despite me never having associated my work address with my LinkedIn account (or anything else that's publicly available) - my guess is that they have just guessed it based on my name, and my employer's domain... Oct 26, 2020 at 15:28
  • @Noble-Surfer figuring out a companies email username rule is generally easy to do. Senior management/sales/etc peoples email will be publicly available; and once you've got a few of those it's game over unless you're dealing with a company small enough to let people pick whatever they want. It's why, IMO unlike with other forms of contact info you're not actually giving anything away; the sender already knows with 99.99...% certainty that it's your address. Oct 28, 2020 at 4:43

should I email them on LinkedIn, informing them that I am not interested, and asking them to stop emailing me?


Use any non-work account that you don't mind exposing, or use LinkedIn itself. Tell them that you are not interested. Ask them to stop emailing you at work.

Then using your work account, mark them as Spam or Block them.

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    Why do you think using a different contact method would be better than responding directly to the email? (Since the answer is "not interested", even if OP's employer even got to see the email, OP would have nothing to worry about.)
    – Llewellyn
    Oct 19, 2020 at 17:41

Instead of "not interested" you might say "not interested at this time". I keep emails from people who looked like they put some effort in it, and might contact them when I do look for a new position.

Otherwise, the easiest is to just delete the email. Recruiters know that happens to 95% of the emails they send out.


Regardless of whether you're interested or not, the important thing to do is to get them to stop contacting your work email.

I might go with something like this

Hi [CEO],

I'm not looking for a new role at the moment.

If there's anything you want to discuss that relates to my position at [current company] then let me know. Otherwise, please note that this is my work email so please use my personal email or other personal point of contact for anything else you want to discuss.

Remember that you may not be the only person who reads your work email, so it's best not to just leave these emails there without a response.

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