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Lately I have been getting a lot of messages from recruiters. Probably not too many, but at least 2-3x a week. I've also heard a lot of places need software engineers like myself.

I am currently happy with my job, but that does not mean I am not interested in a new job. The problem is, I don't want to move unless the salary is significantly better than my current salary. I feel like there is an opportunity in the current market to find a new position with a significant pay-rise.

Is there a way to politely tell a recruiter that I would not be interested in discussing opportunities unless the salary is enough to make me move jobs?

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    Some recruiters don't seem to take no for an answer, but the good ones will listen to what you want (because otherwise you won't take the job and they won't get paid). The really persistent ones you'll just have to block (phone, email, etc).
    – Stuart F
    Aug 10, 2021 at 12:18
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    If you're struggling with this, you probably need to work on your negotiation skills overall. Aug 10, 2021 at 20:50
  • @SigmaOri While it is true you don't owe them anything, IMO you should still be polite to anyone you deal with. Politeness costs nothing. Also, if it turns out you want something from someone later, you may regret having been impolite to them in the past.
    – rooby
    Aug 11, 2021 at 2:04
  • I know we're not really supposed to say this, but seriously: what have you tried?
    – AakashM
    Aug 11, 2021 at 10:37
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    How to politely tell recruiters I'm not interested unless the position pays well (>$100k)? "I'm not interested unless the position pays well (>$100k)."
    – Kevin
    Aug 11, 2021 at 13:35

4 Answers 4

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A lot of my colleagues and friends, including myself, have been in the position where recruiters/head-hunters make contact proposing certain jobs for certain annual salaries. In order to filter those a bit, just let the recruiter know:

"Hi [enter name here]! Thanks for considering me for those job-proposals, if the expected gross annual salary is above [enter amount & currency here], I would consider your proposed opportunities and might switch jobs"

Some recruiters might wrongly assume arrogance on your side and will be put off, on the other hand every person has a certain market-value and such a 'filter' saves time on your side and on theirs.

If a persistent recruiter doesn't acknowledge your request to only forward job-proposals that meet the mentioned criterias and still spams your inbox with a dozen uninteresting gigs, then a follow-up email or an immedtiate black-listing/block will guarantee relieve.. ;)

But keep in mind that on the other side, as @jefflunt wrote:

"A recruiter who you like working with, can actually become a partner in your career. Recruiters are usually motivated to get you the most money they can, so setting a bar is often very helpful. They can also be another voice in helping you know if your salary ask is too high or too low - if you're over-experienced and underpaid I'm sure many recruiters would love to help you get that raise."

As @Alan_Dev wrote in the comments:

"Recruiters don't want to waste their time, 90% of them will find a clear response like this very helpful and will appreciate it."

Good additional point made by @Benjamin:

"If you have additional qualifiers, such as preferred location, responsibilities etc. then mention them to your recruiter. Good recruiters like when you know what you want, because it makes it easier/faster to find fitting jobs for you. The recruiter might even answer they have no fitting job right now for you, but will get back to you once they have something fitting!"

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    Recruiters don't want to waste their time, 90% of them will find a clear response like this very helpful and will appreciate it.
    – deep64blue
    Aug 10, 2021 at 10:49
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    I would slightly change the phrasing and avoid negatives. Something like: "I am only interested in positions with at least X annual salary. If you have something fitting, I am interested to talk about these opportunities". If you have additional qualifiers, add them. E.g.: Location orresponisbilities. Good recruiters like when you know what you want, because it makes it easier/faster to find fitting jobs for you. The recruiter might even answer they have no fitting job right now for you, but will get back to you once they have something fitting!
    – Benjamin
    Aug 10, 2021 at 12:44
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    @AlanDev 99% of emails I get from recruiters seem to be generated by a bulk email blasts (and are irrelevant to me - and I've started to receive some from one particular recruiter that don't even have my name in them). And on the occasions I have replied to them to show my interest, I've never got a response back. So I just ignore them.
    – Peter M
    Aug 10, 2021 at 13:05
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    I totally agree with that answer. By the way, in France, I did that a lot and got mocked or never called back. The funniest thing is that I got a job paying almost double the salary I was requesting. I would even add, if you're willing to work for a poor salary, you will be labeled as "a mediocre worker willing to accept a mediocre salary". This said. Work = Salary. This is a basic, if HR feel offended by this, just leave.
    – PowerCat
    Aug 10, 2021 at 16:01
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    If you meet a recruiter who you like working with, they can actually become a partner in your career. Recruiters are usually motivated to get you the most money they can, so setting a bar is often very helpful. They can also be another voice in helping you know if your salary ask is too high or too low - if you're over-experienced and underpaid I'm sure many recruiters would love to help you get that raise.
    – jefflunt
    Aug 10, 2021 at 21:10
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Always make the recruiter say a number first

Whenever I'm contacted by a recruiter with a job I'm interested in, I reply with the following.

Sounds like it could be a good fit. Can you give me a ballpark salary range for the position?

Most recruiters are happy to tell me the range. The few that don't I generally don't follow up with.

Even if I find a job via my network, I still ask about salary early on. Good employers know that someone already working doesn't want to waste any time interviewing, and that making candidates get to the end before finding out the salary both waste the company time in extending offers that will be turned down, and irritates the candidate, who likely used use a sick day to interview.

It's a red flag for me if the company won't give me a salary range. It's much more acceptable now to ask about this in the first meeting than in previous generations.

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I personally have been using Headhunters. They do that talk for you and usually tell you with what salary they announced you prior to an interview.

If that is no option for you, there is no shame in asking for what you feel you are worth. Of course it is a balancing act between being too rude and asking at first contact and being to polite and essentially wasting time with 3 interview rounds. When they have an estimate written in the offer, refer to that, if not you can kindly ask when it is appropiate. Usually Companies will start to talk about benefits and that is about the time you should ask what the "usual salary in that position" is. Since asking "what do I get?" is kinda rude.

Depending on how they handle recruiting this phase is usually in the second interview, where as the first interview is kinda like a get to know you.

But in the end it is always your decision when you want to ask. If your time is too valuable to you, you can ask at first contact, but try to keep it nice and formal.

Recruiters know that usually benefits and money is what people care most about and that this is how you get talent.

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First thing I would say is, do not hesitate in being very clear with the headhunters. Also, they are people and don't like being insulted but, being clear is not an insult. Also, it's not like you are going to build a personal and long lasting relationship with them (when it happens, it's an exception). So, stay polite, like you should be with anyone, but that's it. So, you could just say that you don't want less than a certain amount, very clearly, and that would not be a problem. Indeed, it's worse to make some negotiation evolve and let them know they lost their time because the salary was too small from the beginning.

Still, I have a different recommendation. Many headhunters don't really care about what you say. They think that even if you say 100 you may accept 90, and so they will push whatever they can. Because at the end, it's not too much effort on their side and sometimes it works. I find this really annoying so, what I do is, when explaining my situation, if I don't want less than 100, instead of saying I am at 80, but won't move for less than 100, I just say I am at 105 and won't move for less than what I already have (indeed, it's a lie). I find this works much better and they won't try to push you something for less than 100.

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