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I am getting contacted by LinkedIn recruiters regularly, and sometimes it's a nice phone conversation and useful for networking. In a particular instance, I was sure I am not interested in the job, so I said that upfront to save time and wrap up the conversation. However, the job recruiter got pushy and started asking me repeatedly why I was not interested in the job. I told the recruiter that that was something personal that I did not wish to describe further, yet the recruiter then asked again. I respectfully repeated that that was personal, and indicated to the recruiter to move on to another question, in case there was something else to be discussed. The recruiter got clearly angry, said 'thank you', and hung up.

I am ok with not providing personal reasons for declining a specific position, however, I wonder whether due to minimal commitment to a recruitment conversation or etiquette, I am forced somehow to provide "reasons to decline a job offer". In my view, it is up to me, and I sometimes do not want to share them to be then part of spam/data collection.

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    "No." is a complete sentence. You do not need to give a reason for saying no. All that recruiter was doing was to find the "objection" that he could beat down.
    – David R
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 15:36
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    Quibble: It sounds like this wasn't an actual offer, just an initial contact. Commented Jan 14, 2023 at 23:25
  • When companies reject candidates, they usually do not give a reason. Why do you think that candidates should give a reason? Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 19:00
  • You can simply block the recruiter. Problem solved. Odds are your career will move on without issue with this person bothering you.
    – Keltari
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 22:46

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[Am I] forced somehow to provide "reasons to decline a job offer" ?

Off course not. You can tell the recruiter anything you want or nothing at all. Let's look at a few potential replies

  1. F**k Off: Short, to the point, and gets the job done. It will also remove you from any future consideration at this company/employer.
  2. Unfortunately the role doesn't have the technical growth potential I was looking for since (insert some incomprehensible techno babble): This will generally shut up a recruiter since they have no idea what you are talking about and can't counter it credibly. That should get most of them to back off but keeps your name in the hat for future opportunities.
  3. Tell the truth: unless your actual reason is embarrassing to your or offensive to the company, there is really nothing wrong with that. You take the high road and the recruiter gets useful data (which they may or may not use).

Which one to use really just depends on how much you care about future options at this place and/or your own idea of "being professional".

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  • Note that in many situations, the recruiter is simply a middleman, who has no relationship to the company. Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 10:18
  • (And in which case 1. is my preferred option) Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 10:19
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You are completely within your rights to not say anything.

However, you can safely assume that this recruiter won't be contacting you with any job offers in the future. That might not bother you. You might miss out on your dream job.

Slightly more generally, if you don't tell recruiters what's wrong with a potential job, don't complain if they give contact you about other inappropriate jobs in the future - they can only work off what they've been told.

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  • Yes, it's definitely better if you can tell them what you didn't like. Recruitment consultants are all a bit pushy and disinclined to take "no" for an answer - if they were shy and meek and afraid to ask, they wouldn't last long in the job. Fair enough if you never want to deal with consultants, or are sure that this guy is significantly worse than the other recruiters. But a good recruitment consultant will listen to you - even if it's something vague about the atmosphere of the place or a personality clash, as long as you can articulate it in a way that will help direct the recruiter.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 15:39
  • At least give them polite but meaningless double speak, something like "unfortunately, it's just not a good fit for me at present, but I appreciate your consideration and look forward to future opportunities."
    – dandavis
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 10:13
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Yes, it is perfectly OK to decline pursuing a job opportunity without giving a reason.

In fact is is very rude for a recruiter to press for a reason after you have told them you don't want to give one. Unfortunately in the commission-driven world of low-level recruitment some recruiters are desperate enough that they will resort to rude and pushy tactics in order to try and and get their allotted number of ticks, and to get angry when it doesn't work out.

The good news is that you don't want to deal with recruiters like that, so you have lost absolutely nothing by making them "angry". Not only are they rude, but they are usually the kind of recruiters who not at all interested in finding you a position that suits you, but just in filling their quota. Professionals recruiting for their company almost never behave like this - it's almost always ones trying to act as "middle men" between open job positions and candidates who haven't found those openings yet. They are working with many, many candidates (and devoting very little effort to each). They have probably forgotten the conversation with you already, and have moved on to annoying someone else.

Go on with your life and never think about them again.

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  • This answer is the only one that gets to the crux of the issue that recruiters are generally parasites. (Not all, just most) Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 10:20
  • I didn't say that and I disagree. It's not most. But some are, and this person is one of them. Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 14:20
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I am ok with not providing personal reasons for declining a specific position, however, I wonder whether due to minimal commitment to a recruitment conversation or etiquette, I am forced somehow to provide "reasons to decline a job offer".

You can always decline to continue at any point in the process. There's no commitment on your part.

Most likely the recruiter was trying to understand the "why" so that they can better know which jobs to send your way in the future. That makes sense for them and for you as well.

But if you don't want to give them any clues for any reason, you are not obligated to do so.

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