There is a particular recruiting company that continues to contact me. I have been unhappy with their performance in the past and have been clear that I am no longer interested in their services. I have had to inform them of this multiple times.

Whenever they contact me, I inform them that I do not want them to contact me further. They oblige for a few months, and then I get an e-mail or phone call from a different recruiter with the same company. Most recently, I expressed my frustration and insisted that I be completely removed from their database. Today, I received another e-mail from them after months of silence.

Is there any sort of legal grounds I can quote or anything else I can say or do to force them to actually remove me from their list of contacts and stop contacting me?

  • 2
    Setting up an email filter for that domain removes the email problem.
    – enderland
    Sep 4, 2012 at 23:27
  • 6
    I'd suggest looking into harassment laws in your country (state, city, province, etc). If you suggested to them the possibility of legal trouble (if possible), I'm sure they'd be quite happy to leave you alone.
    – yoozer8
    Sep 4, 2012 at 23:39
  • 25
    "Please hold on, I'll turn on call recording... Thank you for waiting. Now please spell your name, position, and company name..." Sep 5, 2012 at 4:27
  • 10
    Apply for a job with them. When you don't get it, they never call back.
    – user8365
    Sep 5, 2012 at 16:22
  • 3
    Next time they call ask them what they're wearing.
    – MrFox
    Sep 13, 2012 at 18:17

7 Answers 7


Unfortunately you've already violated the cardinal rule about dealing with recruiting companies:

  1. Never, under any circumstances, give a recruiter (or anybody else) that you do not personally know and trust your phone number.

These people are tenacious, and many of them won't take no for an answer. It's best to deal with recruiters on an e-mail only basis (or not at all, if you have that option), since at least an e-mail received at 7:00 am isn't going to wake you up and since it's easy to set up filters for recruiters that can't take a hint.

Once I made the mistake of posting a resume containing my phone number and e-mail address on monster.com. The next day my phone rang about 2 dozen times with calls from various recruiters. The day after that I took my posting down, but the calls continued for months afterwards. And years later, I am still getting a few e-mails every week from these people.

Anyhow, in terms of what you can do about it, your legal options will depend upon your location. In the U.S. there is a national 'Do Not Call' registry. I'm not sure how/if that applies specifically in the case of recruiters, as there are a number of exceptions that exist. You can check with a local lawyer and see if they can come up with any other options.

Or the next time they call you, just calmly inform them "Look, my phone number is on the national do-not-call list, and I have repeatedly asked your company to stop calling me. If you continue attempting to contact me against my wishes I will have no choice but to seek legal action against your organization." That ought to resolve the issue.

  • 20
    Alternately, tell them they have the wrong number. You're a 92 yr old retiree with no intention of going back to work. If they "forget" to take uninterested people off their list, they probably will gladly take non-prospects off their list.
    – yoozer8
    Sep 5, 2012 at 3:39
  • 5
    ^ not that I advocate dishonesty
    – yoozer8
    Sep 5, 2012 at 3:39
  • 7
    You'll be a 92 yr old retiree eventually.
    – user8365
    Sep 5, 2012 at 19:35

I've been a recruiter for almost 15 years, and hearing stories like this make doing my job much more difficult (gives the impression that ALL recruiters act like this, which they obviously don't). aroth's note about not giving recruiters your phone number is one option obviously, but many recruiters will respect your desire for privacy. I almost always use email to contact candidates initially and for 'check-ins' occasionally, and generally only make calls when we need to discuss some specifics (beginning of the relationship requires screening candidates by phone, but once I know you pretty well we can handle most of our interactions via email).

I think in this particular situation, 'outing' the recruiter and company might be something that could get their attention (assuming you have some platform to do so). A recruiter's reputation is incredibly important, mainly because the recruiting industry has such a poor reputation overall that people simply assume you are unethical until you prove otherwise (guilty until proven innocent). I know I would be horrified if a candidate posted my name in a bad light to others in their network. That kind of thing might get their attention. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, user groups or professional organizations could all be places you could at least threaten to go public if they don't discontinue their actions.

The chances of you suing them or pressing charges that would actually hold them accountable are probably low, and they know that. The only real thing you can threaten is their reputation.

  • Would you be happier if the cardinal rule were 'Never, under any circumstances, give a recruiter that you do not personally know and trust your phone number.'?
    – aroth
    Sep 6, 2012 at 1:24
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    aroth - Agreed. You could replace 'a recruiter' with 'anyone' and I'd agree. The biggest problem is when people but the phone number on resumes that are posted online (or not) which then get saved into databases where that number lives forever. Only give the phone number to someone when you are ready to discuss a job - or better yet, you can call them to discuss. I could potentially work with someone for years without the need to have their email address.
    – fecak
    Sep 6, 2012 at 13:22
  • 1
    @fecak - Good advice, but you're kind of assuming that this recruiter values their rep at all - the ones that people have problems with don't seem (from my experience) to pay any attention to their rep. Sep 10, 2012 at 13:36
  • 2
    @fecak I highly doubt it. It's the large companies who cause a lot of the problems and they aren't going anywhere any time soon. TEK Systems and RHT for starters. Sep 11, 2012 at 12:33
  • 2
    Just be careful about how you go about "outing" them. While this sort of thing is toward the windy side of the law, they can still threaten libel. Stick to the facts. Don't employ hyperbole. It won't necessarily protect you from them threatening libel, but it often deflects such people if you can state that you did nothing but state the facts. Feb 27, 2014 at 14:02

This sounds like a process problem and not just the typical behaviour of individual recruiters. The good ones never waste their time calling people with no interest. There are plenty out there who are.

Call their office and ask for someone higher up than a recruiter (manager, owner, partner, etc.). They obviously have a problem of not updating their databases. There needs to be some mechanism in their operations to prevent calling people who are not interested to the point you have to take such drastic measures. It sounds like they do a terrible job at this if they make any effort at all.

They're going to ask what recruiter called you; don't tell them. Here's another chance to point out the flaw in their systesm. Why can't they lookup who in their company called you? The goal isn't to punish the individual recruiters, but a company that has implemented poor policies and procedures.

I hate it when customer service people don't have the necessary information to do their jobs correctly and not waste my time.

  • 4
    +1 for - "They're going to ask what recruiter called you; don't tell them. Here's another chance to point out the flaw in their systesm. Why can't they lookup who in their company called you? The goal isn't to punish the individual recruiters, but a company that has implemented poor policies and procedures."
    – enderland
    Sep 5, 2012 at 16:59
  • 1
    If only there were enough "good" ones... I get ~10 LinkedIn "Connect" requests every week from recruiters using a canned email. Very irritating. If they can't take the time to write me a custom message, I don't see why I should take the time to write a polite reply.
    – Basic
    Sep 10, 2016 at 22:36
  • @enderland - The really good ones also handle turn-over, "So-and-so, left the company, so I'm taking over your account and just wanted to introduce myself and see if your situation has changed."
    – user8365
    Sep 17, 2016 at 17:05
  • 1
    @Basic - I get your frustration. They've been told to cast with a wider net. When it comes to dealing with programmers, they don't understand the negative impact. Someone with 10 years of embedded C experience, gets to suffer through suggestions for C# web jobs You know C right? They think you'll take the time if you really want their awesome job ;)
    – user8365
    Sep 17, 2016 at 17:09

If it's really bad, and yes I know a lot of the big tech recruiters are, you do have a legal option. Find their corporate address either off of their website or from your local Secretary of State's Corporations Office and send them a "Cease and Desist" letter. You can find all sorts of templates online for these letters but essentially you are sending them a formal written notice to be removed from their list and to no longer be contacted by them. You also need to mention that failure to do so will require you to proceed with legal action. Also make sure you get a delivery receipt from the USPS.

Either way you can send a cease and desist letter on your own, often without the help of an attorney. Its much a kin to a warning letter. If they still contact you after 20-30 days of getting the letter thats when you either talk to an attorney or visit small claims court.

It sucks when it comes to this but if you are repeatedly called and "harrassed" this is fully within your legal right to pursue (in the US). Harrassment is a crime, regardless of how it happens.


First step - Check the recruitment companies privacy and/or communication policy.

Second step - For most Western Countries, there will be a Privacy Commissionaire who you can report them too (just make sure you have documented proof that you have requested them to remove your personal details/information from their records)

Third step - Search out and contact the Association body for recruitment/staffing firms (NAPS, ACSESS, REC, etc... and Better Business Bureau).

Fourth step - Draw up a 'Cease and Desist Letter' - would strongly recommend using legal guidance (it might cost but if you feel this strong then it shows you are serious). Each state/prov/country has rules, terms, conditions, and you want to make sure you include terms such as 'breach or privacy', 'harassment' and 'feeling threatened' and 'mental duress'.

Additionally, if you are connected to anyone from that company on social media sites - communicate your intention and desire to be removed from their system, and go as far as disconnecting from them, un-following them, and blocking them.


Is your resume posted on a job board such as Monster? If so, I don't think the recruiter is keeping you in their database.

I get a lot of calls from recruiters, including those I've sent my resume to in the past. They often say that they found my resume on a job board, not in their own database. (I can confirm that, based on the e-mail addresses I use in different resumes.)

I'm fairly certain that this company really does remove you from its list, but a few months later their agents simply rediscover you, along with many other candidates.

I suggest that your resume (at least, the one you put on the job boards) have only a Google Voice phone number. Not only don't you have to answer it, but the voicemails can be sent to you as e-mail, so you don't have to play them back.


Recruiters are scum of the earth. Here are some ways to get removed:

  1. Go on an interview with a company you are not interested in, and be the biggest ass you can be and say the recruiter told you things, basically sully their reputation.

  2. Have them change your contact info to a temporary #, which you will then abandon in a few months.

  3. Get in touch with their legal team and request to be removed, inform them you are on the do not call registry and you have no relationship with co.

  4. Retaliate. Sign up for every online newsletter/spam service you can using recruiters email.

  • 2
    -1 Fighting fire with fire only works in forestry
    – user8036
    Feb 3, 2015 at 20:32
  • 1
    I would NEVER do nr. 1 because it will hurt your reputation just as much as the recruiter's. However, if I ever get pissed off enough, I might try nr. 4 some day :) . Sep 18, 2015 at 19:41
  • No, don't do 4 either. Feb 12, 2016 at 19:10

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