As a software engineer with a non-zero internet presence, I get emails like this all the time:



I came across your [INTERNET SITE HERE] profile and wanted to reach out (always with the "reaching out") to blah blah. Our team is the [SUPERLATIVE HERE] and we work on fast paced problems, and I think you would be a great fit for [TEAM NAME HERE].

If you're interested, let's connect!

Call me maybe?




I've never replied to one of these - not once. After a week or two, they'll send me a reminder, then maybe a third, then they'll disappear for a few months. Eventually I just archive the emails.

It's not that I'm completely opposed to the idea, I just really don't know what to say. The only time I've gone through with one of these was when the person actually found my phone number and I had to say something to them. I've gotten all of my other jobs through application or through people I know closely. Do I just reply with my resume? What else do I say? They want to talk on the phone usually, am I supposed to suggest the times, or will they do that?

They're approaching me, so it's not like I'm particularly crazy about [TECH COMPANY HERE] (I save aggressively and don't really need a job, although I do have one that pays very well), but I could be open to it.

In general I am most interested in replying to first-party recruiters, third-party recruiters really sketch me out.

  • 2
    Note that this question isn't really a duplicate, because despite the title, that one is basically about harassment. Oct 27, 2016 at 1:23
  • Also not the same, my recruiters typically work for the company and are pretty explicit about the role. Oct 27, 2016 at 1:28
  • If you consider it spam, just redirect the email address to your spam folder.
    – komodosp
    Oct 27, 2016 at 7:48
  • The question doesn't make much sense as the title asks for how to reply and the body states that you have no intention or desire to reply. Instead of looking for what to reply with, are you actually looking for a reason to reply?
    – NibblyPig
    Oct 28, 2016 at 8:49

3 Answers 3


Reply exactly as you would if you received a letter with this invitation, or if someone left you this message on your voicemail.

  • "Thank you, I would indeed be interested in seeing whether this position might be right for me and I might be right for you. When can we discuss this further?"

  • "Thank you for your interest. I don't think I want to change jobs right now, but I could be wrong. When can we..."

  • "Thanks for your interest, but I'm really not looking to change jobs right now."

  • "Thanks for your interest, but I really object to cold calls. Please take me off your list."

Pick one.

  • "Reply exactly as you would if you received a letter with this invitation, or if someone left you this message on your voicemail." I wouldn't (which might be the problem), but I take your point. Oct 27, 2016 at 1:55
  • 1
    If you wouldn't reply, don't reply. That's an entirely valid response. But it does mean that they are likely to assume the message got lost and ping you again.
    – keshlam
    Oct 27, 2016 at 2:11
  • It might also cause issues if you might want to apply in future, it's like giving someone a cold shoulder. Only do it it you're sure you don't want to work there, otherwise some people might consider that if you did apply yourself for their company.
    – Draken
    Oct 27, 2016 at 6:32
  • @keshlam not that I wouldn't reply because I'm not interested, just because I wouldn't know what to say (though if someone sent me actual snail mail, I'd be pretty dumbfounded and creeped out that they know my address...) Oct 27, 2016 at 12:25
  • I added some formatting to make this more readable, feel free to undo if you prefer the original way :)
    – enderland
    Oct 27, 2016 at 12:31

I see two types of recruiter email. 90 - 95% of them are clearly little more than a job spec that's has been blasted out to a distribution list based on nothing more than some keyword match, and these get deleted, I don't reply. They're usually very easy to identify as they'll have picked up on a specific skill in my resume despite the role itself being a poor match. E.g. I have an "additional skills" section of my resume that says things like "Basic knowledge of Python, R, SQL" and some other things, and I get all sorts of "Senior Python developer", "Oracle PL/SQL developer" etc. when it would be clear from 30 seconds looking at my resume that those roles don't align with what I do.

However, 5 - 10% are clearly written by someone who has read my resume, identified me as a good match for a role they're looking to fill, and has taken the time to write a personalized approach message. I always reply to these, even if it is just a "thanks but no thanks" reply as i'm not looking to move or the location is wrong. If nothing else, I appreciate them not acting like the other 95%

  • 1
    These are usually the second type, but what do you say, specifically? Oct 27, 2016 at 12:24
  • I just reply with a brief note thanking them for their time, and clearly saying why i'm not interested (e.g. I'm fully committed to a current project, the location is wrong, or whatever the reason is - can be as simple as i'm not looking for anything new at the moment). It takes very little time, keeps things friendly for future opportunities, and when there's so much keyword-based spam I do appreciate a recruiter making a genuine effort.
    – strmqm
    Oct 27, 2016 at 14:38

Don't have to answer them, they are being sent automatically anyway. If they insist by 2nd or 3rd email which is rare, just reply as you aren't interested.

It would be wise to store them for rainy days though. I like to reply to the mails from few years back myself.

  • This doesn't really answer the question, which is specifically about how to reply. Obviously I can not reply, that's what I've been doing for years. I also doubt that an email that specifically refers to my current work and Github projects (in a not entirely fill-in-the-blank way) is completely automated. Oct 27, 2016 at 14:06
  • "Keep not to reply to them" is my answer on this then. Yes specifically referring emails might be some other case, however you didnt mention such a thing on your post.
    – Pecheneg
    Oct 27, 2016 at 14:11
  • 1
    IMO this is the correct answer. Any responses will likely be ignored if you're not directly asking for the job. You might as well say what's the best way to reply to a no-reply e-mail address.
    – NibblyPig
    Oct 28, 2016 at 8:51

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