A recruiter working for a big company contacted me on LinkedIn and asked whether I am interested in a certain position that requires expert level knowledge in A. The thing is that A is mentioned on my LinkedIn profile with a) very little experience b) very long time ago - since then I was doing totally different things.

There is clearly no match for the current offer but I would not mind to hear about other relevant opportunities. How should I respond?

  • 7
    I would either 1) not respond at all if the company does not interest me, or 2) respond by telling them the required skill is something I haven't worked with in a while but I would be open to hear about other relevant opportunities. Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 9:29
  • 96
    Doesn't this apply to most recruiters? Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 12:28
  • 12
    What, do you owe him money? Quite frankly you can reply however you like, including, NOT AT ALL. If the recruiter is wasting your time with an unsolicited and worthless message, you should not waste anymore time with that recruiter. That includes spending time asking strangers how to deal with him in a civil manner.
    – Aron
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 13:52
  • 2
    From what I understand, pretty much anyone can buy a linkedin premium account and call themself a recruiter. To find matches, they can do a simple search for the skill they're looking for and mass-message everyone who pops up. I don't think professional recruiters use this spray and pray tactic so chances are, it's not worth your time to respond. I can almost guarantee that you won't hear from them ever again. Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 14:33
  • 12
    I think everyone here is overthinking this... recruiters don't read CVs for cold calls anymore. They have computer scanning software that searches various popular Resume sites for keyword values and pulls back a list of hits. If you don't want recruiters making useless cold calls to you then take technology A off of your CV. Otherwise, this is likely going to happen as often as some company needs that particular skill.
    – user48276
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 15:53

5 Answers 5


My personal opinion is that it's not worthwhile to try to work with recruiters who are unable to evaluate my resume against the requirements of an open position.

But if you want to try anyway, and since this is a company recruiter, just reply with something along the lines of:

"Thank you for your interest, but unfortunately I don't think this position is a match for my skills. However, I would be interested in other opportunities with your company that are more focused on (insert whatever you're looking for). Please contact me if you have any open positions of this sort."

Finally, it's good to pare down the skillset listed on your resume to match what you would actually feel comfortable and qualified doing.

  • 25
    Agree completely. Recruiters are a penny a dozen (I'm from the UK), but GOOD recruiters are like hens teeth. I've personally got three recruiters who I regularly talk to, and refer people I know to. Someone not reading your LinkedIn profile is the sign of a bad recruiter (in my opinion, before anyone gets bent out of shape)
    – Dark Hippo
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 13:38
  • 34
    My only disagreement is that I WOULD NOT REPLY at all.
    – Aron
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 13:55
  • 11
    @DarkHippo I agree completely, I only have around 2 recruiters whom I keep in contact with. I've had a recruiter approach me with a fantastic job offer before via LinkedIn, I might've gone for it if it wasn't for the fact it was the job I left 3 months ago...
    – George
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 14:26
  • 4
    @Aron +1 I would never reply to a recruiter who didn't bother doing basic research on my profile. Not worth my time.
    – user428517
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 14:43
  • 4
    I'd add to make sure the person really is a recruiter for the company. I often receive LinkedIn requests from people claiming to be a recruiter at a large company, but in reality they work for a recruiting firm and are hoping to pass your info onto the company. This is a common practice (some would say scam). I would not do business with such a recruiter ever. Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 4:56

I also find this a regular problem, however I only consider it game over if the requirement is clearly unrelated to anything I have specified as an experience or skill I possess.

Often, there are skills I have used in a previous job but I am still interested in going back to them in the future.

Personally, I would say to this recruiter
"Thank you for your proposition. This role sounds very interesting but I notice it focuses on skill A which I have not used in a professional environment since 2011. I am especially interested in hearing from you about roles where I can utilize skills B, C and D"

A final point to consider is that the skill and attitude of recruiters can vary wildly, even within a company. Burning a bridge with this person could affect relationships with their colleagues who may be far more helpful.

  • Whoever downvoted could you please explain what part of my answer you disagree with
    – Darren H
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 11:14
  • 3
    The first clause is spot on, and a good answer. +1 from me. There are plenty of cranky people on this site that down vote good answers.
    – Pete B.
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 13:18

Did you make sure that expert knowledge in A is really necessary?

It might be that they would like to get an expert, tried to find one for a while, and gradually reduced the requirements (internally - they will still ask for an expert officially) until even someone with at least a bit of experience is acceptable for the job.

Sometimes you just don't find what you want, so you have to take what you can get. Just make sure that they know that your expertise in A is limited. If they still accept, fine.

  • 2
    Right. Not to mention that some companies overstate "requirements" so you feel "lucky" to be qualified at all, placing the company in a more favorable position during any bargaining. I was taught in college: "requirements" lie. They're not actually required. Huge amounts of people are getting successfully hired, despite not matching every listed requirement. @Asahi: Do not let that dissuade you. (Another possibility: it could also be that the LinkedIn posting you saw might be for a second position.) In short, definitely don't let this stop you. Don't even let it lower your confidence too much.
    – TOOGAM
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 1:48
  • I'd also add that skills can be learned (faster if you already have some experience with the topic). If a company is not in rush for a specific position then your knowledge is just an investment they do for your future as employee. I'm a programmer, imagine that a company contacts me for a position where language X is required. I actually know little or nothing about X but my skills and my experience make me a good fit. I can learn X (probably starting even before I start working there). Not all companies (especially smaller ones) act this way but it's a possibility. Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 7:34

Either this is a very incapable recruiter, or there are no other relevant opportunities for you at that company. You're better off searching that company's website for opportunities that might be a better match for you, if they exist at all.

I can imagine that the recruiter received an assignment to look for people proficient in a certain Skill A. He/she stumbled on your profile on LinkedIn, and (assuming he/she is capable) didn't find any other matches among your skills, and contacts you in the off chance that you're actually interested in a career 'switch' to a job involving Skill A.


A vast majority of "cold calls" made by recruiters are just bots / scrapers. They scan your profile or resume for keywords and then email you with a generic canned message. That is why they cannot / do not differentiate between "a little experience" and "a lot," it's almost always just a positive hit on the keyword match.

So the appropriate response is to just delete the message if you are not interested.

If you are interested, then reach out to them and they will discuss your experience and capabilities at that point and tell you if they think you are a good fit or not. Most jobs have flexibility (within reason) with regard to the requirements. You won't know unless you ask.

Even if the recruiter did read your profile and write you a message, he either made a mistake or misread. I think the rules still apply for a cold call... if you're interested you reply, if not ignore.

There is clearly no match for the current offer but I would not mind to hear about other relevant opportunities.

Then this sounds like the perfect thing to mention in your reply.

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