This week I was contacted by a recruiter with curious language in the email:

either I'm way off, or you're a really good match for this position.

The binary nature of the statement was very curious. The position had some very specific requirements, so most of my colleagues would only be a partial match as was I.

Is the nature of this statement some kind of sales/motivation technique?

It turns out that the position was a terrible match, and probably reflects the recruiters poor reading comprehension. This might explain the silly statement. First off the job was located in a town in which I do not live and is not commutable. Secondly, the verbiage said an active top secret security clearance was required. I've never held that level, and I have no active clearance. My resume indicates this.

In the end I marked it as spam as I do with many of these silly recruitment requests.

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    "Either I'm way off..." is an example of hedging. The speaker hopes for your forgiveness in case he is completely wrong. But for e-mail marketing, show no mercy. Send to spam.
    – Brandin
    Sep 14, 2017 at 14:21
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    If a recruiter said that to me in an email, even if it's in jest, I'd think twice about their judgements...
    – user34587
    Sep 14, 2017 at 14:24
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    "Either I'm {crazy/...} or {statement of fact}" is not an uncommon statement, although "I'm way off" sounds a little off there (because them being way off is not a logical alternative to you being a good match), with a better phrasing being "I might be way off, but it seems ...". This might be more of an English language question, although I'm not entirely sure. Sep 14, 2017 at 14:24
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    With regards to the clearance, if you are selected for the position and do not have a clearance, they will often send a conditional offer letter. You apply for the necessary clearance, at their expense, and if everything comes back good you're all set. Also, as cool as it sounds, a Top Secret clearance is really just a bunch of paperwork that says you're not a felon and have no evidence of traits that would lead you to betray secrets (like financial debt that could be exploited to sell secrets, or foreign alliances via property or marriage.) But they do dig, and dig far!
    – corsiKa
    Sep 14, 2017 at 15:18
  • In some countries its illegal to require an existing security clearance are you able to meet the requirements for TS clearance ? Sep 14, 2017 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


Is the nature of this statement some kind of sales/motivation technique?

Yes, it is.

"either I'm way off, or you're a really good match for this position." is designed to get a reaction from you along the lines of "Hey I better check out this position or I am going to miss out".

Its a sales tactic, as after all recruiters are in the business of selling. I usually treat these emails as SPAM unless I actually know the person sending the message.

  • 2
    I guess you are right as here I am talking about it 24 hours later. With other emails they are not given a second thought.
    – Pete B.
    Sep 14, 2017 at 14:29
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    Note that "you're a really good match for this position" is the part that's meant to draw interest and "either I'm way off or" is intended to give the writer some leniency to be wrong (simply stating "you're a really good match" with no disclaimer would severely damage confidence in the writer if they are wrong, and one may be naturally suspicious of such a strong statement). Sep 14, 2017 at 14:36
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    @Dukeling: Not only that: My intuitive reaction (i.e. the impression I'd get if I didn't think about the words and took them at face value) to the "either I'm way off" part goes something like: "Ok, they're a professional recruiter and thus have some grasp at what position needs what people; they might slightly err, but they can't possibly be 'way off', now can they?" Aug 31, 2018 at 6:11

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