Demand for workers in the United States—including employees, independent contractors, and flexible talent—has hit historic highs. Since power at the bargaining table has shifted away from hiring companies toward job seekers, recruiters are increasingly reaching out through LinkedIn to woo potential candidates.
If you’re on LinkedIn, there’s a good chance you’ll receive a message from a recruiter at some point. Just as you would if you were contacting the recruiter first, you will likely want to respond appropriately and make a good impression—even if you’re not interested in the position.
To help you respond to recruiters on LinkedIn, this article covers:
- Reasons recruiters reach out on LinkedIn
- How to respond to a recruiter if interested
- How to respond to a recruiter if unsure
- How to respond to a recruiter if uninterested
- Afterward: Review your LinkedIn profile settings
Reasons recruiters reach out on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the largest professional network on the internet. People looking for work (i.e., freelance, contract, part-time, and full-time) can indicate their openness to finding new positions and list their skills, experience, and work samples.
Recruiters may communicate company profiles, post jobs, and search through LinkedIn for specific candidates with the skills and experience they desire, plus an indication that they’re looking for work themselves. They may reach out to specific candidates who have their profiles set to “#OpenToWork” or have been active in the broader LinkedIn community by sharing insights and relevant updates.
By reaching out to candidates on LinkedIn, recruiters want to solicit interest in their open positions, potentially leading to a phone conversation.
If you aren’t open to current job opportunities, you may want to adjust your LinkedIn settings to reflect this.
How to reply to a recruiter if interested
Even though the recruiter has approached you, responding in a timely and appropriate manner is a best practice. This means trying to make a good first impression with your response whether you’re only slightly intrigued by the opportunity or especially if you consider it your dream job.
Give some thought to how to respond to an interview invitation. Before hitting the reply button, check to see that your interest in the company and role is clear. A prompt LinkedIn InMail or email reply is both polite and also more likely to help the recruiter recall your specific qualifications.
General tips for this type of reply include
- Reinforcing the reasons you think you’re a good fit for the current role, emphasizing your transferable skills
- Doing a basic job search on the company and role and expressing aspects of this knowledge with relevant comments
- Underlining your readiness to have an initial video, telephone, or in-person interview
Check out the sample templates below for ideas on how to write acknowledgment messages to recruiters. If you include various ways to get in touch with you in your contact information (phone, email, and InMail, for example), the recruiter can use the one they like best.
Sample message template: If you’re interested
Thanks for reaching out. This sounds like a great job with a company that I’ve long admired. [Enter some specifics that show you know who they are and the kind of company culture they have.]
It sounds as if you’re looking for a/an [job title] with [relevant skills/experience] expertise and a talent for [insert outcomes company is looking for]. I believe I fit the bill perfectly.
It would be great to get together to discuss how my experience can help the [company name] team. And I have a few questions I’d like to ask.
I’m available to talk [list possible dates and times in the following week]. Feel free to contact me by phone [number], email [address], or InMail message.
I look forward to hearing from you.
How to reply to a recruiter if unsure
You might be unsure about how to respond to job offers on LinkedIn for a number of reasons. You may like your current employment setup and not really be in the market for a new job. Or you might like the company approaching you but not the particular job description they’re offering.
You need to craft your reply accordingly.
Sample message template: If you’re interested but not at this time
Thank you for your message. At the moment, I'm happy as [a job role] at [company name or employment situation], but I’d be open to discussing this great opportunity, or future opportunities, with you. Your company is doing some wonderful things, [such as . . .].
Would it be possible for us to connect via phone call or online next week? My number is [insert phone number].
I look forward to connecting!
Sample message template: If you like the company but not the job offered
Thanks for thinking of me for this role. I like your company and am currently exploring new opportunities. But ideally, I would like something that allows me to [describe an ideal position, such as working from home or developing a specific skill set, etc.]. Sadly, this role isn’t the right fit. But if you have other opportunities more in line with what I’m aiming to do, I’d love to connect!
I’ve included my updated resume for your review. Contact me anytime.
How to reply to a recruiter if not interested
You may not be interested in a job offer, but that’s no reason to ignore recruiters on LinkedIn. Consider how to reply to a recruiter’s message if you’re not interested before sending a simple “no thanks” or not responding at all..
First, it’s a matter of politeness to respond to someone who has shown an interest in your credentials. You are replying to a person, not an algorithm. There’s also a practical consideration. Although the role the recruiter offered you isn’t the right one for you, they may have other roles down the road. They may be less likely to consider you if you’ve ignored or snubbed them.
Sample message template: If you’re not interested
Thank you for thinking of me for [insert job title]. While the role seems great and I like your company’s work, I’m committed to the company I’m working for now. If this changes, I will certainly be in touch.
Afterward: Review your LinkedIn profile settings
You may want to configure your LinkedIn settings to indicate whether or not you’re open to work at the moment. With your profile set to #OpenToWork, you can let recruiters know that you are open to discussing job opportunities, including what type of positions you’re looking for and your preferred geographic location (or remote work preference).
One important tip when you set up #OpenToWork is to choose whether everyone can see your LinkedIn profile (including your current employers, clients, and recruiters) or just recruiters. Selecting only recruiters will reduce the possibility that employers or other people you work with will see your interest in finding a different position.
As with any work profile, the best practice is to create an impression that stands out, showcasing your skills, including a professional profile picture, highlighting your experience and best work, and including other appropriate content.
To set up #OpenToWork on a desktop computer:
- Click your personal icon on the top of your LinkedIn home page.
- Click “View Profile.”
- Click the “Open to” button.
- Click “Finding a new job.”
- Choose whether all LinkedIn members or only recruiters can see that you’re open to a new position.
- Click “Add to profile.”
Alternatively, you can click “Get started” from the “Show recruiters you’re open to work” box near the top of your LinkedIn profile to add this setting. You’d showcase the services you offer here.
When you want to edit or remove the #OpenToWork feature from your LinkedIn profile, follow this path.
- Click your personal icon at the top of your LinkedIn home page.
- Click “View Profile.”
- Click the “Edit” icon from the “Open to work” box (at the top of your profile).
- Follow prompts to edit the information you previously input.
- Click “Save.”
You can also manage your notifications in LinkedIn, covering you, your content, and your connections. With this choice selected, you’ll receive (or not receive) notifications for updates about people in your network, shared content, posted activity, and career opportunities.
Managing these updates directly from the Notifications tab is another way to determine which notifications you’d like to get. You have the option to delete, mute, unfollow, or turn off notifications.
Use the right tools to find the right work
Even in a job seeker’s market, knowing how to respond properly to a recruiter’s LinkedIn request can make the difference between landing a coveted role or having your resume added to the discard pile. Again, the best practice is to make the appropriate response to each and every request you receive.
If you want advice on using social media effectively to promote yourself and find work, Upwork has a selection of top-rated social media marketers who can become valuable links in your work chain.
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