Have you been headhunted on LinkedIn and don’t know how to respond? Read our latest blog on how to reply to recruiters.

You’ve noticed a new email notification pop up on your phone. The message is from LinkedIn – but it’s not a sales message. You’re being approached by someone who thinks that you may be interested in a role they have available. Should you be flattered about the approach, or cautious? And what if you weren’t actively looking for a new position in the first place?

An approach from a Hiring Manager – sometimes referred to as ‘headhunting’ or ‘poaching,’ – has become more commonplace in the era of online social networks. In a time when the demand for workers is high, the usual avenues for recruiting new employees tend to get exhausted quickly, leading employers to rely more on headhunting.

Companies may use this method for a wide range of positions, from admin jobs to Site Manager roles and everything in between. If you’re wondering about how to handle being approached on LinkedIn, we’ve got the essential tips you need to get the best outcome.

Understand Why You’re Being Approached

When a Recruiter has sent you a direct message about a job opportunity, they have likely seen the information you have publicly displayed on your online profile, such as your work history, qualifications and the city you live in. Each of these factors helps these Recruiters to decide whom to approach based on whom they think could be a good fit for the role.

If you’ve been headhunted on LinkedIn, it’s likely your profile is showing you’re ‘Open to Work’. This feature can be an excellent way to find new opportunities and broaden your professional connections. But if you’re absolutely happy with your current job, it might be easier to turn it off to avoid unwanted approaches.

Outside of LinkedIn, it’s possible they found your details on a different social media profile, a jobs website you’ve saved your details to, or from an old job application that was kept on file. A temp recruitment agency will often keep the contact details of previous job applicants so they can contact them about new opportunities should they arise.

Are You Interested in the Role?

Sometimes, having someone reach out to you with a new position is welcomed with open arms! Maybe you were already considering looking for work and this has come at the right time. If you’re keen to hear more about the role mentioned in the message, don’t delay in responding!

This is the perfect moment to make a good first impression so it’s a good idea to be more forthcoming than simply saying ‘yes, I’m interested.’ Instead, politely ask for the job description and give them your email or phone number so you can discuss the position in detail. Include an up-to-date copy of your CV in your reply to show you’re ready to get the ball rolling.

The first conversation with a head-hunter gives you the chance to find out more about the company and whether the position aligns with your salary expectations, ambitions and values. As soon as you decide if the job is or isn’t right for you, be honest – this will save time for everyone involved.

Should the initial conversation lead to a formal job interview, congratulations! Before your interview, do some research on the employer and think about how you will explain why you’re a great candidate for the role.

Are You Open to New Opportunities – But Not This One?

Perhaps you are interested in a new role, but you’re being headhunted for a position that isn’t quite what you’re after. Not to worry – this is still a great opportunity to establish a connection with a recruitment agency that could lead to your ideal role.

In these situations, you could tell the person who contacted you that the position isn’t what you’re looking for, but you’re still interested in other opportunities. Briefly outline the key traits of the job you want (e.g., permanent, contract, flexible hours) and ask if they have a position that matches it. Include your current CV and contact details in the message so they can notify you when a suitable role comes up.

When You’re Not Interested at All

Before responding outright to the message with a firm ‘no,’ it’s wise to hear them out first. Saying no too quickly before you have all the details about the position may cause you to miss out on a suitable opportunity that could pop up later.

That said, there is always a polite way to say no without burning bridges. You could reply with a message like this:

Hi [recruiter’s name],

Thanks for getting in touch about this opportunity. I’m not looking for a new role at the moment, but I might be in the market for a new position in the future. Please feel free to contact me about similar opportunities.

Kind regards,

[Your name].

Final Thoughts

The best way to handle being approached on LinkedIn is to keep your options open. If this job isn’t suited to your needs, another position could be a better match in future. If you’re willing to be proactive in your job search, approaching a recruitment agency yourself is your best move.

Whether you’re contacting a temp recruitment agency or an agency specialising in permanent jobs, establishing a connection with a recruiter can help you build your professional network and grow your chances of landing the right job quickly.

Here at Employment Group, we’re specialists in connecting people to their ideal roles. To make your next career move, talk to our friendly team today about jobs in Australia and New Zealand.

Author – Employment Group