How to Tell A Headhunter When You Don’t Want the Job

There are few better feelings than getting a lucrative and exciting new job offer. You’ve done research and preparation, put on your best suit and tie, and dazzled the interviewer. But what happens when you’ve already jumped through all of the hoops, only to find… you really don’t want the job? It can be a lot of pressure to work with a headhunter, and once you’ve come to the conclusion that a tempting job opportunity isn’t actually the best fit, it may seem difficult to communicate your decision.

how to tell a headhunter when you dont want the job

The key to staying on good terms with a headhunter is to be professional, courteous, and calm. If you’ve decided you’d rather pass on this opportunity, remember these tips for how to tell a headhunter and still come out on top!

Ask Yourself: Why Not?

No matter how many benefits, vacation days or company cars a corporation may offer, sometimes a job just doesn’t feel right. So before running from this new opportunity, take a moment and assess why you don’t feel suited for the position. Do you lack passion for this particular industry? Were you uncomfortable in your current job when you started looking for jobs, but now you’d rather stay with your company?

Is the salary offer insufficient? For whatever the reason, be honest with yourself and figure out what’s keeping you from signing the contract. Once you can identify the factors that are making you doubt, you can better and more openly communicate the problem to the headhunter. Transparency is a huge sign of respect, but it can also help your headhunter to find a better fitting job offer for you in the future.

Stay Respectful

Depending on where you are in the job application process, you and the headhunter have probably both invested a lot of time and effort. But whenever you recognize that this position is not the best fit for you, try to communicate this directly to the headhunter. It may be tempting to avoid calls, ignore emails, and even break commitments. But cutting off contact with no explanation, or much, much worse – standing up your headhunter for a meeting – is unacceptable under any circumstances.

This kind of erratic behavior may seem like an “easy” way to communicate disinterest, but it’s lazy and disrespectful. Treating the headhunter as though their time is less valuable than your own can seriously hurt your reputation, and destroy any future chance of getting a position with their help. Once you’ve concluded that the job just isn’t right for you, acknowledge any upcoming appointments or commitments and give the headhunter plenty of notice in advance.

This will allow them to concentrate energy on other qualified candidates. Headhunters will remember how you treat them, so leave them with a great impression.

Keep in Touch

Once you’ve clearly expressed to the headhunter that you’re not interested in the available position, it’s up to you to keep the connection alive. The trick is to stay fresh in their mind without being too aggressive, so keep that in mind.

First, find your headhunter on an appropriate social media channel – not Instagram or Facebook. But through a career-oriented social platform, you can ensure that your most recent accomplishments and skills will wind up on her newsfeed, and she may even receive a notification from time to time informing her of your successes.

Next, try to stay in touch via email from time to time. A quick greeting every few months is sufficient, and by remembering details about his life – “Hope your most recent project with X went well!” – you demonstrate the strength of your personal connection. Finally, make the relationship mutually beneficial.

If you have a contact who may be an interesting or useful candidate, pass their information along. If you help them to successfully place an applicant for a position, they’ll be extremely thankful, and remember this in the future when they have a position available that may be perfectly suited for you!

The candidate-headhunter relationship can be extremely beneficial for both parties, so keep these tips in mind when navigating tricky situations like this!

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