am I wasting this recruiter’s time?

A reader writes:

Is it unprofessional to talk to a recruiter at another company even if you have no immediate plans to leave your current job?

A recruiter contacted me online about a position and wants to call me to discuss it. The job sounds like it might be more interesting than my current position. However, I was planning to stay at my current job for at least another year, mostly out of loyalty to my boss, who pulled some serious strings last year to get me rehired after I was laid off.

I don’t want the recruiter to feel like I’m wasting her time, but part of me says a brief chat on the phone couldn’t hurt. Just curious about your take on this.

Have the chat. Hearing out this recruiter doesn’t obligate you to do anything other than hear her out.

And there’s nothing unprofessional about allowing someone to tell you about other opportunities, even if you don’t think you’ll be interested. If you’re worried about wasting the recruiter’s time, just tell her at the outset of the call, “I’m happy in my current job and don’t have plans to leave it in the near future, but I’m open to hearing about this position.” Trust me, she won’t be any less inclined to talk to you about it; lots of recruiters believe that the strongest candidates are already happily employed and that it’s their job to woo you away … but you’ll feel better for having been straightforward about your situation.

{ 8 comments… read them below }

  1. anonymous*

    You owe the current job and your current boss no loyalty. Remember, they dumped you last year. They can just as easily do it to you again. Do you think they give a flip about owing you? Meet the recruiter, and if the job sounds interesting then go for it!

  2. Jojo*

    Be careful about leaving a job where you’re happy at. I did this 2 years ago, mostly for more $$. Turned out the job was a nightmare and the $$ really wasn’t worth all the things I had to deal with there. I left that job, moved to another company, and got laid off soon after since my boss was ousted. I was unemployed for months, until I got this current job, with a monster as a boss and get paid less than the first company that I left. You need to consider all aspects of it. In my case, I had to start all over again, with less vacation days, loss of income for almost a year, which means loss of 401K matching from my employer, loss of saving to support my unemployment and seniority in the company.
    Anyway, just my 2cents.

    1. Jesse H*

      Hey Jojo,

      With a background in headhunting and placing candidates in all kinds of industries, I would definitely say that taking another job just for the money isn’t the way to go :)

      There is only one caveat to that – and that’s if you’ve evaluated the other four major points of your job / career and established that the new role will satisfy those points as equally as the current role did.

      Those points (to most people) are Duties, People, Advancement, Proximity, and Money. Duties being your actual job duties and how challenged you feel, People being the people you work with every day and whether you come to work for them / loathe coming to work because of them, Advancement being how quickly you can advance within your company, and Proximity being how close it is to your house.

      Next time you’re evaluating an opportunity, make sure that at least two or three of those factors are vastly improved – and definitely make sure the others aren’t worsened to a point that it would be a dealbreaker. :)

  3. Wilton Businessman*

    Hey, although you might not want the job, you might know somebody that does. I’d talk to them, but be up front and honest that you’re pretty happy where you are now.

    1. Charles*

      I’ll second Wilton Businessman’s thought here – even if you don’t want the job, be upfront about it; and, then let the recruiter know that you will pass the info on to some of your friends, etc.

      Of course, it goes without saying that as long as you are professional, the recruiter might keep you in mind for future opportunities. I would see this conversation with the recruiter as a “networking” opportunity.

  4. Anonymous*

    What’s there to be guilty about? The recruiter has decided to contact you, not the other way around. Take it as far as you can, and if you decide that the offer (if it comes) is insufficient to get you to switch jobs, politely decline it using the same sort of bland fluff which companies use in the rejection letters they send to unsuccessful candidates.

  5. Jesse H*

    Good post AAM. As a recruiter, the very first thing I hear when asking someone if they would like to consider a new opportunity is “I’m happy where I am.”

    Normally, I would respond with “That’s great – most of the people that I talk to are happy where they are. In fact, I prefer that. The conversation that I wanted to have with you focuses more on whether or not the opportunity that I have improves on your current role.”

    And as Charles said – ultimately, every call and connection I make is a networking opportunity that has consequences for the future. I always, ALWAYS ensure that I have that person’s appropriate contact details in my book so that I can call them later about another role – especially if we’ve discussed their needs and I have an idea of what they want / what they dislike about their current job.

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