Just say “no” to executive recruiters

by Heather Porter
Associate Practice Leader at Charles Aris Inc.

There’s one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to recruiters: We’re persistent.

And rightfully so – when a great potential candidate is identified, it’s our job to connect that talented professional with a client organization. Yet we don’t want to be that annoying recruiter who keeps calling about something that ultimately isn’t going to be an excellent fit for all involved.

So what should you do if a role isn’t right for you? Please tell us!

This might sound strange coming from a recruiter, but there are situations where you should absolutely tell us “no”. In fact, we encourage you to do so, especially in a few key instances:

  • If you aren’t interested in the opportunity on the very first call, just tell us. I promise it won’t hurt our feelings. It’s always helpful to know what isn’t right about an opportunity so we can be more strategic when we reach out to you with new opportunities in the future.
  • Whenever you realize that the opportunity we’re discussing isn’t the right one for you, let us know. That may be after your first telephone interview with the hiring authority or after a series of face-to-face interviews with an entire team. We’ve seen candidates go through an intensive hiring process before ultimately deciding that they don’t want to move forward based on something they could have figured out earlier in the process. Once you know the opportunity is not a fit, tell us right away.

Occasionally, timelines simply don’t match up – and we understand that. Even if the opportunity sounds great, it might not be the right time for you and your family. We understand all the moving parts associated with a career move, and we appreciate it when candidates openly share their reasons for declining an opportunity. If recruiters learn what you value, we can pinpoint opportunities better suited for you.

We ultimately want you to be able to make an informed decision, and we understand that you need to speak with the key stakeholders in your life to determine if the opportunity is right for you and potentially them. Every candidate follows a different timeline, but we appreciate hearing “no” as soon as you decide the opportunity is not a fit.

It’s also important to consider the future. While the particular role we’re discussing with you may not be a great fit, you never know where your career might lead. You always want hiring authorities and their teams to have a great experience with you, regardless of whether you want to join their organization at this time. They will appreciate your candor and will be more likely to keep you in mind for future opportunities.

So keep in mind: If any given opportunity isn’t quite right for you personally and professionally, that’s A-OK. We would rather partner with you when that next amazing career opportunity comes along – and we’re fairly certain that you would as well!

For more advice or to learn how Charles Aris can add A-level talent to your team, contact Heather Porter at (336) 378-1818 x9145 or email her at