Why I’m not considering your role

A longer explanation than the usual email.

Dear recruiter,

Thank you for contacting. At the moment I’m not looking for a job.

Kind regards,


This is a bit impersonal.

I know. I’m sorry. The alternative is the above email for everyone.

You have some desired technologies under your belt.

Yes, I know.

Are you happy in your current job? Could you consider other roles?

Yes, I’m happy in my current job. Yes I could consider other roles.

I’ve got a very interesting role and I think you would be a perfect match

Let’s be honest. You think I’m a perfect match because I tick some boxes. The hiring manager doesn’t know I exist. And I’ll tell you a secret. If the hiring manager is hiring on technologies, I’m not a good fit.

Apart from that yes, I’m sure the role you’re recruiting is wonderful, but I’m not interested.

Why are you not interested?

My perception is that selection processes tend to be biased towards people looking for a job. The typical “reverse a linked list on this whiteboard” or “what happens when you type something on the browser” are not proxy for technical competency but for “are you looking for a job and willing to study for it?”.

I’m not looking for a job at this moment.

OK, you’re not looking for a job. Have you considered this specific job?

A very basic interaction of email plus your screening phone call is going to be 30 min. Multiple times a week.

If I’m interested, another 30 min for a basic research and the first call from the hiring manager another 30 min. Coding exercise 2 hours. Final session that usually involves the trivia and whiteboard, +3 hours.

6 hours if I’m interested.

Even when I know I’m a great match, it’s too much time.

Maybe if you cannot reply to those questions you’re not a good candidate

You’re right. Maybe I’m wrong and those questions are a perfect proxy for technical competency. I’ve thought that myself many times.

But then, in your opinion, I’m not a good candidate, so better to skip this role.

Parting thoughts:

  • Feedback for a rejection a year ago: “you are an intelligent guy and you could fit in perfectly in our culture and with the team. Unfortunately, we just felt your level of experience on system design and algorithms was not as strong as we had hoped for. […] There’s a great book called “Cracking the coding interview” by Gayle Laakmann which they guys felt might be of interest to you.” Yes, I was directly told not to study architecture or algorithms but to cram.
  • This Tweet from Patrick McKenzie:

First published here