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Advice / Job Search / Finding a Job

3 Reasons Getting Poached Isn't All That It's Cracked Up to Be

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There’s a special kind of excitement that comes from receiving an email from a recruiter who’d like to talk to you about a new opportunity. “I am so qualified that this person reached out to me,” you think to yourself, “I’d be silly not to respond.”

While it’s flattering to learn that a recruiter took the time to stalk your LinkedIn and reach out to you, it’s not always ideal to pursue conversations with someone who wants to poach you. And before you call me a crazy person, here are a few reasons why.

1. You Might Rush Into a Job That’s Actually a Terrible Fit

It would be easy to assume that the recruiter who has emailed you also took the time to think about what you might want out of your career. And in some cases, that might be true. But there are also plenty of examples of times when recruiters (myself included) simply make the assumption that you’d be interested based on what you’d done in the past. For some candidates, that’s not the most inaccurate guess you could make about their career goals.

Think closely about any job a recruiter reaches out to you to consider. Is this something you would jump at the chance to be considered for regardless? Or would it be just a slight pay bump? A change of scenery? If either answer’s yes, there’s a good chance you’ll end up pursuing a gig that you don’t really want.

2. You Might Leave a Job You Like

Again, it’s really flattering to find out that someone liked you enough to see whether or not you’d be interested in chatting about a new job. But here’s the thing—just because someone sent you a feeler email, that doesn’t mean you’re obligated to show interest. In fact, you’re not even required to respond if you don’t think it’s the right job for you. (Although it’s not a bad idea to politely decline, being on a recruiter’s good side is never a bad thing.)

In fact, any time you hear from someone who’s trying to poach you, take a step back and think about your current situation. If you’ve been looking to switch jobs for a while, then go ahead and consider the opportunity in front of you. But if you’re actually feeling pretty good about how things are at work and thought of leaving makes you feel uneasy, feel free to politely say thanks, but no thanks.

3. You Might Not Get the Actual Job

Here’s a little secret that I bet a lot of recruiters don’t want you to know—many recruiting platforms allow users to save email templates and send them out whenever they find a candidate who might be a potential fit for a job. Sure, they don’t just send messages to anyone, but the reality is that unless it’s blindingly obvious that the message was written just for you, you’re probably one of a handful of people being considered.

There’s nothing wrong with being one of a few people up for a job. But, if you’re not mentally prepared to jump into a company’s interview process, it’s also important to remember that a note from a recruiter isn’t a guarantee that you’re getting the job.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go after it, but it does mean you should get yourself ready to put in a little work.

You should be really proud of the fact that you’ve put yourself in a position to grab the attention of recruiters, especially while you’re employed. While I’d never tell you not to pursue an interesting job opportunity, it’s also important for your sake not to throw yourself into an interview process just because someone’s reaching out.

And again, if it’s the right job at the right time, go for it. But if you’re pursuing it because you can’t believe how flattering it feels, do yourself a favor and ask yourself a few questions about what you’re potentially getting yourself into by saying you’re interested.