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I recently had a candidate cancel a call with me because he decided the position wasn’t right, even before we had a chance to discuss it. We’ve all heard the adage of what happens when you assume, and this is just as relevant in the world of career planning and recruiting.

Here’s the email I wanted to send him after he canceled…

Thanks for your note explaining why you cancelled our call. You don’t know me (at least not yet), so this may seem like an odd response, but I’m feeling a bit philosophical this evening.

I find that there are two types of recruiters – those who are very transactional (have job, must fill job) and those who are true partners with their clients and candidates. I believe I am the latter. True partners are those who form long term relationships – maybe the job I’m working on is right… maybe it’s not this one – but it could be the one I get next week, next month, next year. If I know who you are professionally, and what your long-term career goals are, we can stay in touch and connect when appropriate.

I also find there are two kinds of candidates – those who are very tactical in their careers and those who are very strategic. Tactical candidates apply for any job with the word “marketing communications director” in it (as an example). They don’t explore the opportunity deeper until after they hit send on the application and get a note requesting an interview.

Strategic candidates are more intentional about their career moves. They understand that a call from a recruiter (especially one who specializes solely in marketing and communications executive search) is an opportunity to be on that professional’s radar. It’s a chance to hear about market trends and what makes sense as you explore the landscape when desiring to transition. It’s an opportunity to get feedback on how you tell your story and how you are presenting yourself as a candidate. Sure, this role may not be the one – but all you lost was a little time. What you gained was someone who could introduce you to the right next role based on your goals.

So your cancellation message tells me that you aren’t interested in having a conversation with me. That’s totally fine. I actually agree that this role may not the best fit for you – but not for ANY of the reasons you mentioned in your note. Just like a resume only tells a small portion of your story – job descriptions only tell a small portion of the story of a career possibility. I have information that would have been helpful – but it’s not information I would share in writing before we’ve even spoken. It’s about the conversation. It’s about YOUR career goals. My intention when setting up the call was to have that conversation. Maybe this was the right job. Maybe not. But the next one might have been.

I wish you well in your search.