The other day I wrote about how even the nicest rejection from a CEO can warm the cockles of your heart but yesterday I had a bizarre response that I feel the need to share.

 I recently came across a candidate that I’d met some time ago and she was now looking for her next challenge. After catching up with her latest news and achievements we agreed on a course of action which resulted in an email from me to a CEO of a consulting group. The email was pretty standard stuff but it was concise, clear and focussed as to why I was contacting him and what this particular candidate could do for his business. Very quickly the reply came back; “don’t email me thanks”. Of course, I responded that I would love to speak with him on the phone........

Another quick reply from him “I’m not hr”.

Well, this response puzzled me. I knew the HR Director and it was a simple thing to redirect my communication but it left me wondering about the CEO. Did he not manage his top team? Did he know what they did and what their skill level and current performance was? If so, then surely it was easier to consider the communication and respond a little more informatively? Although, I guess “I’m not hr” is informative to a degree! 


Views: 338

Comment by pam claughton on November 23, 2011 at 7:49am



Have you and this CEO exchanged emails before? If not, maybe he viewed your email as spam and just didn't want to be bothered, that's how I'd interpret his "don't email me thanks", comment. When you replied that you'd like to speak on the phone, that wasn't what he was interested in so his "I'm not HR" remark was a nice way of saying, "leave me alone."  This guy probably gets tons of people cold contacting him and is sick of it, or was maybe having a bad day, who knows. Either way, I don't think his response was bizarre. He's just not interested in engaging.

Comment by Steve Williams on November 23, 2011 at 8:32am

You're probably right but to me a better response would have been "not for us", or as you say "leave me alone! Only saying.......

Comment by sabrinadove on November 23, 2011 at 11:35am

It does seem like a pretty rude response.


Have you worked with other people in this company before and do you think the CEO knew of your other relationships? Maybe he gets tons of "cold call" recruiters who don't have a signed contract with the company and doesn't want to deal with it.


It's rare that the CEO would be so rude since it is she/he who projects the image/reputation of the company.

Comment by Darryl Dioso on November 23, 2011 at 11:38am

Well, there goes the idea that within a company "we are all HR". Crazy thought, eh?

Comment by Wendy on November 23, 2011 at 11:56am

My first response to reading this post was, why are you emailing the CEO? I would have blown you off as well! This is a phone-driven business and email is one of the quickest ways to get summarily dismissed by a busy executive. Yes, his response was rude, but you made it easy for him to push you off onto someone else. 

Comment by Steve Williams on November 23, 2011 at 12:11pm

I do agree with you Wendy it is, and yes, I am on the phone all day. What was different here is that I didn't have this chap's mobile number and a call to his office probably wouldn't have achieved even this result. However, at the end of a day most senior guys are on their iPhone or Blackberry and I was hoping his mobile number would be on his reply. Sadly, it wasn't. In any event our busy execs tend to push calls to voicemail with the same nett result. It's never going to be a perfect world.

Comment by Fabio Cesar Sottile on November 24, 2011 at 9:17am

non communication is also a way of communicating...I guess, as you said, that his reply is full of content too...sad content but content after all...nice story!


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