Stupid Networking Mistakes: Turning Down an Invitation |

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EP 1417 How do I turn down an invitation for coffee from the CTO of a firm?

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Here's a fun question!

"How do I turn down a coffee invite from the CTO of a successful startup?" They go on to say, "I got an email invite from CTO of a software startup that was recently acquired. He mentioned looking up my profile/works online and was interested to talk to me over a coffee. I am, however, not looking for a change in job right now. How do I politely decline him while mentioning that I would like to be in touch with him / her and be able to get in touch when I am actively looking." They live in the Bay area.

I want to take this into a broader range of an answer and talk about how you respond to an invitation for coffee from someone who might be interested in talking with you about you . . Or might be interested in talking with you about them.

It goes back to the basic idea about networking. Why do you network? It's to build up relationships of the time, we might actually need help, they know, like, trust and respect you. Maybe the trying to build up a relationship in order to find out if there's something in your organization. I don't know anything about your experience or your level professionally so it could go either way, but the likelihood is that they are going to be talking about trying to recruit you.

A long time ago, I learned a wonderful lesson. It is the notion that the person who gets ahead isn't always the smartest or work the hardest (although those a great qualities to have). The person who gets ahead is the one who remains alert to opportunities. Sometimes those are internal to the organization, but more often than not, they are external.

Whether you are changing jobs or interested in changing jobs right now or not, developing relationship with the successful individual, someone who is further along the road and you are, can always pay off. To decline an invitation is really a goofy response.

Yes, you are happy. Walk in there as a happy individual who likes his work. Consider that you might like your work even more if you are pay $25,000 more than you are now would receive more options. Isn't that possible? I would tell you to go on this meeting.

If you really do want to decline, do so politely , but start off by asking, ". But the subject would be of our conversation?" Make them explain what the purpose of the meeting is, discuss dates and times to meet, but they continue by saying, "I want to be clear, I'm not out there actively looking for position." This way, you're not leading them on in any way.

I want to keep encouraging you to get out there and keep talking to people. After all, your network is your net worth. Developing relationships with someone NOW when you are not actively looking can only be profitable to you at some point in the future.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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