It helps to respond to every recruiter no matter how inappropriate their emails are.
Why do I say this? First, it never helps to create bad feelings if you can avoid it. However with that said, at times you have to have tough conversations that will cause bad feelings in people and that isn’t your responsibility. You have to speak your truth and let the cards fall where they may.
Each day I get email messages from recruiters that even a cursory view of my LinkedIn profile would show aren’t appropriate. This is not to complain about that, but rather to say that often in life how you respond to things determines your opportunities in life.
I have to be honest it is exhausting to respond to every recruiter who contacts me. However I don’t like sending an email and not being responded to, so I won’t do that to others. We have to start treating others as we want to be treated, not as the world treats us.
Many people complain that people are losing their civility and empathy. Yet those same people don’t think twice about being uncivil and unemphatic to others. We should always look at our behavior first and not try to ascribe motives to other people. We don’t know their situation, and if we don’t like their behavior we don’t have to engage with it.
I’ll give you an example. Today a recruiter sent me a message for another state for an on-site position. First I would never leave NYC and second, my keywords next to my name say #wfh. So just looking at my profile should be enough. What it says to me is that they don’t look or don’t care. Maybe both. I think recruiters are so used to people being desperate that when you have standards they don’t know what to do.
When you respond to a recruiter you can simply state the information that is key to your decision in rejecting the opportunity. It doesn’t have to be long. It can be just a few words. You haven’t burned your bridge with that recruiter, and that may mean all the difference in the future.