Story: 43 Candidates Missed Out

When they appeared on the recruiter's radar they never got to see a most compelling opportunity

A compelling career opportunity suddenly and unexpected appeared on the career radar screen of 43 IT Dallas Business Development Professionals in the form of a LinkedIn inmail message that included this question…


“Would you be open to at least explore a new career opportunity if you knew it was clearly superior to what you’re doing today?”

It Started as a Normal Day

I’ll tell you what happened below, but first let me put a little context around this "open to explore" question.

I read recently that LinkedIn says 87% of their members indicate they’re open to new job opportunities at any given time. This report also indicated the #1 reason people change jobs is “career opportunity.”

I don’t believe it, at least not in the context of the following, nor based on my LinkedIn inmail to these 43 Business Development professionals.

Based on my 30+ years of recruiting I believe most people “say they are open” to a compelling new career opportunity, but they frequently don’t act like it! Consequently, their career growth can suffer immensely.

The Difference Between a “Good Job ” and “Career Opportunity”

There is a difference in a “good job” and a “great career opportunity.” People who recognize this difference act differently.

At a minimum, great career opportunities provide opportunities to learn new and highly marketable skills, provide more challenging and interesting work, build more robust professional networks for career leverage, all contributing to becoming SWK – someone worth knowing.

Good jobs are often interpreted to mean a reliable paycheck, good benefits, lower risk, work contentment, and a comfortable work environment. All of these are certainly important, but they don’t necessarily mean a great career opportunity. Average jobs typically lead to average careers.

Timing is the most underrated component for taking advantage of great career opportunities. Good jobs can often be found when a person decides to move on their time table. Great career opportunities most frequently come along when you least expect them, i.e. not necessarily when you’re in job seeker mode.

People allow themselves to become too busy or distracted to think long-term career. Instead they put more focus on short-term goals. They don’t make time to pay attention to their marketability, build robust professional networks and/or open themselves to having brief career discussions when opportunities find them. They need a system and process to determine if the opportunity is a compelling career opportunity.

Here’s a Case-in-point

Recently I spoke to a person with long-term stability working at one of the most respected technology employers in the world.

Her job was eliminated when her business unit was sold to another company leaving her without a compelling internal job opportunity. Suddenly she was faced with entering the job market on her time-table, with skills that weren’t as up-to-date as they should be along with a limited and neglected professional network.

As we talked she acknowledged she had made every mistake

Now Back to the 43 Candidates

I carefully selected these 43 people from their LinkedIn profiles. I reached out with an individually tailored and compelling LinkedIn inmail invite highlighting the career opportunity, the prestigious client list they would be working with, the career growth they could expect and included this question, “would you be open to explore this career opportunity if it was clearly superior to what you’re doing today?”

I suggested a 10-15-minute call to see if the opportunity was worthy to consider and if not become connected on LinkedIn.

I received a very low initial response. Not surprising yet confirming my observations above. I wouldn’t know for sure if my opportunity was clearly superior or not without at least a brief discussion. However, judging from their LinkedIn profile it had a high probability of achieving that goal for a good number of these people.

After 30+ years of recruiting, I’ve likely heard all the reasons people ignore an inquiry like this when presented by an external or internal company recruiter. At the same time, in 20-20 hindsight, I’ve personally heard from hundreds of people like the person describe above who wish they had a “do-over!”


A great career opportunity appeared on the career radar screen for these 43 people – most chose to ignore it!

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