When do we start entertaining new career opportunities? For most of us, our approach is very reactive - when things go south, we start looking for better things. Only when frustrations at work become larger than life do we start talking to recruiters. Although there is nothing wrong with that, it doesn’t set you apart from all the other job seekers out there.  

As much as it is the norm, we typically say no to recruiters when we are doing well at work without fully understanding what’s on the table. Why fix it when it isn’t broken, you may think. While I generally agree to that, I don’t think it applies because I that is not how you should look at your career and when thinking about how to progress it forward.
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Hiring managers are constantly looking for successful people which is why the best time for you to speak to recruiters is actually when you are doing well in your current role. You might think I’m crazy, honestly, sometimes I do too but that’s beside the point. When you are happy and successful in your current role, you are in the best frame of mind to evaluate an opportunity. Your judgment is not clouded by worries borne out of work frustrations, or the thought of being jobless, or even the mere fact that your situation at work is so unbearable.

When everything is smooth-sailing at work, you are in the position to weigh an opportunity fairly. I’m not saying that you should switch jobs every time a recruiter presents an opportunity to you. It is of course your career and the decision is ultimately yours. While we are on the topic of considering new opportunities, bear in mind that tenure is also important, you can’t always argue that your every move is because of a better opportunity presented itself to you to the expense that you are changing your role every year or two.

Every time a new opportunity is on the table, think if it really is in your best interest to move from your current role to this new one. You are in the position to decide if it aligns with your short-term and long-term goals, as well as if indeed the grass is greener on the other side.

Next time you receive a call from a recruiter, have that discussion, weigh your options, and engage the recruiter. It’s our job to present what we feel might be a good fit for you. So don’t hold back asking questions, understanding the opportunity, and comparing it with you have. All you need is an open and discerning mind.

As a recruiter, I do feel that candidates should thoroughly consider an opportunity before flat-out saying “no”. Reject an opportunity because it was not the right fit for you, not just because you are happy where you are.

As my good friend John Rockefeller once said, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

Written by: Wiley Olano