Teresa: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.
In this podcast, Stacy Pursell, CEO of The VET Recruiter talks about why people should say “Yes” to opportunity, especially when it involves their career. Hello, Stacy.
Stacy Pursell: Hello, Teresa. I’m glad to be here.
Teresa: Stacy, this is a topic about which you feel very strongly, is that right?
Stacy: That’s right. This year, I’m starting my 21st year in executive search. During the past two decades, I’ve spoken with thousands of professionals about possible job opportunities and about their careers. Over the course of those conversations, I have noticed a very distinct pattern.
Teresa: What pattern is that?
Stacy: There are two kinds of people: those who are open to opportunity and those who are NOT open to opportunity.
When I talk to professionals, one of the first questions that I ask is, “Are you open to hearing about another opportunity at this time?” Unfortunately, some people are not open. In fact, some are closed and say “No” before they even know what they’re declining.
Teresa: How often does something like that happen?
Stacy: It happens almost every week that I will talk with someone who says they are not open to opportunity.
Teresa: Do you have some examples of what you’re talking about?
Stacy: Absolutely! I have multiple examples.
I called someone recently to let him know about an opportunity, but before I could even tell him what the opportunity was, he said, “I am not open to opportunity.” Now, why would he say that before he even knew what the opportunity was? How did he even know what he was saying “No” to?
In this particular instance, I knew the person involved. In fact, I had observed his career for about 10 years. I knew that the opportunity I was presenting was of a higher level than the current position that he held. I also knew that the opportunity was with the one of the top employers within the industry.
This was all good information. However, I was not able to communicate this information to the person. This individual didn’t know what the position was, what company it was with, or anything else about it. All he knew was that I was calling about an opportunity and he was not interested.
I do believe this…. I believe that if he had known what the opportunity was, he may have been interested. It was a more prestigious role with a more prestigious company. How is something like that not interesting?
Teresa: Do you have an example of a situation where you were able to convince somebody to consider an opportunity?
Stacy: I certainly do, and it remains one of the favorite stories of my recruiting career.
This example stands out in my mind because this individual called to tell me that the position I placed him in was the best thing that ever happened to him and his family. He wanted me to know how much he appreciated that I convinced him to interview with my client.
See, when I first called this individual about the opportunity, he said he was very happy where he was and he wasn’t interested in making a change. He had a good position and didn’t want to make a move. However, with some gentle nudging and encouragement, he went to the next step. He interviewed for the position and received a fantastic offer.
With the raise in pay he received for accepting my client’s offer, he and his wife were able to:
Pay off their debt.
Have a baby.
Start saving money for their baby’s future.
Buy a house.
He was able to increase the opportunities available to him in his career.
There were a number of times he wanted to stop the process because he said he was happy where he was and he wasn’t ready to make a change. Not only that, but it also was a six-month long interview process.
In the end, he accepted my client’s offer and now feels that this position had a tremendous impact on his family and his life. He told me it was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
Although he wasn’t open to the opportunity initially, he eventually made the decision to at least be open to it. That decision turned out to be a life-changing one.
Teresa: Wow, that’s certainly a great story! What do you say to professionals when they tell you that they’re not open to an opportunity?
Stacy: First, I communicate to professionals that the best time to consider making a move is when you have a good job. That’s because you have leverage and you can strategically choose the best opportunity.
If you want to grow your career, then you must be at least open to hearing about a new employment opportunity. When you agree to hear about it, you are NOT saying, “Yes, I will resign from my current company and leave tomorrow to take another position.”
What you ARE doing is creating options for yourself. You can listen to the opportunity and decide that you do not want to move forward, or you can listen to it and decide that you do want to move forward. You can even decide later in the process that you don’t want to proceed because you don’t believe the opportunity is better than the job you have now.
The bottom line is that people who are open to hearing about a new opportunity give themselves more options and having options is a good thing.
Teresa: I’ve heard that people are changing jobs more frequently now than at any time before. Is that true?
Stacy: That is true. Last year, LinkedIn published the results of a study based on its own user data. According to the study, changing jobs has become more common during the last few years. The study indicated that Millennials typically “jump jobs” four times during their first decade out of college. The Gen X Generation, which graduated college between 1986 and 1990, averaged only two job changes during their first 10 years out of college.
That means if you’re less than 32 years old, then you’re likely to change jobs at least four times before you reach that age. If you’re older than 32, then you’re likely to change jobs more frequently in the future than you did earlier in your career.
So the rate at which recent college graduates have changed jobs has roughly doubled in recent years, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
Teresa: So the more options that people create for themselves, the better positioned they’ll be to enjoy career growth?
Stacy: That’s correct. And being open to at least hearing about an opportunity is a great way to create options for yourself.
Teresa: Why do you think people are so predisposed to not at least being open to hearing about an opportunity?
Stacy: Well, one reason could be that we are actually hard-wired to say “No,” if you can believe it. There’s actually some scientific evidence to back this up.
In 2015, the results of a study were published in PLoS Computational Biology, which is a trade publication. The study revealed that human beings are more likely to say “No” than “Yes” for biological reasons tied to how the brain functions. The senior author of the study said this: “It could be that humans are wired to be natural naysayers.”
But I think there’s even more to it than that.
Teresa: How’s that?
Stacy: After more than two decades in the recruiting profession, I believe a lot of it simply stems from fear of the unknown. People are naturally afraid of the unknown, and that applies to their personal life and their professional life.
There’s a certain degree of fear that comes with landing a new job opportunity. All sorts of questions race through your mind. What if the new job doesn’t work out? What if I don’t like my co-workers? What if I don’t like my boss? What if my current boss freaks out when I resign?
I compare this type of fear to what you may have experienced as a child when you went to the doctor’s office to get a shot. There were all sorts of scary things racing through your mind. But when you got to the doctor’s office and received your shot, you discovered that thinking about the shot was worse than actually getting it.
And just like getting a shot, thinking about changing jobs is worse than actually changing jobs.
I have a handy acronym for effectively dealing with fear. That acronym is:
Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real
Fear can appear very real, but in many cases, that fear is false. It’s the apprehension of the situation that turns out to be worse than the actual situation.
Teresa: And when you ask professionals if they’re open to an opportunity, you’re not flat-out asking them to change jobs at all? You’re just asking them to be open to considering the opportunity, is that right?
Stacy: That’s right. There is no commitment on their part to do anything but just listen. By listening, at least they know what the opportunity is about. If they still say “No” to it, at least they’ll know what they’re saying “No” to.
Teresa: I know we’ve talked a lot about the people who say “No” to opportunity. What about those you’ve encountered who say “Yes” right off the bat?
Stacy: When I ask the question, “Are you open hearing about another opportunity at this time?” they usually say one of two things:
“Yes, I’m open to hearing about it.”
“Yes, what kind of opportunity do you have?”
These two responses are the correct responses to this question. They’re not committing themselves to anything but hearing about what the opportunity is. And if they believe the opportunity sounds better than what they have now, then they take action. But not until then.
I can say without a doubt that those people who are open to opportunity are typically more successful in their careers than those who are not open. I have 20 years of experience to back this up. It’s something I very much believe in and that I’m very passionate about.
Teresa: So what should people do? What’s your recommendation?
Stacy: My advice is for people to overcome their biological wiring and their fear and at least be open to hearing about a new opportunity. Get all of the facts and information and then make a decision about whether or not you want to move forward. Just taking that one step will put you in the category of people who are more successful in their career.
Teresa: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today.
Stacy: Thank you, Teresa. I look forward to our next podcast!
Links for supporting statistics: