Many of us have been contacted over the years through LinkedIn, email or via a phone call about a possible career opportunity. Many times, we may think “Ah, I’m happy where I am” and don’ reply or engage the solicitation and I’m here to tell you there are three time tested reasons to have that exploratory conversation, even if you are “happy where you are”.

First off, yes, I am biased, I have been an executive recruiter for over 20 years and my job is to take the right folks and match them with the right “next level” role for their career. That said, I will take any bias and emotion out of this post because this information is really very logical and time tested.

#1- It never hurts to listen and expand your network

The reality is that in the U.S. the average length of time at a job is…4.6 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What does that mean? It means that as much as you may enjoy your job, boss or company culture, the odds says that something will change and you will be wanting to explore other options in or around the five-year mark of your employment- and the percentage of people who move after five years with the same company grows exponentially. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

·        The median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years.

·        The median tenure for employees age 65 and over is 10.3 years.

·        Workers in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median tenure (5.5 years)

Based on this data, having a ten-minute discussion with a recruiter or hiring authority really does make sense, even if you have no intention of interviewing or making a move at the moment. By making a contact, you have just provided yourself someone else in your network to call on IF and WHEN you decide to make that job or career move.

#2 – Chances are you won’t be retiring from your company        

In conjunction with the statistics above, the odds of you staying at your company to retirement are miniscule. Knowing that you likely won’t retire with your current employer, having a conversation with a recruiter or hiring authority about things like “market comp”, career advancement options and enhanced flexibility are always in your best interest. When someone has been in an organization for 4-6 years or more, they can easily lose touch with the market relative to pay, benefits and trends in employment such as flex working schedules, hybrid working environments as well as career and training options. How would you know unless you took a few minutes to discuss these and other topics that are invariably in your best interest? I’ll leave this section with an interesting statistic and something to ponder- in my 20+ years in executive search work, a full 92% of the hundreds of people I have placed where absolutely not looking when we started our conversations, I reached out them and not the other way around.

#3 – You can never say No to an offer that isn’t made

Lastly, its important to remember that you can gain a tremendous amount of information by engaging in an exploratory discussion and a subsequent interview. I always tell folks I work with, “You can never say no to an offer that isn’t made”- in other words, you really won’t know if the opportunity is truly better then your current situation or what your true “market worth” is until and unless you engage in this process of talking with recruiters or hiring authorities.

So, the next time you see an interesting opportunity or hear from a hiring authority or an industry specialty recruiter who can speak specifically about your niche, consider the three points above and carve out a few minutes to connect, you’ll be glad you did!