By Randy Harris, January 19, 2012

Recently a friend of mine called to solicit my thoughts and opinion.

He had recently received a call from a recruiter. It was a firm that he was not familiar with. However, the role and the client they were representing appeared to be somewhat interesting to him.

His concern centered on the notion that he was quite happy in his current role and was in fact really not in the job market. “What do you suggest that I do?”, he asked.

First of all, I suggested that the fact that he had not heard of the firm was in a sense irrelevant. Ask for references if you have a concern as to the credibility of the firm. Most credible firms should be able to readily supply them in order to make someone comfortable.

As for whether he should invest his time to investigate the role, my answer to him was, “why not?”.

If one is indeed happy in their professional life, then one can be truly objective in determining and assessing the opportunity. In other words you can set criteria for yourself that the client and their role should be able to meet and or exceed relative to your current situation both tangibly and intangibly. Job content and reduced commuting time are potential examples of the criteria you might use.

Too frequently individuals believe that they have to be in a somewhat negative professional situation to consider entertaining a call from a recruiter. In point in fact while understandable to a certain extent it is perhaps an incorrect sentiment.

Recruiters like working with, and companies like hiring individuals with a positive frame of mind – individuals whom are attracted to their clients and subsequent opportunities for the right reasons and not because they are looking to get away from their current circumstance.

Companies want to hire individuals whom are excited by the opportunity and looking forward to the prospect of contributing, not so much someone who is looking because they feel they have been passed over for a promotion or are unhappy with their salary or performance review.

If you are happy in your current situation, you invest the time to investigate an opportunity, and if it turns out to be not right for you, then you simply return to your current situation and role – perhaps feeling even better about your professional lot in life.

If the opportunity is one that meets and or exceeds the differing set of criteria that you had identified for yourself to become involved in the recruitment process, then your decision should be that much easier.

After it as all said and done, while no one likes a tire-kicker, one can always turn down an offer.

Therefore, the next time a recruiter calls you out of the blue, ask yourself this question, what exactly is my downside to listening. Quite frankly the answer should be none.