Our Podcast

BY Joel Junker

Could I Be A Development Candidate? (Episode 169)

If you are a JMO, do you have what it takes to be a Development Candidate?

I interview thousands of JMOs a year who tell me they want to leave the military and continue their leadership career in business. They express the desire for increased responsibility and the opportunity to grow and develop to reach their full potential. They want to become a part of the top 10% of leaders in corporate America. I get excited; they describe what Roger Cameron labeled the Development Candidate in the early 1970s when he helped companies discover the JMO.

Ability to be a Development Candidate

When Roger created this Development Candidate concept with his client companies 50+ years ago, he said it takes two things to be a Development Candidate: ability and desire. He then went on to say that ability is the easy part. Ability is the track record of success over time. A JMO who has been a leader and top performer in college and in the military, demonstrated by academic success and military evaluations, has the demonstrated ability to go on to a successful business career.

Desire to be a Development Candidate

The more challenging part of the equation is the desire. Too many JMOs want to be a Development Candidate but are not willing to make the necessary investments to become one. Specifically, in this podcast, I explain that I am hearing more and more JMOs say they want to be a Development Candidate but are unwilling to flex on exploring opportunities outside of their ideal geography. Roger would say that this has always been the challenge for high-potential JMOs, but I feel it has even become more so due to the recent pandemic and job boom.

The Challenge with Making Location the Priority

During the pandemic, many companies were hiring for remote positions, and most JMOs at a Cameron-Brooks Conference had the opportunity to interview for one. They could have “their cake and eat it too.” Additionally, in 2021 and 2022, the companies that emerged from the pandemic were eager to hire. It was probably one of the hottest job markets I experienced in 23 years at Cameron-Brooks. With that, those JMOs transitioning in 2021 and 2022 had more opportunities to land a great opportunity in an ideal location.

This has all changed, and we have returned to the pre-pandemic market. At the start of 2022, according to Inc. Magazine, 20% of all job postings on LinkedIn were remote. That declined to 13.2% in December 2022. They expect it to trend down as companies start promoting hybrid work in the office three to four days per week. Indeed, many people still work remotely, but companies and even new employees have found it is best to start a new career in person and then later go remote.

Second, the Fed is raising interest rates to increase unemployment, which takes the pressure off wages and reduces inflation. We are experiencing this here at Cameron-Brooks, returning to a normalized number of openings at the Conference (though starting salaries have continued to increase).

So as the economy settles, job openings normalize, and companies return to in-person work, are you ready to adjust your career search strategy to get on board a leading company that will value your unique skillset, invest in you, and hires you into a position that will lead to increased responsibility?

Unpopular but Sound Advice

I realize that my ideas may be less popular and can seem hard. Some reading this or listening to the podcast might think I am only providing this advice because it makes it easier for Cameron-Brooks to work with a candidate. I ask you to take a look at the top leaders in companies. How many returned to their home city out of the military or after college and had their entire career there? Very few. They went to where they could grow, develop, take on challenging assignments, and build their experience.

None of this says you should be able to move anywhere in the US or not have preferences. That is extreme. You can and should have preferences, but if you want to be a Development Candidate, you will need to prioritize the quality of the company, the position fit, and the career path if you’re going to reach the top-tier leadership positions of a company. By the way, this is the same advice I give my professional working daughters. The advice is the truth which is sometimes hard to hear or read.

I hope the podcast causes some reflection and dialogue.

Joel Junker

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