Our Blog

BY Joel Junker

What is a Development Candidate?

If you were to look up the definition of a development candidate in the dictionary, this is what you’d most likely find:


It is not a term you can google, look up, or find easily.  It is a term/concept Roger Cameron, one of our original founders and owners, coined in the early 1970s to help Corporate America understand why the JMO is an advantage to helping their organizations grow and succeed and to help JMOs understand what it will take to be successful launching a business career.

In PCS to Corporate America, Roger Cameron states, “Cameron-Brooks recruits only for development candidate positions in Corporate America, positions that will allow you to transition and accelerate.  Therefore, our clients are selective and require us to partner with officers who have the demonstrated ability and desire to grow into senior leadership positions in a company.”

Let’s look at those two words bolded and highlighted in red.  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 ability to go on to a successful business career.  The more challenging part of the equation is the desire. Too many JMOs say they want to be a Development Candidate but are not willing to make the necessary investments to become one.

Ability and desire are why the JMO is marketable to Corporate America.  Because let’s face it.  Why would a company looking to fill an experienced hire position even consider a military officer coming from the government/DoD world?  Typically, JMOs have little to no business experience and oftentimes don’t have any formal education, training, etc. that would convince a hiring manager in Corporate America they are committed to business and are a better fit than an established industry hire.  Therefore hiring a JMO presents some element of risk to a commercial business company.

However, the reason Corporate America is willing to consider a non-traditional hire like the JMO is because of this ability and desire.  Having a track record of success, strong leadership skills, ability to lead people, solve complex problems, and lead projects – coupled with the desire to invest in their careers and grow to increasing levels of leadership within a company is the “special sauce” that JMOs bring to the business world.  But that means, in addition to ability, it is being willing to take the difficult assignments and go to locations that may not be ideal but where you can grow the most professionally and really impact the organization.  Basically, all the things that made a JMO successful in the military!  Those that are looking to simply find employment, settle down in one location, and work the 9-5 job, are typically not a development candidate in the eyes of Corporate America.  And make no mistake, there is nothing wrong with this approach if that is your goal, but the point of this blog was to better illustrate the development candidate concept and how it applies to those JMOs looking to launch a business career.

Interested in exploring your options with Cameron-Brooks?  Curious about how to make a successful JMO-to-business transition?  Check out our website,  YouTube Channel, and follow us on LinkedIn.  If you are a JMO considering a transition to business and would like to be part of a future Cameron-Brooks Career Conference, reach out to us for a personal consultation with one of our Transition Coaches.

Rob Davis