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Keep open mind when headhunter calls

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in Workplace Communication

You’re delighted with your current employer, so you politely brush off all inquiries from headhunters. Big mistake.

Consider how Meg Whitman responded to a headhunter’s call in November 1997. At the time, she was running Hasbro’s Playskool division (600 employees, $600 million in annual sales) and enjoying it immensely. The headhunter invited her to consider the top job at a tiny Web firm she’d never heard of.

Whitman, now 44, reluctantly agreed to visit California to interview for the CEO post—at the company that became eBay. “I remember … saying, I can’t believe I’m about to fly across the country to look at a black-and-white auction classified site,” she told Fast Company.

Yet the company’s founder, Pierre Omidyar, won her over. She also realized that the growth potential in e-commerce far exceeded what she could expect at Hasbro.

Thanks to her willingness to investigate the offer, she wound up taking it. Today, eBay is weathering the economic downturn better than most tech companies and Whitman has become one of America’s most admired CEOs.

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