I had problem with the hard drive of my 13" MacBook Pro 2009. I decided to use the opportunity to upgrade to an SSD. I replaced it with a 480GB SSD.
Following this article: Create a bootable installer for OS X, I created bootable USB with El Capitan. The USB works with the computer I created it on.
On my upgraded Macbook, normal power-on ends with grey screen with flashing folder icon, as expected - there is no OS there.
When I plug the USB drive in and hold the Option key, expected menu with choice of bootable devices does not show. There is the booting sound, the screen turns white with cursor on. The cursor responds to the touch pad but no booting menu appears.
I don't know how to troubleshoot the issue.