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What Is Job Hopping?
When a candidate spends less than two years in a position before leaving, they are said to be job hopping.
How Opinions About Job Hopping Are Changing
Historically, HR professionals and managers have looked down on job hopping. Job hopping was seen as a sign of lack of commitment, a troubled employment history, or overall laziness. However, these days employees look for more than a paycheck, valuing recognition, leadership development, corporate social responsibility, and diversity initiatives. If employers don’t offer those to an employee’s satisfaction, they may leave. If you don’t know the individual’s reasons for job hopping, you may be counting out some great employees.
Why Do People Job Hop?
Let’s look at seven reasons people leave their employers.
- Better pay and benefits. Another company may have a similar position but pay more for it, or have a more affordable benefits package.
- Lack of growth opportunities. Regardless of position, each employee wants to grow their own competency and know there is a path upward in their organization. If they don’t, boredom sets in, and they may start looking for other opportunities.
- They want meaningful work. Each company has a vision or purpose for existing. Therefore, every job should play a role in accomplishing that purpose. When an employee is onboarded and not taught how their work contributes meaningfully to the larger vision, they will look for purpose elsewhere.
- Poor work/life balance. Whether it is having email on your cell phone or constant worry when you take time off, helping employees achieve psychological safety at work helps them feel comfortable leaving work at the office. When the expectation is to always be available, employers risk burning out their employees and losing them to another employer.
- Poor management. When managers do not listen to their team or work to understand what motivates each member, employees may be encouraged to seek better management elsewhere.
- Corporate social responsibility. More employees than ever are looking for an employer that aligns with their personal values. They may look for corporate transparency, ethical leadership, sustainable supply chains, environmentally sustainable practices, volunteer and charitable work, and more. If these actions are absent, talent will leave.
- Diversity initiatives. This means more than having a certain number or percentage of minorities represented. If anyone doesn’t feel like their voice is heard, or perceive potential discrimination, then they may leave for another employer where they feel valued and respected.
How Job Hopping Affects Employers
When your employees job hop, you lose valuable talent and experience all the losses associated with turnover: having to hire, onboard, and train a replacement.
When you see job hopping in your candidates, you may be hesitant to hire that person due to concerns that they will leave after the expense of onboarding and training, resulting in more turnover.
How to Ask About Job Hopping in an Interview
When you see a resume that has evidence of job-hopping, there is an easy way to address your concerns.
The introductory question in an interview is often “Tell us about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume.” Keep your pen ready to take notes as the candidate discusses their work history. If they do not address the reason they left a position, ask a follow-up question, being specific as possible. “I didn’t catch why you left your position at ‘Company A.’ Can you tell me why you left that position?”
As an additional follow-up, ask what it would take for them to stay at a job long-term. You will want to take good notes so you can compare what your company offers to what they are asking. If your company does not offer something the candidate says they need for a long-term job (i.e. salary of $150,000), then you know they will not be happy working at your organization.
Should You Hire a Job Hopper?
It can be difficult to consider a candidate with a job-hopping resume. You want every employee to stay and be happy, so why bother? Let’s look at several advantages these candidates may bring.
Variety of Skills
These candidates may have worked in multiple industries, acquiring a great skill set that can be valuable for your organization. They may not stay long, but they can still provide great value while they are with your organization.
Job-hopping candidates come with backgrounds from organizations of different sizes, industries and challenges. Job hoppers can bring new ideas to your organization due to their experience in other companies.
This also provides evidence they can adapt to change more easily than a traditional candidate. Each previous role has had its own unique challenges, and they can speak to how they met those challenges.
Not Afraid of Risk
These candidates are persistent, considering all their options before they choose their next employer. When a job-hopper has defined what they want from a new employer, they bring this flexible mindset to your organization. They have dealt with ambiguity in past roles and had to make decisions, often without all the information needed. This is one skill that can be invaluable for small businesses, where changes happen often.
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