Ep. 67

Don’t Write Off Job Hoppers w/ Necole Jones

In episode 67 we talk with Necole Jones about why companies shouldn’t shy away from hiring job hoppers.

Necole Jones

HR Director
Webhelp

In the past, there’s been a stigma against job hoppers—why hire somebody who might not stay long? But there’s a lot more to job hoppers than meets the eye. On this episode of the HR Mavericks podcast, we talked to Necole Jones, HR director at Webhelp, about why companies shouldn’t shy away from hiring job hoppers. Necole compared job hoppers to grasshoppers; both are fearless and forward-thinking. While you may not know why somebody has switched jobs quickly, you should definitely be aware of what they could bring to the table.

We talked about:

  • What the term “job hopper” means
  • How at-will employment applies to employees too
  • Generational differences in the way we approach work
  • Reasons people might have for changing jobs
  • The importance of a paycheck in determining if people stay at their jobs
  • How to boost retention (without focusing on candidates’ employment history)
  • What companies miss out on when they refuse to hire job hoppers

Episode 67 Transcript

You’re listening to HR Mavericks, a weekly podcast, featuring leading small business HR professionals who share their experiences and insights to help you know how to turn your HR processes and employee experience into a strategic business advantage. Let’s get into the show. 

[00:00:00] Garrett Jestice: Welcome to the next episode of the HR Mavericks podcast. I’m Garrett Jestice, and today I’m joined by Necole Jones, who’s an HR director at Web Help. Necole, how are you doing today?

[00:00:13] Necole Jones: I’m doing fine, Garrett. Thank you for having me.

[00:00:16] Garrett Jestice: We are so happy to have you on the show. I know you have been a member of the community, the HR Mavericks community for a while. You said you’ve kind of been a little bit in the background but decided to, to pitch your idea for a podcast episode and join us today, and we are just super excited to have you on.

Is that all right?

Pretty much right. I’m newer to the community, but have been sitting on the sidelines, learning about HR Mavericks, as I have other HR professionals and peers that have been a part of the organization much longer than I.

[00:00:45] Garrett Jestice: Awesome. Well, we’re super happy to have you be part of the community and to be on the podcast today. Before we jump into our topic though, tell our listeners a little bit more about you and your background. I know you said. You have 20 plus years of experience in HR across all different facets.

[00:01:02] Necole Jones: Yes. So I’ve been at HR for approximately 20 years, actually a little bit over 20 years. I have had the opportunity to work for various companies in the retail space, medical devices industry. And so in those roles, individual contributor as well as management positions, with global oversight, from everything HR, to talent management, performance management, employee relations.

I say I have a potpourri of it all.

[00:01:29] Garrett Jestice: That’s awesome. And for anyone who’s watching the video of this, looking at Necole and hearing that she’s been in the role for, or in this space for 20 plus years, they’re thinking, What did you start when you were three? Like you don’t, you don’t seem like you could have 20 years of experience, but we are so happy that you’re on the show today to share some of that experience with us. So tell me first, before we jump into this, what initially led you into the field of HR?

[00:01:58] Necole Jones: So for me, originally when I went to college, I majored in political science, public administration. I planned on going to law school, but at the time didn’t apply. Accidentally got into HR, but it was the best accident ever. It kind of merged what I wanted to do in the legal space, me also being a people person and being very analytical.

And so I got the first opportunity in HR in the nonprofit sector, and really just had to be a one woman show as it relates to HR and compliance. And in that particular regard was able to learn everything and get my hands dirty, so to speak, with everything within the HR field.

[00:02:36] Garrett Jestice: I love it. We have a lot of solo HR one-person shows running, running, everything that are, I know part of the community and part of, you know, the audience listening to this podcast. So I think that resonates. So the next question I have for you then is the flip side of that. What’s kept you in the HR space for the last 20 years?

What do you love about it.

[00:02:57] Necole Jones: So for me, I kind of live by the adage or the phrase of if you love what you do, you really never work a day in your life. And so in that regard, I love what I do. I’m able to relate to all levels of people, whether or not they’re hourly or executive management. I feel like HR is a conduit, between the company, as well as the employee.

And so we should really be the conscience of the company that you’re representing. And whatever you do, it should be, right. It could be, should be consistent, it should be fair, it should be, it should be compliant. And so in those regards, you’re not always gonna be on the side of the employee.

You’re not always gonna be on the side of management, but you’re always gonna be on the side of what is right.

[00:03:41] Garrett Jestice: Yeah. I love that. It’s so true and it’s an impactful role for sure. That is that, like you said, that conduit between employees and the company, so great. The topic today for our discussion is really around this idea of job hopping. Has to do with recruiting and hiring. It’s something that’s been prevalent in, you know, the news, especially the last few years is, you know, so many people talk about the great resignation and so many people, employees seeking out different jobs, right?

And so to really start us off and make sure that we’re on the same page, how would you define, you know the term job hopper or someone who’s hopping between jobs?

[00:04:22] Necole Jones: Okay. So for me, the term job hopping is having multiple jobs in a relatively short period of time. I would say it’s generally viewed as holding a position for two years or less, but I’m gonna also venture to say that those that have more of a traditional view and mindset would recommend that you stay in a job five years or more to not be considered a job hopper.

I, I would say our parents, our grandparents, and for some even their great grandparents typically only had one job. They worked hard. They went to work every single day, never missed a beat. They stayed with the same employer for 20, 30, 40, 50 years until they retired. And you know, to your point, Garrett, earlier you mentioned that with the onset of the pandemic, there was a great awakening, related to how many looked at the work construct.

And so it’s not necessarily the same story of long tenure with the same company versus what we’re seeing today, which is overall decreasing tenure between companies.

[00:05:23] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, that makes total sense. And, and just to be clear on it too, often job hopping is seen as a negative by employers going through the interview process. Is that right?

[00:05:35] Necole Jones: Yes. And again, those with the more traditional mindset, they’re gonna say this particular person will not stay with the company. So that’s why I’m not gonna offer them the position. And if you think about it, we really talk about at-will employment from the employer perspective, but it’s also on the employer perspective.

It’s at-will. So just as much as a company has the right to hire and fire employees have the right to choose to go to a company and also choose to stay based off of their particular circumstance.

[00:06:07] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, that makes, that makes sense. So why would you recommend that a company not judge a book by its cover, so to speak? Right When? When it comes to interviewing people who have changed jobs more frequently than others.

[00:06:22] Necole Jones: Okay. So I’ll kind of back up and maybe give a little bit of history lesson, so to speak. So of course if you’re an HR aficionado, you already know for the first time in history there’s five generations in the workplace. You have their traditional list, the Baby Boomers, Gen X, and I’m Gen X, millennials, as well as Generation D.

And each generation absolutely has their own unique characteristics, preferred ways of communication and it’s approach to working. And just because someone left a job doesn’t mean it was a bad thing. Perhaps did the person leave because they were laid off? Or maybe if you put those DNI glasses on, did they quit due to mental health, parental obligations, maybe taking care of a ill family member, they might have had a retaliation claim.

And the list just goes on and on. So the other thing that I would also interject here is the quickest way to get a pay increase is to leave a job.

[00:07:21] Garrett Jestice: Mm.

[00:07:22] Necole Jones: Our, and then research shows that by far women like myself, people of color, make less than their counterparts. So a hiring manager might look at a person’s resume and they’ll say, and, you know, look at their application and think they’re job hopping, just because when, in fact, it could be to get more money.

And I always say at the end of the day, a company, morale, their culture, how the employee has job satisfaction, that doesn’t pay bills. And so finding a higher paying job could be the major factor of someone leaving companies frequently.

[00:07:58] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, and I think that the point you make that I really like too is with those five generations in the workplace, there’s very different. You know, ideas about this, this concept of job hopping, right? Like, like you mentioned previously, many of our parents, grandparents, great grandparents were the people who, you know, went to work for one company and stayed at that company until they retired and got the gold watch type of thing, right?

And newer generations, younger generations are different. And I think the key piece to this, you know, topic to me is there isn’t a right way or a wrong way. Some people, you know, especially in those older generations are used to sticking through for a long time. Some, are need some of those changes.

Yes, you should be concerned if someone is, is potentially hopping too much and don’t really have a good reason. Maybe there’s something with that employee, but more often than not, at least in my experience, I’m curious yours too, the people who are hopping every few years, right? Might be for one of those other reasons that you mentioned.

It might be that they had some mental health challenges, maybe they found a better paying job somewhere else or something with better benefits. As companies realize the importance of taking care of employees sometimes they you know, provide better benefits and can find something better in their industry.

So there’s so many other reasons that that, someone might change a job other than just, they’re not a good employee. Right.

[00:09:26] Necole Jones: Right!

[00:09:29] Garrett Jestice: Anything else you would add to that?

Absolutely. So I totally agree with all of that. I’ve once had a individual tell me in a management capacity that they didn’t hire unemployed people. And I said, that doesn’t make sense at all, because at some point everybody is unemployed whether or not they’re getting their first job or second job.

[00:09:47] Necole Jones: And then if you’re saying that you don’t necessarily know what’s the reason behind that unemployment. And so it could be that they left for parental obligations or something that would be covered under FMLA, to take care of an ill family member or military leave. So if you go in with assumptions, you know, such as that, the same thing with all job hoppers are bad, and we’re not gonna hire job hoppers, then you’re limiting yourself.

[00:10:14] Garrett Jestice: Yeah. And so just to build on that, why should every company be open to having some of those people who they might see as job hoppers? Why? Why should they be open to interviewing and potentially hiring some of those people.

[00:10:28] Necole Jones: Okay. So I’ll add to that in, as I’ve been thinking about the topic, I’ve been thinking of a parallel. So I actually think of job hoppers. When I think of job hoppers, I actually reflect on the symbolism of grasshoppers. And I actually wore a grasshopper pendant today. And so if you think about grasshoppers, they actually convey abundance, achievement, courage, fearlessness, and so much more.

So who wouldn’t want those types of traits within their company, their workplace, or if you tap into those characteristics, they’re great for critical decision making, effective team building. And that really harnesses on and hones in on the synergy of thinking, happiness, intuition, longevity, and those are all traits that grasshoppers are known for.

So I would say don’t miss out. Hop on the opportunity for tapping into this talent that’s presented to you in the form of a job hopper. In the end, it could most definitely drive innovation because individuals that have hopped from job to job, or my grasshoppers, as I like to call them, actually have seen the work environment in different places.

[00:11:39] Necole Jones: And so that will be great for your innovation and your collaboration. And in that mindset that will hopefully generate profit for your company.

[00:11:48] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, I love it. Great analogy. It’s awesome. And I love the pendant also, for those of you who are just listen online, you have to watch the video to check it out. It’s awesome. So what about those companies who say, okay, I, I get it. I get why I, I would want to consider someone like this, but at the same time, as a company, we also want to reduce turnover for employees.

So how do I know that if I hire someone like this, or how can I be confident that if I hire someone like this, that they’re not just gonna leave me in six months after I finish training them? What, what would you say to companies who are thinking something like that?

[00:12:28] Necole Jones: So I think you take that chance on anyone because each situation, even if you hired someone that previously had worked 10 or 15 years at another company, It’s gonna be a unique situation when they become your employee. And so you take the chance on that. Life circumstances happen. So there could be an employee death, there could be somebody get sick, and not that we’re wishing wishing that on anyone.

You kind of take that chance on anyone and not necessarily a job hopper. But in the instance, you know, we’re, you’re looking at it, to me it’s more about your environment and your culture. What is going to make people want to stay? How are you gonna keep retention up? Is it through great engagement? Is it conveying that you have great advancement, promotional opportunities?

Are you gonna pour into employees? And then that’s really what keeps people there.

[00:13:19] Garrett Jestice: Amen. I think that you know, truly great companies are super hard to build and hard to find for many employees, and so if you can focus on building a truly great company and culture that people want to work for, then you have a, a strategic advantage against many of your competitors, and you’re likely to keep employees there longer.

Sometimes life circumstances will happen and, and they’ll need to leave for whatever reason, but you give yourself the best chance of retaining your employees when you focus on just creating an excellent environment where people want to be and where they feel rewarded and valued.

[00:13:59] Necole Jones: Most definitely. I always say you get more with honey. And I’m a, I’m a girl from the south, so I have lots of old phrases and things like that. So you’re gonna get more with honey. If you make it more attractive, employees will wanna stay. They’re gonna encourage their friends to apply, their family members to apply.

They’re gonna be passionate about the work they do. They’re gonna wanna contribute and see the company grow because they’re invested. On the other side, if they’re not, they’re gonna be seeking other opportunities passively, and sometimes even more actively if it’s not the right environment.

[00:14:33] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, excellent points. I love those southern phrases. Keep using ’em. They’re great. So, next question I have for you then is how, how, what else can we do to change this narrative around job hoppers? I think, you know, you’ve taken a step today to be here on the podcast and, you know, elected to talk about this topic and partially in, in hopes to change this narrative for lots of companies to see what they’re missing out on if they avoid some of these traditional job hoppers, if you will.

What else can we do though to, to really, you know, elevate this narrative and help people understand that they need to consider people who may have a nontraditional employment background?

[00:15:12] Necole Jones: Right. So I would say going back to grasshoppers, We all need to be like grasshoppers. Be forward moving, forward thinking. also share with the masses that frequent job changes, once seen as a negative mark on resumes actually are more common in today’s market. We, we need to challenge the group think, so call it out if you feel like that’s the reason someone’s not being hired or promoted or whatever it is.

That is impacting, you know, their particular situation. Then most certainly also be an advocate to hire the best qualified candidate for the job. And if you take the leap of faith as a grasshopper might, it might be that grasshopper, that job hopper, that you need on your team and they can come in and make a great contribution.

[00:15:59] Garrett Jestice: I love it. Amen. So this has been such a great conversation, Necole. Are there any other tips that you have for HR leaders or companies as they consider, you know, hiring and interviewing people who traditionally have been job hoppers?

[00:16:15] Necole Jones: I think again, this promotes, a great sense of diversity. And so, I would say overall job hoppers are moving in and out of the job market and going to one company versus another company for a variety of reasons. And so if you want to basically increase your D E and I portfolio as it relates to recruitment, you definitely more, most certainly need to consider job hoppers or grasshoppers, as I like to say.

[00:16:44] Garrett Jestice: There we go. Get the grasshoppers. Awesome. Well, Necole, this has been a great conversation. I appreciate you joining today and sharing some of your insights with us. If there are listeners who want to get in contact with you, If they have follow up questions on the topic or just wanna learn more or connect with you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

[00:17:02] Necole Jones: I’m active on LinkedIn. It’s Necole with the E. N E C O LE Jones. So feel free to connect with me. Send me a message, and I’ll try to answer, many, many messages as I can and I’ll be more than happy to connect with you.

[00:17:16] Garrett Jestice: Thank you so much, Necole. We appreciate you joining today, sharing your insights with us and also for your support of the HR Mavericks community. We hope you have a great rest of the day.

[00:17:25] Necole Jones: Thank you Garrett, and I certainly appreciate the opportunity being here and helping to advocate for HR Mavericks and being a supporter of the organization.

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