Should your organisation avoid hiring job-hoppers?
Anyone who has been involved in hiring someone new for an organisation knows that there are so many factors to take into consideration. Something that comes up for many candidates, especially millennial candidates, is the issue of job-hopping. Is it really such a bad thing to change your job regularly and can it ever be beneficial for organisations to hire someone with a pattern of job-hopping?
What is job-hopping?
Generally, job-hopping is considered as someone who changes their job regularly, working in brief stints in different organisations and sometimes even different industries. Of course, there are plenty of reasons why someone may need to change jobs after a brief time - layoffs or company closures aren’t cause for an individual to be labelled as a job-hopper, neither are contractors or interns. Employers are often wary of those candidates who have changed jobs frequently out of their own choice or those who have been let go multiple times.
It’s easy to see how many hiring managers would see job-hopping as negative. After all, most organisations are looking for candidates that have a history of loyalty so that they can be confident their new hire will stay with them for the long-term and they won’t need to go through the hiring process all over again eight months down the track. When there’s a track record of being let go, it can also be worrying - after all, employers want to know that their individuals are hard workers and are interested in fitting into the organisation; employees who have been let go frequently should raise a huge red flag.
But it’s not all negative …
There are many reasons why a candidate might have moved around a little bit in their career thus far. Many people start off in one industry and decide it’s not for them so, after retraining, they take a different turn-off on their career path. Others simply change location and need to change their job as they go, while others still have great opportunities cross their paths frequently, so they take them.
Regardless of what your first impression is, job-hopping is becoming far more common; a survey by LinkedIn in 2016 revealed that those who graduated between 2006-2010 had an average of 2.85 jobs in their first 5 years out of graduation compared to those who graduated between 1986-1990 who only had an average of 1.6 jobs. It’s clear that job-hopping is becoming more common - whatever the reason may be.
What can your organisation stand to gain from hiring a job-hopper?
The truth is that while job-hopping has a bad wrap, when you hire someone with that history, you can reap some unexpected rewards:
Those who change jobs frequently will often have a wide range of knowledge of different systems, programs and they can bring fresh perspectives to the table.
Those who have jumped around within the same industry will also know the inner workings of some of your competitors which can help you to predict what they will do next.
Job-hoppers also have different networking connections, giving you priceless access to a whole new pool of contacts.
Many of these candidates have experience of needing to fit in quickly in different workplaces. They’re like kids who move schools frequently - quick to make friends and happy to slide into routines as easily as possible.
At the end of the day, not all job-hoppers are going to be the best fit for your organisation but ruling out any of them from your hiring process could be leaving you with slim pickings. Make sure you ask questions about the last roles, find out what their achievements were and what their reasons for leaving were - if their career narrative is logical, it makes sense to give them a chance. Steer clear of individuals who change roles frequently for better pay or more status but hone in on those who are just looking for new opportunities to further their skills.
Greg Weiss is one of Australia’s most renowned career coaches. He is the author of “So You Got A Job, WTF Is Next”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7 step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/
He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.
Greg also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.