The Job Hopper – Things aren't always as they seem.
Updated: Jan 20
Generally, job-hoppers are described as spending under 2-years within the same organization.
In recruitment, you will often hear managers/employees/recruiters comment on an individual’s loyalty to an organization. If they see a resume with 4 different experiences in 6 years, they worry. It’s an understandable worry, but is it a realistic expectation to X someone from the start?
Job-seekers let’s start this discussion with you. Finding your perfect role is hard. The job market is uber competitive, fitting opportunities are often scarce, and throughout the entire recruitment process, your every move and word are being scrutinized and recorded, to inevitably be used against you. Is this an overreaction? Possibly, but I tend to believe that every overreaction stem from some form of the truth.
I get it, you’re looking for the trifecta – good team and management, great salary, and advancement opportunities. Unfortunately, though, not every opportunity offers this. Your first job was a joke, your second ended in department downsizing, your third simply didn’t work out (even though you worked your hardest), and your current role just doesn't fit right.
So, what are you supposed to do? Stay at a job you’re unhappy with? No, of course not. Then, find a new job and be labelled the job hopper?
First, before accepting the next opportunity given to you, I suggest taking some time to break down, for yourself, the pros and cons of your previous experiences. List the things you didn’t enjoy, those that you did, then link them to what you’re looking for in a new employer, boss, role, responsibility, etc…
How will this help, you ask. Better prepared in interviews. I know that a lot of job-seekers afraid of asking too many questions about the organization and teams. DO NOT BE AFRAID, BE PREPARED. The interview process is just as much you interviewing them as they interview you. YOU are also trying to learn if they are YOUR right fit. Interviews are always a two-way street, remember that.
My second suggestion — don’t shy away from telling your honest story to potential employers. Lay-offs, firings, quitting bosses/companies, feelings unappreciated, feelings of unhappiness, or a combination of the above (and others), are things that most, if not all, of us have felt at some point in our professional careers. Be honest about it. When a recruiter or potential manager asks about your previous roles and why you left, tell them you quit because your boss’s management style didn’t match your needs. Tell them that you weren’t learning anything. Tell them that you made a rush decision in taking the job, and quickly learned that it didn’t bring out the best in your skills and expertise. Tell them you were fired because, while you did try your hardest, the job simply wasn’t best suited for you, or your boss could have been a better mentor, or the internal office politics made it so difficult for them to keep you.
Hiring managers and recruiters, I get it, you're afraid of investing time and money in a new employee, only for him/her to leave you within the first year. This is where the importance of your interviews comes in. The asking of a series of tired "what's your greatest strength" questions won't help you choose the right employee. Ask about their previous roles, learn about what they liked, why they left, and why they chose to interview with you. What are they looking to achieve in the first 6 months? First year? What would they need (career and development wise) to stay for 5 years?
Next, try not to buy into the fear of the job hopper. Ask questions, learn the why, and make an informed decision. Don’t base your hiring process on the epidemic social media created. Your interview and hiring process should be built and focused on filling jobs with qualified and interested candidates. Listen to your interviews when they speak. And don't base your decision on one, or a few, bad experiences.
Job hopping, on it’s own, isn’t the problem, lack of communication and honesty in the hiring process often is.