As a former HR intern, I learned quickly that job candidates who have had many short-stint jobs within only a few years is highly undesirable to hiring organizations. Why? To recruiters looking to fill positions with motivated, trustworthy, and committed individuals, seeing a six month position as an Administrative Assistant followed by a four month position in sales, then a year long position in marketing might raise some red flags, even if it doesn’t hold any further implications.
A person with many short-term positions across a short time frame is often known as a “job hopper.” Job hoppers can come in all forms, from young professionals who continuously seek out new opportunities for advancement to employees that simply cannot hold onto a job for an extended period of time, to those individuals lacking commitment but who enjoy seeking out new situations and environments. While we see that there are several reasons for a job candidate to have multiple positions within a short period, it is not uncommon for a hiring manager to assume the worst and move on to the next resume.
To a recruiter, numerous short-term positions on a resume may appear as though the job candidate lacks persistence when a job begins to become routine. While this may not necessarily be the case, it’s important for job candidates to be aware of how their career path appears on paper when viewed by a HR manager or recruiter. Job hopping is also more common among younger employees than an older demographic. According to a TNS Employee Insight recent global survey, it was found that 60% of individuals aged 20-29 thought they would be working in the same organization a year from now while adults aged 40-49 and 50-59 were 67% and 73% respectively. These statistics indicate that as age increases, intentions to leave an organization decreases. This effect could be due to many reasons, one of which may include the increasing social acceptability of job hopping.
Yet, the issue of job hopping is not necessarily an old one; with many organizations looking to effectively manage multiple generations of employees, the topic is more important to consider now than ever. Since it is much more common to job hop now than it was compared to 20 years ago, should hiring managers avoid selecting job hoppers in an effort to retain talent longer? If this is the case, organizations may actually miss out on hiring a great deal of valuable talent in Generation Y in which job hopping is quite common.
What do you think? Are job hoppers worth giving a chance if otherwise qualified for a position or are they too much of a threat to organizational turnover and retention?