When you think of a job hopper, most people think that it’s a “negative”; that they cannot be trusted to stay in a job and are not loyal to a company or they didn’t do well in those positions, which we tend to imagine will mean that if we hire them, we’ll be back in the same hiring situation a year or two from now when they decide to move onto the next job – again.
However true this may be in some situations, you may be surprised to know that it is not the case in all situations!
There are a few scenarios you might want to consider before mistakenly disqualifying a very strong candidate, for what you think might be a risky job hopper.
Changes within the previous company
Before you make a quick decision, determine if the job hopper was let go do to unforeseen circumstances such as downsizing, company acquisition, or other areas that might have eliminated their position. Make sure you dig a bit deeper in this line of questioning to determine WHY a candidate was not retained during this process.
Not a good cultural fit
Each company has a group of individuals that you have to work with and when personalities clash and company cultures do not align with personal values, staying at a company can become a difficult task. A good candidate can articulate a well thought out answer when asked why the culture did not fit with their own cultural expectations.
Career advancement opportunities
If a candidate was offered a better job, pay, shorter commute, or better benefits, you cannot fault them for taking the better job. We encourage you to put yourself in their shoes. If you believe you would have taken the promotion as well, then don’t count this as a negative thing against your candidate.
Were the jobs they left temporary or project positions
Many skilled professionals found themselves unemployed before or during the economic downturn. Well, that didn’t make it easy to find a job when so many employers made deep cuts in their workforce. Strategic staffing came into play largely with these companies, which means they brought in strong employees just during peak periods or for special projects under deadline. Once the job was done, they let them go. You may have done this in your own company, as it is a common and effective practice. Think about it- if this “job hopper” managed to stay employed with limited gaps during the most difficult time to get a job, it not only tells you they were highly employable, it also speaks to their ability to work successfully in different environments and cultures and the diversity in skill sets they may have picked up during that period. Maintaining employment allowed them to continue their professional growth and most importantly, they have maintained their skills for the smart employer who can see through the resume, dig a little deeper and hire them next.
We did mention earlier that there are some red flag situations that indicate a person may be a “true” job hopper. It can be a difficult task, but we have provided you with a few responses you might get to questions, that should make you think twice about hiring that candidate:
- They respond that it was not a culture fit, but place blame on others without offering specifics. That is a red flag. There is a clear reason for them leaving. If they cannot give you a concrete response, they may be hiding something that they were not able to correct at the previous job.
- They get emotional when discussing why it was their boss’s fault they left the company. When a person places blame without looking in the mirror first, that is a red flag. A candidate should easily be able to explain the problems between them and their boss with poise and composure.
- Job hopping isn’t a big deal to them. If a candidate minimizes the concern you have about their job hopping, that is a red flag. A good candidate will address your concern because they know how detrimental it can be to a company to have increased turnover.
Overall, ask the same questions you would any candidate, but do not rule out a potential candidate based on their past job hopping. If they have a solid resume and sought-after skills, it doesn’t hurt to bring them in for an interview to dig a little deeper and determine if they are a good fit for your company.