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Why You Should Hire A Job Hopper

No this isn’t simply click bait. I actually feel job hoppers have gotten a bad rap. Completely disqualifying a candidate solely because their last 2-4 job changes are 18, 8, 12, and 14 months respectively, could mean you’re missing out on some of the most talented candidates.

I’m not going to discuss situations like relocation or company downsizing. Those are a little more straightforward. We’re focused on trying to decipher the code of whether someone could be a long-term employee, or this is just another short stint on their resume.

Here are few tips to try and help figure out if you should hire the job hopper you’re interviewing.


Understand the Job Changes and Look for Patterns

Did they change jobs for growth or a promotion? Hiring managers often say they want to interview candidates who’ve shown consistent growth on their resumes. Some want to see growth at the same company, others don’t mind if the candidate has moved around in order to move up. If someone has changed companies in order to move up, consider the following:

Were they given the opportunity for a promotion at their old company and didn’t take it?

How is their relationship with their former boss?

Some of the best leaders I know introduce me to people they’re currently managing. They know they cannot keep that person, so they want to help them find the next step in their career.

Did they leave because of leadership or the culture? When I’m talking to a candidate who doesn’t like their current company culture, the first question I always ask myself is what else I know about that company. If other candidates I’ve talked to have said similar things, I know it’s probably valid. However, if the company they’re talking negatively about has a mostly good reputation, I’ll start to wonder whether the culture was bad, or this person was the problem.

How well can they explain what they’re looking for? If someone has had three different jobs in four years, they should have a really good idea of what they do, and don’t, want. If they can articulate to you what they liked, and didn’t like, about each opportunity, and how that relates to this position, it means they’re learning from changing companies. If the candidate has several recent moves and is still unsure of what they’re looking for…proceed with caution.


Why Are They Interviewing With Your Company?

Did they apply to the position, or were they recruited? I once had a hiring manager decline to speak with a candidate because they had only been in their current role for 6 months (to be fair they did have a couple of other recent short stints). I had to remind the hiring manager that I proactively reached out to the candidate, and they were only interested because it would’ve shortened their commute from one hour down to 20 minutes. Even if someone applied to the role, ask why? Are they interested in your industry? Maybe they heard great things about your company.

Why are they interested in this opportunity? Does that align with the reasons they’ve left other companies? Here’s the best advice I can give when interviewing anyone, especially someone you would classify as a “job hopper:”

Do they seem to be running away from something, or running towards something?

It’s your job as a hiring manager to address concerns about the individuals past moves. Don’t let it be the elephant in the room. Ask them what’s different now compared to last year. If the candidate is telling you about parts of their previous role they didn’t like, make sure to let them know those pieces exist in this position.

Look, candidates don’t like having the job hopper title, just like hiring managers don’t like job hoppers. As a recruiter I can tell you first hand that most people hate finding a new job. Once you stop looking solely at the moves on a resume, and start paying attention to the motivations behind those moves, you’ll open yourself up to a pool of very talented “job hopper” candidates.


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