Job hopping is something that has been looked on negatively for years. Many hiring managers have been quick to dismiss candidates with resumes that show positions of short stints. Although there can be some reasonable understanding of why that used to be a point of concern, hiring managers and organizations should change their line of thinking on this topic.
Consider how generations play into this conversation. When Baby Boomers and Generation Xers made up the majority of the workforce, it was normal for them to stay in positions for long stretches of time. The mindset of employees and their employers was different than it is today. For example, many workers in those generations were loyal to the organizations they worked for because they were getting a paycheck and would get a pension upon retirement. But as expected, world events and mindsets have changed. As new generations enveloped into the workforce so did new ways of thinking and perspectives. Gone were the days of pensions and company loyalty to their employees. Employers had to find new ways to retain their talent. This pattern continued as the new generations folded in more largely. It’s not uncommon for changes in the world to impact businesses. And it’s not uncommon for individuals who see a certain way of life to not want to continue it or to push for there to be changes.
As we unpack the five, almost six, generations of workers and the changes happening throughout the world, it becomes a little clearer to see why the concept of job hopping needs to be adjusted as well. Not only are people being laid off beyond their own control or having offers rescinded after they’ve given their two weeks’ notice at their current employer, but individuals are seeking new opportunities that better align with their needs and values. With the many uncertainties of life and the chaos that has been happening throughout, people want more from the employers they spend most of their time with. They no longer have to stay in toxic work cultures because they’re waiting to get their pensions. They no longer need to stay stagnant in a position with no growth while they wait for someone to retire. They have more control of their career and employment than ever before, with the exception of layoffs.
So rather than seeing a one-year or less stint on a resume and passing over it simply because that means they are too job hoppy, consider interviewing them and getting a better understanding of their experiences. If your company made a resume that it had to show job seekers before they considered your open position and it listed your year-to-year turnover rate, the amount of times you’ve had layoffs, the number of leadership changes that have occurred, etc. for the last 10 years without explanation and they refused to work for you on that basis alone, how would you ever hire anyone? This is exactly what job seekers are dealing with!
Some people leave their roles after a short time because of lack of growth, changes in culture, values that no longer align with their vision, micromanaging managers, lack of flexibility, etc. In our opinion, companies should want to hire go-getters and individuals who want to pursue more. That’s what these so-called “job hoppers” in some situations can bring to the organization.
There are people who may argue that the short stints represent a lack of commitment or trouble working with others, including managers. But maybe it means they haven’t found the right culture or a great manager. Maybe it means they need some coaching. But don’t we all need coaching in something? There are also many people who have long tenured positions who don’t work well with others and who impact culture negatively. Don’t focus on someone’s reason for leaving their prior organization. Instead focus on why they want to work for you and how they feel their experiences can allow them to be successful. And most importantly, find out what you, as the employer, can do to help them achieve their goals.
Stop overlooking candidates because of short stints on their resume. Focus on the fact that the resume you are looking at represents one iota of a real-life person. They cannot incorporate all of their knowledge and skills into that singular document. They cannot show you their energy and their enthusiasm for the work they do from just that file alone. They may not have prior training in building an effective resume. But if even one piece of their experience seems to be adjacent and enough of a fit that you could stretch to get there, have the conversation. Learn more about them! You never know who you might pass over and what kind of value they could bring to your organization if you refuse to have a simple conversation.