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Should You Penalize an Applicant for Job Hopping? by @HRTMExec

Job-hopping – moving from one job to another every few years – used to be a sign of instability or some other type of work-related issue. However, the practice may be losing its stigma among some workers and employers.

According to a study by Accountemps, which was published in December 2014, quite a few workers think that job hopping can be beneficial. Young workers were more likely to view this practice as favorable, while older workers were more likely to consider it detrimental.

When asked, “Do you think job hopping (leaving your current employer for another job every few years) can benefit your career?” the responses were as follows:

Yes

No

Workers 18-34 years old

57%

43%

Workers 35-54 years old

38%

62%

Workers 55 + years old

22%

78%

Men

47%

53%

Women

37%

63%

Total, all U.S. workers

42%

58%

According to Bill Driscoll, New England District President of Accountemps, “Younger workers are more likely to see job hopping as beneficial to their careers, indicating the tide may be turning.”

Among workers who thought job hopping was beneficial, these were the five biggest advantages:

  • 31% Earning compensation
  • 30% Gaining new skills
  • 18% Experiencing a new company/corporate culture
  • 14% Moving up the career ladder faster
  • 7%   Thought it looks better to have multiple employers on a resume

Job Hopping May Be Losing Its Stigma, According to Accountemps Survey (PRNewsFoto/Accountemps)

Job hopping may also be losing some of its stigma among employers. “The job market has been unpredictable in recent years, and hiring managers understand job candidates may have had short stints in some positions,” says Driscoll.

He also says for certain professions or industries, job hopping doesn’t have a negative connotation. “It’s about finding individuals who are on top of the latest technological advancements and trends, have in-demand skills, or have been exposed to different environments or cultures.”

However, this does not mean that all employers are embracing the job hopping trend. “Employers may be reluctant to risk employing someone who they feel would be starting the job with one foot already out the door,” says Driscoll.  For one reason, it can be expensive and time consuming to hire and train a new employee, so Driscoll warns that when candidates have equal levels of talent, a history of job hopping could put an applicant out of the running.

When hiring and HR managers are concerned about a candidate’s work history, Driscoll recommends just asking them about the short work stints during the job interview. If the candidate can highlight their growth, accomplishments, and skills development with each move, they might be a good fit. However, he says, “if a candidate job hopped for a higher salary, it could be a red flag they’re only motivated by money and might look for other higher-paying opportunities soon after joining your team.”

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