Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Should You Hire A Job Hopper?

Job hoppers: are they good news or bad news for your company? The previous thinking among recruiters and hiring managers was that job hoppers are unreliable. Recruiters thought hiring a job hopper meant wasting valuable time and resources on an employee who was just going to hop away to a new job before the company could see value from the hire. After all, who wants to continually refill positions?

Back in the days of the “company man” this attitude made a lot of sense. Employees used to stay with companies for years, decades, even lifetimes! The current economic climate, with its constant air of uncertainty, has made this kind of job security a thing of the past.

You can bet employees are taking note. The average American changes jobs once every three years; not exactly a lifetime tenure. The average under-30 Millennial employee? If you fear job hoppers they’re your worst nightmare, changing jobs approximately once a year.

Is it ‘once a job hopper, always a job hopper’? More importantly, is job hopping really such a negative thing?

Serial Job Hoppers?

If the resume in front of you has a list of a jobs a mile long, does this mean the candidate is likely to rabbit from your company as well? Not necessarily, according to a new study. After analyzing applicant data Evolv found prior job hopping is not a strong predictor of future employment length. This means just because a candidate switched jobs in the past doesn’t mean they’ll be leaving your company soon.

There are plenty of reasons candidates might have left several past jobs. Looking at those potential reasons before discounting a good candidate is important. You don’t want to miss out on a great employee. If their qualifications and experience are great and they wowed you in their video profile, read between the resume lines. Maybe they moved to be with a spouse or maybe they switched career paths. Just because they’ve held more jobs than you’d like, doesn’t mean they’re any more likely to repeat their former career path.

How Bad is a Job Hopper Anyway?

Sure, there are easy to list negatives about job hoppers. For instance, companies never train an employee with the goal of losing them soon after to another job. Job hoppers, however, might have some qualities more stationary candidates lack.

For one thing: passion! Frequent job changes can often be useful in maintaining career passion. After a few years in the same job, your learning curve flattens out. Unless employees are being reliably promoted into new and challenging roles, the amount they learn is going to level off. With the economy tough and many companies putting freezes into place, often the only way to dive into a new challenge is to find a new job.

You can bet your candidate isn’t alone either. Nearly 75 percent of all workers are job hunting in some capacity. This means job hoppers are likely the candidates looking for a new challenge. They’re not complacent to sit in their old jobs forever and watch everyone else take on more rewarding work. They want to get in there and grow professionally. These are the type of employees not afraid to take risks and think creatively about the problems facing their industry.

Counter to traditional thinking, job hoppers can also be loyal. Their loyalty might not be to the company at large, but they will be loyal to their supervisors and coworkers. These are people they might need down the line when looking for a boost up the career ladder. You can also bet these employees will be more polite and professional to clients and networks, knowing they might need them sometime in the future.

In today’s economy, job hoppers are the candidates who have adapted to the new paradigm of impermanence. While doing so, they’ve focused on their own career development and in seeking out new challenges. These candidates could be just the ticket to kick-starting your business and taking calculated risks.

What do you think? Would you hire a job hopper? Share with us!

Image Courtesy of the Cubicle Chick.

Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writers career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010). Connect with Heather and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.