Job hopping: the pros and cons
Is the list of employers in your resume getting longer? What do recruiters think of frequent job changes? What impact will they have on your career? We spoke with Mylène Beaudoin, a job search and recruiting professional, who gave us the pros and cons about job hopping.
“There are any number of ways for a recruiter to interpret this situation. Candidates have to be aware of this and be prepared to allay any fears and gain the confidence of their future employer,” advises Beaudoin.
In some cases, frequent job changes can indicate great adaptability and a serious career plan. “If the candidate can fully explain the changes, and his personality is in sync with the team and the supervisor, it makes sense to give him a chance. A candidate is more than just his employment history, he’s the whole package.”
A candidate can capitalize on this provided he’s able to argue that these changes were motivated by ambition and a sincere desire to advance his career. Essentially, the job hopping is presented as strategic career moves.
Past experiences may predict future behaviour. So while staying at a job for several years may be seen as demonstrating loyalty, job hopping might be perceived as instability, a lack of professionalism or being unqualified for the job. Employers invest a lot in training and developing the skills of new employees in the hope that they’ll continue to grow, over the long term, within the company. So it’s natural for them to be reluctant to hire someone who seems to move around a lot.
“Some companies have a scale to measure this situation. For example, candidates whose resumes show job durations of less than three years will not be invited to an interview,” explains Beaudoin.
These days, however, it is common for employees to change jobs every 3 or 4 years. So recruiters have to take this into consideration and adapt to new job market trends. However, red flags will almost invariably be raised if a candidate has held several jobs in under a year.
A few final tips
If your contract was terminated due to a conflict with the employer, or if the position was eliminated after a few months, and you don’t need references, omit it from your CV. Recruiters, Beaudoin says, can easily accept a one to four month career gap.
Consider temporary positions, since four out of ten lead to a permanent role. If you have fixed-term contracts, clearly indicate the reason for the mandate, for example: maternity leave replacement or seasonal job.
Be honest! Recruiters check references, particularly if they have any doubts about the reason for departure.