We all change jobs from time to time. Except for the lucky few that find their dream job first time around, we move on for a number of reasons.
Before we dive into the reasons why, let’s take a look at whether or not hopping from job to job is normal.
Is it normal to job hop?
We dove deep into the back end of our system and took a look at the number of previous jobs listed on CVs. Across all, ages, and industries the average number of previous jobs listed on a CV is 3.79. Let’s call it four (because no-one works 0.79 of a job).
The numbers tell us that, based on averages, the average candidate has had 4 previous jobs at the point of application. From this, we can deduce that having multiple jobs, or job hopping, is fairly normal. But we all know how averages work: the mean number of jobs tells us that in actuality, some people have had way more and some have had way fewer.
So, onto the whys…
Why do some people spend their life hopping from job to job?
1 – Because they’re great, in high-demand, and get poached.
If someone is great at their job (and I don’t mean good, I mean great) and works in an industry where their skills and experience are in high demand, they might find themselves getting poached.
They could be completely happy in their role – paid well, great work/life balance, consistently hitting targets – but then along comes a recruiter and shakes things up. The recruiter offers this great employee another role, a better role at a better company. They’d be stupid not to give it a try, right?
If a person is incredibly good at their job, they might find themselves in this position a few times in their life, resulting in job hopping.
You might be super excited to get your hands on one of these candidates but just be aware: if they’ve been poached before, they could get poached again.
2 – Because they’re actually pretty rubbish and consistently get found out.
Imagine this: you have a candidate who looks good on paper and seems to have a fair amount of experience. They’re charismatic and it seems that they’ll be a pretty good fit for your team. You hire them. At first, things are, well, not bad. You put it down to the fact that they’re settling into the role and convince yourself that they’ll find their feet soon enough. A year down the line you realise this candidate (now employee) was all talk in their interview. They’re not delivering and they’re actually pretty rubbish at their job. You get rid of them around the 18 month mark (because you’re smart and know that it’ll be way more difficult when they’ve been there 2 years). Perhaps you don’t even have to get rid of them; perhaps the employee realises they’re not very good at the role, bails, and puts it down to ‘not being the right fit’. Either way, they’re gone.
Phew. Close call.
The problem is, this candidate is now out in the world, hunting for another job, able to boast another 18 months’ experience at your company. This cycle will most likely happen again with another business falling for their amount of experience (notice I said amount, not quality) and their charm.
If someone is actually pretty rubbish at their job but consistently talks themselves into new roles, their CV is going to show a fair amount of job hopping.
3 – Because they’re addicted to the remote working and freelance lifestyle.
Thanks to the internet, video conferencing, document collaboration, and super portable laptops, there are a fair amount of roles that can be fulfilled anywhere. This means that an employee can be working for a marketing agency in London while sat on a beach at the other side of the world. Not only can they be fulfilling their role from thousands of miles away, but they can do this for two, three, or four different companies. Because they aren’t confined to an office all day, every day, their time is their own to use as they see fit.
These employees are also likely to be working on a contract basis. This means that they might change roles every year to 18 months, each of which might be listed separately on their CV. This ability to work for whoever, whenever, wherever can often result in a crowded CV.
4 – Because they’ve just been unlucky.
Finally, there are also those who have just been downright unlucky. You may find a candidate with a fair few previous roles on their CV in quick succession. Perhaps they’re not amazing and have been getting poached, they’re not rubbish and have been consistently found out, and they’ve not been working remotely on the other side of the world. Perhaps they’ve simply taken on multiple roles, none of which worked out. It does happen.
So, you receive an application from a job hopper. How can you know which of these 4 categories they fall into?
As an employer, you may have been in the position where you’ve received an application from a candidate who’s had 4 jobs in the last 6 years. If not, you almost certainly will at least once in your career. How do you know if this candidate has been job hopping because they’re amazing, they’re rubbish, they’re a ‘gig economist’, or they’ve just been unlucky?
First off, the ‘gig economist’ should be fairly easy to spot. Their dates will overlap, they will most likely highlight fixed contracts, or perhaps they even tell you in the profile section of their CV. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this type of employee, in fact, they could be the perfect fit for your role. But what about the other 3 categories?
This is where a good Application Tracking System (ATS) comes into play. Through pre-qualification questionnaires, video interviewing, and personality profiling, you can gain much better insight into whether or not this candidate’s job hopping will be a problem in your role. With the right technology, you’ll be in a much better position to clock those incredible candidates who have been getting poached from role to role. You’ll be able to spot those who are all-talk-no-trousers from a mile off and make sure that you hire the right candidate first time, every time.
Don’t let job hopping on a candidate’s CV be an automatic turn-off. Make sure you have as much information as you can before making a decision.