Job jumping / hopping – the two most commonly used words to describe the trend of engaging in regular employment changes. None of the recruiters are surprised to see 5 different employers within 2 years in the candidate’s CV as this is the reality we are facing now. However, I am close to state that this common job hopping behaviour will shortly start to decrease and the “normality” will rise again.
The employment-work-lifecycle process is divided into three parts: 1. induction and training (up to 1 year), 2. growth and empowerment – the most advantageous stage (second year), and 3. keeping the good, stable norm of processes and performance achieved and polishing the expertise (from 3rd year onwards).
If this is the case, I would say that it should be most beneficial for employees to stay on the position for at least 1-2 years to get all of the training, raise productivity and grow on the role.
For employers it is favourable to retain employees for a longer period in order to keep track of their good performance and when the time comes consider an internal promotion.
Before predicting the future, though, I advise you, first of all, to investigate the past and the present situation.
Employers from 10-15 years back used to pay special attention to candidate’s employment records and the time candidates spent in a particular company. If a hiring manager would review a candidate’s profile that indicates his or her average employments time is 6 months or just one year- he or she would surely be rejected. A reason for this is that it conveys a lack of trust, loyalty, and commitment from the candidate.
This suggests that “job hopping” was considered to be negative.
The situation has changed due to many factors, mostly because of the market transformation. I am working in the IT industry and I see that it is a candidate driven market. What contributes to this, is that each of us is becoming increasingly more self-aware when it comes to our competences, capabilities, and expectations towards our managers and/or the companies we work at.
All of this and many other factors created the reality we have today:
Nobody is surprised that someone who graduated from university three years ago has already worked for 4 different companies.
Recruiters nowadays consider all of the candidates, including the so-called job-hoppers without having any objection to this. Regardless, realising that after 5 months when a (slightly) better offer appears for the candidate he/she will most likely switch jobs again.
Managers forced by the competitiveness of the market must have changed the approach and started considering all candidates as well, including the ones that will leave their project/sprint, even if it’s half completed.
Lastly, candidates find themselves in situations when 80% of their peers are constantly talking to recruiters and reviewing new options.
The reasoning behind job hopping seems to be quite clear – with each job change you get an “upgrade” – better compensation, a more interesting project, and an attractive office location.
The new package offered should probably be better, but is it though?
The advantages of the current situation are easy to tell: quicker promotion, better working conditions, company’s atmosphere and a change (meaning to see it as a goal, not to achieve something else).
There are also drawbacks involved: an employee does not give him or herself even a chance to review whether the company is good for them in the longer run. In addition, there is only a limited possibility to get specialised and grow personally as job hopping inhibits the candidate to exceed induction and entry level training. Not to mention, the time spent on getting to know people, learning specifics, logging tickets to get premises and access requires a substantial amount of time inhibiting the candidate to learn things that help him/her develop.
Being a Manager for my team it’s clear that I must invest more resources first in those who are committed and have serious plans to grow within the organisation. This is the approach that shows the most logic in nowadays business.
An increasing number of people will see value in candidates who show a “standard employment history”. Let us define it as 1-3 years of employment and a maximum of 2 short jumps (it may happen once the candidate realises after 2 weeks that this job is not for him/her).
More often we hear question: “Why did he/she leave this company?”.
Thus, when comparing candidates with similar experience, the hiring manager will most likely choose the one that indicates more stability and commitment towards the future working place.
Every period of time we see sinusoidal turn of things and processes. We will shortly see a downturn with regards to job hoppers (hopefully soon). For those who are ready for this change and anticipate on more pros than cons (naturally, there are no 100% clear and correct visions), let us prepare and think about adjusting some of our actions beginning from today.
Candidate – think several times before you make another hop to a new job. Change does not have to be better, you may damage your credibility on the market and inhibit yourself from decent growth within the company you currently work for. Instead of changing your apartment, try to change the furniture first.
Hiring Manager – try to look at candidates with the “bigger picture” perspective. Hiring technical gurus is great, constantly looking for backfills not so much. Sometimes it is better to choose good, “solid” value than an unpredictable rock star.
Recruiter – we all have targets, we all care about KPIs. Try to not spoil the market though. If you are able to identify and feel that the candidate will leave the role after 2 months, hiring him or her will not only damage your reputation and relation with your stakeholder, but it will also convey the message that job hopping is still accepted on the market. Is that the reality we want to live in?