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The Job Hopper Dilemma: Warranted or Outdated?

A common struggle among Talent Acquisition professionals is encountering candidates who have a history of job hopping. Seeing a candidate with 6+ jobs in a 10-year period is hard to overlook, and traditionally recruiters have viewed this as a failure in some way on the candidate’s part. Some may say that if you don’t stay at a job long enough, how can you say you were successful? 

However, there are a few important considerations when looking at someone’s job history that can help recruiters differentiate between a high risk candidate and a quality candidate. Our Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, Adrienne Schleigh, recommends the following steps to help you check your bias and view a candidate’s job history more objectively:

  1. Remove the past 2 years from consideration. What a candidate has done through the pandemic is of no consequence. This has been an unprecedented time for employees and with it came both challenges and opportunities that absolutely would justify job changes.
  2. Take the time to get the story. If a candidate is otherwise qualified, give them the opportunity to explain the progression in their career.  More money? Makes sense!  Family needs?  Family comes first!  Toxic workplace?  Been there, done that!  If the story makes sense and you can pull enough information out to ensure this next opportunity will provide them what they did not get in previous roles, consider moving forward.
  3. Have a frank conversation. Be honest with them if their story does not provide enough evidence to feel confident in recommending them for the opportunity. Recruiters can and should help coach candidates whenever possible; help candidates determine what they’ve been missing when selecting their opportunities. Also, help candidates come to the realization that continuing to add multiple jobs onto their resume may negatively impact their likelihood in landing that perfect role in the future. Ultimately, a recruiter’s goal should be to help a candidate find a job that makes them happy, even if it’s not with that recruiter’s company. In order to do that, having a crucial conversation on a candidate’s next career step is sometimes warranted. If a recruiter approaches this conversation with a genuine desire to help the candidate, it will be largely met with appreciation. 

These steps can help you gain a better understanding of what you can’t get from looking at a resume, and ultimately increase your chances of selecting the best candidate for your position.

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Adrienne Schleigh | Senior Director, Talent Acquisition Services
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HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.