What hiring managers think of job hopping
How long should you stay in a job you don’t like? According to a LinkedIn survey, short tenures have grown 9.7% year-on-year since August 2021. Today’s tight labour market means workers are more confident quitting early, knowing they’ll easily land better jobs elsewhere. The Great Resignation has made short stints more prevalent. But how much job hopping is too much?
Why is job hopping on the rise?
Gen Z - people born in 1997 or later - started entering the workforce amid the pandemic, and they’re the most restless generation to date. This generation has high expectations, demanding their employers match their need for personal growth while wanting a sense of purpose through an alignment of values.
Millennials (25 to 40 years old), who now make up a large portion of the workforce, are on the same track. While Gen Z workers spend an average of 2.3 years in a job, millennials spend 2.9 years. In comparison, Gen X and Baby Boomers spend 5-8 years in the same position before switching.
Values-driven workers across in-demand industries - such as tech, finance and professional services - are more likely to switch jobs. Skilled workers in these industries are hard to find, and employers are willing to offer top compensation and attractive benefits to secure the best talent. As Gen X and millennials take over the workforce, will long career stints be a thing of the past?
What hiring managers think of job hopping
While job hopping may offer some benefits, such as gaining new skills or increased compensation, it can also negatively impact an employee's reputation and hinder their career growth.
Job hoppers lack in-depth knowledge
Changing jobs too frequently means potentially losing out on in-depth knowledge - the type of knowledge only gained from seeing a project or budget cycle through to the end. Too much job hopping can be a red flag for hiring managers, who worry these workers lack essential skills.
Job hoppers are not dedicated
For a prospective employer, job stability is essential. Hiring managers seek individuals who are dedicated to their role and are committed to contributing to the company's long-term success. However, job hopping can show ambition if the candidate can show impressive results or achievements during their short placement and give a good reason for leaving the previous role.
Job hoppers stunt company culture
Building relationships and growing your network within a company takes time. It’s also an emotional investment for team members. Job hoppers have limited time to get to know their coworkers and don’t ‘give back’ to the company culture as much. This can decrease morale and, ultimately, decrease productivity.
Some hiring managers see the positive side to job hopping
Despite these worries, managers are more accepting than ever before and can see the positive aspects of job hopping:
Improved skills and experience
Job hopping can be a great way to develop new skills and gain valuable experience. By switching to different companies, job hoppers have the opportunity to work with a variety of people in different environments, exposing them to new technologies and methods. This can broaden their skills and make them more versatile in their careers.
More satisfied workers
By switching to different companies, job hoppers can learn about new industries, companies and job roles. This experience can help them find a better fit for their skills and interests, leading to greater career satisfaction. If a candidate can eloquently explain their journey, identify the lessons they learned and give a compelling reason why they applied for the position, it can build a hiring manager’s confidence in the candidate's potential fit.
Starting somewhere new isn’t easy. The first few months of a new role are often the most demanding, as new employees must work hard to learn new skills, network with their peers and adapt to different ways of working. Job hopping can be viewed positively by hiring managers who need someone who isn’t afraid to take risks and will hit the ground running - desirable qualities in today’s uncertain climate.
Is there a ‘sweet spot’?
Although hiring managers are more open to short tenures, there is a limit. Amy Zimmerman, the chief people officer of Relay Payments, believes anything less than a year is unacceptable ‘How much job-hopping is too much? 1. The sweet spot is every 2-3 years, with a minimum of at least 18 months.
On the other hand, staying too long in a job without a promotion can harm your future employability. “Three to five years in a job without a promotion is the optimal tenure to establish a track record of success without suffering the negative effects of job stagnation” 2.
Should you risk becoming a job hopper?
The general consensus says you should stay in a position for 2-3 years, but it’s worth considering the different cultural and geographical factors at play. In Finland, it's OK to change jobs after a year, while in Germany, frequent job changes are less acceptable. In the Bay Area, several one-year stints are more common. Switching jobs after a year is fine if you're advancing your career. However, both staying in the same role too long or changing jobs too often can hurt your CV.
Job hopping can offer many positive benefits, including a higher salary, improved skills and experience, better career opportunities, and personal satisfaction. But a short-term gain isn’t always worth the long-term risk. While a job change can be a tool for self-discovery and growth, continued job hopping isn’t sustainable in the long run.
- ‘How much job-hopping is too much? Here’s what hiring managers say’, CNBC, Mar 30 2022.
- ‘Can Staying With a Company Too Long Hurt Your Career?’, December 4, 2022
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash