Job-hopping makes millennials better hires

There is a long history for both hiring managers and recruiters rejecting “job-hoppers”. Not only in the past but even today a big proportion of employers (43%) support that they would not consider a job-hopper for their open positions.

For all those who are not familiar with the term, job-hopping is used to describe employees who change job positions every few years.

Millennials change positions for several reasons; what most of the recruiters believe is that they change positions because they are impatient, disloyal and selfish. But, looking at it from a different perspective they may actually be super talented people who are not challenged enough at their current position and are looking for new opportunities which will help them to develop their skills and knowledge. In addition to that, things have changed and the economy is not what it used to be. If our parents’ generation used to graduate, find a job at a company and then stick to this position for the “rest of” their career, today, our generation loves to try new experiences and enter new challenges. We have more opportunities and we have completely different preferences than their generation. Despite that, according to FastCompany, “employees who stay with a company longer than two years are said to get paid 50% less”. Therefore, millennials have also many other reasons to look for new opportunities more often.

Luckily, the proportion of 43% of the hiring managers and recruiters who still would not consider a job-hopper, in the past used to be even higher. Thus, while time goes and things changes, their opinion changes as well. Nowadays, recruiters focus more on the benefits of hiring a job-hopper may have, instead of focusing on prejudices about their reasons to change job positions.

  • Job-hoppers Are Easily Adaptive

Due to the fact that this category of people changes positions several times every few years, they are expected to be easily adaptive to the new working environment and to the new strategies that the new team needs to follow. They are also likely to be on-boarded quickly. Thus, less time, effort and money on integrating them to the company culture will be required due to the fact that those people have already been changing environments many times and are used to adapt to different organizational cultures.

  • They Are Risk-takers

Taking the risk to change positions every few years says a lot! These people are not afraid of trying new things and entering new challenges. They hate staying in the same place for too long and avoid secure roles for eight or ten years. Job-hoppers like jumping into new roles instead. Taking on new responsibilities and swimming to unknown waters is something they enjoy.

Myself, I would prefer to hire someone who loves trying new things and is not afraid of the risks it may have, rather than hiring someone who chases secure roles and is afraid of moving out of his/her zone. The first ones are the people who innovate and bring on the table disruptive ideas which may shake up the industry, in the future or now.

  • Job-Hoppers Have A Higher Learning Curve And Score Higher Performance

The reason we say that job-hoppers have a higher learning curve is that they are often placed outside of their comfort zone. Being job-hoppers they know that they have to make a great impression and to learn a lot as fast as possible, thus, improving the bottom line as well. Before moving to their next position they need to convince their current team and employer that they were worth hiring, but at the same time, they put efforts on performing as high as possible aiming to reach positive and valuable records in order to be able to “sell” their profile to their next employer. As a result, job-hoppers are often over-performers who learn a lot within a very short period of time.

According to Penelope Trunk, a serial entrepreneur, and author, the learning curve tends to flatten after three years. Therefore, job-hoppers who are believed to be with the same employer for two or three years, are within the timeline in which they can learn as much as possible and over-perform their goals. They are an opportunity for a company and they can be a great asset.

  • They Bring Knowledge From Your Competitors

A bit more than the half of employers (53%) state that job-hoppers “have a wide range of expertise”! The truth is that when a job-hopper joins your company, he/she also brings advanced knowledge, best skill and practices, and experience from different companies he/she has been working for. Thus, if they used to work for a company in the same industry as yours, they will bring with them industry knowledge regarding processes or trends you should follow. On the other hand, if they come from a different industry, they can bring knowledge on new practices that could be adapted in your industry.

Both scenarios could only have a positive impact on company’s performance. They will either help you follow the industry, or they will help you be innovative and introduce new practices and processes into the industry.

All four aforementioned points about job-hoppers, tell us that we should change the way we see millennials who switch jobs very often. We should stop judging them with regards to this action, and instead start focusing on what they could bring to the company. They can be an important asset to the company by bringing new knowledge on processes and practices, by bringing disruptive ideas, and by bringing a bigger network from different companies (within or outside the industry).

Of course, it is not something easy to accept that after few years these people will be looking for a new company to join. All onboarding and training cost go “wasted” and this also comes along with other risks such as sharing all knowledge, skills and practices learned in your company, with other companies (and maybe with your competitors as well). But, this is something that sooner or later will happen anyways. There is a moment in life when people feel the need to make a change in their life and/or career. Therefore, considering and evaluating all advantages and disadvantages of hiring a job-hopper, it seems to be beneficial for a company to have someone who changes roles very often.

To avoid thinking in the same way we used to think a few years ago when recruiting, we should focus more on the skills someone can bring on the table, as well as on personality and how this person would fit with the company culture.

From a different point of view, someone could also say that switching positions every few years shows a lot about the personality and could be related to their unstable behavior or to their inability to decide what they really like. But, as stated above, along with this disadvantage, hiring a job-hopper comes with a lot of advantages as well. Therefore, I believe that these advantages and disadvantages should be evaluated in each specific situation, and only after considering each specific case, a decision should be made about hiring or not a job-hopper. Important is to be open-minded and to not make bias decisions while screening a Resume. “Going blind” during the first screening is an option, and using a talent assessment tool before interviewing someone is another option. It provides you with the opportunity to make a decision based on analytics and evaluation, instead of letting your prejudices to impact your decision.

Check some statistics about job-hoppers below:

Source: CareerBuilder

Job-hopping by Industry

Information Technology, an industry with a notable talent shortage and highly competitive recruitment tactics, has the largest percentage of employers who expect workers to job-hop. Rounding out the top five industries are:

  • Information Technology – 42 percent
  • Leisure & Hospitality – 41 percent
  • Transportation – 37 percent
  • Retail – 36 percent
  • Manufacturing – 32 percent

*The study shows that a significant number of employers (43 percent) will not consider a candidate who has had short tenures with several employers. However, others point to advantages in hiring people who have worked for numerous companies. More than half (53 percent) of employers said job-hoppers tend to have a wide range of expertise and can adapt quickly (51 percent).

The majority of employers (55 percent) said that they have hired someone they would categorize as a job-hopper. Of those employers:

  • 34 percent said the job-hopper left after a short period of time
  • 40 percent said the job-hopper stayed for at least two years
  • 17 percent said the job-hopper stayed for at least three years

To conclude, the way we perceive job-hoppers has changed over years and recruiters are not being anymore very strict. Recruiters are being open-minded and they are turning their focus toward the many positive things a job-hopper could bring to a company. To make the decision about hiring a job-hopper even easier, recruiters make use of technology as well. They use assessment tools and focus more on practical results by testing a candidate on job-related tasks, instead of solely focusing on their resume.

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About the Author

Nikola Tore
Travel Addict • Tech Lover | Talent Acquisition • HRM • CX • LinkedIn • Freelancer | HR Content Writer