Does job-hopping carry a bad stigma?

120488598It depends. In the past, if managers saw your resume full of employers the immediate perception was translated into something must be wrong with you. However with the new norm of changing jobs every three to four years the sensitivity with employers has lessened to a degree.

There are still lingering perceptions that you need to be cognizant of when you change jobs often, and most of all you need to be aware of the triggers that cause managers to be concerned.

Losing your job or having your employer merge with another company is not job hopping. Things beyond your control are not the same thing as choosing to leave one employer for the next.

Changing jobs for the “grass is greener” approach is where job candidates trigger the alarm for hiring managers. Job hopping has a disloyal ring to it and with employers it sends a message that you’ll leave without much consideration.

Here’s the problem with a pattern of leaving after two or three years with every employer in your work history – it silently says you might not be safe to hire. Hiring is big business and costs a tremendous amount of time and resources to bring new hires on board.

Keep in mind the number one issue that creates angst with most managers’ is their desire to make a good hiring decision. Job hopping goes right to the heart of their concern – you’ll leave shortly after they hire you.

Granted, there are real reasons why you should leave an employer and you can help ease their concerns by how you answer them. It all depends on how you describe your circumstance and decision to leave. For example, leaving an employer because of a bad match can be a good reason and the lesson you learn from that experience will add wisdom to your future decision making.

If leaving by choice is your decision, then have a good explanation ready and support it by briefly describing what you learned so that it will help ease the concerns of a future employer.

Commitment is a sign of maturity and decision making. While the marketplace has changed over the last few years the stigma of job hopping may not be the same but it still carries a hint of risk. As a job candidate you want to do everything possible to avoid any negative perceptions.

The next time you contemplate leaving an employer, here are some thoughts to consider: Have a good reason that can be easily explained and practice answering the hidden concerns a decision-maker may have in hiring you.

In the future, when considering a job offer look at all your options and reasons for leaving. Job offers are great but it doesn’t mean you should accept every one of them. If your work history is beginning to show a pattern of new employers every year or so, then your next move needs to be made with more consideration.

When explaining your reasons for leaving your previous employer focus on your growth and contributions made while you were there. If your situation was positive, talk about how you left the employer with a smooth transition and the least amount of disruption.

The key is how you describe your reasons for leaving in order to make hiring you a safer investment. The way you communicate and present your career progression with logic can relieve doubting managers.

Don’t forget the power of references – they will come in handy when supporting your skills and work history.

How have you managed a perception of job hopping?




Kim Thompson