Today’s workplace environment is seeing more people switch jobs more often. It used to be that HR departments would avoid candidates who appear to be job hopping. That is changing quickly, as the tenure in a role is coming down dramatically as Millennials become a larger part of the workforce.
According to a recent article from Korn Ferry, “Millennials (ages 25 to 40) average 2 years and 9 months in a role and Gen Xers (ages 41 to 56) average 5 years and 2 months–– hardly the decades-long tenures that are common for Baby Boomers.”
Regardless of age group, white collar workers are working shorter tenures or choosing fractional or contract roles. The reason for the change in part is how quickly technology is affecting the jobs market. Other reasons include gaining new skills by changing roles and companies, and looking for more autonomy in their professional lives.
In their “The Big Quit” survey, Korn Ferry discovered, “A third of professionals (38%) said they planned to leave their jobs – or had left their jobs – without another position lined up. Nearly half of these professionals (47%) received counter offers to stay, but the additional salary wasn’t enough to retain these employees. Many are opting for the flexibility offered by interim or contract positions, and the ability to have greater autonomy over when, where and how they work.”
Today’s workforce prioritizes flexibility over company loyalty. For years companies have expected loyalty from employees but then lay off people at will during an economic downturn. During the pandemic, the tables turned and employees now have far more leverage in deciding where they want to spend their time professionally. Companies that screen out “job hopper” resumes are likely missing out on candidates who would be a great fit for their organization. According to the article, here are some reasons why:
Long tenures do not guarantee high performance
Just because someone has a long tenure with a company doesn’t mean they are a high performer. If they have been in the same role for a long time, that may indicate that they are performing okay, coasting in their job. If they have a track record of promotions, they may be a high performer. Employees who are comfortable in a role and there is no upward movement typically indicates someone who isn’t looking to be challenged or maximizing their talent.
“Job hoppers” bring diverse experiences and skills to companies
High performers look for new challenges and opportunities to grow their skill set, increase their responsibility, solve different customer issues, and learn new processes. Working with different companies provides them with the growth they are looking for while also contributing significant value to the companies they work for. Job hoppers tend to bring best-practice approaches and provide more well rounded thinking.
Context matters when reviewing resumes
People leave jobs for a variety of reasons. High performers know not to bad mouth previous employers, but we all have experienced toxic work cultures and difficult bosses. The reason for a short work tenure is nuanced. The article notes that “toxic company culture” is the number one reason people cited for quitting their jobs in 2022.
Recruiters can be helpful in vetting candidates who look promising but may have some question marks. Recruiters can find out why job changes happened and dive deeper into the motivations and expectations of a candidate. By understanding your company culture, a recruiter can identify which candidates are a good fit.
Before you dismiss a job hopper’s resume, see if they have any of the following experiences as they could indicate a high performer.
Do they have exposure to high-growth companies? Working at start-ups and other high-growth companies requires agile thinking, working through uncertainty, and limited budgets. These people have to demonstrate creativity and initiative.
Have they worked in remote roles? Not everyone embraced remote working. Those that thrived demonstrate self-motivation, good communication skills, adaptability and show that they can quickly get themselves up to speed.
Have they been in a consulting role? Being client facing shows the ability to communicate effectively, through active listening, empathy, and positive attitude. And consultants must deliver results. Their ability to think strategically and solve problems is critical to their success.