Gone are the days when employees worked for one organisation for five years or until the stipulated retirement age. In the last decade, employees particularly millennials have been hopping from one job to another within two years period or less. Some well-known luminary CEOs in the Kenyan corporate sector are changing employers quite often. One stayed in a position for a record short period of six months.
Job hopping revolves around the ever-changing employment expectations of employees. Employers accept or reject job hoppers depending on existing hiring policies and practices. The pros and cons of job hopping can be many and diverse.
Workers at various levels of an organization hold different perceptions on job-hopping. In making job-hopping decisions, employees in professional jobs are likely to take into account their career goals and paths. Skilled or unskilled workers would join the bandwagon when prevailing job market conditions are favourable. At the individual level, people who are attuned to taking risks may change jobs more often than the risk-averse. Job hopping is a matter that requires serious rationalization before jumping ship, lest greener pastures turn out to be a mirage.
Different employers have adopted hiring practices that entertain or reject job hoppers. Conservative employers have little or no room for job hoppers on grounds such as the proverbial “rolling stone gathers no moss”. Progressive companies employ job hoppers on account of their performance track records in short-lived employment periods. For staff retention purposes, the firm may even hop them internally from one department or position to another.
Generally, hiring managers will scrutinise CVs to shortlist candidates who meet job requirements of vacant positions. Here are factors that both employees and employers need to consider when making job-hopping decisions for mutual benefit.
Millennials have challenged longstanding beliefs in the labour market because of their eagerness to explore jobs before settling down on one. In the process of job-hopping, they gather diverse work experience and develop networks in various organisations or sectors. This experience coupled with capability-building can make one the most eligible candidate for particular jobs. If you belong to this target group, revise your CV to highlight notable work accomplishments in previous employments. The CV will need to bring out your capabilities to overshadow your job-hopping history.
Employers searching for experienced people to occupy certain jobs will overlook your hopping tendencies. They would bring one on board to gain from their services before their next hopping. Others will consider you as a flexible person who can rejuvenate innovations, drawing from your experience with past employers. From your vast network of contacts, the employer may regard you as a possible source of new business from your former clients.
As a job hopper, you may have both positive and negative reasons for changing employers within shorter durations. Perhaps you are overqualified or too experienced for the jobs you undertake. You could be looking for challenging positions that do not tie you down on routines. Or, you are a difficult employee who does not easily fit in whichever work environment.
It may not be easy to tell at the job interview whether a candidate is a serial work offender who has been shown the door on disciplinary grounds. It is important to objectively evaluate your reasons for changing jobs before hopping. Positive reasons like aspiring for senior positions will work to your favour while adverse ones will hinder your career advancement.
For some hiring managers, a CV of a job hopper is a red flag. On the interview day, the panel would like to obtain convincing reasons for job-hopping. Many questions would be posed about the candidate’s loyalty, ability to relate with other workers, the capability to handle work challenges and degree of commitment to employers. The panel may argue without tangible evidence that the candidate could accept the job offer while in transit to better opportunities. It is up to the candidate to make a strong case to sway the panel from negativity on hopping.
Employers cast doubts on the suitability of a job hopper for a position in case they have been leaving organisations on non-performance reasons. Panels use competency-based interviewing to gauge the capabilities of candidates. Hiring managers carry out reference checks to ascertain genuine reasons behind a candidate’s job-hopping record.
Organizations that enjoy the benefits of high staff retention levels will hesitate to offer jobs to serial hoppers.
Since hiring and orientation of new employees take time, employers will avoid job hoppers. It is frustrating to hire someone today and within a short duration, they are back to hopping.
Employers who invest in staff training would regard job hoppers as a waste of resources. The hopper would acquire knowledge and skills that would not benefit the employer. Few companies may wish to sign a binding contract with the employee restricting them from leaving before an agreed period or pay for the cost of specialized training.
Organizations that enjoy the benefits of high staff retention levels will hesitate to offer jobs to serial hoppers. Few employers would take on board hoppers who might affect the implementation of long-term projects. If you are a job hopper understudy your potential employer to weigh your chances of getting employment and decide accordingly.
Millennials seem to have unique expectations that may not be easily met at the workplace. Some would like flexible working hours; freedom on dressing; access to music at work and working from home arrangements. Since few organizations meet these expectations, some millennials continue hopping in search of the “best” employer.
Job-hopping may seem attractive as you traverse through various stages of your career path. To support each other on reference checks, employers sometimes share information on previous employees. If you become an addicted job hopper, you risk stigmatization among hiring managers.
Notwithstanding the negative economic consequences of Coronavirus pandemic, organizations will shift employment offers from long to short employment contracts. Soon job-hopping may become the in thing. But rethink before your next hoping in case it becomes one too many and deny you upward job openings. Always explore the pros and cons of job-hopping.