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What a Girl (and Guy) Wants: The Job Hopper Edition

Have you ever interviewed a “job hopper?” Have you ever seen one walk out your doors on to bigger and better horizons? More and more employees are abandoning the old mantra of “put in your 40 years and come out with a healthy retirement plan” in exchange for the “Go west, young man” mantra of the California Gold Rush era. But is this truly a lose-lose situation for employers and job applicants with a history of moving from job to job? It doesn’t have to be.

Instead of being frustrated that they left, why not take Christina Aguilera’s advice on how to make them stay.

1) Job Hoppers want understanding and mutual respect… or they’ll walk away.

“Like a rock you waited so patiently, while I got it together. While I figured it out, I only looked but I never touched…”

Odds are, if your job hopper is a rising star or highly qualified professional, they’re getting looks from someone else. In a time where 74% of workers are passive job seekers ready to make a move, it’s not uncommon for workers to uproot from their “happy” jobs and leave. So what makes understanding and respect so important? It’s simple, job hoppers just want to be liked. Talented job hoppers know there are options out there but will remain faithful if their basic needs are met. More about those basic needs below…

2) A Job Hoppers’ past does not necessarily dictate future trends.

The most common misconception about all job hoppers is that they are careless individuals who recklessly move from position to position without regard to the need for tenure and job stability. Well to be honest, that’s simply not always the case. In fact, a recent study shows that previous job tenure is not even the best way to predict whether or not a candidate will stay at your company for an extended period of time.

Here is a quote from a study done by the good folks at Evolv entitled “Does Previous Work History Predict Future Employment Outcomes?“:

” Previous employment duration is a very weak predictor of how long a new hire will stay on a job…

What are the implications of these findings? When reviewing resumes, recruiters frequently assess an applicant’s employment history as an indicator of how likely he or she is to remain with the company. In fact, using rejection reasons input by recruiters for not hiring a candidate we found that between 2 and 6% of applicants were rejected because of their experience and work history, depending on the type of position. When we consider a total applicant population of 112,774, this amounts to several thousand applicants that were excluded from the potential hiring pool. These results indicate that an applicant’s previous work history is actually a poor predictor of employment outcomes. In fact, there is other assessment content that is much more strongly predictive of both attrition as well as performance on the job.”

So what does that mean? It means that recruiters are abandoning some of the best talent in the pool, simply because of lack of experience or failure to retain a job for a self-ascribed period of time. My response is this: If you were in a relationship with a person that wasn’t meeting your needs, would you “stick it out?” if you were in a relationship that was meeting your needs, would you have any reason to “look for other options?”… Why is the job market any different?

3) What a job seeker isn’t saying is more telling than what he or she is doing.

At the end of the day, all we see is that a job hopper has left a job and moved to another position. More importantly, when the candidate looks to find employment, rarely will we respect an honest answer of “well, the company sucked” when asking why the job hopper is looking for employment. But if you can read between the lines, job hoppers are simply saying they want a combination of these reasonable requests:

Training and Development
Mutual respect and understanding
Competitive Salary
An agreeable working environment
A company that cares and fits their work style/cultural beliefs
Here’s another quote from the Evolv study by Dr. Michael Housman:

“Clearly, a more nuanced understanding of the applicant as well as his or her personality, aptitudes, work style, technical skills, and fit for the position are necessary to make more informed recruiting decisions. Previous work experience must be viewed holistically and placed within a much broader context in order to ensure that a given employer is recruiting the best possible talent.”

Talented job hoppers are known for living by the mantra of “know your worth.” As an employer, I would hire a qualified job hopper because they let me know the benchmark for retaining top talent and engaged workers in the workplace. This is important because top talent and engaged employees lead to greater gains in production over a longer course of time.

For the full-length version of the article, please click here.


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