Job Hopping: When Is It Bad? Good? How to Avoid It | JobSearchTV.com
What is job hopping? When do you look like one? When is it good to job hop? How to avoid looking like a job hopper?
When is job hopping bad? When is it good? how to avoid looking like one?
I worked as a recruiter for a long time. I filled a lot of positions and job hopping can occur during times where you have to change jobs with regularity, or you want to change jobs with regularity. So, for example, during times like a pandemic, or a recession, you may have a pattern where you’re changing every three months, every four months, or six months, there’s a pattern that’s showing up that can look like a Job hopper unless you explain it to an employer.
For example, I couldn’t get something full time even though I wanted to so I wound up doing temp work. That’s one way to explain it. Another way becomes, you know, it was tough economic times and firms were laying off regularly. I did work. I joined a firm three months later, they’re starting cutbacks again. Six months later, with a different firm, same thing. I went in with full intention to stay there but the firm didn’t keep me because I was one of the newer people, and less connected with leadership and the organization. That becomes a way that you can explain it.
Sometimes job hopping is a good thing from your vantage point because you take a job and it’s not what they’ve led you to believe because as I’ve said many times, employers misrepresent jobs, as much as job hunters misrepresent their abilities. So you get into a situation and discover what’s wrong there, and you wind up in a situation where you’ve got to flee because it’s not what they told you. You’re doing something radically different. And that happens much more often than people want to acknowledge.
It’s bad when firms believe there’s the pattern, and a pattern where your perseverance and stick to itiveness gets called into question. Three months here, six months there, four months, they’re in fairly rapid succession with no period where you’re demonstrating professional perseverance. And thus, they start questioning you, even when it’s not your fault.
Now, one of the ways that you could avoid this pattern is having conversations with your manager frequently, in order to determine what’s going on. Why am I doing this kind of work? This wasn’t what I was presented with. And you can sit and listen and nod and go, “Oh, I understand,” keep your head down for a while and see if things do change because you’ve questioned them. And you don’t want them to think that you’re leaving right away. But you can. And you can try and persevere. That becomes one way to do it. Not ideal.
The ideal way is before you join an organization, what you do is try contacting people who work for that firm, work for that manager at that firm, or worked for that manager at a different firm, to get a sense of what they’re like as a manager, to get a sense of what it’s like working at that firm before you join. That’s a step that too few people do. And thus, they get surprised when they wind up with micromanaging leaders, micromanaging managers who are in their business all the time, and frustrate the heck out of people.
Steve Jobs had a great quote where he basically says, a lot of people hire smart people, and then tell them what to do. And at Apple, we try and hire smart people and have them tell us what to do. Well, you may not be in a position where you’re able to tell your management what to do or to tell your leadership what to do. But you don’t have to wind up in a situation where you get frustrated, because you haven’t investigated what it’s really like to work there.
And again, I come down to the idea of you pre-interview people who’ve worked for this individual, either at this firm or at a previous firm. You can find that on LinkedIn pretty easily. And thus be able to identify some of the characteristics that you’d like or don’t like, from these people. Because to me, surprises are rarely good.
It’s not like you’re suddenly going to go to a job and it’s even better than what you expected. It’s why the statistics say within six months of joining, almost one third of all people regret the decision they make. So you don’t want to look like a job hopper if you can avoid it. And part of that is not landing up in a job that you’re going to dislike working for, someone that you’d dislike.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2300 episodes.
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