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Why Do Some Employees Become Job Hoppers?

A job hopper is an employee who works briefly or for a short period of time with one company after another rather than staying with at one job or organization long-term. Although it is normal to change jobs or to switch careers, job hopper would do it than the normal frequency. Job hopping results to one employee’s sole decision to transfer to another company and then to transfer to another company again, a decision that is not a result of something like being laid-off or company closure.

Some employers tend to become wary and reluctant when hiring job hoppers. Employees having short stints with companies can impact their reputation as well. This event may result in the recruiter thinking that the candidate is unreliable and incompetent. Hiring managers and employers often fear that these job hoppers are reluctant to change or are simply unmotivated. Although it was uncommon to the professional world before, it is slowly being experienced and observed now. However, why is there a negative stigma related to people who are job hoppers? And why do employees become job hoppers themselves?

Listed below are notable reasons why employees become job hoppers:

  • Employee welfare – this is very important to employees. When an organization appears to not be interested in the security and welfare of its employees and is only focused on company profit and appearing valuable in the market, this may result to employees losing trust and loyalty in the company. While the employee in this situation may work well and respects his immediate manager and other supervisors, he would still keep an eye on open opportunities that are available in the market.
  • Employees want to feel that they are taken care of and that they are treated well. So if this is something that they are not getting or experiencing, they might as well leave and explore the market. Employees would not want to work in a hostile workplace since this would only decrease motivation and would increase stress and anxiety.
  • Employees are not comfortable with their direct supervisors. Employees have preferences that they look for in their managers, and when they think that they do not match or are not complementing each other, employees would tend to doubt their employment. Managers can help the company create a positive working environment that will eventually help retain employees.
  • Employees become job hoppers when they have the mentality that “Something better is out there”. Yes, true enough that employees have the need to grow as professionals but the issue with job hoppers is that they always think this way even when they have worked on a function for a short time only. They would seek for opportunities already without mastering the specialization or function they are doing now. However, by doing this, job hoppers can be able to eventually find their match and a function that they will handle long-term. If this is the case and purpose people to hop from one job to another, this should only manifest in their early career as professionals.
  • Another reason is that employees have poor career choices. He or She does not clearly think about his or her career move and decisions. He or She may be blinded by a higher salary, a better work location, or the pursuit of a better work-life balance. Little does he or she know that he or she did not briefly understand what the role or function is and will eventually realize that it is something he or she is not comfortable doing.

When processing or hiring job hoppers, recruiters should take into consideration various factors:

  • Recruiters need to consider the candidate’s work background, function, and industry. Some industries in the past have become unstable that may have caused several companies to lay off some employees. And if there is a struggle to sustain in the industry, all results will be the same. Other employees have been unemployed for a certain period of time and some went through a career change to be able to make ends meet. This can elevate or at least address why the employee has become a job hopper and the recruiter needs to take that into account.
  • Recruiters should also consider the candidate’s skills and specialization. Some industries and companies only employ people for support or contract jobs especially when there is the presence of a niche market. Recruiters should evaluate whether the applicant is a potential job hopper or simply eyeing for a better opportunity.
  • Recruiters should also inform the candidate in the initial stages of hiring about the company’s values and culture. And that the applicant understands what is expected from him or her and what he or she can expect from the company or organization.
  • Recruiters should also involve the candidate’s references, ask people how the applicant is. Proper technical questions should be used to properly gauge and evaluate the applicant’s credibility.
  • Recruiters should realize that regardless of tenure, they should be able to discern whether they have the right candidate who is fit for the job.

There are many drawbacks and opportunities to be learned from processing job hoppers and employees. If recruiters are able to process candidates for the right reasons – this would benefit the candidate for landing a job that he or she can create and build a career on, but will also benefit the employers for acquiring an employee who has been exposed to relatively many employers already. The adjustment will not be a problem anymore and it is only important that it would be directed to creating and maintaining a healthy relationship that is aligned with the company’s values.

For the candidates and employees, they should realize that there is nothing wrong with changing jobs in pursuit of a better opportunity or a better career. However, too much of changing jobs can inhibit the ability to get a job and would result in difficulties in regard to explaining such to future employers. For whatever reasons that these employees have, or their motivation for moving, they must be able to give their future employers the impression that they are stable and dependable employees.

Harper & Hill Executive Search acknowledges the presence of this challenge in recruiting professionals. We aim to provide our clients with the best people with a commendable background and valuable work ethics. We seek to process candidates in the proper manner to identify and thoroughly understand the reasons for such circumstances. Rest assured, regardless of these difficulties, we aim to provide and identify the right candidate that suits available job opportunities.

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The Author 

Angelo is the Managing Director of Harper & Hill Executive Search Inc, specializing in Senior Management positions in executive search in Emerging Market in Asia. He managed a full spectrum of senior-level placements and worked with multinational clients in Asia, Africa and Europe. He travels across Asia pacific region for his assignments. 

Feel free to connect with him or follow him on LinkedIn. Angelo Cenon Valdez

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