Is The Applicant a Job-Hopper?

We all have a good idea of what a “job-hopper” is, but let’s look at a couple of definitions anyway, both fairly similar:

job-hopper is someone who works briefly in one position after another rather than staying at any one job or organization long-term.

Job-hopping is a pattern of changing companies every year or two of one’s own volition rather than as a result of something like a layoff or company closure.

Of course, every one has the right to improve their circumstances in life. If that means working for a company for six months and moving on; working for another company for four months and moving on again, and then working for that third company for a year and moving on again, well, one certainly has the right to do that.

The reasons a person job-hops may not be entirely financial. One job may be closer to where they live; another may have better perks; another may give better prospects for advancement.

So, yes, we all should have the opportunity and the freedom to improve how life unfolds for us.

But there is the other side of that coin.

Company A is investing in Employee B. He is getting trained and apprenticed at a position. If Employee B leaves in a few months, Company A will need to repeat that entire process with a new employee.

Employee B is not only being grooved into his new position, he is also getting familiar and accustomed to working with other employees and with customers. From the company’s perspective, this familiarity has real value.

Not too long ago, it was a strong purpose for someone looking for a job to land one and be able to stay there for many years. Grow with the company. Be a part of the culture and the community that company serves.

But that perspective has definitely shifted. Partly because a number of companies have laid off large numbers of their employee ranks, despite a good number of them having invested many years into the company.

And this perspective has shifted because applicants today want more flexibility and freedom to move from Company A to Company B.

So, when you’re sitting across from someone who looks like an excellent fit for your company, how would you approach this?

Your first clue, of course, is the résumé. If the résumé shows considerable job-hopping, then I suggest discussing that with the applicant. Go over what the company will be investing and that you would like to hire someone who’s going to have “some” longevity with the company.

What does that mean, longevity? Well, you’ll need to decide that for yourself. Does that mean at least a year? Two years? Five years?

But even if the résumé does not indicate job-hopping, you still may want to have this point hammered out.

In terms of contracting the person for a specific period of time, I recommend checking with your attorney on what the laws are for your given area.

But you’re in better shape having the conversation with your applicant than avoiding it. Define for yourself and your company what kind of longevity you’d like to see and work it out with the applicant before you make the final decision.

As the law varies in each area, please check with an attorney to ensure you are applying these tips within the law.

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