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Should you take the risk and hire a "job-hopper"?

Posted by: Megan Troster


You have a great candidate, they tick all the boxes except for one - the number of jobs they have drilled through; and each year they’ve tried something new.

Maybe we should stop looking at job hopping as a negative and think of it as a positive. There’s no denying the stigma around a job hopper but is it worth taking the risk?

In the past employers valued a working person’s longevity with a single employer and back then, it was a huge advantage to stay put and build a career around internal goodwill.

When I think about my parents for example, my Dad started his career at Ford and stayed there until he recently retired some 30+ years later. My Mum, between looking after me and my sisters when we were younger, worked at a local high school for over 12 years. I think the older generation always thought of the future and their big pensions, but there have been drastic employment changes in the last 40 years and my generation tend to live more on impulse. This may be down to the fact that it is now more acceptable to move jobs regularly to “get ahead” in the employment stakes.This is especially true of the millennial generation who are also the ones most influenced by the constant technological shifts in today’s economy.

So, why are people put off by job hoppers?

Baby Boomers and Generation X are now in more senior management position, doing the hiring and job hoppers break the traditional convention of one employer. But younger generations perceive switching jobs entirely differently; they look at it as broadening horizons and furthering themselves, only much faster than working their way up one company’s overcrowded ladder.

Generation Y, those born in the late 1980s and 1990s now account for 13.8million of the UK workforce and are considered as the inventors of job hopping. As previously mentioned, these candidates have been shaped by the technological revolution and are driven to earn money due to rising living costs. With monetary gains of up to 15% per job move, it makes sense as to why there’s a job-hopping movement.

So, can they bring value to your company?

While they still pose as an investment threat, what can you take from the 1-2 years of them being there? Well, they have the potential to breathe fresh air into businesses, a must have for competitive businesses in today’s economy, especially start-ups and SMEs.

And isn’t taking on any new employee a risk anyway? Changing jobs is healthy and often stressful, so it can serve as an example of a person's drive and ability to take control of their own career.

As an employer it’s up to you to ask them honestly why they’ve moved around so much. When interviewing them, you can probably tell if they’re embellishing what really happened and if there is a conclusive pattern there.

Finally, it is important to move with the times and accept that young people aren’t like the previous generations. Forget the term ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ A job hopper might be just what you need to embrace change from the old to the new.

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