What is job hopping & 5 reasons to hire someone who’s done it

Zane Franke 29.08.2022
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job hopping

Some hiring managers might look the other way when it comes to hiring a job hopper, but we’re here to prove them wrong. A candidate who has done some job hopping can actually be an asset to a company and we’re going to be looking at reasons why that might be the case. 

But first, what is job hopping?

Job hopping, by definition, means hopping from one job to another and is considered as staying at the same job for no longer than one to two years. Job hopping has been on the rise in recent years and is common among Millennial and Gen Z workers. 

Why is that? 

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Job hopping in your 20s

While it might seem that job hopping is a trend popularized by Millennials and Gen Zers, research shows that it has more to do with career maturity and ambition, rather than belonging to a specific generation. 

On average, 6 in 10 millennials are open to a new job opportunity, according to a recent report done by Gallup, and the numbers among younger Baby Boomer job hoppers are roughly the same as when they were in their 20s. 

This data might suggest that younger workers are simply more hungry for advancing their careers, expanding their networks, and gaining new experiences. Older workers, on the contrary, tend to strive for more stability and not be as driven to switch jobs. 

Is job hopping a bad thing? 

In the past, when older Baby Boomers used to stay at their jobs for 20 years, job hopping was seen as a bad thing and considered an indication of a lack of commitment. Its meaning and the times, however, have changed, and the appeal of hiring a serial job hopper has become increasingly common.

From the perspective of workers, job hopping can be seen as an opportunity to advance their career, and here are some reasons why:

First, increased pay. With leaving a position, comes experience that can be used to negotiate a higher salary. A study published by ADP showed that by staying at the same job employees can expect an average of 4% pay increase while jumping ship might bump that number up to 5.3%.

But money is not the only reason why career hopping might be the way to go. Some workers feel they are not valued by their management, so they search for another job hoping to find a better work environment. Other reasons might include poor work-life balance, unfulfilling relationships with co-workers, and lack of fit with the company values.

Job hopping also allows workers to explore a new industry. Nearly half of workers, according to a 2019 survey done by Indeed, made a dramatic career change feeling empowered not to settle for a career that doesn’t bring professional fulfillment. 

5 reasons to hire a job hopper

Now, when we’ve established that job hopping can be beneficial for workers, let’s find out what’s in it for the employer. 

1. They are fast learners

Because of switching from one job to another, job hoppers are used to changes and starting from scratch more frequently than others. They are fast learners and can adapt quickly to a new environment. 

It might also take less time to train a newly hired job hopper and get them up to speed than someone who has stayed in their previous role for 10 years and is used to a particular way of doing things. 

job hopping learning skills

2. Willing to take a risk with confidence 

Everyone knows that applying for a new job is not a walk in the park. Writing a cover letter is time-consuming, interviewing is stressful, and you never know who you’re going to end up working with, so some workers just choose to stay at their cushy, already-existing jobs.

Job hoppers, on the other hand, are risk-takers and are used to pitching their experience to land an offer. They are confident in their ability to perform, know what their strengths are, and are willing to take a risk by leaving the old job behind and taking up new challenges. Therefore, they are likely to bring the same energy and attitude to their new role. 

3. Bring unique experiences to the table

As a result of being in many different roles, job hoppers can have a lot of unique experiences to offer coming into a new one. They can bring a fresh perspective and solutions that might have been used by other companies in the same industry, or learn from their mistakes. Job hoppers can have a broader knowledge of the field and have a more diverse background overall than someone who has been in the same type of role for years and see the business from a more narrow perspective.

4. Diverse skill set

Different roles have different responsibilities, therefore a job hopper might be the ideal candidate for offering a diverse skill set. They are likely to be great problem-solvers and bring creative solutions to the table. 

If they have worked in a completely different field, job hoppers can utilize skills that can only come from that experience and can’t be gained in training. Moreover, they are used to consistently acquiring new skills, so if there is something new to learn in a role (and it will inevitably happen), they are likely to be more efficient in doing so.

5. With a job hopper comes a network

Assuming they haven’t burned any bridges, hiring a job hopper can also open the door to a wider network of contacts and potential customers or business partners since they have been in a variety of professional settings. They can also bring those networking skills to the new role and build new connections that benefit the company they’re in. 

job hopping benefits

Too good to be true?

While adding a job hopper to the team can certainly be a huge advantage to a company, not all of them are the same, and there are a few things to keep in mind.

Why are they job hopping? 

While some hop from one job to another to further develop their career and skill set, others might struggle with sticking to a role or staying loyal to a company due to a lack of commitment. Make sure to ask about the reasons why they have made decisions to switch jobs in the past and get the full picture.

Verify their references 

What does the previous employer have to say about the job hopper that’s about to become a part of your company? A solid reference is important for any candidate, but especially for someone who has switched a number of jobs before. This will give an insight into their work ethic, experience, and overall performance at their previous work place, and help you make a well-informed decision. 

Look at how frequently they switch jobs 

Job hopping can come in many different forms. You can have a job hopper that has stayed in a role for two years and decided to accelerate their career. Or, you can have one that seems to be unable to stay at the same company for more than a few months and is switching jobs at an eyebrow-raising rate. It might signal that this job hopper might not be a good fit for your team and eye another job in the future just as quickly.

Job hopping doesn’t make candidates unhirable

Ultimately, no matter how much job-hopping a candidate has done in the past, it comes down to individual skills and experiences, and whether or not they are the right fit for the role. While it can certainly help, being a job hopper doesn’t automatically make someone a star performer, and they still need to prove that they are the best hire. 

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