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The Pros And Cons Of Rapid Job Hopping

Jack KellySenior Contributor

I write actionable interview, career and salary advice.



When a person continually switches jobs, it can be very lucrative, especially compared to people who ... [+] GETTY


Historically, if an applicant’s résumé shows that they have had a few moves within one to two years, the hiring firm would view the candidate as a job hopper. To an employer, a job hopper is considered a flight risk, and the hiring manager would pass on that person and look for other candidates who showcase longer tenures on their résumés.



Many managers look askance at people who move around too much. But what number constitutes too many job switches? Typically, it means changing jobs in less than two years at a single employer or having more than three employers in a career history of over five to 10 years. Although, over the years, job hoppers have not been viewed favorably, the stigma is starting to ease on them. Human resources, internal talent acquisition, agency recruiters and hiring managers have become more comfortable interviewing applicants with several movements on their résumé.

It’s essential to look at the overall context. A person may have employment gaps because they were laid off during the financial crisis or at the beginning of the pandemic. They could’ve worked at a company with difficulties that enacted cost-cutting measures, including laying off personnel. Understandably, younger workers may move around a lot at the beginning of their careers as they’re trying to find the right fit.


The Benefits Of Job Switching

Record-high inflation levels have eaten into your paycheck as the costs of nearly everything have dramatically increased. The Federal Reserve Bank raised interest rates to dampen inflation, making it more expensive for businesses to get funds. This caused a belt-tightening, cost-cutting movement within corporations. Downsizing has been the go-to option for many organizations to save money and bring down their expenses.


The shifting paradigm has pushed people to seek new jobs to get more money and keep up with inflation. Also, in light of the vast layoffs across various sectors, it makes workers feel unsafe. Sensing that they may be next in line for the pink slip, employees may actively court recruiters, ask around in their networks and scour job boards for job leads. They might apply for new opportunities to hedge their bets.

When a person continually switches jobs, it can be very lucrative, especially compared to people who stay at the same company for a long time. For instance, if a white-collar professional earning $100k switches jobs, they may receive a $120k base to incentivize them to jump ship and come aboard the new company. Doing this on multiple occasions will drastically increase the job hopper’s compensation. Their next move may secure a salary of about $150k.

If you stay in your narrow swim lane within the same organization for an extended period, you won’t learn new things. However, if you switch jobs on a regular basis, you’ll meet new people, learn how other companies operate, enhance your skill sets, learn new technologies, software and platforms and gain broader knowledge. This will make you more marketable, and companies and recruiters will reach out to you because of your wide-ranging experience and expertise.


The Downside

Too many jumps could cause a backlash and make it harder for a person to find new employment. Not every hiring manager is a fan of people moving around a lot. Some bosses, recruiters and corporate executives worry about too much movement. They feel that there must be a reason why this person can’t hold onto a job.

The supervisor may still be suspicious despite the candidate's great reasoning for moving. They’ll justify their bias by stating, “If the person was so great, why didn’t the companies try harder to keep them? Why should I hire a person—even if they are very good—and take the time, energy and resources to train them only to have them quit in a year or so?”


How To Position Your Job Switches In An Interview

If you’ve frequently switched jobs, be prepared to be grilled during a job interview. Keep in mind that the interviewer will be concerned about the perception of too many moves and why you couldn’t or didn’t stick around long enough in your prior roles.

To combat the stigma, be truthful regarding why you made each move. Avoid blaming your former bosses and co-workers, as that strategy will backfire and cement their suspicions that you may be the problem, not the companies you worked at.

Focus on the positives of holding an array of different jobs. Talk about how much you learned in each new opportunity. You can come across as a high-level management consultant who learned at each successive organization what strategies worked and which didn't. You can give great insights into their rival companies' operations and learn from them.

Be sure to let the interviewer know that this isn’t just a job, but you really love the company, people, opportunity, mission statement, products and services of the firm. Share how you will add value to the business.

Don’t lie by saying, “This time is different, and I promise not to move on.” If directly asked about how you view your tenure with the firm, be honest. Remain calm and collected, as they will continue to pick apart your narrative, looking for any reason to take a pass. Most importantly, keep things in perspective. You would be just as cautious if you were the one interviewing.


https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2023/07/13/the-pros-and-cons-of-rapid-job-hopping/?sh=c9e6a27609a8

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