Why Recruiters Should NOT Ignore "Job Hoppers"

A recent blog post on www.ere.net poses an interesting question "Frequent Job Hopper - Should We Ignore Them?"

For many recruiters, the knee-jerk reaction to this question is a resounding "Yes!" After all, your clients don't want to pay you good money to place a candidate only to have to do it all over again in a few months. But blog post author Divakar Vadlamani urges recruiters to think twice before uniformly rejecting resumes that show a pattern of frequent job switching.  

According to Vadlamani, job hopping can actually be the sign of a high performer who thrives on challenge and is easily bored.  He says that although these workers may not stay for a long period of time, their potential contribution could be bigger than that of a long-tenured employee who is "boxed in a comfort zone." Rather than simply passing them over based on their resume, Vadlamani recommends giving them a chance to explain their job-hopping ways.  

We agree. Times have changed. You are going to find fewer and fewer people who have spent long periods of time with one company.  But we can't blame you for shying away from these candidates for your perm placements.  They are, however, perfect contract candidates for the following reasons.  

  • Contract assignments will give them the constant challenge they crave.
  • They are quick learners who are undaunted by new, demanding situations.
  • They can make an immediate impact by working on critical deadlines and projects.
  • They can pad their resumes with a wealth of knowledge, skills, and references.

So before you overlook a candidate for switching jobs too many times, consider how this perceived weakness could actually be an asset for your clients.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

Views: 558

Tags: Contract, Staffing

Comment by Valentino Martinez on September 21, 2011 at 1:55am

Debbie,

Good post.

I would also add that "Job Hoppers" should not be ignored for direct positions particularly when it's the jobs-that-hop-away, e.g., move to foreign geographies, go Chapter 11, or simply get eliminated due to restructuring.

Many highly accomplished professionals get painted with the "Job Hopper" brush when many of the hops were beyond their control.

Comment by Francois Guay on September 21, 2011 at 10:29am
A very good question. Recruiters should question but never ignore anyone that could potentially lead to a solid placement. It's our job to to do all the work, source, screen, interview and convince our clients of the best possible fit for the role. Some of these will be job hoppers.
Comment by Megan Flynn on September 21, 2011 at 12:11pm
I completely agree with Valentino. Of course, some people are job hoppers, but we cannot just write them off based on their resume alone. I take the time and go through each position that they have had and ask why they left. In the government contracting world, contracts end and many other things are outside of a candidates control. Everyone understands those situations, but it's impossible to know the story without taking the time to ask!
Comment by Divakar Vadlamani on September 21, 2011 at 12:51pm

Debbie,

 

Thank you for the mention and sharing some wonderful insights.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on September 21, 2011 at 5:05pm

Megan,

You're so right to mention "government contracting world" with major employers in aerospace & defense--for example.  Those contracts hire 100s to 1000s of employees for a 2-3 year stint (unless they're extended)--meaning when the contract ends, and the employer cannot find fits in other working contracts--all those employees are let go.  In those industries the more broad exposure a professional has the better. 

Aerospace & Defense are two of the few unique industries where multiple work exposures with many jobs/employers is a BIG PLUS--meaning "More Hopper the More Better" (with exceptions) you're regarded (go figure).

Comment by Leslie Mason on September 22, 2011 at 1:19pm
Sometimes it's too easy to look over great candidates who have worked for smaller, startups that have downsized, sold or gone out of business.  These people get a wealth of experience working in this type of entrepreneurial environment and shouldn't be dismissed without digging further.
Comment by Divakar Vadlamani on September 23, 2011 at 8:38am
I agree Leslie. Also, looking at the global economic conditions, there has been a lot of downsizing in the past. A lot of good candidates would have lost their jobs in this process and might have worked at smaller shops for a shorter period...and were tagged "job hoppers". This is one reason why it is important to have a conversation with a candidate, even if he/she is a job hopper and not just shoot them down by the face of the resume.
Comment by Debbie Fledderjohann on September 23, 2011 at 2:41pm
You're welcome, Divakar!  Thanks for the inspiration, and thanks all for the insightful comments.
Comment by Bob Petersen on September 26, 2011 at 1:08pm
It's not just recruiters that need to ignore 'hoppers.'  There are still many hiring managers that need to be educated that what was thought for hiring even just a few years ago no longer applies.  The world has changed and a good recruiter will find out the details of a candidate.

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