It’s time to stop filtering out ‘job hoppers‘

When sifting through hundreds of resumes, hiring managers need to make efficient decisions to create a qualified candidate shortlist. One simple way to do this is to filter out perceived “red flags” on candidate resumes. One traditional “red flag” employers have relied upon is identifying ‘job hoppers’ for fear of lack of long-term commitment to a new role. 

At face value, the problem seems pretty cut and dry for employers. When recruiting for a permanent position, hiring managers tend to shy away from candidates who have a string of shorter term employment on their resumes. Consciously or not, employers often see “job hoppers” as unreliable and expensive. Despite having other qualifications that meet the needs of the job description, this “red flag” often results in high-potential candidates not making it to the shortlist. 

While this reasoning may have been convenient for employers in the past, the fact is they’re overlooking potential top talent too quickly. At a time when job vacancies are at an all-time high, talent acquisition managers need to evaluate every potential candidate. According to Statistics Canada, the job vacancy rate as of September 2021 was at 6%, which is double the pre-pandemic vacancy rate of 3%. This means there are fewer qualified jobseekers applying for roles. Eliminating candidates based on historical tenure bias doesn’t make sense anymore ; if it ever did. 

Most jobseekers with resumes that reflect “job hopping” know that this puts them at a disadvantage when up against candidates with similar skills but tenured positions. While there are many ways for candidates to overcome these concerns when they reach the interview stage, it can be incredibly challenging to break through the initial pre-screen stage unless hiring managers are willing to consider that perhaps this movement actually supported increased skill development, exposure to different industries and styles of working relationships or that the timing was not right in candidate’s previous work history for a longer term commitment. 

In reality “job hoppers” can actually bring a lot of value to your business. Typically they demonstrate flexibility, adaptability and are quick learners. They are not afraid of change or taking risks. These are invaluable, highly sought-after skills in this current talent-scarce market.

Reflect on your company’s retention strategy

The most common reason employers are skittish of “job hoppers” is the cost related to onboarding. The amount of time and resources required to set-up a new team member for success costs anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 according to BambooHR’s onboarding calculator. That’s a lot of money and can add up quickly if employees aren’t sticking around. However, these “job hoppers” “ aren’t typically moving around because they’re bored, lazy or selfish. Most job hoppers have simply been undervalued, underappreciated and under stimulated.

Before hiring anyone, regardless of their employment history, it’s important to reflect on your business’ retention strategy. How much opportunity are you giving your new employees to succeed in their job? What is the current lifecycle of employees staying in the position you’re hiring for? If you truly want to win at retention and attraction, we recommend downloading our FREE guide here.

The fact is unless your company invests on retention, you run the risk of losing almost any of your workforce. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, over 40% of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer within the next year. A poll from Workopolis found the primary reason people leave their jobs is due to relationships at work. As the old adage goes, people don’t leave jobs – they leave companies and people.

Job hopping is normal

Ultimately the “Millennial/Gen Z job hopping epidemic” is a myth. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics baby boomers “job hopped” just as much in the early years of their careers as the modern generations. 

Inspired by this statistic, LiveCareer conducted a study in 2018 to determine if the “job-hopping epidemic” is really a critical problem, or overblown hype. They found two critical takeaways from their research. First, some industries and job functions simply have more turnover than others and should expect and budget for regular onboarding. Second, they also found that while frequent job changes do occur more often in younger workers, it’s often “a function of their career stage rather than a generational trend.”

An invaluable resource 

Changes in business are inevitable, and the most successful businesses are quick to adapt and embrace changes that head their way. Do you expect your organization to stay exactly the same over the next 10 years? Of course not. So why should you expect your staff to? 

Businesses need a variety of different types of employees with different behaviours, learning styles and motivations in order to succeed. If your company only retains long-term talent and hires from within, you could be missing out on innovative and creative solutions, stuck in an endless loop of “this is how it’s done.” That’s not to say you should value long-term employees any less. They just bring something different to the table. 

Many organizations have found hiring “job hoppers” or shorter-term employees to be an invaluable resource for their teams. An article from KPMG suggests this group is often “ambitious, talented and highly skilled top performers.” It goes on to say “job hoppers” can often be fast learners who bring insight into how other companies find success. 

In an article for Forbes, former Fortune 500 HR SVP, Liz Ryan, advises hiring managers to pay closer attention to “job hoppers” and not be so quick to write them off. “They learned how to find a job when they needed one,” she says. “People who stick around in the same organization don’t learn how to deal with the ups and downs life throws at them as well as people who have faced career shakes and shocks.”

At a time when it can be difficult to find an exact match for your role, “job hoppers” bring transferable skills, diverse work experience, large networks and a growth mindset. This makes them more likely to easily adapt to new practices and process during onboarding and hit the ground running. 

The best advice we can give is to never take a single-step approach when it comes to hiring. Finding the strongest fit is challenging at the best of times. But, during a talent squeeze, it’s more important than ever to be innovative, creative and open-minded when considering candidates. The easiest and most efficient way to navigate this new world of work is by aligning yourself with the experts. Our talented team of recruiters operate nationwide so contact us now to be connected to our forward-thinking work community.

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Corporate Program Manager Agilus Work Solutions

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