Recruiters try to screen out “job hoppers;” that is, employees who seem to perpetually change jobs. (If you’re wondering why you may be a job hopper, read this). For companies, this type of employee is costly because it isn’t cheap to make a new hire given recruiting and training costs. Some say a job hopper who leaves before six months can cost an organization one and a half times the employee’s annual salary.
The assumption is that if your resume shows a long list of companies, with some jobs lasting six months or less, then you are a job hopper and will, therefore, leave all of your future jobs at the same frequency. Evolv’s study completely invalidates this fallacy.
Respondents were put into one of five categories when asked how many jobs they’d had for less than six months — job hopper behavior. Options were zero jobs held for less than six months, one job held for less than six month, all the way up to more than six jobs held for less than six months.
Next, the study looked at the number of jobs each of these categories of employee had held in the last five years. Will the job hopper hold more jobs during the same time period than the non-job hopper? In other words, will job hopping behavior predict how long someone stays at a job? Most recruiters make this very assumption.
However, the results show that non-job hoppers and job hoppers have held about the same number of jobs over the last five years, and, therefore, job hopping is not an accurate predictor of future job stability.
Recruiters and employers who see a steady resume and assume the candidate will stay for a predictable length of time could be wrong. Likewise, if you have had to leave a job before six months, or have held many jobs in the last five years, don’t feel too bad. Your future jobs may fare much better for you.
If you’re applying for an internship program in China or anywhere, you don’t have to worry too much about being a job hopper because your internship won’t last more than a year. Furthermore, as the economy matures, it has become increasingly common for young people in China to frequently change jobs, something that many employers have come to expect.
In developed economies, job stability isn’t what is used to be and it is growing trend among companies to offer employees year-by-year contracts with few benefits. This is why so many young job hop: They feel as if they have little to lose by exploring other possibilities.
The challenge for you, if you’ve been a job hopper, is convincing your interviewer that hiring you involves little risk. Perhaps you can impress them with your cleverness by referencing this study when asked, “So tell me, why have you changed jobs so frequently?”