Are you at risk of being labelled a ‘job hopper’?

By Robert Half March 22, 2018 at 12:24am

A dream job used to be one that was steady and secure.

It was something you would settle into for a decade or two, if not your entire working life.

But times have changed. Today, the ideal career for many Gen Y and Gen Z professionals is less about ‘job for life’ and more about flexibility, variety and new opportunities.

But is moving around too frequently a wise move, or do you risk being labelled a ‘job hopper’?

This article looks at why many people are changing jobs more frequently and why being labelled a ‘job hopper’ may impact your future career prospects.

Are you a ‘job hopper’?

A ‘job for life’ is a thing of the past. We now migrate from one job to the next in search of career progression opportunities, better work conditions, higher salary, new challenges, to move away from a bad boss, plus many other factors. Of course, changing jobs isn’t always a one-way street. In the face of ongoing economic uncertainty, redundancies are also regularly making front-page news. A ‘job hopper’ is typically a term attributed to someone who has changed jobs, on average, four times in a 10-year period.

Despite the statistics suggesting that changing jobs more frequently is the new norm, don’t be too hasty. When moving job, take the time to think about what you want to do and explore all opportunities with your current employer. If you have changed jobs several times in a short space of time, you may risk being classed as a ‘job hopper’, which will most likely have a negative effect on your career.

Why does it matter if you’re a ‘job hopper’?

During the interview process, you will be aiming to impress and reassure employers that you are someone who can make a long-term commitment.

However, new employees are a big investment for businesses and a candidate with an unstable work history can be a big concern. After all, there are significant costs associated with recruitment, not to mention the time and effort needed, as well as the disruption caused by staff turnover. Your busy career history will therefore raise questions such as “Are they difficult to get along with?”, “Are they disloyal?”, “Will they be impossible to satisfy?” and “Will they stay for the long-term, or leave at the next job offer they get?”.

How to avoid becoming a ‘job hopper’

Make sure you “look before you leap”. You should always look forward towards new opportunities. But you should also be looking backwards, to make sure the trail you’re leaving behind isn’t going to affect you further down the track.

After all, “there is a fine line between gaining broad industry knowledge and being viewed as someone who cannot make a long-term commitment to a firm,” says Robert Half Director, Andrew Brushfield.

Make sure that if you’re pursuing a new opportunity, it addresses any underlying issues you have with your existing role. Don’t forget to look within too. You may not need to leave the company you’re currently working at. There may be other roles, within different departments that could be a much better fit for you.

If you’re not sure where you’re headed, it may be a good idea to seek career counselling. This can help you to receive some expert advice, before having too many positions to add to your CV.

Would you stay in a job for life, or are you a ‘job hopper’? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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