When I do hiring manager intake, I will ask the manager to imagine themselves looking at a résumé. “OK so picture it, you’re holding the résumé,” I say. What are you looking for?
Usually, they’ll start with the standards like experience at a competitor or specific software. Lately, I’ve heard a new one. Job hopping.
“Job hopping is a real red flag,” they say.
I’m always curious where this impression comes from. While I refuse to write “no job hoppers” in a job posting, I worry about hiring managers with this POV because I know the truth. I know why people quit jobs.
Why People Are Job Hopping: It’s More Than Character
Think back to when you or anyone you know left a job in 1 year or less. It was likely a hellscape. Job hopping happens out of necessity or company issues, not emotional urge. Most people don’t wake up some morning and decide to quit their job. It’s an effort and something that takes a lot of emotional energy. It shouldn’t be held against them when looking for another gig.
Quitting your job is like a breakup but so much worse. When you quit a job, you have to be willing to change everything. Your spending habits, your commute, who you see every day, what you do every day. You are taking an enormous risk. Anyone who has been burnt in that risk knows it’s a big deal and not one most people take lightly
So why do we assume that people who leave jobs won’t commit to ours? I don’t see how that’s a correlation. People are quitters if they quit jobs? Nah. They are humans with real human experiences.
Thinking back on all the reasons I have quit different jobs, it was never because I just wanted to quit. It was never about the work either. It was typically about the manager and not wanting to deal with them every day.
There’s always a story. We all have a past. Look at some of these that came up when we started this conversation on LinkedIn.
Bottom line? Ask why instead of assuming someone has commitment issues and won’t stay at your company. From now on, there are millions of people who have gaps on their resumes from 2020. We have to start with understanding.
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.