Why Did You Quit? Job Hopping With Intent

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.

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Kat Kibben View All →

Katrina (Kat) Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive, unbiased job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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