Are you unfairly labeled as a job hopper?



Is the bias about job hoppers finally going away?


I have been in staffing for 43 years. Our team, for years, has consistently had candidates rejected for having “short stories” on their resumes. Is this fair to the candidate?

The answer is “sometimes” and sometimes NOT.


When it’s unfair:


  • During recession times: When candidates can land a job, only to be laid off shortly after. (Yes, this happens!) This cycle can continue for years in a recession. For example, 2008-2013. Some candidates had 3-5 jobs during these times — through no fault of their own. Think about it – they must have been good candidates to keep landing jobs while others had long periods of unemployment and difficulty finding positions.


  • After the recession:  For candidates hired during the recession and for the last few years. Even in this hot job market, salaries and raises stayed relatively flat. For many employees, the only way to get a raise, promotion, or to grow was to land a new job. If employees are at a company for 2 years or longer, without a raise, bonus, or new growth opportunities, often the only way to grow — is to move on!


  • The company has no clearly defined career paths mapped out for their employees.


At Staffing Solutions, Inc., every time we contact a candidate for an opportunity, one of the first questions we hear is: “Is there an opportunity for growth or advancement?”


If employees have no opportunity to grow, they become stagnant — and not keeping their skills and experience up to date. Let’s face it — mergers, acquisitions, re-orgs, and recessions… all mean “lay-offs.” If your employee didn’t grow, they may have become almost unemployable if their skills didn’t keep pace with the job market requirements. If an employer is unable to keep their employees growing, they could be hurting their long-term employability. Employees who want to grow are the type of employees that can impact your business! So, please, don’t reject them if their reason for seeking other employment is stagnation. We all help our labor market when we help our employees grow!


If the candidate has a resume that is mostly “short stories,” and the above doesn’t apply, it’s possible the employee is a “problem child.


For example:


  • They could be talented but difficult to work with. We all want the talent, however, when other employees start complaining about working with those folks, they lose respect for the leaders if the behavior is tolerated, or worse, may end up leaving your organization, causing even more problems!


  • They have attendance and punctuality issues. Everyone has “life issues,” but when does it become inexcusable? I think we all know when we hit the limit. Don’t forget: other employees can become resentful of those types of coworkers and choose to seek employment elsewhere!


  • Persistent personal issues could interfere with their jobs, and after a while, managers lose patience and terminate them. Most of us are compassionate and understand that life equals problems. Those employees deserve our compassion, until their issues impact the productivity of the team and the business. Plus, coworkers have problems too, if they can manage, they lose sympathy for that coworker and it creates a miserable work environment.


  • Employees on the low end of the wage scale could have “life issues” that prevent them from getting to work. Many low-wage employees are one flat tire away from being able to get to work. This is the most difficult one. Any financial crisis can impact the low wage earner, per my example. If a new tire is $50.00 and they don’t have the resources, or a ride, or public transit, it could be impossible to get to work. As employers, we can find a way to assist these folks…if we choose.


When in doubt — ask the type of questions around the areas above to determine whether the candidate has the “right” reasons for having “short stories.” We do, and that’s why our clients say, “They always send us the best candidates.”