How should job-hoppers behave in a job interview?

How should job-hoppers behave in a job interview?

A job hopper is someone who works briefly in one position after another rather than staying at one job or organization for a long time. Compared to the past, it is getting now a more habitual habit, that may bring some doubts and questions during a job interview. What makes a difference is the way a job-hoppers react to those, and steer the conversation to his own advantage. So, you changed many jobs? It is time to prove your skills and persuasion then.

A change from the past

Years ago, it was not uncommon for people to work for the same employer their entire careers. In recent decades, however, people typically change jobs at least a few times in a lifetime, and that is gathering many doubts.
Back in the days people used to stay in the same job forever.  They used to secure a job after leaving school or university, and than stayed there until they built their own fortune, and ensured a future to kids and family. Maybe they lacked of ambition, or just did not think other options existed and did not want more.

But increasingly, changing one’s job every few years is considered the norm. Job-hopping is on the rise, and it doesn’t look like the trend will be stopping any time soon. People change location, needs, ambitions way faster than before. The world is changing, technology is changing, and our work and skills as well. We want to grab new opportunities, jump on the bandwagon of success, fight new challenges.

Not all people do it in the same way, there are many sectors where it happens way more often. Like in tech. As you can read here, Forbes quotes Laurie Lopez, a partner and senior general manager in the IT Contracts division at WinterWyman, who says: “For those in technology, for example, it allows them the opportunity to gain valuable technical knowledge in different environments and cultures. This can be more common for those specializing in development, mobile and Project Management. (..) In order to keep their skills fresh, it is necessary for technologists to remain current in a highly competitive market. Job hopping is more common with employees that are less tenured, and feel confident in their skills to be able to move on without burning a bridge and can add value immediately in a new opportunity. With employers being more open to hiring job hoppers, we expect the trend to continue.

But how do employers judge job-hopping practice?

Longevity still matters in certain companies. Employment length has decreased overall, but how important is now staying in the same role for a certain time? A jumpy curriculum can be the reason why a client will not call you, but maybe it means you would not fit in that company as well. If you are a job-hopper, maybe a very traditional, and corporate company is not the best fit you can get. Employers may look at you in a bad way because you did it, be suspicious and doubtful. But when you look for a job, everybody will notice it, it is inevitable.

So, how should you take advantage from that in a job interview?

  • Don’t hide it. Be proud of it. Do not make a bunch of excuses about why the various jobs didn’t work out. Be assertive about your decisions, and explain that you understand it is not ideal, but your movements taught you a lot and made you a more experienced and skilled person. You have been exposed to many realities, take advantage from that, and make it your strength point.
  • Your future employer may be asking between the lines “Why will it be different this time?”. That’s what they really want to know. That’s what they want to be assured of. But being a job-hopper is not a rule, and it will not last forever. It depends on the jobs, what does it offer, the stimulus and push you get. Always focus on how you can bring value to the potential employer
  • Don’t be defensive, don’t make excuses. Don’t be apologetic or insecure. Own your experiences, explain it was a choice of yours, and move on.
  • Don’t say that it your former employer’s fault, it would give a bad impression of you.
  • Instead of diving into a long explanation about why you’ve made so many moves, steer the conversation toward your experience and the skills you’ve picked up along the way. Focus on what puts you under a better light, all the confidence you gained and the skills you acquired.

 

Job longevity became a thing of the past, and employers and recruiters are beginning to have a different outlook on job hopping. And you should take advantage of that when you give the first impression. Be proud of the fact you changed many jobs, because it is no sign of weakness, but ambition and strength. Your job security is not something your employer controls anymore. You control it. You build your own marketability and then you carry it around with you. If a job disappears, you’ll be fine, because you will know that you can do a lot of things, acquire new knowledge and gather a new experience.

 

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