We all know that resumes only get 9.893 seconds of our time before we decide to keep them and move on. After we have verified basic qualifications, made sure they graduated and don’t list their mom as a reference, we spend seconds 7.231 – 8.002 looking at dates of employment. Why? Well, first of all…to make sure this person isn’t too old, silly. Pfft. But, really to see if this person is what we would call a “Job Hopper.” You know…the guy that spends a short period of time at multiple jobs. Clearly there is a story around why this person moves, but if they look too hoppy, we don’t want to waste our time when we have so many other candidates applying. Wait…we do have so many other candidates applying, right?
When you are interviewing candidates, are you considering them for this project right now? Or, are you thinking longer term? This project will end, what comes next for Bobbi-Sue? If you’re like us, you probably interview for the latter. We look for people that will be here for the long haul. Not forever, of course. But we’re certainly thinking years. Five? Ten? Hey, why not until retirement?
With this in mind, the sight of a resume that bounces all over the place instinctively causes me to cringe and consider moving on. I’m sure I am not the only recruiter out there who has said/thought, “This person has had too many jobs. I’m moving on.”
But, is this really fair? Is it even realistic?
One of the reasons Microsoft thinks long term when we hire is because we’re huge. A person can change, not only jobs, but careers multiple times before they leave the company. It’s, in my opinion, a huge benefit of working here. When you accomplish your goals in one area, you simply move on to the next while keeping your swanky window office.
But, that doesn’t work in most companies. Most companies are much smaller and have a bigger challenge creating unique opportunities for employees to grow. So…is it really that bad if someone leaves to seek growth?
So, I am seeking out opinions. How much job hopping is too much? How much time in one job is too little? 5 jobs in 10 years sounds like a lot. But, 2 years in one roll is nothing to laugh at. If a person only works 9 months before leaving for their current job, are they chasing better opportunities? Or showing that they can’t live up to their commitments. What if they had been in their previous role for 5 years? Does that impact the view?
Of course, with everything, there are stories around a person’s decisions about when to leave one job for another. Clearly, we should be concerned about 6 months here and 6 months there. 2 years here, 2 years there? That could simply be the sweet spot. Imagine spending 2 years working on one project. You see it through to launch, marvel at its success and then you wonder, “What’s next?” What if the Next can’t be met at the same company? Does that person move on or work with their boss to create new opportunities?
Nah…never mind. I think they just quit because they were going to get fired.