Job Hopping Recruiters: The New Normal or Just Bad?

RJ Morris Bad HR, Influence, Labor, Leadership, Recruiting, RJ Morris, Uncategorized

Up front disclaimers: Job hopping articles get people wound the heck up. This one shouldn’t—I tried to stick to logic and some well-reasoned opinions. This post isn’t about you. Don’t get wound the heck up.

Like any job category, talent acquisition pros come in all sizes, but there is one thing that’s easy to see after looking at a slew of recruiter resumes—a bunch struggle to maintain long-term employment at one joint. You see a lot of 6-, 9-, 11-month stints in the TA world. A ton.

So, a question is: Do recruiters job hop because they stink, or because that’s the gig economy in which we live? First, some context from two smart people.

Check Tim Sackett’s post, The Life Span of a Crappy Recruiter:

Just having recruiting experience, especially IT or Technical, can guarantee you a recruiting career for at least ten years or more, even if you are completely awful at recruiting… Beware TA leaders—here’s a reason a recruiter has had 4 – 6+ jobs in 10 years, and it’s not because they’re good at recruiting! The best recruiters don’t move around because they’re so valuable—the organizations they work for won’t let them leave! If you’re crappy, people are hoping you leave!

But, you say to me, “No, no, R. J., we are in the gig economy. This is the new way of things. Lots of recruiters job hop. They’re not crappy. It’s awesome.”

No, it’s not.

Check Steve Boese quote the WSJ and riff in What HR should be talking about most in 2016 (and what we need to stop talking about):

WSJ, as quoted by Steve B: Far from turning into a nation of gig workers, Americans are becoming slightly less likely to be self-employed, and less prone to hold multiple jobs. Official government data shows around 95% of those who report having jobs are accounted for on the formal payroll of U.S. employers… little changed from a decade ago.

Stevie B: … it just feels like the gig economy is fast becoming the dominant form of work. But the data just doesn’t reflect that, at least not yet. And it likely will not in 2016 or in 2018 or maybe even in 2020. So for now, it makes sense to think about your labor force composition, sure, (just like it always has), but massive, fundamental changes in that mix of labor is not typically top of mind for most organizations.

So, is Tim right? Lots of crappy recruiters? I think it’s said more nicely that they fail to demonstrate they’ll make a long-term impact to their employer. And when that happens, they get let go as soon as the hiring binge is over.

If you want to hire a recruiter just to fill a bunch of reqs, then this doesn’t matter. If, however, you want a talent acquisition professional who can come in and make a long-term impact on your attraction, sourcing, selection and closing processes, look deeper. Someone who can influence senior managers, maneuver within a system and get things done at a tactical and strategic level—then you need someone who spent more than 9 months at a place. They need to have been somewhere long enough to do that work. Gigs don’t cut it.

RJ Morris
I have spent the last 20 years of my professional life advising leaders to make great talent decisions to drive business results. In my current gig, I lead talent acquisition and management for a multi-billion-dollar, 100% employee-owned construction company. I geek out on analytics, succession planning, etc. and love it when we position folks to do their best work. That’s fun stuff. I tease bad HR people, because I think we can all do better, myself included. That’s fun, too.