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Five jobs in 10 years is red flag, survey says

January 09 2014

Too many employment changes in a short time span can give human resources managers cause for concern, according to a survey from Robert Half Technology. HR managers interviewed said an average of five job changes in 10 years can prompt worries the candidate is a job hopper.

Robert Half Technology asked HR managers, "Over a 10-year span, how many job changes, in your opinion, would it take for a professional to be viewed as a job hopper?" The mean response was five.

"The job market has been unpredictable in recent years, and employers understand job candidates may have had short stints in some positions," said Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director. "However, businesses look for people who will be committed to the organization, can contribute to the company, and help it reach its short- and long-term goals. Too much voluntary job hopping can be a red flag."

The survey is based on interviews with more than 300 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States.


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Anonymous 03/29/2014 11:34 am

Wow, that's an indictment for me! I did a short stint as a freelance reporter to get bylines for a few years, took an almost full-time job and was then laid off due to economic circumstances (from a job I really liked). I did grant writing while on unemployment and eventually took a job that was really a bad fit. How do you factor in that people may end up in jobs that don't fit well in a tough economy? I would think that more mistakes are made. In each job, I feel that I have made positive contributions and did a reasonable job. Because of the harsh reality, I may be relegated to doing temporary jobs and projects because I get screened out.

What's troubling is that employers cannot seem to guarantee a job in this economy. I was with an organization that was having cashflow problems and clearly struggling. I didn't trust that I would even have a job in a year. But maybe that's my own anxiety that I have to work out.

The Middle Ground

Charles Newton 01/23/2014 04:10 pm

This is a very interesting concept. As a "job hopper" and a HR professional I totally disagree with this idea. In each of my roles I've performed beyond the role I was hired for and moved on to roles that were strategic in my professional development. As a Recruiter I've never paid much attention to employment dates. What matters more is the skills derived during the tenure. Most HR departments use such unfounded metrics to focus on screening out applicants instead of identifying talent as I recently wrote about on my own site.

Sajeesh 01/21/2014 05:10 pm

I have worked for 4 different companies in my 7-year stint. There are primarily 3 factors that I bank on during an interview.
I have setup processes from scratch in each one of those companies and left each company as a top performer.
I have re-joined my second company in a higher capacity after a formal discussion with the previous manager. The ability to be re-hired by past organizations should speak for a person's capability and success.
Thirdly, each job has been a diverse opportunity with respect to roles, location etc. The ability to adapt and deliver over a period of 18 months should also be considered.

Barry O. 01/10/2014 01:08 pm

HR Managers? take a look in the mirror! I have worked with a few HR people in my past that honestly have no right to judge me or my history. Who gives them the sole power to vito a resume? "That's right" the boss that never gets the opportunity to meet me and see the commitment to my education, employers or future companies I may be.
Continue to give power to HR Managers that are overwhelmed already as they throw resumes in the black hole sea never to be seen from again.
this article is pitiful and misguided. People are humans with a past. Take them for who they are, what they can bring to the company and the benefits the company can value from the new employee.
Once again, HR has a huge turn over in itself...
"mirror mirror on the wall"

Tamika 01/10/2014 09:36 am

Not every job is the right fit for the employee or the employer. Judging someone so harshly based solely on numbers is such an old school way of recruiting. Get a new HR department if they cannot take the time to speak with candidates to learn more about them, what they may bring to the table. Who knows...those five jobs they had previously may bring amazing skills to the new employer that could only be of benefit!
Thing forward!

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