Job-hopping: is it that bad?
Back in May 2021, I faced an impasse. After only 7 months in as an HR manager in a start-up, I realized the company’s expectations for my role were now completely different than they were in the beggining.
I had been hired to set up the whole human resources department, including the hiring processes, internal communication guidelines, and performance assessments. Nevertheless, I was then being asked to focus solely on acting as a recruiter. I went from overseeing different strategies for onboarding, employee well-being, and leading a team to only conducting interviews (and the more, the better).
The frustration after such an expectation clash led me to feel disappointed, and I was simply not motivated at all to do my job. All my previous hard work seemed to have flown out the window.
At the same time, I got an offer from a fully remote company, to work with an international team. It seemed great. However, I was concerned with the effect that another job switch in less than a year would have on my résumé.
Are several job switches in a year bad?
I ended up choosing mental health and career focus over role stability, and I took the chance to switch for the second time in a year.
I was convinced it could be a red flag for anyone reading my résumé in the future. After all, that’s what I was taught: job hoppers would present more signs of interpersonal conflict or inadaptability to change.
However, working in an international framework opened my eyes for emerging themes in human resources, including how job-hopping can be viewed in different perspectives.
I recently asked my LinkedIn network what they would think of a candidate who had switched jobs more than once in a year. The replies made it clear: job-hopping is no longer a red flag per se.
Most people who responded to my inquiry highlighted that it’s hard to make assumptions without getting to know the person, and that it’s important to look for the why behind the job switching (especially considering we’re in a competitive job market).
Here are some aspects we can consider:
- Remote work is now a global trend, especially after the constraints brought by Covid-19. Some companies are still insisting in a return to the office, with a majority of their workforce preferring to stay fully remote.
- Covid-19 was responsible for the crash of several industries (hospitality, for example). Unemployment gaps or job switches in people’s résumés can be directly linked to the pandemic’s effects.
- Being a parent is, for a lot of people, the dream of a lifetime. It’s not uncommon to meet people who chose to take a leave from work (or working only in part-time roles) to dedicate themselves to raising their children.
- Taking care of vulnerable or sick family members can also weigh heavily on someone’s decision to take a temporary leave from work.
- Their current role wasn’t a fit. As much as we try and assess our fit with a company (researching their values, listening carefully to everyone involved in the hiring process, identifying ourselves with the requirements and tasks, etc.), there are certain things we cannot predict. The role requirements or tasks can change, and there can be a shift in the company’s culture for some reason.
But isn’t role stability important?
It’s important for us to explore the context we’re working in, establishing interpersonal relationships, and exploring learning opportunities. This takes time.
The timing for a job switch depends on what each of us value the most. We can value stability, but still feel frustrated with expectations or culture shifitng drastically, because we also deeply value coherence and a specific work environment.
Are you scared to switch jobs because you’re afraid of how it would look like in your resumé?
Focus on your why. Why you’re looking for a change should be your main drive. This should be clear, as it is what recruiters will be looking to assess.
Most companies out there want to hire comitted professionals. The good news: most recruiters look past résumé gaps and hops, and focus on what truly motivates you!
What do you think about job-hopping?