How to Spot a Job Hopper (Before It Is Too Late)

In today’s fast-changing economic environment, a certain amount of job mobility can be expected from any candidate.  Professionals switch employers and positions as they climb the career ladder and weather economic storms.  With mobility as the “new normal,” how can you tell when a candidate has taken advantage of the opportunities presented – and when that candidate is a chronic “job hopper”?

Why Avoid Job-Hopping Candidates?

While both highly mobile and job-hopping candidates may have resumes that span many different companies and positions, these two candidates switch employers for different reasons.  The highly mobile candidate switches to take advantage of new opportunities or to develop new skills.

The job hopper, on the other hand, has developed a bad habit: He switches on a whim, or out of “boredom,” or because the job hopper is chronically poor at assessing whether or not an employer offers the right “fit.”

These two candidates can look similar on paper.  So how do you tell them apart?

How to Tell If Your Candidate Is a Job Hopper

Here’s how to spot the job hopper:

  1. Their stay in more than one position is less than a year. One short tenure in a non-contract or non-temporary position indicates a mistake made and a lesson learned. Several in a row, however, indicate a tendency to jump ship – sometimes, before onboarding has even ended.
  2. The candidate doesn’t “trade up” when they change jobs. Mobile candidates making smart moves will gain more prestigious job titles or greater responsibilities with each move. A job-hopping candidate, however, will switch among several jobs with the same or similar titles.
  3. Their resume contains suspicious gaps, or only lists years of employment. There’s no better way to hide the fact that you only worked from December 2012 to February 2013 than by listing the job as “2012-2013,” and the job hopper knows it. Also, watch for unexplained gaps that might signal a job left off the resume.
  4. Their explanations for these gaps are poorly thought out or they spread blame. Having no explanation at all is a major red flag that your candidate is a job hopper. But a red flag of equal magnitude is the candidate who blames every job switch on someone else’s personal faults: “The boss was a jerk,” “my co-workers didn’t know what they were doing,” etc.

At Marquee Staffing, our experienced recruiters can help you find quality candidates in less time – and weed out chronic job hoppers.  Contact us today to learn more.