The Effects of Job Hopping

Melissa Henderson December 27, 2017

Have wondered why the search for your next executive level role is taking so long? Have you honestly assessed the trajectory of your career and many of the associated decisions you made about the roles you have taken, whether by your own decision or out of your own control? While one might think this dilemma is reserved for those who are earlier in their careers, it is not and it is at all levels. These rapid changes in jobs or roles does have a direct impact on the attractiveness of your credentials. There is no question that there are serious effects from job hopping.

At any level role and in a market that is already incredibly competitive amongst talent, it is never the right time or reason to rapidly change from job to job or role to role. As someone who has personally represented CSuite executives over the last eight years, I have seen firsthand what inhibits succession to the executive’s next role. The number one objection by hiring executives is whether the candidate is currently in their role or in transitions (aka – out of a job). No question, job longevity is critical.

How Long is Long Enough

Many professionals and hiring executives believe that it takes 18 months for an individual to be effective or consciously competent in their role. In more complex roles it can take at least that, if not two years, to demonstrate a true impact on results and outcomes. In my opinion, you must stay in your role for approximately three years before moving on to the next. Close to 50% of hiring executives believe that you should stay in your current role for at least five years before looking for your next role. Regardless, the sudden job movement begs question about your ability to “stick with it” and really drive true, measurable results. Other concerns that can arise include loyalty, cluttered credentials, spotty employment record and lack of professionalism.

What If You Can’t Take Another Day

I know many of us have accepted positions for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we will find serious concerns about an organization that were not apparent during the interview process, but are crystal clear now that you are in your new role. The bottom line is that you must stick with, not quit and hang in there until you find your next role. Hiring executives, recruiters and other influencers in the hiring process will not take the time to hear your story beyond the brief dates that sit on your resume. Why? … because they don’t have to. The other candidate will still be in their role, thereby less questions about their longevity and less for the hiring executive to try to understand. You must persevere, get a solid plan together and execute on finding your next role while you are in your role. It is not easy to do while in a full-time job, but it is necessary.

What If Is Out of Your Control?

There are a variety of circumstances and events that are out of your control and will unfortunately put you in transition such as an acquisition, merger, sale, consolidation, right-sizing to mention a few. The key to surviving this very stressful time is to take control and start on your search as soon as you suspect something and have been abruptly told of a change. It is not the time to sit back, lighten the load or take a break. Time is of the essence. The less of a gap in time between your transition, the less questions or suspicions you will raise.

There Are Positives

Most hiring executives or recruiters who are in tune with the economy and globalization do realize that extremely long job tenure is more so a rarity. It is important to note that job hopping is not always by choice. In fact, close to 55% of employers have hired a job hopper. There are benefits of changing roles, such as gaining more or different experience, exposure to other businesses, the opportunity to build and evolve a more powerful network. More than often, it is a network and not a resume that gets you the next role. Other benefits include the opportunity to more rapidly raise your title and even your compensation. Most of us who are ambitious about their careers desire that perfect role. The orchestration of timing is the key to the right fit and great career longevity.

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