Why I STILL Don't Like Job Hoppers

This post is part of the BlogSwap.

Hi all, my name is Beth N. Carvin. I am the CEO and President for Nobscot Corporation, the developers of WebExit exit interview management software. I’ve worked in the recruiting and/or human resources field for more than 15 years. When I was involved in recruiting, I didn’t much like job hoppers. Now that I’m involved in employee retention, I still don’t like job hoppers. Today I’d like to share with you why.

Why I STILL Don’t Like Job Hoppers

1) If an applicant worked for less than a year at his last 3 jobs, why should I think he will stay at my company any longer?

2) The cost spent on an employee is considerably higher in the first year then in subsequent years. If the employee leaves in the first year, I have not recouped my investment.

3) It doesn’t matter how great an employee is, even the best ones don’t start truly contributing until they have been with the company for at least 6 months. For most employees it usually takes 18 months.

4) The best employees become heavily involved with important projects and/or have strong client relationships. When they leave it creates a huge crisis. It’s too risky to have a job hopper working on anything important.

5) Job hoppers are generally weak of character. They have little sense of responsibility and commitment. They are more focused on themselves than on the people and things around them. They jump ship at the smallest irritation or when the company across the street offers them a few extra pennies. The best employees are responsible by nature. They are more outwardly focused. They care about the company, their co-workers and clients. A responsible-minded employee will contribute at least 150% more in productivity than an employee who cares only about himself.

6) It’s a pain in the ass to refill positions. If you are an employee, find yourself a good company and stay with them long term. Even if it’s a mediocre company, do the best job you can and show your future employers that you’ll do what it takes to be successful.

If you are an HR guy, it’s your job to carefully weed out job hoppers. When you interview, make sure you understand each applicant’s reasons for leaving for each of his or her positions. If the reasons were not the applicant’s fault or if the applicant happened to work for some unusually horrible companies then take that into consideration. Otherwise, if the applicant is a job hopper in the true sense of the word, stay far away. Your company will thank you.

For more quick tips on hiring, see Carvin’s Rules for Hiring the Best.

Copyright 2006 B. N. Carvin


  1. Great comments….but to play Devil’s Advocate, Corporate America isn’t exactly loyal to the employee either. It seems that these days it’s every person for themselves.

  2. Taryn,

    That really depends on where you work. As HR guys we have a great opportunity to make changes fast. The challenge is getting senior management to support your vision. I think the employer isn’t to blaim for the conditioning of an employee into thinking just for themselves. Tyrell Owens was “let go” from the Eagles because he wasn’t a team player and he didn’t sync with the team’s vision. I bet no matter who he plays for that team will have the same problem, his selfish attitude.

  3. I have been in my current position 2yrs but am seriously looking – last job 4 years and previous jobs around 3 yrs… would you consider me a jobhopper?

  4. Jim,

    Sometimes people just don’t know what. Do you want a career? Do you just want a job? What do you want to do? I can tell you, if you don’t have any direction, you’re a job hopper.

  5. I think you make some valid points. But how do you explain on a resume legitimate reasons for being a “job hopper”? Since I actually get punished for being “an accidental job hopper”.
    Here is my chronology –
    I left a company after 5 years to be closer to my family. I went to small company that was promptly acquired by a massive multi-national and the new company changed my role completely, so I left. I went to a telecom company, was there for a year, until I got laid along off with 80% of the company after the tech bubble crash. I went to another technology company and was laid off again due tech slow-down.
    I went to another company, stayed 1 year, but they were so poorly mis-managed and they reneged on some promises (I wanted less travel instead of 80%, originally called for 25% travel). I left on principle.
    I have been an independant consultant since and want to join a company to continue my career but most employers don’t like the job history. I want a career,not a job.

  6. As a former HR person myself, I love this board!

    Nick G: Your point about Terrell Owens is duly noted. That is an obvious example of a problem employee that is a job hopper.

    However, Corporate America really doesn’t value its employees anymore. And, if they do, they are outside of the norm. That is a pattern that has been happening more and more. The more layoffs,cutting back and general lack of “we’re in this together” attitude, that Corp America dishes out, the more you are going to find job hoppers. And, rightfully so.

    Just my two cents.

  7. Mitch – based on your explanation I would not consider you a job hopper. Your five years at the initial company shows you are capable of stability in the right environment.

    And saying that it’s okay to be irresponsible because companies aren’t loyal to employees is just a cop out. That’s a generalization that has nothing to do with one’s own situation.

    People who give 110% in work and commitment without making excuses are the ones who are going to be successful both for themselves and for their companies.

  8. Question:

    My situation is very similar to Mitch’s. However, a resume doesn’t really give us the opportunity to explain these situations. How can we get to the employer when they simply look at the resume and make a false judgment because they don’t have the full information? With the job market being almost all online and resume, we don’t get a good chance to speak to an actual person… Either we look like job hoppers or we have gaps in employment that we have to explain (if we ever get the chance to speak with someone).

  9. Kim – If your skills and background fit the position an HR person will usually do a quick phone interview with you to determine if you are a job hopper or a person who had a run of bad luck.

    The difficulty comes in when you are competing against 20 other people who have equally good skills but also have stability. You need to make sure you highlight your skills and experience and the reasons you are such a good fit for the company in such a way that the HR guy can’t resist talking to you.

    Another thing you can do is ask some former bosses if they will write you letters of recommendation. Then make digital copies and include them with your resume. Nothing like a testimonial to how great you are to open an HR guy’s mind.

  10. I want a career and have been in the same career for over 10 yrs… just had some bad luck with bad companies… I don’t consider myself a ship jumper either… I’ve usually stuck it out longer than most of my peers.

  11. Companies need to pay competitive salaries. What happens when you work hard and are productive yet the only mechanism a company has to get any significant raise is to quit? Privately owned companies are the worst cuplrit. HR people are interested in making their job easier and looking good to management; good employee retention figures. This post should be an irritating post for any non-union employee.

  12. Wow. I wasn’t aware that HR types had it so easy that they could (and would) so casually discount an otherwise worthwhile potential hire, purely because they thought that person might be a “job hopper”.

    If you are that spoiled for choice in job applicants, it sounds like your job must be pretty easy. So easy, in fact, that a recent graduate would be able to do it for (at most) half your salary ;-). I can only hope that your are blessed with a steady stream of new hires who are as loyal as they are mediocre.

  13. Please…. Corporations don’t like capitalism. That is the bottom line. If you don’t believe me ask Adam Smith. If my supply is in demand then offer me more to stay. If you can’t that’s too bad for you. Markets work they way they work. Reading the posts on here from the HR people is like listing to people who have drunk the cool aid for too long.
    You know what I don’t like? I don’t like HR people who think I must join a cult they call a “team” to be a successful employee. I can be a team player and also look out for my own interests. You know why? Because I am very sure the company I work for will look out for their own interest. Team doesn’t mean zombie like devotion. If it does to you I will not work for you.

  14. Anyone who cares what anyone in the field of HR thinks of them is wasting valuable thoughts.

  15. You, the employee, should stay at a company no longer than it suits *you*. Absolutely never indulge in thoughts of *loyalty* — companies have zero loyalty to you, and will drop you without hesitation as soon as it is convenient for them.

    It is your duty, to yourself and to your profession, to exert market force. And that means changing jobs when you want (and probably often too). Look out for better offers, and take them when they show up. Companies (and hence HR) don’t want that because they want to keep your wages low. Don’t let them.

  16. It’s sad but not suprising to read the responses. You can kid yourself that you are adding value to a company merely by gracing them with your presence. The truth is, you are not.

    What makes you so special that someone should want to hire you?

    If you lack commitment you are useless for all of the reasons stated in the original post.

  17. What makes you so special that someone should want to hire you?

    Amen to you Beth for asking.

  18. I guess one thing to look at is quality vs. quantity. Circumstances happen and if you are given the opportunity to explain your situation then make sure you have a consice reason as to what happened and why. I know I don’t want to be hearing a long, drawn out sob story as to why your last 4 positions didn’t work out. However, I wouldn’t necessarily pass on a resume just because there was a lot of movement if there was a potential skills match. I would pass on the person after a phone screen if that gave me the insight as to why they job hopped so much. (As we know phone screens can tell us all that we need to know). Sometimes a good cover letter will help you get noticed more (but don’t go into your career soliloquy on the cover letter). Find a reason for you to get hired over the next person and know the answer to that before you walk into the interview.

  19. “What makes you so special that someone should want to hire you?”

    If that is the case then pay the lowest wage you can and see who will work for you. Your attitude is telling. What makes me special is the company down the road will pay me more than you to have me. I guess they think I am special.
    My experience, abilities and knowledge and work ethic is what makes me special. Tell your CEO that he isn’t special and that he must give up his golden parachute. I would love to see how long you have a job.

  20. I used to work with the pettiest employee ever. He came on board and refused to tell anyone how to do anything. These were his closely held secrets with which we would take his job it seemed. He was only with the company for 9 months. It seems his MO is to get a job just long enough to get a raise at another company.

    His selfish motivations do highlight a problem with most companies. They don’t give raises that reflect their employees worth in the open market and they don’t give them frequently enough. If I get a 5% raise this year, but I could have gotten that same 5% by leaving for another company 4 months ago, why should I stay? Leaving 4 months early is like getting a $1,500 sign-on bonus.

    A twice annual review and raise would help this situation considerably.

    This would eliminate the most legitimate excuse for job-hopping leaving people who mainly are attempting to hide their incompetencies.

    Although plenty of companies pay market value for new hires, many don’t compensate existing employees adequately. That creates a nightmare for employee retention. I left one company with 5 other employees for just this reason.

  21. I agree with the folks who disagree with Nick G. The only thing your company
    hates more than its customers (“your call is important to us”) is its employees
    (“no personal e-mail, no news-surfing”). The suggestion to be loyal
    to a “mediocre” company is ridiculous. Most companies are not even interested
    in the reasons WHY you are leaving if you do. All this makes loyality to a
    company questionable at best. Nick Gs whining about how expensive it is to train
    people is just that – whining. Investing money is the essence of entrepreneurship,
    investing money WISELY is GOOD entrepreneurship. Most companies fail to invest
    wisely into their employees. Don’t train them, educate them. Don’t monitor them,
    coach them. Pay extra for extra hours — you are the entrepreneur who will reap in
    the benefits of things working out. If your employees to share the risk, share the
    profits as well. Most people take pride in good work if you let them, but most
    companies I worked for systematically eroded any good-natured enthusiasm for
    good results. There is hard science to support all this, but we are not civilized enough to
    actually capitalize on them.

    As an aside, I’m not impressed with this blog. It reads like just another piece
    of enterprise stool. Nick G. would make a good cameo for a dilbert-strip.

  22. Gross generalizations aren’t really incredibly useful, Cambridge.

    As an aside, it is hard to get a feeling for a blog when you’ve only read one entry. Especially one that isn’t by the usual author of the blog!

  23. I’m a bit late to the conversation, but I’ll throw in my 2 cents.

    I completely agree with Beth’s statements above. As an interviewer I will certainly delve deeper into a person’s work history if they jump around a lot. I’ll give them the opportunity to speak to the situations, but it is a warning flag in my opinion.

    With regards to the conversation about company’s owing employees and vice versa… I think we need to remember that it’s a 2 way street. If an employee does well and is devoted then the employer should give them raises/promotions equivalent to what Company XYZ down the street will hire them for. If the company doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, then I honestly don’t blame an employee for leaving. But let’s be honest here…doing that once, twice or three times might be necessary to find the right company, many more than that and I’ll start to wonder if the person is a job hopper.

    Nice post Beth!

  24. I think another noteworthy thing about Beth’s tediously self-righteous little rant is that her company produces/maintains/sells an “exit interview” analysis product – so the market for her product depends (at least indirectly) on the existence of so-called “job hoppers”. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that kind of ironic.

    She actually mentions this in her first paragraph, but doesn’t quite seem to grasp the implication. Anyway, I have a strong sense that this article was written, at least in part, for her company :).

  25. I liked that blog Pete. I definitely am fascinated by the hackers I’ve met when I used to work IT… including my mentor that turned down a DoD job to just landscape. But the fact that the Dept. of Defense pursued my landscaper friend means that job hoppers get recruited if they have the chops. Just like T-O will always have a paycheck because he is a star athlete despite the drama. He’s lost market value, but it’s something he can swallow.

    I think that Beth’s argument is kind of a rant, but the best hiring practice in regards to hoppers is a case by case basis. Optimize a method of managing risk, perceiving the employee’s projected performance vs. their “character” which really just amounts to the length of time your firm controls their frigging life. Why emotionalize it and refer to these people as lacking character? That’s a hard-line stance. Great successes only emerge by flaking on dead opportunities and miserable traps.

  26. On the other hand, a lot of HR people ONLY look at longevity and that is no guarantee of good work! There are many many instances of people staying at companies for years and accomplishing NOTHING. In fact, they don’t even do their own jobs very well and in many cases are downright incompetent, but, gosh,they come in every day and show up on time. Many HR people are not good in finding TALENT, they’re good in finding longevity. Which is more important if you had to choose?

  27. Beth, you should give all applicants an equal chance, especially if they have an education. I woudn’t accept your advice since you’ve only been in HR for 15 years. Maybe if you were the CEO of a reputable company and not some crappy dot com I would believe some of whatyou’re saying. HR is the most boring field of all occupations. I’d rather sit in a room and watch paint dry. I have friends who’ve changed jobs and quite honestly it took a couple jobs for them to find something that they really love. In my opinion job hopping raises a red flag but it’s not the end all be all for a decision on employment. You can choose to not like job hoppers but you can also go to hell.

  28. Taryn, I must agree with you on the fact corporate america doesnt care about their employees anymore. With the rate of pay most ppl are willing to pay…which is sometimes barely above minimum wage…its no wonder ppl job hop more.

    A man i knew (but didnt necessarily like) once said…”you pay someone say…$5.15 per hour, and give them lousy hours or even 40+ hours a week, you are only going to get no more than $5.15 per hour worth of Quality Product…”

    kinda scary these days seeing how many ppl in corporate america are only interested in giving you the least amount of hourly pay they can get away with….with no benefits sometimes too!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. I have created a blog of my own with my own problem with a tendency to job hop…it chronicles the day by day struggles of my plight to

    1. find a job that pays reasonably well
    2. find a job that gives minimum fulltime hours (40 hours)
    3. keep that job a minimum of one year plus…..

  30. What about those that are temp employees whiel looking for that permentant job. Why are they considered job-hoppers as well? Speaking from experience as a “temp” I have been with the same Temp agency for 8 years now. It has always afforded me the flexible schedule I needed will pursuing my college education. But I still find that Im labeled as a job-hopper? Why is that?

  31. I’m particularly intrigued by this conversation as what the poster would call as non-job hopper. But this:

    “Job hoppers are generally weak of character.” – It’s funny that you would even say this. It’s been repeated over and over here that corporate america as a whole doesn’t treat their employees well.

    So let’s think about this for a moment. I personally don’t like to place blame on a faceless entity. We know for a fact that Sprint will cancel customers that they consider troublesome, that Fry’s electronics employees are strongly encouraged to never take breaks, and that the retail industry leader Wal-Mart has been proven to supress wages.

    So why, good sir, would you say what you did? That the average worker is weak of charachter? Do you truly believe that there is an earned loyalty within these companies that will make people stay for multiple years? No? Why? Because they are retail, right? And in retail turnover will always be high.

    Well, what about aviation, technology, or manufacturing (trades of the highest order)? Where pilots, mechanics, and general staff are constantly on the chopping block for profits, or where IT megacompanies are outsourcing to India, or could it be when GM won’t negotiate with it’s laborers? I guess that would be because these skilled people want a fair wage for their work, right?

    Ah, whatever. Weed em out man. It doesn’t matter. You see, the truth is that this is capitalism at it’s finest. But (not to be rude), I can’t really see why anyone would expect something outside of this from an HR representative. After all, it’s sorta like tenure in college. Find a place, and stay there until you die.

    We are not all like you, and job jumping may mean something… but then again it may not.

  32. Freakin’ judgmental bitch. Life happens, and employees don’t owe corporations anything but the work they do. Next!

  33. I’ve endured working for a super bitch for a year and I’m about to hop the hell out of there. 2008 will be great!

  34. You gotta love these HR folks. I laughed so hard that I nearly dropped a bowel. I’ve worked in Corp Finance for 10 years and I had two middle Mgt level roles that lasted about 2 years each. I worked my tail off and received a promotion at each location. However, my job was eliminated due to an acquisition at one company and a restructuring/office closure at another. Did these companies care about me? Nope. It’s a “dog eat dog world” out there. I actually had a VP of HR tell me that it’s not about what I’ve done in the past or how hard I worked for them. It’s only about what I can do for them now. That’s right folks. That came from a VP of Human Resources. So, do what’s best for you and remember that a ton of baby boomers are going to retire soon (if they can afford it). So, these HR losers are going to be begging people to take their positions. White collar professionals should get ready and start a union.

  35. Thanks Joe. I always enjoy comments like yours about unionization because unions are typically reserved for people who are losing rights, pay and privileges, not gaining them hand over fist. Baby boomers leaving will leave a hole (but not as big as people think) and compensation will be adjusted with the competitive environment.

  36. I think Beth makes some good points about job hoppers, and I can see the risk they propose to a prospective employer. But let’s not feed them to the wolves either – even those who’ve made bad choices still need to feed their families.

    But what do you HR folks suggest to a reformed job hopper who is trying to turn over a new leaf? I hear a lot of people saying what amounts to spinning or justifying their short tenures at companies – essentially what you seem to be saying is that as long as they can make it sound good, you’re willing to look the other way.

    Wouldn’t the process be best served with a little more honesty? It surprises me that HR people run their “business” this way, then want to complain about job hoppers and lack of loyalty. Don’t you get what you put out there?

  37. The Job Hopper Chick

    April 16, 2008 at 7:07 am

    I am job hopper and here’s my $2 worth (adjusted for inflation).
    There is a difference between a job and a career. I am not of the the ‘corporate’ world and my skills and abilities are considered rather low on the totem pole. Coincidentally, I always qualify for a ‘job’ but not anything I would want as a long term ‘career.’. I have taken several ‘jobs’ just to be able to make ends meet and pay bills. They include fast food, home health, stores like Big Lots and walmart. They are easy too get and will take practically all manner of employees. Those jobs on the higher scale – with more money and benefits, are much harder to get and look in areas of employment backgrounds that the other jobs don’t care about. They have a much more strict screening process. I guess that’s warranted (maybe) – but for someone like me I’d like to start a career and not just find a job. My dedication and loyalty to any job would be one that offers what I want and need – stability, money, advancement, benefits, etc. Few of the jobs I’ve had offer that.

    HR ‘professionals’ are white collar positions. You really have little say or understanding from the lower class, low skilled blue collar (or no collar) standpoint.

  38. “They jump ship at the smallest irritation or when the company across the street offers them a few extra pennies.”

    No offense, but are you still living in the 1950’s? You know, back when the perpetual myth about a company actually caring about their employees existed? A time when the “work ethic” was perpetuated to employees by the same organizations who themselves did not practice what they preached. You stated that they jump ship when a competitor offers them a few extra pennies. What you neglected to mention is that employers would not hesitate to fire their most loyal and dedicated employees if it meant the company will save a few pennies. I don’t hold it against them. Organizations are looking out for THEIR OWN best interest, why shouldn’t the employees.

    And as far as loyalty, dedication, being part of a family, etc. It is a lie. People say that at work and at job interviews to get the job so that they can feed their family (you know, their REAL family), the only people that employees should truly be loyal and dedicated to. Pay your employees well (competitively well), treat them well and give them incentives (I’m not talking about stupid hallmark cards either), and maybe they won’t jump ship. If they have a better opportunity for themselves elsewhere, they will jump. And they should.

  39. The Job Hopper Chick 2

    May 21, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Just to piggyback on what “The Job Hopper Chick” noted,

    It’s a reality that nowadays in this competitive, corporate world, that it’s not easy to find a career, finding a job is much easier. But who just wants a job?

    Hypothetically speaking, when you are in the job market, on average, it could take a job seeker weeks and most of the time months to find employment. Keep in mind that just because you are in the job market looking for work does not mean your bills have stopped coming. So it’s highly likely, that a jobseeker will take the first job offer, be it a temporary assignment, or a “job” that they clearly do not prefer, but because that is the only company willing to hire them, it’s logical to take something until a better opportunity surfaces. It may sound unethical in one instance, but in alot of people’s lives, it’ about survival. Nobody wants to be a job hopper because most people know the difficulties that come with it.

    I say if you haven’t walked a mile or many in my shoes, please don’t judge me. Truthfully, the job market is like a maze and your running through it with a blind fold, never knowing where you’ll end up, but just knowing that at some point you have to take any job if all else fails and that’s why it’s difficult to for many people to stay in a chosen field because nowadays if you don’t deviate from what you already know, you’ll sink. I had to deviate many times from my chosen career field because no one would give me a chance, but when I was given the chance to explain my background, they always wanted to know why I didn’t have the same job title, and how do you explain that you had to take something just to pay the bills and sound tactful.

  40. Two of my past jobs ended after two years, and my quitting was proof I have strong character.

    In the first job, I endured extensive verbal abuse from a crazy, crazy woman. She would tell me about aspects of her personal life that made me extremely unfomfortable. Once when we were at a benefit dinner, she came over to where I was seated and screamed at me in front of hundreds of people, then left me stranded at the venue, in a an unfamiliar city. *She also once picked her nose and wiped it on my notebook.*

    In the second job, I was sexually harrassed by a boss who eventually had to go on hiatus from the company so he could seek psychiatric care. I told the prez of the company if that boss was rehired, I was walking out the door. The prez chose to rehire that boss, even though he had *claimed to be Jesus Christ,* and had hid in one of the cleaning closets after being initially banned from the premisis until he saw a shrink. I quit that job because I wasn’t going to let some jerk president repeatedly put me in an uncomfortable situation.

    I think that shows strong character.

  41. Background: I am a labor lawyer who is THRILLED by HR Guy’s comments. As Gen Y dominates the workforce, they will face a brick wall from management (e.g. HR Guy) regarding work-life balance, mentoring, etc.

    Gen Y will get mad and leave their job.

    So What? Well, why not file a lawsuit and get $50 to $100K out of the company that treats you like dirt. Most young people are not only changing jobs but – this key – also industries. I predict Gen Y will be an untapped market for employment related lawsuits.


    I am a young buck with an overbearing middle manager who barks commands at me all day. After 9 months I had enough – I am going to move back home, apply for the Peace Corp and go to Zimbabwe.

    The manager I hate is ill-trained and one day makes an off-colored joke about women – BAM! EEOC complaint. But, like most EEOC complaints this one will not come to fruition. However, I now have this poor, ill-trained, arrogant, middle manager in a trap. He’s mad at me, and starts treating me worse and worse. I document and document until a retaliation suite comes to fruition. The company, fearful of elongated litigation, settles for $50K. I get $20,000 after legal costs, my lawyer’s cut, taxes.

    Outcome: I’m happily in Zimbabwe with a nice chunk of change in my bank account.

    Thanks HR Guy for creating an ocean of future clients and future settlements.

  42. If a blogger posts an article without a disclaimer stating it does not necessarily represent the views of the blogger, than one could REASONABLY assume it may represent his or her views.

    Your analysis is exactly why my job is so easy – poor on details, HR Guy.

  43. Says the lawyer that missed the first two lines and over 40 comments that stated it wasn’t my post. Why would you automatically assume that I agree with everything on my site? I allow your comments after all.

    So stop talking about disclaimers when you wouldn’t have even read it. You came in with an agenda and made a fool of yourself.

  44. I think you are mistaken. Nobody is saying you authored the post. I just merely pointed out that a reasonable person reading this particular article on your blog may come to the conclusion that you agreed to the posting in question that you put on this site – not that you authored the post. Why?

    (i) There is nothing before or after the posting from you stating you disagree.
    (ii) The general tone of your blog entries do not differ from this post.
    (iii) No disclaimer stating this may not represent your opinions exists. Alternatively, no disclaimer exists stating this post is for discussion purposes only.

    This would similar to me putting a sign promoting a political candidate outside my house and, after all things are considered, denying I support the candidate. It is just not logical.

  45. I agreed to post it. It is CLEAR it is written by someone else. And actually, you said I authored the post in your first comment. If you (or anybody else) assumes I agree with something because it is on this site, that isn’t my issue. My blog is about discussing career issues and it isn’t exact science.

    In responding to your points:

    (i) – It’s not my posting.
    (ii) – Several days later, I responded and made it fairly clear (both in posts and comments) which end of the spectrum I stood. You obviously don’t know the tone of my blog very well.
    (iii) – I don’t do disclaimers like that, I think people can read and not assume (and as you can see, almost all commenters responded to Beth). Blogs are for discussion so I wouldn’t ever put such a silly disclaimer.

    Your analogy is broken. This is like me holding a political debate in my house and you can’t tell the difference between me inviting Rush Limbaugh to have a voice in my house debate versus endorsing his message and instead of saying you made a mistake, you continue to throw stones blaming me for your misinterpretation (without ever admitting you screwed up in the first place in assigning credit of the post to me).

    I haven’t even brought up the fact that this post is almost two years old. I’ve said lots of stupid things that I take credit for but I’ll certainly not take credit for something dumb that was said by somebody else two years ago.

  46. It is your posting, since it is your blog. Even if you did not post the author’s article yourself you assume partial ownership as a blog administrator.

    Also, the link for your response in (ii) clearly states you are playing devil’s advocate. Therefore, a reasonable person could not assume this represents your view OR your presentation of an opposing argument.

    Also, if you are vocal about your conservative leanings for years, invite Rush Limbaugh into your house “debate” with the intent of bias, and present a straw man arguement (e.g. your devil’s advocate arguement) to enhance Limbaugh’s position than I would argue a reasonable person may believe that you agree with him.

    Nice try – maybe you should go back to your HR cubicle and push some more paper.

  47. IBM destroyed the idea of “employment for life” in 1992. Since then, employees (generally speaking) have begun to place more and more emphasis on personal incentives. The role of a good company is to align company incentives with individual incentives. That creates the ‘team’ environment, or the common goal that allows for efficiencies and acheivement. How is HR suited to glean behavioral patterns from a resume? Sociologists and psychologists would struggle with such a task. HR is performed poorly in too many companies. HR should add value in employee retention, not employee attraction – that is the role of sub-unit making the hire. It is within reason to project the corporate human resource function to be obsolete within 20 years. Most analysis yields value destruction from this corporate function.

  48. An obvious problem with judging job hoppers as having “weak character” is that you weed out the actual outliers who really DO learn faster than other people. In some situations, I’ve been that person; in other situations, I’ve worked with or hired that person.

  49. I am a job hopper! I am 52 years old and now cannot find a job. It has caught up with me. Although I have not put ALL the jobs I’ve ever had on my resume, they know. With the technology out there to track someone’s employment history, they know. I would probably need about 3 pages to list all the jobs I’ve had since age 18. I truly REGRET my work history and advise anyone – once they find a job, stick to it and make it work. I am the only one to blame and have now burned those bridges/shot myself in the foot. AND, now that I am 52 years old, who’s going to hire me knowing that in about 10 years, I will probably want to retire/stay home. Hopefully, some young person will read this and not make the same mistakes I did.

  50. No HR = PEO + Happy Employee

    May 5, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Maybe if you were an employee who experienced racial harassment twice, sexual harassment three times, denial of a raise that was already put in writing, verbal insults and harassment from your HR department because your educational level exceeded that of any HR employee, micromanagement, insults, denial of performance reviews and had your job sold off to another company twice, you would consider hopping. Corporate America has no respect for an employee and definitely not a minority one. If you spent the last decade being treated like dirt, you might want to work somewhere else. I find that HR employees are self-aggrandized, arrogant, undereducated and power hungry. Every problem can be seen as a two way street and every coin has two sides. If HR employees spent less time racially screening applicants, insulting people, playing catty games (especially when a female is hiring a female) sending rude emails as a reply to a simple resume and actually achieved something academically, they might have a better attitude and attract better applicants. I don’t believe in sticking to a place that treats you like garbage just to prove you have resume longevity. Funny…people wonder why so many Americans die of stress related illnesses. My health suffered enough at the hands of the incompetent people who are promoted for psuedo-loyalty over intelligence and innovation. Not interested. Sorry, after a decade of war, the plight of the HR worker falls on deaf ears in this case. Also consider that the college educated bunch under 35 is not going to have one job on their resume since age 18. That is really immature to think so. The workforce has changed any true expert in the field would attest to that.

  51. True that. Employees wouldn’t jump ship so easily if they weren’t often treating like disposable units of labor in the first place.

    Sorry I’m not grovelling to work my whole life at a company just to make the CEO/investors rich while I try to feed mouths and keep a roof over my head.

  52. I’ve worked for some of the biggest companies out there for longer then 3 years. I’ve witnessed attrition rates in those corporations larger then 100% in 6 months. When that happens there is usually a good reason why people leave. And its nothing to do with the fact that they are job hopping. I’ve witnessed supervisors harass employees after 2 years just because they they want them to leave so that the company can recoup their pension contributions. I’ve witnessed HR managers promote people just because they hang out in the smokers pit. I’ve witnessed supervisors get fired because they had a box fall on them at work and ended up going on workers comp. So I don’t blame the job hoppers because they are looking for the best deal they can get given the really crummy circumstances. Don’t judge people without getting to know them. You may be passing up really good people who will help your company get ahead.

  53. A human beings purpose is not to be a good investment. Nor is it meant to be any investment. I am not here to make any company better, if the company does not offer me something i want then why should i be there? Do you think I dream about the frustrations of working to make others rich in delight?

    Praise the job hopper.

  54. Well thought-out points and responses. I’ve found that it’s up to every company to decide what type of employee it is looking for. I’ve worked with successful companies that don’t mind job hoppers because they value the core knowledge of the individual regardless of longevity on the job. Other companies are looking for steady employees.

    I’ve noticed that companies that value the core skills and talents of their employees and help them grow and feel valued really don’t need to worry as much about retention. A company dedicated to the growth and support of their employees can even turn a job hopper into a long-termer. Retention is frequently about how fulfilled people feel on the job.



  55. I don’t see the point of having an HR department, seriously, there are companies that outsource their work and do a much better job. I find it so funny when I see an HR Manager or Director with just a person working under them, they are all idiots. Let me tell you something about job hoppers as somebody that has worked in the same company for 5 years, I was patient waiting for a promotion or a good raise, and while I waited without receiving anything, the executives got promoted up to 3 times within 5 months, I know every higher level they were offered came with a good pay increase, yet the little guys get nothing for one or two years and then they get a miserable 3% or a $1/hr increase after all their hard work. I saw over 40% of the company leave, of course they were the people with the lower level jobs, and they lasted maybe 3 months, I am sure they are doing better, sometimes you have to hop a couple times before making it happen, and I know that this HR person that wrote this article recruits plenty of job hoppers because he is an idiot that doesn’t know how to screen a career minded person, he is just looking forward to kissing the CEO’s ass and hire somebody to join them in disgust.

  56. Hey HR Moron, I forgot to mention that if you want to retain an employee then you should offer them what the executives get like a bonus regardless if they quit a few weeks after being hired, or a couple million dollars even if the company stocks go down, that should keep them working don’t you think jackass.

  57. Lance, you are the kind of people who think they are too smart for the rest for us. Some people have slavery in their genes and maybe thats just your kind of people. People who would smile at every abuse, every mundane task, every discrimination. People who would bend over backwards and let you have fun. Stop being a moron and think abotu this .. If an employee is HAPPY.. Why would he leave? or if thats too much for your peanut size brain to grasp.. Why should a person stay at a job thats making him miserable? Why should a person work 65 hours and get paid for 40, and still ramain bent over? Go buy some lube and relieve yourself.

  58. Wow, some great responses on here, I’m quite impressed.

    Perhaps someone has been job-hopping because they have not found a position they truly enjoy working at. And you’re going to punish them by not giving them a chance at your company? What a load of BS. I’m 23 and have been through countless jobs since before high school even, none lasting over a year. And why not? I’m young, I’m a smart guy, and I’m willing to work hard, I just haven’t found the right fit for me.

    HR people, take heed: Think twice before you toss that resume because the applicant has been “job-hopping” you might be throwing away a winner.

  59. I fit the job hopper profile and I don’t feel good about it. I’ve had 8 jobs in 15 years. I’m not so proud about that but I keep putting my self in positions that aren’t truly suited to me. My consistent mistakes are in taking jobs more the money with little regard for their proximity to the geographic centers of my life, family, friends, and hobbies, and taking positions that don’t truly fit my personality such as outgoing roles in sales. The author of this post is on the mark in his assessment I’d say. However, as some of the comment demonstrate, there are external factors that can force the job hopper profile on you, such as racism. But in general, if you do as good a job of interviewing the company as they do in interviewing you and do critical self assessments about what roles suit you, you might end up with a couple of short tenures at jobs but in general you shouldn’t end up labeled a job hopper. That being said, I look at this as much more of a personal problem than a professional problem because I have never had a problem finding a new job. I have a working theory that if you follow one simple rule, never quit a job before you have formally accepted another job offer, job hopping is a self correcting problem.

  60. Yep, overt greed and exploitation are no way to retain workers. You’d think the university educated would understand this, the smartest employer I worked for was for a construction company, he ruled with an iron fist but at the same time was willing to help out his employees and made them feel human..

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