How to Avoid Hiring a Job Hopper

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By: BrightMove Recruiting Software

Today, the average employee stays at his job for 4.4 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You are in the recruiting business to find and fill permanent positions for employees and employers. Employers are looking for a candidate who is dedicated to his craft and has long-term growth potential. Employees, in turn, want employers with robust care packages such as 401Ks, ample benefits for themselves and their family, and a clear path to promotions.

A job hopper is an employee who is dissatisfied with their job, whether it is because he doesn’t like the field he is in, the salary he is given, or the position he took. Most job hoppers don’t know exactly what they want to do as a profession, and it’s this indecision that can cause companies to lose money by hiring the wrong person. Employers who hire job hoppers waste valuable time and resources training and investing in their employee.

Job hoppers play the field so to speak, dabbling in this position and that industry until they eventually discover where they want to belong. Obviously, a lot of job hoppers are younger in age with less experience and knowledge about their career path, but older candidates can also face the same dilemma.

According to, one third of Americans who start a new job end up leaving in less than a year. Furthermore, the average American changes 11 jobs by the age of 46.

How do you spot a job hopper? The most obvious way is to scrutinize his resume. How long has he worked at previous jobs? For jobs listed that indicate less than a year, ask why he left? Has the candidate held any jobs that have lasted over four years?  Longer employment periods indicate longevity and loyalty. Shorter employment periods indicate instability and indecision.

It’s your job as a recruiter to ask essential questions to avoid hiring a job hopper, such as:

1)    Do you like this industry? Why?

2)    Do you like working as an [x]? Why do you like working in this position?

3)    If you could do anything you wanted for a living, and salary wasn’t a factor, would you still work in this field?

4)    Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

5)    How do you see yourself growing with the organization?

Some of the best hiring can be accomplished by hiring within because employees have already proven themselves to their employers. However, recruiters will continue to be essential to organizations that need fresh minds and new talent. Armed with proper knowledge, recruiters can satisfy an organization’s hiring needs while properly weeding out the chronic job hoppers.



  1. Keith Halperin on November 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    There is no evidence that those who work for short periods perform worse than those who remain longer. (If you have any studies to the contrary, let me know.) If you want someone to stay a long time, have them sign a multi-year, guaranteed-raise, no-lay-off-without-cause employment contract. Otherwise: Loyalty= Cashflow….


  2. Rachelle Lewis on November 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    This does not apply to certain areas of work. For instance, in animation and visual effects 99% of the jobs are PRODUCTION driven and therefore only a very few Senior artists stay at a studio (Dreamworks, ILM, etc) for more than a few years. If you are recruiting for an area you do not have expertise in, find someone who does have that expertise as a recruiter before you jump to the conclusion (no pun intended) that all people with numerous jobs are hoppers.

  3. James May on November 15, 2012 at 1:40 am

    “Most job hoppers don’t know exactly what they want to do as a profession, and it’s this indecision that can cause companies to lose money by hiring the wrong person. Employers who hire job hoppers waste valuable time and resources training and investing in their employee.”

    Or these companies waste the employees time by over promising and under delivering, and generally not being very good at what they do. I’ve seen hundreds of people stuck at their job and they deceive themselves thinking they are loyal and good employees…

    I now make about 6 times what I earned when I started working 10 years ago, and well respected and very satisfied with my position and have room to learn and grow, looking at my resume you would label me a job hopper, while I would label myself someone who is extremely motivated and very able to over deliver results.

    Take of your blinders.

  4. Rustem Safin on November 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Yeah sure, but the companies are doing the same thing by offering more contract jobs.

  5. Dave on January 25, 2013 at 4:34 am

    The lower paying jobs usually have more unprofessional nonsense happening in the workplace, and people leave instead of make a scene.
    A lot of illegal and unethical business practices.

    People without a college education are limited to where they may work and are expected to put up with things that aren’t bearable to other people.

  6. sachin on January 27, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Today’s world is not about staying in organizations for ages and getting a wristwatch / company wall clock as a gift for long service after so many years…!!!

    People who are in great demand and highly technical have great chances to exploit the hiring situations…then why be short satisfied…

    While laying off, do companies think about loyalty n other good things of employee??? I think the answer is No…and they just think plain business…

    So simply, Pay better, give good facilities and people will work for you…otherwise will switch to those who r better employers…!!!

  7. Bre on April 8, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    There is confusion as to what job hopping really is. Due to layoffs and this economy, if a person maintains being employed that should show their worth right off the bat. Hasn’t anyone every had a job where they realized it was a mistake? Whoops! Well guess what? That’s becoming more common these days. I guarantee you job hoppers are people who have been unemployed at some point and fear not having a job again. Why is this? Because when they had no job and they applied for jobs they got discriminated against for not having a job to begin with! So, what are they supposed to do? Job or no job? Hmmm…. Let me think about this one…. I think a person with half a brain in their head would take the JOB. Hence, they get labeled a “job hopper”. Nice. Another stigma for job seekers. Job hoppers do know what they want.

  8. Roc on December 10, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I consider myself a professional manager. I have managed as CEO, Director and or District / Regional Operations Manager in 5 totally different industries and created / owned 2 unrelated businesses. My skill is management with the ability to learn an operation quickly. This does not make me, by any stretch, a job hopper by not staying in one field or industry.

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