Job Hopping – Boon or Bane a Critical Analysis

Changing jobs frequently, within a fixed duration is termed as ‘Job Hopping’. The duration in each job is considered relevant to the sector and the role. At certain jobs, such as BPO, six to eighteen months is a short span. Whereas in manufacturing, even three years can be termed as the same. This may happen due to several reasons. The generalization may not justify the diverse grounds. It may be structural, systematic and individual initiated. The decision to change job is crucial and may blur boundaries. Let’s consider each area to understand what brings it up. The trigger to change jobs depends on the following areas:

Individual initiated: At certain time, due to a misfit between what an individual wants and what is required by the environment, an individual may change jobs. There are several factors which leads an individual to take a call.

  • Professional: Every professional expects a certain degree of growth in a role. If the current situation doesn’t offer what was expected, it leads to a job change. Though, promotion may not always be the reason greater learning through newer challenges may lead to the clarion call.
  • Emotional: This becomes a reason when there is a dissonance in the values. The employee may look for a fostering environment. Yet, may find the responses from the surrounding, hostile. Office politics are the biggest example of this. Few people may survive as they can attenuate to it. Whereas, others may keep jumping from the boat till they find a favourable environment.
  • Financial: The salary paid by the employer, may not meet the requirements of the employee. They may need a hike or a bonus to stay motivated at the role. If it doesn’t happen, it prompts the job change.
  • Family: The individual may need to support certain family based requirement, such as ailing parents or attention towards other members.
  • Geographical: The individual may find it difficult to survive in a particular area, hence migrate to a different area with more favourable conditions. It can be culture or a future promise in the new area.

Organization initiated: At times organization may become reason for job change. Here’s how it gets triggered.

  • Structural: Organizational changes including, mergers and acquisition, restructuring, low business and many other business reasons do fuel retrenchment.
  • Systematic: Many organization may follow the ‘up or out’ appraisal system. They may not retain an employee who cannot be promoted or doesn’t match a definite score for performance, in one position for more than a year. They may hire fresh talent for the same jobs and retrench the existing ones. 

Mostly, employers respond negatively to the ‘job hopper’. The reasons to act so may vary depending on the past experiences of the professional.

  • Monetary: It’s obvious to raise a red flag when the individual may have changed jobs with a rapid increase in the salary. The quest for more money is the biggest concern.
  • Growth: When the series of position held by an employee have an upward swing, it shows the ambitious nature, hence may create an equal challenge for the employer to retain the employee in case there is no position to promote.
  • Sensitive area: If the employee has left too many jobs due to emotional instability with the reporting leads and the environment. It raises the viability of the candidate to the current environment. It becomes a direct reject for the employer.
  • Performance: This is a concern which is addressed during the interview. The employer makes sure that the employee was not fired because of low performance.

This situation calls for special attention in case of hiring by both the employer and employee. Let us consider how a talent should handle it. The reasons provided to substantiate what have been mentioned as a type of job change.

  • Low performance: This needs to be discussed with prominence on the learning gained. The failures are a must part of the professional development. Presenting them and staying prepared to work in a role with lower stakes may mitigate the risk. In case a course of study have been done or planned to accentuate performance, it needs to be mentioned during the interview.
  • Higher salaries: At times the trigger may not have completely been from the individual’s side. Certain roles did have an escalating salary structure during last few years. Hence, whoever seized the moment, stood to gain from it. Being judged for such a market driven structure is tricky. The candidate needs to stay honest about accepting the hike, but focus more on the learning’s gained and better service delivered. Validate how the cost would ensure return, but remain flexible to the new compensation offered by the firm. It would still keep the question on future behaviour opened, hence offer stability to the prospective employer.
  • Emotional issues: The situation will require the talent to be logical and think from the mind of the interviewer. Trashing the organization to prove innocent is suicidal. Sharing the events with objectivity will hold the key.

As suggested by Dedvutt Patnaik, in Long and short sight, the talent needs to remain tactic and strategic at the same time.  The talent needs to keep an eye on the future by sharing how the personal long term goals are aligned with the organization goals, while mitigating the risk of the hour, i.e. answer every question related to stability. The advantages of job hop as stated by Penelope Trunk in Why Job Hoppers Make the Best Employees, higher learning curve hence greater learning, more adaptive nature hence can add more value to a work environment. These merits should be presented in the interview with utmost sensitivity.

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