Recruiter Report: Job Hopping

Posted by The Jacobson Group

The market has shifted in the past few years and recruiters and hiring managers are evaluating how they approach recruitment in order to remain competitive. Our team regularly talks with insurance leaders from around the industry, granting us a unique perspective on pressing talent topics. In this edition of “Recruiter Report,” we’re discussing the stigma around turnover and its place in the current market, answering the question, Is job hopping a deal breaker?

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While staying with the same company throughout one’s entire career has become unrealistic, we see many hiring managers consider even a five-year tenure as short-lived. However, as the employment landscape evolves and the effects of COVID-19 continue to impact careers, professional movement is accelerating. It may be time to reevaluate your expectations around job hopping.

Q2 Recruiter Report-01Determine why a candidate switched roles.
It’s not uncommon to see employment gaps or changes on candidates’ resumes given the tumultuous past two and a half years. They may have been laid off early in the pandemic. Others may have stepped back from their careers to focus on caring for children or parents. On the other hand, some individuals may have taken a new role in order to move up professionally or better meet shifting personal needs. If a candidate seems well qualified, don’t discount them solely on resume gaps or perceived job-hopping tendencies. They may be ready to fully embrace the right opportunity or step back into the workforce. Provide space for an individual to explain their journey before determining they are a risky hire.

Explore whether their needs can be fulfilled.
Although some job hopping and resume gaps are valid, there is also the potential these individuals are not fulfilled by long-term employment and may not be the right fit for your organization. Aim to gain a solid understanding of a candidate’s motivators and what they seek in a position. Ask if they enjoy changing roles and inquire about the value they’ve gained by moving from one company to another. Remain positive and encouraging when addressing their movement, asking questions in a non-judgmental way. For instance, are they wanting to be challenged more? Do they enjoy taking on new projects or working with new teams? Based on this conversation, you can gain more clarity around whether your organization has the right tools to keep them engaged long-term – such as rotational programs, project-based opportunities or well-defined upward mobility.

Q2 Recruiter Report-02Uncover and communicate the value of their perspective.
While excessive turnover may be a red flag, consider the benefit of an individual who has a well-rounded professional background. In many cases, they can bring new ideas to your organization and share what has and hasn’t worked for similar companies. Additionally, if they were successful in a variety of roles, it’s likely they are agile and adaptable.

Once you have an understanding of their past experience and reasons for changing jobs, you may determine an individual is actually a strong candidate for your open role. Keep in mind that others in the hiring process won’t make this conclusion based on the individual’s resume alone. If you’re a recruiter, work with the hiring manager to help them understand an individual’s viability, helping connect the dots in their resume. If you are the hiring manager for a role, be open-minded and proactively ask recruiters to share why they’ve recommended a candidate if it’s not initially apparent. Take the time to look beyond a resume and understand where there is risk and where there is opportunity.

Q2 Recruiter Report-04Leave the door open for boomerang employees.
In addition to being more open-minded about turnover, consider past employees of your company who might be a fit for an open position. Unless they left on bad terms, there can be many benefits to these boomerang employees. First, there are fewer unknowns around their work style, culture fit and capabilities. Second, there is typically a much shorter onboarding and training process for returning employees, saving time and money. Additionally, during their time away from the organization, they’ve undoubtedly gained new insight and experience.

Keep lines of communication open with high performing past employees, especially as some individuals begin to experience “the Great Regret.” Periodically connect to ask whether they are happy in their new role and if they’d ever consider coming back. Let these individuals know the door is always open, while avoiding making them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about their decision to leave.

Some turnover is inevitable and overall, today’s workforce is more comfortable making moves in order to advance professionally or find their desired level of flexibility. The pandemic has further redefined the norms around how the industry views resume gaps and turnover. Rather than discount an individual based on movement, take the time to better understand the larger picture and avoid missing out on the right hire.

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