Just as we make political decisions based upon past experiences and behaviors, we apply the same type of thinking when making important career decisions. Take the issue of job hopping. It was a loaded topic a decade ago, and it’s still a hotly debated topic today. What’s the story? Is it good: Is it bad? Doesn’t it matter? Or is the group think logic mentioned in my last blog working here too?
Envelope please: The answer is, all of the above, because there are so many variables in place. So to come down with an emphatic strategy is ludicrous. And smart employers and job-hunters know it.
Old thinking said that job hopping was not a good thing to do because it demonstrated instability. If you do a surface read on a job candidate’s resume, and see a string of jobs, 10 jobs in 12 years, the immediate conclusion is, “this guy is unstable. Why can’t he stay in one place? He’s probably changing jobs every time a company offers him a 15 percent or 20 percent pay raise.” Follow that reasoning to its logical conclusion, and the HR heavies conclude that the candidate is just out for himself. No company loyalty, not a team player, he’ll jump ship as soon as a headhunter calls and offers him a better deal.
All of the above may be true. Maybe the fictitious job hunter is a loose cannon, free-wheeling out-for-himself kind of guy. Or possibly, there were good reasons for moving around a lot. Maybe there were circumstances, the HR folks didn’t question it because they were trained not to think for themselves; or they just didn’t have enough high-functioning brain matter to dig deeper.
Enter resume software that could be programmed to weed out job hunters regardless of candidates’ credentials, and companies summarily weeded out all candidates that held more than five jobs in a six-year period.
It just proves that conventional thinking – there’s that group think concept again – is dangerous. Worse than dangerous, it could be costly because conventional programmed hiring managers could be letting brilliant job candidates slip through their fingers simply because they job-hopped. That’s a tactical error that could cost companies billions of dollars.
What do smart companies do? They hire people at all levels who dare to think for themselves. That includes HR. Rather than accept common wisdom and consensus thinking, they ask questions. They start throwing an important three-letter word around called, “why.”
They don’t take facts as gospel. They don’t summarily reject job hoppers, but find a way to evaluate them, and ask a simple question, such as “why do they move around so much?” Is it because they’re unstable, malcontents, losers? Or are there reasons we should know about?
What are those reasons?
A small percentage of candidates are falling through the cracks because they were stamped – no branded -- job hoppers. But among that tiny percentage there may be superstars, wunderkinds who are being discarded.
Does it pay to hire one of those brilliant job-hoppers knowing that they’ll jump ship in six to eight months? Answer: Absolutely. The reason is that there’s a good chance that they may create something special and unusual. They may develop software that makes millions or billions of dollars for a company. Maybe companies ought to think about why these folks are leaving and find ways to keep them. Maybe it isn’t all about money.
What do you think?