Categories: Human Resources, Strategy & Industry Insights,
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Did You Just Hire a Job Hopper?

Every employer wants to retain good employees. Finding new employees is expensive, and when employees leave, there’s not only the time that needs to be spent to find a replacement, but also the lost productivity of a vacant position.

You can protect yourself by asking the right questions during the interview process.

job-hoppersFirst, while you’re screening resumes, note the time an applicant has spent at each previous position. If you see a trend of less than two years at the last several companies, you don’t necessarily need to remove them from your selection set. However, you do need address the issue.

Next, during the interview process, ask questions that allow the applicant to explain their history of short tenures. Questions you can ask (and be sure to ask every applicant the same questions) include:

  • Why are you here?
  • What is it about this position that you find interesting?
  • Why did you leave your other jobs?
  • What did you like best about your previous positions?
  • Did you try talking to your previous employers about issues before applying for new positions?
  • What aspects of your job did you not like in previous positions?

These questions can help you gain insight into whether the applicant was working to better themselves (which is a good thing), if their early departures were from factors beyond their control (like the economic downturn, or the company needing to scale back), or they truly are a job hopper and you can expect them to be looking to move on after about a year so in a new position with you.

Then, talking to references and previous employers to round out the story will help you make a good decision. If previous employers confirm the applicant did not leave amicably, or did not pursue opportunities within the company before applying elsewhere, consider yourself warned.


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