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3 Common Job-Hopping Myths and How to Combat Them

Jennifer Post

Millennials get a bad reputation for everything they do. They get blamed for killing the mayonnaise industry, the diamond industry and even the divorce rate. Myths and stereotypes follow every generation, and none of them are immune from job-hopping myths.

Industry experts told Business News Daily that these "facts" about job-hopping aren't at all what they seem. Here are few common ones and how to combat them.

1. Millennials change jobs after one year.

One myth that some might not know, or even care to disprove, is that millennials jump from job to job because we're never satisfied. But data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employees are actually staying with companies longer than they did 25 years ago.

"In 1983, the average employee spent 3.5 years with a company," said Steve Hartert, CMO of JotForm. "In 1998, that number rose to 3.6 years. In 2014, the average was 4.6. … The myths about millennials changing jobs every year isn't true. If anything, it's the opposite." Feel free to take that information to your next family holiday gathering.

The classic definition of job-hopping is changing jobs every 1-2 years. While the recent recession and cycle of layoffs have made it less of a deal-breaker to have periods of unemployment or short job tenures on your resume, employers are still wary of candidates who seemingly have had a lot of jobs but still have little experience.

"With a gig economy and contract work, two years may be a very long time in one place," said Hartert. "Each person and company will define it differently. It used to be if you changed jobs every five years, you were considered a job-hopper. Today, that might make you the longest-tenured employee at some places."

2. All job-hopping is bad.

One of the biggest job-hopping myths, according to Amanda Augustine, career advice expert at TopResume, is that all job-hopping is bad or created equal.

"This is simply not true," she said. "Your field and the stage of your career will have an impact on how employers will view your job-hopping history. For example, employers expect professionals to do more job-hopping at the earlier part of their careers when they're still discovering their career path. Employers are less forgiving of most mid- or senior-level professionals who appear to be serial job-hoppers."

Hartert seconded the idea that not all job-hopping is bad. In fact, he said that for some, job-hopping is the best career move, "since it allows them to learn new skills and be exposed to new ideas and people." He added that it also gives people an opportunity to find a fit.

"Within a short time, you'll learn what you like and don't like about a job and/or company," he said. "Once you've found the right mix, you'll probably stay for quite some time."

3. Staying at the same job means one is an expert.

This, again, does not ring true. "Recruiters often question professionals who work in advertising and do not switch clients or companies every few years, as there's a concern they'll lose their edge," Augustine said.

However, some employers consider job-hopping a huge red flag, especially among salespeople. To them, it could mean that the sales professional was unable to meet quota. The bottom line is to consider any industry-specific expectations or philosophies on job-hopping before you decide to make the jump.

Best workplace practices to keep employees from jumping ship:

  • Transparency. According to Augustine, the more transparent you can be about company culture, the better. She added that there is nothing worse than spending time and money to recruit someone who is either a poor cultural fit or has different expectations for the company and the role.
  • Take your employees' temperature. No, not to see if they're sick, but to get a pulse on what's working for your company and what isn't. Augustine suggests employee-engagement surveys and annual reviews to keep the lines of communication open.
  • Pay your employees fairly. It seems unnecessary to even put this on the list, but you would be surprised. Hartert agreed that a lot of companies miss this one. People need to feed their families and keep a roof over their head. Money isn't the only motivator, but it definitely ranks high.
  • Give people valuable work. Hartert quoted Steve Jobs, who once said that he only hired smart people so they could tell management what to do; it makes no sense to hire smart people and then bark orders. If people feel their contributions and opinions are valuable, they'll want to work for you.
Image Credit: gpointstudio/Shutterstock
Jennifer Post
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Jennifer Post is a professional writer with published works focusing on small business topics including marketing, financing, and how-to guides. She has also published articles on business formation, business software, public relations and human resources. Her work has also appeared in Fundera and The Motley Fool.