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The Pros and Cons of Job Hopping

My Take on Job Hopping Pros and Cons

What do employers think when they see someone has quickly changed jobs several times on their resume?

Employers are always looking for a ‘successful hire’, and that means someone who will join their team, stay challenged and motivated in the new role for about 2 years, and then be ready to be promoted to a new role where they will stay challenged and motivated for another 2 years, etc.


If they can keep an employee somewhere between 4-7 years –that’s a successful hire that produces, while keeping the employment costs lower for the company.


Seeing a number of moves rather quickly does not inspire confidence that you’ll produce a good return-on-investment in the hiring process. If you’ve had several quick moves, be ready to explain the reasons why those moves occurred, and make sure this employer knows that you are looking for the right career home with this move.

Focus your energies in conversation on why you are specifically excited about them and the opportunity it represents for you to contribute to their goals. It always has to be about them, as the way to make it about you.

What are some instances when job hopping can be beneficial?

Job hopping can be a double-edged sword. It immediately causes a red flag in the minds of a potential employer, but if you can control the narrative on why the moves occurred, and what benefit that the moves produce for the potential new employer, you can over come most objections.

If, as an example, you strategically moved across three roles to add marketing, advertising and public relations expertise to your career skill set, then you can position those choices as building the background that would be most valuable for the role you desire –their open position. You’ll have to be compelling and it does need to be true. So, go back an analyze why you chose each role and what you gained in experience for each position.

Another time job hopping can be beneficial is to gain a new level of position and contribution for an organization. Sometimes that ‘right next step’ for our careers comes knocking on the door. A recruiter, or internal recruiter will find us on LinkedIn and call us for an opportunity to move ahead to the next level position in our fields. When this type of opportunity knocks, we would be foolish not to consider it –even if we had made a quick move or two. In this case, the moves we made may have added just the right balance in experience to make us attractive for the new role.


Once in this new role however, if we don’t stay long enough to correct the perception of being a job hopper, it will likely catch up with us in the next interview process we are involved in.


One key reason that job hopping can be beneficial is to correct our compensation not being at the right level for our contribution. When we stay a long time at one company, others in our field statistically move ahead of us in compensation. We’ve all experienced the ‘no raises this year’ or budgets and revenues are tight, so ‘it’s a 3% maximum raise this year’, etc. –rarely do we see cost-of-living constrained to that 3%, so some of us are continually losing ground on our compensation level.

When we change jobs, though companies still base offers on compensation history, you can generally get a higher adjustment to your comp than what your annual review will give you. Over 2 or 3 moves, that can add up and correct compensation woes.

What are some instances when job hopping can hurt your chances of getting hired again?

It’s a competition every time to get an open job. Individuals that move from job-to-job quickly are either very high achievers, or running from the axe themselves. It’s very difficult to tell which one a potential candidate is, as most are ready with their ‘success stories’ –but very few are really in the high-achiever category, so you may be looked at as damaged goods.

Assuming for the moment you are one of the high-achievers, you can get ruled out for some very choice positions when your position of desire is suddenly in an organization that puts a heavy weight on employment stability.


Though you may be the ‘right one’, companies will often times choose the individual that seems to offer the better return on their hiring investment –the person that will stay with them contributing for the longer term.


Another way job hopping hurts a candidate is to create the idea of the Pandora’s Box. You are too good to be true, what’s inside? Once I open the box (by hiring you), will I like what I have chosen? Are there personality defects contributing to your shorts stays? Are you really qualified for these roles that you have had –or are you running from each job? Once the negative questions start swirling in their heads, it’s very hard for them to choose you as they best new hire.

What are the main issues to consider before leaving a job quickly?

What damage or potential damage to my own ‘brand’ will it cause (or will it add enough value to my background to offset any damage)?

Am I ready to stay a reasonable length of time at the new employer –even if I get there and realize it’s completely different than they portrayed it to me?

What are the benefits to my skill set, contribution level and compensation by making the switch?

Will the new move somehow help me by being a stepping stone toward my larger career goal?

The grass is always greener, but rarely so green once we get there. So, choose wisely.

Now, Let’s get out there and Take Back Control for ourselves!


John Crant

Author, Career Coach & Speaker on Job Search and Career Management

Featured Speaker for

The New York Public Library's JOB SEARCH CENTRAL


In the Media: As Seen As Featured in 

amNY, Time Out New York, The Wall Street Journal (and its, CRAIN'S New York BusinessForbes, CNNBBC, FOX News (on Social Media Marketing), AriseTV, New York PostThe Huffington PostEssence magazine, CareerBuilder and The Ladders

On the Radio: As Guest: WHCR 90.3 FM "The Voice of Harlem"


As an industry manager, executive recruiter, recruiting & sales trainer, event speaker, and as VP of a nationwide system of recruitment offices, I have seen most every aspect of the hiring process and this varied insight is what provides the clarity you will find in this book.

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