How to Spot and Deal with Job Hoppers

Categories: Advice for HR Professionals, Recruitment Advice, Trends and Learning


Employers and Human Resources professionals have, for long been, rejecting job hoppers attempting to join their companies, as many do not trust applicants who’ve had short employment histories with different employers.

If you or your recruiting team still subscribe to this antiquated concept that might be valid several years ago, you might be missing out on many potentially good hires.

In today’s highly competitive marketplace of great talent, it is a wrong assumption to classify everybody who changes job often to be disloyal and impatient workers without examining the underlying reasons behind the job hopping.

What Is a Job Hopper?

Say for instance, while you’re checking out the resume of an applicant, you noticed that at thirty years old, he had changed job seven times since he graduated from college. Immediately, the resume raises a red flag because you are dealing with a job hopper, an applicant who had not stayed more than fifteen months with an employer.

A job hopper is typically perceived as negative by many recruitment teams, which they immediately discard. Further, these applicants were never given any opportunity to be interviewed, as their resumes were discarded right away.

Spotting a Job Hopper

You or your recruiting team must not make the often mistaken assumption that a person who frequently changes his job is selfish, impatient, and does not possess any sense of loyalty. If you make this assumption, you could be missing out on a great talent if, in fact, he frequently changed his job because he kept on getting good offers for higher positions.

You can easily spot job hoppers and classify them into the following categories when you screen potential recruits:

Essential Hoppers

An applicant may have possessed an extensive list of previous employment in his resume because of different reasons such as poor career choice right out of college or downsizing of a company.

You have to take note if the changes of employment are beyond the control of the prospective recruit. Let the applicant explain during the recruitment interview the reasons behind each move.

Most likely, you will spot a pattern fitting in with the current economic trends where good employees were recruited by competitors for a higher position or better pay because they are achievers in their field. This is especially true in the technology industry where companies fight for rare talents.

You need to understand that there are people who need to hop jobs by necessity. They are the employees who have roles that will require frequent changes such as those working in time-related projects like sporting events or conventions, software installation, training consultants, and project leaders. These people perform high-paying and highly sensitive jobs that end after a specified period, and therefore, need to look for another job.

This type of job hoppers may stay in one job for less than six months, but they can explain the magnitude of achievement they’ve accomplished in despite the short stint. Such short job histories must not be taken against them, as these types of workers could be superstars in their own right.

Opportunity Hoppers

A lot of people change their jobs at the start of their career, usually after college, because they are not sure yet of the direction they want to take. It is common to see a young employee get experience in the first company that hired him to earn money to fund another career.

You will also see workers who change employers frequently simply to get more money or perks with the new job. Some of these applicants can be a good addition to your company if they can show logic and progression behind each move.

Difficult Hoppers

Some workers can’t simply find their right spot in the workplace, and that will show in their employment history. While many job hoppers can justify their frequent move in the very definite term, you can quickly spot difficult hoppers because they will blame their frequent moves to bad management, bad workplace, and bad experiences.

Hiring a Job Hopper

Job hoppers are now easily embraced in today’s workforce. A study conducted by Career Builder showed that majority of employers in the survey claimed they hired job hoppers.

Many employers today are resigned to the idea that workers will be changing jobs several times during their career. Companies no longer hope that employees will stay in one position or job throughout their career.

In fact, some recruiters are skeptical when a prospective recruit has too few work experiences in a very long career period, especially when there is no upward movement in his work history.

The question then is: Should you hire a job hopper? The answer is yes; you should hire a job hopper as part of your team. But, you need to choose what kind of job hopper will be a good fit for your business.

The following guides will help you hire the right hopper for your team:

  • Job hoppers are quick to adapt – An applicant who worked for different employers may prove to be an advantage for your team because the prospective recruit might have collected a wide range of experience in various work environments, which will make him adapt quickly to the new surroundings in your company. Assimilation will be easier for someone who has jumped from one job to another compared to an employee with little or no experience.
  • Job hoppers have a broad network of contacts – Someone who had worked with different employers must have established a wide array of contacts in the industry. This is something that you can take advantage of as the new hire can lead you to a new network of business-related resources.
  • Job hoppers have a range of skills – People who’ve had different work experiences had the opportunity to hone their skill sets with the different work challenges and opportunities for professional development. Their interaction with a number of practitioners in each job must have given them a new set of abilities and skills, which they can apply in your company. When you hire this type of job hopper, you are hiring a well-rounded professional.

Job recruitment agencies in the Philippines, however, must avoid the following types of job hoppers:

  • Career job hoppers – These are the job hoppers who are still unsure of the direction in life they want to take. You can easily spot this when you see in their resumes a slew of unrelated and irrelevant work experiences from restaurant cook to a used-car salesperson.
  • Limited references – You need to take into consideration the prospective recruit’s references, or lack thereof. An applicant who had several previous employers should be able to give a decent amount of professional references, as an absence thereof is right away a red flag.
  • Limited success or achievement – You need to avoid hiring job hoppers who cannot show a considerable amount of success or achievement commensurate with their previous work experiences. Avoid hiring an applicant who shows signs of being a dissatisfied or lazy worker.

When you evaluate candidates for your team, do not be quick in making a judgment based on the number of previous employers or length of time they stayed with a former company. You should, instead, aim to find out the reasons the applicants hopped jobs and what they achieved from them. Then, decide in terms what those candidates can bring to your company.




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