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Why job hopping makes millennials better hires

4 attributes that make millennials who change roles frequently an asset to your company.

There’s a long history of both hiring managers and recruiters rejecting “job hoppers”. According to a 2015 survey by Career Builders, 43 per cent say they would not consider a job hopper for their open positions.

Millennials have a reputation for being job hoppers and are thought to change jobs frequently because they are impatient, disloyal and selfish. But, if you look at it from a different perspective, they may actually be talented people who aren’t challenged enough in their current role and are looking for new opportunities that will help them develop their skills and knowledge.

Let’s look at some of the positive attributes they have to offer employers:

Job hoppers are adaptable

Because they change positions every few years, they are expected to easily adapt to a new working environment and to the new organisational strategies. They are also likely to go through the onboarding process quickly. Therefore, less time, effort and money needs to be spent integrating them into the company culture.

They are risk takers

Taking the risk of changing positions every few years says a lot! These people are not afraid of trying new things and entering new challenges. They hate staying in the same place for too long and avoid the secure career path of staying in a role eight or ten years. Taking on new responsibilities and swimming to unknown waters is something they enjoy. They are more likely to be innovative people who bring disruptive ideas to the table which may shake up the industry now or in the future.

They have a steep learning curve

The reason we say that job hoppers have a steep learning curve is that they are often placed outside of their comfort zone. Being job hoppers, they know they have to make a great impression and learn a lot as fast as possible.

Before moving to their next position, they need to convince their current employer that they were worth hiring. At the same time they need to put in a strong performance and create value so they can “sell” their profile to their next employer. As a result, job hoppers are often over performers who learn a lot within a very short period of time.

According to serial entrepreneur and author Penelope Trunk, the learning curve tends to flatten after three years. Therefore, job hoppers who are with the same employer for two or three years, are within the timeline in which they can learn as much as possible and achieve their goals, making them a great asset.

They bring knowledge from your competitors

In the Career Builders study, over half of the employers surveyed (53 per cent) state that job hoppers “have a wide range of expertise”. The truth is that when a job hopper joins your company, they also bring advanced knowledge, skills, practice and experience from the different companies they have been working for.

Therefore, if they used to work for a company in the same industry as yours, they will bring with them industry knowledge regarding processes or trends you should follow. On the other hand, if they come from a different industry, they can bring knowledge of new practices that are transferable in your industry.

These four points about job hoppers tell us that we should change the way we see millennials who switch roles very often. Rather than judging them, we should instead start focusing on what they could bring to the company – be it new knowledge about processes and practices, disruptive ideas, or a bigger network from different companies, within or outside the industry.

Of course, it’s not easy to accept that after a few years, the new hire you invested in will be looking for another company to join. All the onboarding and training costs go to waste, along with other risks such as sharing the knowledge, skills and practices learned in your company with competitors.

But, this is something that is likely to happen sooner or later. There will always be that moment when people feel the need to make a change in their life or career.

Weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a job hopper, the new life and perspective they can bring seems to be more beneficial to a company.

Avoiding bias

It’s important is to be open-minded and to not make biased decisions while screening a resume, and when you notice that someone has changed jobs often, it can lead you to wonder why.“Going blind” during the first screening is an option, or using a talent assessment tool before interviewing someone is another. This provides you with the opportunity to make a decision based on analytics and evaluation, rather than letting your prejudices impact your decision.

Nicolas Tore is an HR content writer. This is an edited version of an article he wrote for HackerEarth.

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I very much agree with this article, having worked with the opposite (10 to 20 yr with the one company) the risk associated with people like this is they don’t have the perspective of other organisations and can fall trap to “this is how we do things here” stifling innovation or using outdated techniques. Now not all are like that, some are loyal and have a good network and great ideas combined with the benefit of company history. Same as not all individuals who have moved jobs as in the article bring the ideas, innovation and network. I think the… Read more »

Nikolas Tore
Nikolas Tore

Thank you for your comment Michaela.
I am glad that you found this article interesting, and I should admit that your point is very important.
Each case needs to be assessed separately before judging the results. A combination of loyealty and experience in different companies and/or industries is definitely the key to building successful teams!

Marion King
Marion King

Yes, I think this is a very important conversation to have. New talent coming into an organisation re-vitalizes it and millennialls are just the cohort to provide this. I have re-visited organisations where I have previously worked and pondered on the input of people who have been there for a long time. Maybe we need both groups, the new and the old in order to capitalise on both the historical knowledge and culture and the millennials who have the enthusiasm, new knowledge and dynamism to re-energise the organisation. This is not to undervalue those who have worked in the same… Read more »

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