As an Executive Search Consultant, I’ve had clients request candidates with a wide range of experiences and skills, but this request – no job hoppers – is the only one that always gives me pause. I get it: 1 in 5 millennials changed jobs over the past year– more so than any other generation. Millennials have earned a reputation as job hoppers, jumping from one company to the next, sometimes stay just six, 12 or 18 months. Some hiring managers will dismiss these resumes outright, preferring a candidate with at least five or more years of experience at a single company.
As an Executive Search Consultant, I review a lot of resumes, and I can attest that dismissing a candidate for job hopping is a mistake. Why? It boils down to one simple lesson that today’s employers need to learn.
Some elements to consider the next time you come across a job hopper resume:
Tenure is overrated.
Tenure is associated with commitment and loyalty. Understandably, when companies invest significant resources in employees – recruitment, onboarding, training – they want these employees to stick around. The longer an employee is with a company, the greater their institutional knowledge and the deeper their relationships with coworkers and clients.
Now, consider the flip side: it’s also easy for employees to stagnate. They get into a comfortable routine and don’t grow. They aren’t acquiring new skills because they aren’t being challenged. They aren’t advancing or maximizing their potential. That’s the risk with long tenures– not everyone will be a shining star in the C-suite after 30 years.
Advancement pathways are blocked.
Many millennials I speak with aren’t looking to continue job hopping. They want to put down roots with a company. They’re open to growing in their role but find that the pathways to promotion simply aren’t available. They aren’t learning new skills or expanding their knowledge base. They’re hungry and ready for more.
This shouldn’t be looked at as a negative. Just the opposite, in fact. Having multiple positions on a resume indicates a thirst for growth. When a millennial employee moves to a new company, they are rarely making a lateral move. Instead, they’re moving for skill expansion, responsibility growth, client-facing experience, and management potential. Working for different companies exposes millennials to unique work environments, including different team structures and management styles. A job seeker who has held three different positions over five years may be far more well-rounded and prepared to hit the ground running than an employee who’s been with a single company for the same five-year period.
No two professionals are the same. Dismissing someone just because they have too many jobs on their resume could mean missing out on a key addition to your team. This is where a recruiter can help. Part of our vetting process is a candidate screening call. When conducting these calls, we are on the lookout for red flags, like abrupt departures or lateral moves without a good reason. We use these conversations to drill down into what motivates a candidate, what they’re looking for in their next position and the type of work environment where they’ll thrive.
We’re looking for:
High growth. Candidates that have worked at high growth or fast-paced companies are agile problem solvers. Chances are they’ll have some great data to share with you, such as reducing spending by a certain amount or introducing a new process that boosted efficiency.
Global experience. Working with companies or clients outside of their local region is a bonus. Collaborating on remote teams isn’t easy, and doing so successfully requires strong organizational skills and communication. As more companies build teams with remote contractors or consultants, millennials with this experience can be valuable hires.
Consulting. Not all roles are client facing, but having soft skills to communicate with people translates to just about every career. If a candidate has experience with consulting, they’re able to take a client’s problems and turn them into actionable results.
The bottom line is that the workplace has evolved. Ambitious professionals are embracing opportunities that let them develop new skills faster. Tenure may mattered several decades ago, but it’s no longer as critical as it once was. Look for candidates that will be the best fit for your company and culture, not the ones who have the longest stops elsewhere.
What else do you keep an eye on when considering candidates that appear to have done a bit of job hopping?