How to avoid being a serial job hopper and why

By Eric He – Division Manager, Links International Shanghai & Beijing

When speaking to clients about their recruitment needs, they frequently ask us to find them candidates who have a stable employment history.

Clients will often reject a candidate if they have changed jobs multiple times in a short period of time. It seems, therefore, that it is becoming more difficult for “serial job hoppers” to find their dream job.

As recruiters, we do understand that there are often different reasons why candidates become “serial job hoppers.” One example is a candidate who was referred to us who had changed jobs three times in the last two years, the reason being that he had been laid off due to economic uncertainties in his industry. When this happens, we always advise candidates to tell their potential employers the real reason they were laid off, as the employer will understand that this was outside of their control and will still focus on the candidate’s skills and abilities.

More importantly, however, what we suggest is that candidates should not give up easily when facing challenges at work, especially when joining a new company. There are often challenges during the first three months, or up to one year after joining a new company. Everyone enjoys staying within their “comfort zone,” and people can feel very uncomfortable when the environment is different to that of their comfort zone, i.e. different people, different processes, different work requirements. If you encounter problems after joining a new company, bear in mind the below guidelines to help you overcome these difficulties:

  1. Be decisive. Think carefully before each move and don’t change your mind too easily once that decision has been made. Don’t look back. It is important that you are fully energised in order to cope with challenges and feel safe outside of your comfort zone.
  2. Be patient. Often things cannot be achieved as quickly or as easily as in your previous job, but be patient and get to know the environment before taking action. It is important to look long-term and not just focus on the short-term.
  3. Be positive.
    • Transitioning to anything new is part of the process. Always remember that every problem can be solved. Just be calm and you will find a solution.
    • Always believe in yourself and know that you are capable and strong enough to take on the new role and deliver results.
    • Experience is invaluable, no matter if it is the experience of sustaining success or turnaround. If you conquered challenges or drove the business from loss to profit, this will look great on your resume. Opportunities arise from challenges.
  4. Be open to your new colleagues and also to your recruitment consultant, if applicable. Discuss with them the challenges you are facing and see what suggestions they have. Trust is like a mirror – if you smile first, you will always get a smile back. By doing this you can also establish new relationships in the new environment.
  5. Remember how good you felt before you joined the new role, and don’t forget this because of the challenges. Remind yourself why you are there and then be persistent and firm in order to get what you want.

I don’t mean to say that you must stay in one company for life, especially if there is no chance to grow your career. Neither am I saying that you should reject any good job opportunities which might be good for your development in the market. This is just a reminder that, as a professional, you must take into consideration your career stability. Do not leave a company too quickly after joining and never give up when you come across any difficulties, especially if you have only been at the company for less than two years. Plan your career carefully and catch every opportunity to improve your career development at the right time.

To get an idea of where your career might take you in 2, 3, or even 10 years, as well as what salary, work-life balance and opportunities you may have, see Links Career Tree.

If you’d like to speak to one of our team about how we can help you take your career to the next level, please do not hesitate to contact us.