Job hopping: Whether employers love it or hate it, jumping frequently from one job to the other is becoming the norm for professionals today. This is especially true within the technology industry – a field which has seen a significant rise in jobs over the past decade or so.
But how open are employers in the tech industry to hiring job-hoppers?
“Hiring managers or HR personnel tend to be a lot more understanding if candidates change jobs after two years as compared to someone who has changed jobs within a year,” explains Daphine Choo, Consultant – Application & Analytics, Technology Commerce, Robert Walters Singapore.
“Employers feel this person won’t be loyal to their company, and the time and resources spent on training and inducting them will be very costly. They feel the newly employed candidate will learn these things and then leave for another firm before being able to make a significant contribution to their company.”
This is especially true when it comes to developers responsible for creating and coding tech systems in companies.
“Some employers feel that a good developer is somebody who is comfortable in doing both development and support as well. So they tend to hire someone who is able to not only create systems but also stay long enough to fix them should there be any issues,” Daphine adds.
However, the fact remains that by actively seeking out a variety of responsibilities and work experiences, job-hoppers can also be seen as self-directed and possessing a high drive toward achieving success.
Here are a few reasons why employers should not immediately dismiss CVs of candidates in the tech industry who frequently change jobs:
Their breadth of knowledge
In order to keep their skills fresh, it is necessary for technologists to remain current in a highly competitive market – a feat made possible via job hopping.
Job-hopping allows professionals the opportunity to gain valuable technical knowledge in different environments and cultures. This can be more common for those specialising in development, mobile and project management.
In addition, job-hoppers are also largely good at what they do. Top performers move up frequently and average performers do not. The mere fact that these candidates are able to get frequently hired means that they have potential.
When you hire a job hopper, you get the accumulated knowledge, best practices, benchmark information, their many contacts, and their experience from a number of firms – including competitors.
“Job-hoppers get more exposure to how other companies and systems run which is essentially useful to employers no matter how long these employees work in their firm,” Daphine says.
Overcoming the skills gap
If a candidate changes jobs within the same industry, employers may get to leverage a breath of industry knowledge that is hard even for their current employees to match.
This is an advantage particularly valuable in a tight labour market such as Singapore where talent pools are small – especially for niche roles.
“Sometimes as employers, we can’t be choosy with niche roles and skills. There are roles and companies in Singapore which are more advanced than the talent pool that we currently have. If we just reject people based on how long they’ve stayed in each company, then they may lose this talent,” Daphine observes.
“The employers need to decide what is more important to them – having average talent that stay on-board in the long run or hiring somebody who is an expert in their field but who may only be able to contribute in the short-term.”
Essentially, it remains that employers should not discriminate a job seeker based on their frequent job changing habits as long as it is justifiable.
Instead, they need to be more objective in measuring the capabilities of the job hopper and decide whether they are a suitable fit for the position they are applying for.
“Employers have responsibilities to play too. If you are not engaging your employees or progressing their careers, then you can’t expect somebody to stay in your company in the long-term. Understand why job-hoppers frequently hunt for jobs in the first place, and try to provide them with the right corporate experience that might entice them to stay instead,” Daphine advises.
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