Explaining Your Job Hopping

Job hopping makes prospective employers nervous about hiring you. You will need to be prepared to explain your job hopping.

Thankfully, it doesn’t cause as severe a reaction as it once did, but it doesn’t matter if you had the bad luck of working for failing companies or you’ve been moving from job to job in search of your dream position, employers need you to explain moving between multiple jobs. Here are a few suggestions as you talk to recruiters and prospective employers.

Be Honest

Be honest. That’s number one. But keep it simple, concise and unemotional. Don’t speak ill of past employers or supervisors, don’t complain about the work conditions or your irritating co-workers, don’t make excuses and don’t get defensive.

You say: “I loved working at [tech startup X] and I was sad to see them run out of funding.”

Accentuate the Positive

Help your prospective employer see past the job hopping. Steer the conversation towards the skills and experience you’ve gained through your diverse jobs.

Employers want to be convinced that you will stay with them should they decide to invest their time, energy and money into hiring you. Keep focusing on the value you bring to that employer. Be prepared to describe a least one key experience from each job, what you learned as a result of it and how you put that lesson into action.

You say: “At [tech startup X], I learned how to read spreadsheets. At [large corporate company Y] I got a chance to manage several projects. And at [medium-sized, established firm Z], I finally got to lead my own team. I’d say, in sum, these experiences have prepared me for this job.”

I Want to Stay Here

It can be easier to convince an interviewer that you want to find a permanent position if you’ve left companies because they’ve closed or underwent layoffs. But, if there is still hesitation, there are ways to ease the concerns.

You can provide references that confirm your skills and positive traits. You can offer a trial assignment so the employer can see first-hand your work ethic and skills. Better yet, you can use a staffing firm like Professional Staffing Group which allows plans for both parties to test the waters before hiring. Just be prepared to offer solutions that solve their problem i.e. trusting if they should hire you.

You say: “I’m looking for a place where I can grow and learn for several years. But I want you to feel comfortable with me as an employee, so how can I make that happen? Could I do a temporary assignment, or would you like to talk to some of my references before we continue this conversation?”