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Community Question | Is Job-Hopping Really That Bad For Your Career?

A close up of someone playing hopscotch.

The average worker stays at his or her job for 4.4 years, even less for younger employees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and a recent article on the prevalence of job-hopping from Forbes. Yet, even though this practice is more common, hiring managers still look down on changing jobs frequently.

One of the biggest challenges to unemployed candidates is if they have a history of job-hopping, or leaving their job after less than a year, according to a 2012 survey by online recruiting software company Bulhorn. Overall, 39% of recruiters and hiring managers said so. But not everyone sees this as all bad.

Ashley Lauren Perez, of the blog Social HR Connection, argues that, as the economy and workforce have changed in recent years, so should opinions about job-hoppers:

"Sure, there are the people that fit the unreliable, job-hopping stereotype. On the other hand, there are plenty of people in this economy’s workforce that do not. For example, some people may not have willingly job hopped. Over the recent years, many people have been laid off and/or have had a hard time finding stable work. Because of this, people may not have left jobs voluntarily or may have had to take odd jobs just to stay financially afloat."

She also argues that some candidates may have used temporary or short-term positions in order to gain experience in a new field, while others may still be looking for the industry, position, and company culture that best suits them. Overall, she said, “Take the time to speak to the individual and assess whether or not they could be a good employee for your company or a costly decision. Sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised.”

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