Candidate Job Mobility: Is It Really a Red Flag?

We’ve all been there. You want to shortlist a candidate because they look great on paper, except for one thing – high job mobility. They’ve made a few job changes in a relatively short span. But is ‘job hopping’ always a bad thing? Like many things when it comes to hiring, it’s nuanced!

A traditional view – but is it still accurate?

Traditionally, longevity in a role has been celebrated as a sign of loyalty and dependability. It signals to future employers that this person is likely to stick around – they’re a solid investment.

But as Dylan once said, ‘The times, they are a-changin’,’ and that very much includes the world of work.

The Gen Z perspective

With the influx of younger generations into the workforce, attitudes towards job mobility are gradually shifting. To many Gen Zs and younger millennials, regularly changing jobs has become the norm. They view careers as less of a linear road and more of a broad landscape to be explored.

The upside of job mobility

So, is there an upside to high job mobility? Absolutely!

Broad Skillset: A candidate who has switched jobs frequently is more likely to have been exposed to a variety of roles, tasks and environments. This can lead to a unique, diverse skillset, perfect for roles requiring flexibility and agility.

Adaptability: High mobility candidates have proven their ability to adapt to new environments, people and tasks quickly. In our rapidly evolving landscape, this ability to hit the ground running can be a serious asset!

Progressive Thinking: Job hoppers often embody a progressive mindset, driven by a desire for personal growth and new experiences. They aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone and may bring a fresh perspective to your team.

 

… but there are also potential pitfalls

A history of short tenures could signal potential issues with reliability, commitment or even interpersonal skills. Shorter tenures may even bring into question whether the candidate has really had the opportunity to learn the key skills required or that are identified as a positive above. The key here lies in the context, which is why thorough interviews and reference checks are key.

 

It’s nuanced

As with many things, context is key. Allowing a knee-jerk reaction to a candidate’s job mobility to determine their suitability for a role may mean missing out on some seriously talented people.

On the other hand, unwavering faith that high mobility always equals diverse skills and experience can lead to disappointing hires.

It is essential to approach the hiring process with an open mind, thorough vetting capability and a deep understanding of the role you’re looking to fill.

Does the role require versatility and broad experiences? A high-mobility candidate might be a fantastic fit! Looking for a steady hand to guide long-term projects or lead a team? Perhaps that candidate with a lengthy stint at a single company is the real standout.

At the end of the day, every candidate is unique, and their CV only tells part of the story. In many cases, it can pay to take a closer look.