Why do hiring managers always see multiple jobs in a short time period as a negative? I’ve had a few roles that weren’t a fit. Why is it better to stay at a role/company you don’t like than try something new? It’s almost like dating. You date around until you find the right fit for a long term relationship. Companies have NO problem letting employees go and don’t feel the need to keep them if they aren’t a fit so why are employees expected to stay somewhere that’s not a fit? And how do you address poor circumstances around your exit?
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It comes down to the assumptions. Traditionally, hiring managers have attached a (unfair and outdated) narrative to candidates who have multiple jobs in a short time period listed on their resume.
Nothing is standard, so in some industries going from one job to another doesn’t matter, but in some industries, it matters a great deal.
Without context somewhere in a job application, hiring managers or recruiters may resort to assumptions to fill the gaps. This is why I employ a “beyond the resume” philosophy personally and when I train recruiters. Resumes don’t tell the whole story and our biases and assumptions have no place in evaluating whether a candidate is a good fit for a role.
I mentioned in a previous newsletter that exceptional recruiters will approach that observation with curiosity–not judgment. If your skills and experience align with the role in question, an exceptional recruiter will consider you a serious candidate and invite you to give a little more context at some point in the interview.
The Good News
I’ve noticed that this narrative around multiple jobs in a short time frame is carrying less and less weight. A lot of people are leaving jobs after a short period of time. For some industries a history of short job stints is normal and expected.
For example, recruiters have more short stints on their resumes than the average candidate.
Going from one job to another in a short time frame is more acceptable than ever before. (Peep this article on Lattice surveying resignation trends.)
What Can I Do?
- In your case, Anonymous, if your resume lists frequent role changes in recent years, consider revising your resume to tell the story you want it to tell. What is that story you want to tell?
- Depending on the industry you’re in, you could shift your job search toward temporary or contract-to-hire jobs. It will give you the flexibility of trying on a role for a good mutual fit without the long-term commitment. Bonus: your contract work would blend in well with the short stints.
Addressing Rocky Exits
My personal rule of thumb is to avoid giving more than they ask. If the question is,
“Can you tell me why you left your previous job?”
Simply express that it was not a good mutual fit. The important thing about this statement is to make sure you’re clear on what IS a good fit for you. You’ll help the interviewer see that you are very clear on what you’re looking for in the next company you work with.
This does not necessarily mean that what is a good fit is the exact opposite of what isn’t a good fit.
But knowing what works for you will help you show up authentically with what you’re looking for and attract mutually good fits.
Trust the process. Show up as yourself. The right fit will reveal itself as you continue searching.
If addressing multiple positions in a short period of time makes you feel uneasy, my Resume Review & Coaching for $195 might be a great space to work through it.
Nothing is standard. In some industries, going from one job to another doesn’t matter, but in some industries, it matters a great deal.
Regardless, if your skills and experience align with the role in question, an exceptional recruiter will consider you a serious candidate and invite you to give a little more context at some point in the interview.
If your resume lists frequent role changes in recent years, here’s what you can do to shake things up:
- Consider revising your resume to tell the story you want it to tell.
- Depending on your industry, you could shift your job search toward contract-to-hire jobs. Get flexibility to find your mutual fit without long-term commitment.
For rocky exits, don’t give more information than they ask you for. Instead, you can express that it was not a good mutual fit and share what IS a good fit for you.
If you want help addressing this, consider my Resume Review & Coaching for $195. It’s an hour-long session where I coach you through your resume and career goals,
Recruiter, Candidates, Hiring Managers: Do you have a recruiting or hiring question you’d like us to answer? Send questions for publication here.