Switching jobs all the time? Here’s how to explain job hopping in an interview Gaelle Blakeon November 7, 2023 at 11:48 am Career advice | Career tips


Congratulations on getting a job interview! But wait – maybe this is nothing new for you. In fact, perhaps you’ve had plenty of experience of this in recent years as you’ve moved from company to company. 

There are a number of reasons that you might change employers frequently. In a recent poll by Hays on LinkedIn, we uncovered that the most popular reason for moving on was an increase in pay, followed by greater opportunities for development. However, it could be getting to the stage where you’re concerned about how to explain this in your next job interview. 

In this blog, we’ll look at the career approach that’s become known as “job hopping”, what your interviewer wants to know about your reasons for this, and how to explain your work experience in the interview. 

What is job hopping? 

Job hopping refers to the practice of changing jobs frequently, typically every two years, or even fewer. It’s become more common among today’s workforce, too – a Hays poll on LinkedIn revealed that 86% of respondents believe it’s acceptable to leave a position within 18 months, with over half having done it themselves. 

This may come as a surprise to those of us who have been part of the workforce for some time now, but it’s a trend that’s become prevalent among millennials and Gen Z. Last year, 22% of workers aged 20 and above spent a year or less in their job. 

Is job hopping bad? 

Job hopping certainly has its benefits. Whether it’s finding new learning opportunities or an increase in pay, you’ll have your reasons for seeking a new role. Although changing jobs frequently can be a red flag to some employers, the stigma isn’t as widespread as it once was. There’s long been an understanding in tech that people are rejecting the “job for life”, and it’s a mindset that’s becoming more common – and accepted – elsewhere. 

There’s certainly a downside, though. Leaving jobs frequently means that you’re less experienced in tackling different types of challenges, and are less likely to have completed projects or campaigns that will benefit your career. 

Meanwhile, a hiring manager may wonder whether they’ll need to go through the recruitment, onboarding and training process again sooner than they’d like. However, there are definitely ways to explain job hopping that will let your interviewer know you’re right for this role. 

How to explain job hopping in an interview 

The key to ensuring that your interviewer has the right perception of you is in the way you frame your career decisions. Career coach Sarah Doody points out that leaving jobs regularly can be portrayed as a good thing: “I think it will actually make you come across as a more strategic, thoughtful, mindful individual rather than just coasting along for another nine months.” 

There may, of course, be instances where you didn’t choose to leave, but were instead fired on made redundant. If asked about any such example, don’t shy away. This is a great opportunity to explain the situation and, as my colleague, Jane McNeill, writes here, you can still talk about your successes and what you gained from the role. Make sure that you discuss those achievements in a quantifiable way that will reiterate what you can bring to a new employer. 

Lastly, always be sure to mention the skills you’ve gained in recent roles and how they will benefit you in this position. In this situation, you can highlight soft skills such as adaptability and having a learning mindset. 

Here are some examples of questions on job hopping that you might be asked in an interview, and how to answer: 

Question: “Why have you changed jobs so frequently?” 

Answer: “I’ve changed jobs frequently because I’ve looked for new challenges and opportunities for growth. This has given me valuable experience and skills that I can bring to this position, such as X and Y.” 

Question: “Why are you leaving your current job after only X amount of time?” 

Answer 1: “I’ve realised that my current role isn’t the right fit for me since I’m looking for growth and learning opportunities which, unfortunately, are limited here. That’s why I’m looking for an employer that aligns better with my career goals and provides the support I’m seeking.” 

Answer 2: “My company is undergoing significant change which has affected my role. I’m not going to be able to contribute my former responsibilities and projects as I’d hoped, so I’m looking for opportunities where I can make a real impact and grow professionally.” 

Answer 3:My company’s had to make a series of budget cuts, and my role was made redundant. I’m proud of what I achieved, including X and Y, and I kept up to date on the latest trends and developments in the industry.” 

There are some questions, though, that will require more creativity on your part. As I mentioned above, an interviewer might be sceptical of what you’ve learned from any difficult moments or challenges if you change jobs frequently. They might also question your ability to see the “bigger picture” if you don’t hang around long enough to get exposure to this. Be prepared to address these concerns.  

What to remember when explaining job hopping in an interview 

If your interviewer enquires about job hopping, there are several ways to frame your decisions. Be honest about your reasons for leaving each job, focus on the skills and experience you gained, and avoid speaking negatively about previous employers. By doing so, you’ll give yourself the best chance of landing the role. 

The post Switching jobs all the time? Here’s how to explain job hopping in an interview  appeared first on Viewpoint – careers advice blog.

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