A Recruiter’s Take on Job Hoppers

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The cover letter is phenomenal: the applicant has taken the time to write a clear, to-the-point document expressing interest in a position, and has included important details, even a career goal or two. The applicant has somehow managed to answer nearly all of the questions we commonly ask, before we’ve asked them! A fantastic first impression has been made, and we’re eager to know more.

And then, we take a peek at the ever-so-important accompanying document: the Resume, which includes an extremely lengthy “professional experience” section.

Unfortunately, the perfectly written cover letter has been created by an individual known as a “hopper”. The amount of experience listed in the resume is extensive, but it is also scattered about. A year there, three months here, another 6 months with another company, a couple of years in another state, 8 months with another company in the capital region, none of which are labeled as a contract or temp assignment. There’s no longevity, no “conclusion” or ending reason for each position, and no inclination that the individual will stay at one place for a significant length of time in the future.

Most of the time, it’s very difficult to market a hopper to a client/company that’s looking to fill temp-to-perm and permanent positions. A myriad of work experiences can be great, but just a few work experiences that demonstrate a commitment to a company on the employee’s part speaks greater volumes. Duration of past employment is key in our determination of how reliable and committed an individual will likely be to the company we’re recruiting for.

There have been many instances when applicants would have been an absolutely perfect fit for one of our clients’ open positions, but the employment dates proved to be the deciding factor (and a huge let-down!) These situations are, without a doubt, heartbreakers. Depending on the area (or areas) of expertise listed, we will interview the candidate to learn more about their history, but our advice (for job seekers, and for ourselves) almost always leans toward commitment, dedication, longevity.

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