Recruiting · Hiring

Is job hopping the best way to advance?

Anonymous

July 14th, 2015

I've found the most efficient way to make career jumps is to change jobs, especially since I'm in marketing. I'm on my 4th startup in 4 years and have gotten both a higher position and a significant raise at each company. How many times can I do this before it starts to do more harm than good and my resume and job history start to suggest that I'm only interested in my next stepping stone?

Steve Madere Software Technology Consultant

July 14th, 2015

In my experience as a software developer, I definitely found that job-hopping was
necessary to make advances at any significant pace.

I saw many people leave IBM, come back as a contractor at a 50% increase in
comp, then get hired as a full time employee at almost the same level (post-increase)

If they had stayed at IBM, HR policies would have limited their pay increase
to about 15% no matter how well they were performing.

Also, you get into a problem that your supervisor mentally puts you in a category
when you are hired and they find it very hard to imagine you out of that
category until you go somewhere else where someone else has put
you in the new category.

Yes, it costs the company to have the employee churn but the
employers bring this upon themselves by operating in such irrational ways.

This kind of problem does not happen at stock trading operations because
they *have to* be efficient.  They do not have the choice to stick to their
prejudices over profitability.  Most managers at other enterprises do though.
The workaround is job hopping.




Jerome Pineau Digital Transformation Consultant

July 14th, 2015

That's a really tough question - it depends on why you switched every time. The important thing is to have a good reason and be able to justify it. Marketing and digital folks tend to have low tenure in successive positions - still you will find recruiters who won't even talk to you if you haven't been 6-10 years in each past spot - and that's just crazy IMO. In my case, I've had very many past consulting positions, and in my previous corporate job, I was hired then laid off 4 months later! It's not always about the person either, but often about the companies themselves. As expensive as acquisition costs are for people in our field, many companies simply don't value their people - it's a fact. Would you rather have someone who sticks it out and is miserable in a dead-end place, or someone who has the courage and determination to better his/her situation? In this day and age where employer loyalty and support are virtually non-existent (in the US anyway) one needs to learn to adapt and move quickly. That's just my opinion. Always remember that no one will ever care about your career except your mother - and even then not always ;)

Geoff Tucker Is your marketing automation working for you -- or against you?

July 14th, 2015

As a marketer who has done similar in the past few years - and for similar reasons - I think as long as you can continue to show that you created value at each move, and that you also progressed in your skills and abilities - then maybe a new employer won't be so shy about bringing you on. They should see more value in bringing you on than have concern about you leaving.

An alternate to consider if you're worried about being labeled a job hopper versus a value builder is to simply ask to be brought on as a contractor instead so you have a legitimate reason for start-stop dates. Recruiters won't look at you as a hopper then. You can also potentially make more money this way if you do it right though self-employment can be difficult in its own ways.

Most job hoppers get labeled as such because they complain about the boss they had, the company culture, the commute, etc. They left company after company because they couldn't get along.

Build a great story explaining why you made each move and make sure it's a story that is logical (e.g., "I wasn't actively looking and they called with an opportunity my current employer could not offer") or resonates (e.g., "I have a real passion for technology like yours and my current company was in healthcare which was not so interesting to me.").

Nonetheless, there comes a point where you need to stop it and grow within an organization where you feel happy and begin to work your way up. Hopping may build great skills but it gets exhausting along the way and can take a toll on your 401k if you don't do it right, too.

Anonymous

July 15th, 2015

In the book "Kitchen Confidential" Anthony Bourdain compares his career as a cook to another's in New York City. Bourdain quickly reached the chef position and then rapidly jumped from restaurant to restaurant. At his best he was a very good chef, but he was not a great chef, and probably would never become a great chef. 

The other chef first considered what he would need to do to become a great chef. He would need to master various positions in the kitchen. He would need to apprentice to various other chefs to master all the needed techniques. And that's what he did. The second chef had to wait longer to head his own kitchen, but when he finally did he was a great chef.

Keith McCombs Information Systems Engineer at Medidata Solutions

July 15th, 2015

I really have to agree with everyone here when I say that "job hopping" isn't preferred by hiring entrepreneurs or most companies for that matter.  "Job hopping" indicates instability with a hiring manager/ company.  They want to know that they can trust their people to be there as well as the cost implications as someone mentioned.  Companies want dedicated employees, even though it seems company to employee loyalty has diminished.

I feel that contract work is a whole other matter.  It may seem like job hopping but when you work as a consultant contractually, as I have done in the past, it is implied that you were hired short term (3 months or 1 year) or extended contracts (2 years+).  This is beneficial for budding consultants as well. 

Jerome Pineau Digital Transformation Consultant

July 15th, 2015

Paul, do you have stats on that CMO tenure figure? Thanks.

Gustavo Valle CEO & Co-Founder Decora.do, Decora Inc

July 14th, 2015

it really depends on where you company is established. My company is from Brazil, so it costs a lot to fire/re-adequate a person who is giving away every time. 

If you see that in a CV, brazilian's entrepreneurs may not hire them.

Although I have another company in U.S, my opinion is the same. Be careful.


Michael Barnathan

July 15th, 2015

At the risk of being snarky: I've heard of Bourdain - I probably haven't heard of this anonymous chef, however good he is. Not to say that fame is always the end goal, but thinking about how well your position will scale is key if you want to avoid shilling your entire life out. Bourdain is operating at a higher level of abstraction than any individual chef, who is perpetually going to be preoccupied with tactics of food preparation and restaurant operation. Many developers don't think about their tactical vs strategic selves enough either for the same reason - too bogged down.

Michael Barnathan

July 14th, 2015

The key isn't to randomly job hop but to make strategic jumps (both in terms of next step and whole-career positioning). You can make quite rapid advances this way, but it eventually does hit a ceiling.

Katherine Sears Chief Marketing Officer, Booktrope

July 14th, 2015

I am also in marketing, although am a co-founder so slightly different scenario. I can tell you if your resume came my way, I would already be asking you about the jumps. It is really costly for a start-up to have to rehire, since there are typically so few resources as it is. If I were you, I would look for a company you have a genuine passion for, make yourself indispensable, and move up within the company. We always hire from within first, and only go outside when we have to. That is how we got our COO (she started with us two years ago and worked her way to the role).

In other words, I wouldn't jump again unless a dream situation presented itself unless you want to be explaining the short duration of your roles.