Job Hopping: When to Stop Moving


When I started a career in journalism after college, three jobs in the first five years seemed like a lot of moving around at the time. It pales to today’s generation as many are searching for that right opportunity and proper work-life balance.

But when do company representatives start to view too much mobility as a negative? Robert Half has some perspective, in an informal survey.

Leaving one job for a better one can be a smart career move, but too many employment changes in a short time span can give human resources (HR) managers cause for concern. In a Robert Half survey, HR managers interviewed said an average of five job changes in 10 years can prompt worries you’re a job hopper.

The survey was developed by Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on interviews with more than 300 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States.

“The job market has been unpredictable in recent years, and employers understand job candidates may have had short stints in some positions,” said Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director. “However, businesses look for people who will be committed to the organization, can contribute to the company, and help it reach its short- and long-term goals. Too much voluntary job hopping can be a red flag.”

Robert Half offers questions to consider when determining if you should stay at your current job or look for a new one:

  • Why do you want a new opportunity? Are you looking for greater challenge or more money? A shorter commute or more flexible hours? A better relationship with your manager? Be sure to keep the job factors that are most important to you at the forefront of your decision and pursue a new opportunity only if it helps address those issues.
  • Have you looked within? Don’t assume you need to leave your company to find the job you want. There may be other jobs with your current employer that are a better fit.
  • Where is the greatest long-term potential and stability? Is your best chance to build your skills and advance your career with your existing firm or another one? Which business is on the most solid footing? You don’t want to make a move only to learn your career progression is stalled, or your new company is struggling.

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