Job Interview Question
Why have you changed jobs so frequently over the past X years?Job-hopping is not a great habit. When you stay at a job for only a few months or a year, over and over again, you are cultivating an image of someone who can’t be depended upon, who doesn’t know what they want, and who’s probably more than a little immature. Employers question your loyalty, and tend to shy away from hiring you because you look like a very expensive disruption rather than a potentially valuable and stable employee.
Still, there are cases where there are good reasons for job-hopping (or at least where it was no one’s fault). If you have a few too many jobs in the last few years on your resume, they’re going to ask you about it in the interview. You should have an answer ready to go, and it needs to make sense.
A bad answer is going to reinforce the stereotypes they have about job-hoppers:
- “I get bored easily.”
- “I was chasing the money.”
- “For some reason, people don’t seem to like me.”
- “I keep ending up in hostile work environments.”
- “I’ve had a string of bad luck lately.”
- “I got fired…over and over again.”
All those answers say negative things about you.
A good answer is going to give them a reason that makes sense.
- The person who’s been laid off should say, “Gosh, I wish I hadn’t had to change jobs. It wasn’t my choice. With the economy, I was laid off of two different projects, (give a few details). So it’s not that I really like it. I wish that hadn’t happened, but that’s where I find myself now.”
- “These jobs were contract jobs.” (Or other jobs where there wasn’t any type of commitment or expectation from the employer.)
- “I’ve been looking for the right position.” (The follow up question from them will be, “How do you know this is the right position?” You should be able to give them 3 solid reasons why this position is a great fit for you, professionally, culturally, and personally.)
- “The company went out of business.”
- “Our division was dissolved.”
- “My spouse is in the military, and we had to move.”
All those are good reasons. Some of them show that it wasn’t your fault, and if that’s true, you should definitely say so.
If you can, tell them why your job hopping wasn’t a bad thing–talk about what you learned from those experiences that help make you a more well-rounded person and a more valuable asset to them as a company.
If you’d like to practice your interview answers with professional feedback, or you need help with specific answers, I’d love to work with you as your interview coach.