DAV Professional Placment Group
DAV Professional Placment Group


Johannesburg +27 11 217 0000

Cape Town +27 21 468 7000

JOHANNESBURG +27 11 217 0000
CAPE TOWN +27 21 468 7000

Job-hopping: What is it and why do employers hate it?


job-hopper“No Job-hoppers” – something most recruiters hear every day when speaking to our clients.
When we meet with employers to take on a new assignment we ask them what qualities and skills they are looking for in their new employee.

Almost 100% of clients are looking for someone with a ‘stable’ track record – but what does this mean?

Depending on your industry and specialisation, a “stable” track record could be anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. So how do you determine if your track record is stable or not?

  1. Have you or are you contracting?
    Contractors are expected to move on a regular basis, as their contracts expire.
    One thing to be aware of as a contractor is to make sure you have made an impact on the company while you were there – make sure you have quantifiable achievements for every position to show that you are worth what your clients pay you
  2. What is the average tenure for this position?
    I’m an IT recruiter, and I know that for certain roles an 18 month tenure is normal. My engineering colleagues know that a 3 year tenure is the bear minimum. You as a candidate need to know how long your peers are staying in their positions, and try and match or better that, so as not to be seen as a hopper.
  3. Have you made a difference?
    Before you decide to start a job search, look back on your time with your current employer. Have you made a positive impact to the company?If you haven’t, AND you’ve only been there for 6 months, maybe it is best that you go to your manager and tell him you need a challenge. It is much easier to get a change in roles or an increase from your current boss than someone brand new.Employers place a lot of emphasis on track record, and if yours is less than perfect, it’s a great idea to back up your profile with examples of achievements from each position.As an example, a salesperson showing the targets they have achieved, or an Engineer improving efficiency, or a CEO turning a company around.

But why do clients hate ‘job-hopping’ so much?
The answer is simple. You as an employee cost the company money in the form of salary benefits and the like. You are also an asset to them, employed to achieve certain goals.

The first 90 days of your new job is a learning phase for you, where your employer does not receive any noticeable return on their investment in you.

From 3 months on, you should start producing work or results that do result in a benefit for the company, but you’re still finding your feet and getting to grips with the newness of everything.

At 12 months you should now have found your ‘place’ in the company and can switch your focus from ensuring you have done everything necessary to performing at a higher level or maximising your output.

Anything below a year with a company is a learning phase for you as an employee, and you have not yet showed your employer a return on their investment in your employment.

After a year, you start being worth more to the company, and have now reached the level of productivity where you ‘deserve’ your paycheck. In other words, your output of work is now equal or better than the cost the company incurs to keep you employed.

If you are a job-hopper – someone who moves every year, on the year- you never stay at a company long enough to make a difference or see them realise the return on their investment. You merely get employed, learn enough to be dangerous and then leave.

Obviously there are factors that may force you to start looking, but if you start developing a reputation or history of job-hopping, clients may not be willing to take the risk of an investment in you being a bad investment.

Remember, you are in control of your destiny- choose to be great, choose to make an impact and choose to have a track record of success.


About Peter Ferreira

I believe in the silver lining. I’m always ready for the next adventure and love to make people laugh. A musician, wordsmith, people person and recovering hedonist I live for new experiences and new people. I believe in knowing a little bit about everything, living in the moment and learning something each day. Water baby, bush nut, beach bum, foodie, punk-rocker by night and IT recruitment specialist by day. I hope you enjoy my scribbles. Connect with me on LinkedIn

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