Wood Words

Hiring Kangaroos



These days, most new hires don’t stick around nearly long enough for a gold watch:

  • Millennials typically change jobs every 4.4 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • According to a 2014 CareerBuilder survey, 1 in 4 workers has held 5 or more jobs by age 35.
  • High achievers (especially young managers) leave their employers after an average of 28 months (Harvard Business Review).

In today’s market, candidates who change jobs frequently are the norm – not the exception. But is job-changing a sign of ambition – or a warning that your candidate just can’t cut it?

In other words:

Should you hire that kangaroo?

Today, Wood Personnel helps you answer this critical question.

Dr. John Sullivan, a leading HR and recruiting expert, recently published a great post on why rejecting “job jumpers” can potentially lead to missed hiring opportunities. Here are a few of the reasons he lists to support his position:

  • Job hopping is becoming more prevalent. In fact, average job tenure in the US is at 4.6 years, and 45% of employers expect new college grads to work for them for less than two years (CareerBuilder).
  • Job hopping is becoming more acceptable. The majority of employers (55%) have hired a job hopper and 32% have come to expect individuals to frequently change jobs (CareerBuilder).

The candidate market is tight. Job-changing no longer carries the stigma it once used to. And lots of your competitors are hiring job hoppers. If these facts don’t sufficiently convince you, here are a few more reasons to give “job jumpers” a second look – instead of automatically sending them rejection letters:

  • They may adapt more quickly. According to the CareerBuilder study cited above, more than half (51%) of employers state that job hoppers adapt quickly. The reason? Individuals who have changed jobs frequently may be better able to assimilate to new work environments.
  • They may have insider knowledge. Having worked for your competitors, or other types of employers in your industry, they may have extensive resources and a great network of contacts for you to leverage. Furthermore, varied work experiences typically give job hoppers a wider range of expertise.
  • They are likely to be high performers. Top performers are comfortable with change and will take calculated risks (including changing employers) to advance their career. Look for a logical job progression, if an otherwise qualified candidate appears to be a job hopper.

The moral of this story? Be careful not to judge a candidate based primarily on the number of jobs he’s held or his average job tenure. Instead of automatically kicking kangaroos to the curb, consider:

  • The employment market – How scarce or plentiful are workers? If good people are hard to find, opportunities are likely to be plentiful – and voluntary turnover may be higher.
  • Potentially positive reasons for job change – Has the candidate changed jobs to further his career? Career-hopping is a definite red flag, but taking positions of increasing responsibility is a sign of growth and ambition.

Don’t like hiring kangaroos?

Don’t leave fit, tenure or performance to chance. Trust your Nashville staffing agency to handle recruiting and screening for you. We interview candidates to determine why they switched jobs in the past – and whether or not they’ll stick with you. Contact your local Wood Personnel office to learn more about our direct hire services.