Wary of ‘job-hoppers’? Fear no more

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Would you toss a resume if the applicant had more than four jobs in five years? It might seem like common sense to assume that candidate isn’t thinking long term, but science says that assumption isn’t backed by reality.

Work history is a poor predictor of future job tenure, according to an Evolv analysis of applicant data and employment outcomes, which was based on data from more than 21,000 call centre agents. Their results found previous employment duration says nothing about how long a person will stay in their next job. An applicant who had five jobs in five years is just as likely to stay long-term as an applicant who has had one job for the same timeframe. Even the long-term unemployed had similar tenures to other candidates.

“These results show that one of the most common screening tactics for employers may actually have no value in predicting future employment success,” said report author Michael Housman. “Employers may do well to revisit their employment screening process with an eye toward finding better tools that help them hire for the outcome they desire.”

The study indicated that up to 6% of applicants were rejected because of their experience and work history, candidates recruiters can’t afford to discard in the current employment environment.

However it seems most employers haven’t heard the news. A recent Bullhorn survey of 1,500 recruiters found 39% said placing someone with a history of “hopping jobs” or leaving a job within the first year was their biggest turnoff.

  • Jill Malleck on 2014-02-25 11:09:42 AM

    Given our economy it's not been unusual to see many short term jobs for excellent talent. Recruiters would do well to notice if candidate stories are embellished in terms of their portion of contribution to projects. Did they have time to do it all or are they telling someone else's success. Listen for credit given and an honest assessment of impact.

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