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Explaining a history of job-hopping

By debate ·
Tell us what you think about discussing your work history in an interview, as featured in Monday's Career Advice e-newsletter. How would you explain a history of moving from job to another? How do you deal with interview questions that make you feellike you're on the defensive?

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This topic was addressed recently

by road-dog In reply to Explaining a history of j ...

in this forum. I believe that a high number of jumps is justifiable if the candidate shows a constant increase in wage and/or responsibility with each move. At least in this context, when a candidate shows forward rather than lateral motion that canbe interpreted as growth, as opposed to "doesn't play well with others".

The candidate should be prepared to make this case and demonstrate a skillset higher than the job titles held would require.

In the tech boom, frequent moves chasing dollars were common. Given the current climate, the market has solved that problem.

If this history were perceived as a showstopper in an interview, the candidate might offer to sign a contract to stay with the company x amount of time in exchange for training.

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Job Hopping

by hardhead In reply to Explaining a history of j ...

I have had a number of jobs in the past few years and left all of them for different reasons generally for career advancement. The one I find most difficult to explain is the most recent. I find I am continually questioned in depth regarding my actions when I say "I left for ethical reasons" or "I found I could no longer represent product or the company in the way it was expected of me"
I try to explain, without going into too much detail why this was the case and am continually asked over andover again why? why? why?.
I subscribe to the theory that it is not good practice to "whinge" about a previous employer. I also find it difficult to put into positive words that the product was no good and full of bugs and the company was in serious financial trouble, was falsly over charging its clients and had not met the agreed terms of my employement contract.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Job Hopping

by brian.kiser In reply to Job Hopping

I left a job once for ethical reasons as well. I think the problem is that lots of companies don't want to hear that--it suggests to *some* people that you aren't a team player. I left a consulting company that required me to balloon my billing hours for projects, lie to the customer about various things, and generally all sorts of underhanded things. That's not something I'm comfortable with, so I started job hunting. When I found a job that paid $12,500 more a year, I grabbed it. So now,my official reason for leaving was "a better opportunity". I'd suggest you think about a similar spin, rather than face uncomfortable questions regarding your ethical reasoning.


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Take the high road

by road-dog In reply to Job Hopping

"I felt that I could not, in good consience recommend that company's products. I would not use them myself, and my heart was not in my work at that company."

Or, "I did not fit in well in that company's corporate culture"

Take the humorous route:

" My mom told me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

"As for nice things to say, that company is great at ducking lawsuits and federal investigators!"

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Re: Take the high road

by brian.kiser In reply to Take the high road

Just to be the devil's advocate...

The first couple aren't bad, but could end up making you look like you're not a team player. The humorous ones may end up sounding sarcastic and nasty during a job interview. Not what you want, I assure you.
If you're going to mention anything like "ethical differences" or "I'm not a good fit", then you will absolutely needs to provide specifics to support your statement. Specifics will explain everything, providing you sound believeable. For example, if you say, "I wasn't a good fit for their corporate culture", you're better say why, or else your intviewer may be wondering if you'll be a good fit for HIS corporate culture! For specify exactly WHY you weren't a good fit, be sure to complete the statement (something like this):

"I wasn't a good fit for their corporate culture because a typical employee workday was 12 hours."

If this interviewer doesn't like that statement, you probably don't want to work there anyway. But, there aredozens of good reasons for why you might not be a good fit. Just brainstorm a bit and come up with ones that won't backfire!


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Ethics & Employment.

by In reply to Job Hopping

Consider these two cases,

(1) Employer unethical, so employee leaves, and honestly reports the reason.

(2) Employee unethical and terminated for cause, and lies (unethical people do this) stating that he left due to the unethical practices of his employer.

How has a interviewer can you determine between the two. Call the employer(supervisor) and you will usually get that the employee was a troublemaker or unethical, either the truth or mistruths covering up their flaws. The interviewer needs to probe deeper to determine if the interviewee is honestly stating the case.

I do not envy the honest employee in this case, and I have been there before.

It is very suspicous if the employee moves about every year (annual review time).

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by admin In reply to Explaining a history of j ...

these threads occasionally. :)

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Job-hopping looks bad

by Gull In reply to Explaining a history of j ...

Even saying you left for a better opportunity looks bad... if you jump every year...

Basically it looks like you'll get bored in a year, and start looking...

A better employee (in the company's mind) is one who wants to make a career there...One who wants to learn everything about THAT company's business and help IT succeed.

Job hopping every year usually means you're only trying to make YOURSELF succeed (make as much money as you can).

Although that's an understandable goal for any human being, when the hiring company has to choose between two candidates with similar skills, they'll take the person with 4 years at his or her last company over the person who's only been at his or her last company 8 months and is already looking for a new job.

TRY to find a company that you think you can work for a decent amount of time. Then, you're resume will look better the next time you do look, and, if you choose well.. maybe you WON'T need to look again for a long long time.


(There's a flip side to this as well... don't give any company TOO much loyalty... They will have NO problem firing you if the bottom line calls for it... no matter how loyal you were to them).

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Let the interviewer

by zlitocook In reply to Explaining a history of j ...

Answer your questions. After intro's say I have heard great things about your company. Of course do a little digging before going to the interview. Let him ask what and point out what the company has what the last one does not and that's one of the reasons why you are looking into a job there. Be your self and do not let going to a new job worry you. They need a person and you have a foot in the door.

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