The Blogs of Dave Murphy: Job-hopping – a generational thing?
I work with hiring managers to identify candidates for openings that fit their “ideal” profile. On the wish list of criteria is always a “track record of success,” often defined by a clear progression of increasingly more responsible roles. Most hiring managers want to see some of that progression within the same organization because they usually want to build a bench of future leaders for their own company, and would prefer to do that with people they can trust will want to stay with them for a period of several years. Hence, hiring managers have historically looked askew at “job-hoppers.” One large pharma company I have worked with even has a policy against considering candidates if they have more than two different employers in the past five years.
That conventional thinking is being challenged in many circles, and labor market analysts like to contend that workers in younger generations, particularly Millennials, are far less “loyal” to their employer and much more likely than older works to change employers frequently. One LinkedIn study says Millennials job-hop more than their predecessors, however this only contains data LinkedIn members actually report. Gen X and Baby Boomer members of the site may be less likely to report their extended history of employment, but instead the few most recent jobs. It’s interesting to note, however, that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Baby Boomers job-hopped in their twenties just as frequently as Millennials do now. So it appears that frequent employment changes is not so much a generational phenomenon as it is a function of being young.
From a Recruiters perspective, job-hopping is more prevalent in certain functions than certain generations, for instance, I see far more employer changes among marketing personnel than I do among engineers or R&D personnel. On balance, a 50 year old marketing professional is more likely to have multiple, recent job changes on their resume than a 30 years old product development professional. A recent LinkedIn study inquiring about reasons for making a job change showed that 59% of respondents chose their new company because they saw a stronger path for career development at the new company than at their current company, regardless of their age. It’s not surprising that workers from all generations are seeking opportunity for growth and development, and it’s also not surprising that workers in their 20’s and early 30’s don’t necessarily believe that they were fortunate enough to stumble into a career path that will ultimately lead them to retirement.
Is there a continued stigma associated with job-hopping?
With corporate contractions, mergers and acquisitions affecting nearly all industries, and the resulting force reductions and lay-offs, it’s safe to say that frequent job changes on a resume are not unusual, and generally not perceived as negatively as they once were. Hiring managers are less likely to simply cast off a candidate without at least inquiring about the reasons for the job changes. But there remains a level of suspicion about candidates who have had many job changes because they are assumed to be a flight-risk. It’s extremely expensive and time consuming to hire and train new employees and if an interview team has to choose between someone who has demonstrated longevity in a given employer versus a job-hopper, they will demand that the job-hopper have significantly better skills for the job.
I think it’s fair to say that today’s hiring managers, who themselves have likely made several employer changes and / or lived through some downsizings, are far more open to considering candidates with a track record of multiple job changes. But they also have a high level of respect for employees who were able to earn multiple promotions within one organization over several years. It’s not necessarily a negative thing to have job hops, but it’s a very positive thing to show a track record of progression within one organization. And it’s so rare to see that in a Millennial candidate – for example, 5+ years at the same employer right out of college that included multiple promotions – that they are always viewed with favor in an interview process versus other younger candidates who don’t have that story to tell.
When I review resumes in my database of successful employees of mid-size and large companies who have risen to the VP level and above I see a similar pattern. Their first job out of college is usually with a high-profile, multinational organization that gave them training and access to resources that are not available at smaller companies. They generally stay there 5-10 years and earn at least two promotions, building a track record of accomplishments that make them very attractive to other organizations. In some instances those high risers will choose to remain with their initial employer for decades, rising through the ranks, but far more often I see them being recruited to smaller organizations where they can often accelerate their career advancement and have more fun doing it. It’s no secret that smaller companies are riskier and when they don’t get funding or their lead product fails, those A Players need to find another job. So in reality I see just as much job-changing (voluntary or not) among Baby Boomers and Gen X workers as I do among Millennials.
I don’t think job-hopping is a generational thing, I think it’s far more based on individual personalities and the functions that workers perform, regardless of their generation. As always I welcome your comments and questions.
How to Best Respond to Bulk Emails from Recruiters
My colleague Michael Pietrack pointed out that one of the necessary evils of the recruiting business is bulk emailing. We discussed how most recruiters try their very best to pin-point the types of roles that would be of interest to every candidate that is in their niche area. This information is usually based on previous conversations, where each candidate gives the recruiter specific direction on what types of roles would be of interest. If you and I (or the recruiter of your choice) haven’t had a call like that, it would be mutually beneficial to do so.
So, once you get an obvious bulk email from me or from another firm, here are a couple “do” and “don’t” suggestions that Michael developed to help you improve your success rate of getting a reply.
What to Do:
-Respond in a professional way. For example, the one sentence response or a fragment sentence is not a professional email. I get so many email responses that if you read them, you would be embarrassed for the person.
-Demonstrate strong writing skills. With so much of our daily lives done over email, your recruiter is evaluating whether or not you can communicate clearly and with intelligence through email. This will definitely give your recruiter confidence to present you to their client.
-Read the person’s email all the way through. I get many emails where people ask questions that are in the body of the original email. That tells me they didn’t read it, and it’s an immediate red flag (usually followed by a deletion of the message).
-Follow the directions in the email. If the person doesn’t follow the directions, I assume they will do the same when my client sends them action items that must be completed.
-Be self-critical. If you meet 1 of the 5 must haves for the role, then you’re not likely to get the job or even an interview. If the recruiter sent you an email that isn’t appropriate for your skills, help that person course-correct so that future emails will be more effective for them and not annoying to you.
What NOT to Do:
-Don’t ask who the company is. If the recruiter wanted to freely say who the company was, they would have put it in the original email. When you show them that you are a fit for the job, they should be able to tell you over the phone who the company is.
-Don’t ask about salary. Our clients pay us to find people who are interested in the job and who will bring them value. The way to engage a recruiter is to talk about the value you can bring before you find out if you just hit the lottery. Imagine if your friend was setting you up on a date, and your first question was, “Is he rich?”. Get my point?
-Don’t request more information over email. Recruiters run a phone based business, and they want to talk to you about the role. They don’t want an email to do the selling, especially a job description. The amount of information that recruiters want to share over email was certainly in the original email. If you want more information, show the recruiter you’re qualified, and then request a time to talk.
-Don’t send fragmented sentences or one-line sentences. Some of my favorites are: “Am interested, submit me” (This person is confused about what recruiters do for a living); “Could be interested if money is right” (Automatic delete); “Who’s the company?” (Again, the information the recruiter wants out there is in the email); and “I’m a perfect fit!” (In my career, no one who has said this has gotten the job. Again, be able to self-critique.).
Here is an example of what your response should look like:
Thanks for contacting me. I think I might be a fit for this role since I have X, Y, Z in my background. Remember though that I’m earning $1,000,000 base, and if you think that wouldn’t deter your client, then I’m open to talking. Can we set up a time to talk further about this position?
Thanks for your time,
I hope these suggestions are helpful. If you have further questions, please respond to me privately via email: firstname.lastname@example.org