en English

Stereotype Job Hopping, Recruiters Must Dig Deeper

Reviewing today’s candidates takes just a little more effort than most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are designed for. Understandably, your ATS allows you to filter candidates in your database for longevity in their position(s). A Legacy ATS may stereotype job hopping applicants incorrectly. You must dig deeper.

20 years ago (before the turn of the century) perhaps this was a good criteria to differentiate candidates. Today, it is not. The tools, applicant tracking systems developed in the prior century, generally don’t have a workflow that easily enables a researcher to look deeper.

It is a manual effort.

Why are short-duration jobs misleading? There are many reasons, here are a few:

  1. Mature managers are often unable to grasp the new concept of short assignment-based job tenure. As a result, they maintain last-century job descriptions and search requirements that eliminate the best, most diverse, and most-recent skill-qualified candidates from their potential hiring pool.
  2. The Millennial workforce is increasingly defining the next, and shorter job tenure. Job tenure has been declining for many years, averaging now some say, at 2 years or less. This (and the next, and next-next,…) generations will always have the most recent and competitive-advantage-driving apropos skills.
  3. The DoL as well as other institutions and agencies have identified the shift in workforce complexion from being largely “full-time equivalent” workers to what some project will be 20% (Staffing Industry Analysts) to as much as 50% temporary staffing by the year 2020. This is an understandable and logical shift as staffing on short-term assignments is a key contributor to economic recovery.

These three factors and others suggest that shorter-term jobs will continue to increase on candidate resumes. If the search criteria you use cuts them from the mix, expect to submit candidates with older legacy skills that lack cutting edge experience to drive competitive advantage. Long-term, clients that hire based on 3-5 year experience in a skill or domain, are hiring someone that started learning that skill 4 to 6 years ago. Technology changes much more rapidly than that, as does the competitive landscape which that company must compete.

This puts that hiring manager’s company, (and his/her own career) at a clear competitive disadvantage over the company that is hiring people with 6 months and sometimes less, of a new cutting edge skill. That latter candidate has taken initiative, or been hired in a company that has a training program…, all criteria that make him/her a better candidate over say someone that only has 5 years of C++, C# or older model Warner Swasey turret lathe skills. This is an easy concept, but one that is often overlooked when hiring managers base hiring decisions primarily on longevity, history and the past, over ability to perform the job today, next week, and this year.

Identifying talent requires digging deeper than what the resume’s start and end dates say – especially for a candidates’ most recent positions that will reflect this shift. It also requires that staffing, search and placement firms step up and have the tough conversation with clients about this issue. Some will resist, others will get it. In the end, staffing, search and placement firms are partners that should be on the lookout for their client’s best interest. Other clients will “just say no” to their own peril.

Job tenure is getting shorter, avoid stereotype job hopping as resume’s reflect this shift. Some (not all) candidates that have short tenure in their recent jobs are really just taking initiative to and staying ahead of the curve developing leading edge skills and accumulating dynamic experience. Don’t eliminate the best with the most recent technical skills and knowledge without first digging in a little deeper.