June 21, 2018

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Are You a Job Hopper?

Interviewer: I'm concerned that you've changed jobs frequently.

Changing jobs frequently is a reality of working today. Companies conduct layoffs with higher frequency than ever before. Most employees are not laid off for poor performance. Department consolidation, company relocation, merger and improved profit are just a few reasons for layoffs.

Why this is a surprise to interviewers is a mystery to me.

Changing jobs frequently is a common condition in the 21st century, but interviewers still question candidates about why they left jobs. The core issue is that interviewers are afraid you'll leave quickly or be a low performer.

Your response to this interviewer issue mu st provide information about why you left a previous position and assurances that you're seeking a long-term opportunity.

Have a good reason

Whether you changed by choice or layoff, you'll need to provide a reason for leaving each previous job. Candidates often include the reason for leaving a position in their resume so they do not get screened out prior to the interview. Your reason for leaving must be concise and reasonable.

Keep it short

Describe the reasons for your departure directly and succinctly. Do not go into great detail unless they ask you for the details. The longer you speak on the subject the more suspicious the interviewer will become. For example: "My company merged with another firm and consolidated our department. Prior to the merger I was a strong performer with positive performance reviews."

Seeking long-term

It is important to express that you have always sought and are still seeking a company where you can make a long term commitment. Tell the interviewer that this opportunity appears to be a place where you can contribute in the short-term and long-term.

Offer References

State you'll happy to provide references from a former colleague or boss to verify his performance. Demonstrating a confidence and willingness to provide references to support your reasons for leaving is a powerful way to respond to questions about why you left a previous company.

Turn that question around

After your response to why you left a position, ask the interviewer(s) a question.


Write out your response and practice saying it. First, practice responding out loud to yourself and then practice saying it to another person. Ask a friend to practice interview you. Ask them to ask you this question ("Why did you leave your last company?) and a couple other questions you fear most. Practice until you are comfortable with the words you say and how you deliver them.

What Did You Learn

Embrace the opportunity to describe what you learned from a recent job and how you will handle a similar situation in the future. Describing what y ou learned demonstrates that you are a life-long learner and you look on the positive side of most scenarios.

Good luck and the best of health on your job search,

Michael R. Neece, CEO and Author


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