Job Hop Gatekeeping

I usually write articles for job seekers, but this is a specific call out to folks hiring.

Twitter is a place for sarcasm, memes and the same 6 tech conversations happening on repeat. Yesterday, the topic that came up, again, was job hopping.

The first problem is that there is no standard definition for the term job hopping. 

In the 90s, it was considered job hopping to leave your job before having been employed for 5 years. Today, it tends to be holding jobs for less than 1-2 years in succession. 

But again, it’s totally subjective. And things that are subjective are prone to bias. (This is going to the danger zone fast for under-repped groups, but more on that later). 

So, when is it okay to job hop?

Well, from a legal perspective, all states outside of Montana are at-will employment states. This means that legally, you are able to leave a job, without notice, for any reason. So, we’re cool there.

From a personal perspective, you are an adult who can generally do whatever you want. So, good to go here.

So, if legally and personally we’re okay with it…...where’s the beef?!

You leaving a company after they have put in time/money to recruit and onboard you is a risk. Companies hate risk and do their best to mitigate risk, so they give a side eye to folks who job hop. On a purely surface level, this makes sense, trying to avoid risk makes sense. But we all know life isn’t that simple.

Science tells us that when we are protecting ourselves from risky/harmful situations we lean in hard to things we know and bring us comfort…..aka our built in biases. In a job search in tech, the ‘comfort’ and ‘trust-worthy’ shows itself as over-repped groups. 

Companies dislike job hoppers unless it is someone who can make them feel comfortable. So guess who gets the ‘free pass’ more than most? White people and/or people with a specialized skill set.

So in 2021, when studies tell us that 55%1 of employers are hiring job hoppers and a significant portion of the workforce is job hopping, do we actually dislike job hoppers or is this just another tactic to gatekeep?