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A Career Coach's Secrets to Recruiting Talent in the Age of the Job Hopper

Matt Krumrie

Career Advice Columnist

Opportunities for advancement are the second most common reason job seekers look for a new position — following compensation — according to an October 2015 Manpower survey. That same survey showed four in ten U.S. employees are always looking for their next job. Due to the frequency of job hopping among today's job seekers, some professionals have even coined a new term to describe them: "continuous candidates." Others prefer less distinct terms: According to Patty McCord, job hoppers are simply "job havers."

Regardless of what these frequent job seekers are called, they're redefining the recruiting landscape. So, how can HR leaders successfully recruit and retain talent that's always looking for the next best thing?

We caught up with Dr. Caitlin Faas, a career coach and assistant professor of psychology at Mount St. Mary's University, to find out what HR leaders should know.

What are the pros of recruiting candidates who appear to be job hoppers?

Think about it from a couple of angles. Perhaps the job hopper is really passionate about finding a good fit with a company and they just haven't found it yet. Your company could be that fit. Maybe the job hopper is following a romantic partner for their career and has had to hop due to family priorities. They could be the best hard worker you hire. Job hoppers can bring fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to your company — and they just might stay for the long-term.

How can HR truly understand if a job hopper is the right fit for their company?

Asking specific questions is a great way to better understand the candidate and their goals. Ask questions like: "I see you were in this position for one year and the next position for one year. What led to this quick transition?" If the applicant has a vague answer like, "I just wasn't happy there," ask direct follow-up questions like, "What specifically made you unhappy?" Also, job hoppers who are asking "bigger picture" questions are probably looking for the right career for them, not just "another job."

What are some advantages of hiring someone looking to make a career change?

People ready to switch careers or who are applying for jobs outside of their industry probably have a strong love of learning. Hiring someone with transferable skills gives a fresh perspective to your company and so much can be learned from the new hire's questions as they grow within the company. People who are switching careers purposefully are probably doing so with passion and willingness to learn. All companies need these strengths from their employees.

Why is it important for HR to focus on internal development?

Employees think that if they ask for a new challenge, they'll just get slammed with more work rather than purposeful work. HR professionals can help lead employee sessions, outside of yearly or quarterly reviews, that provide a safe space for current employees to think about how they would like to grow within the company and skills they would like to develop. HR professionals know it is much easier to keep their current talent than hire and onboard someone new, so take some for employee growth on a regular basis.

What advice do you have as a career coach for HR leaders?

Career coaches are always coming from a strengths-based approach. We are helping clients recognize their own talents and abilities, even when they can't see those talents themselves. HR leaders should be looking for applicants who have this direction and clarity. Sometimes applicants are on the job hunt because they think they will find clarity that way. HR leaders may recognize this when applicants treat the interview as a coaching or therapy session.

Photo: Creative Commons

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