Is Job Hopping Bad When You Work Remotely?

Remote Job HuntingWorking Remotely

What is considered job hopping? Is job hopping good or bad? We’ll help candidates explain job hopping on a resume and show employers how to reconsider it:

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Is job hopping good or bad when working remotely?

While some employers may see red flags in a perpetual job hopper, others are excited by the wide variety of skills they may bring to the table. Their biggest concern? That a job hopper will disappear on them too.

So if you’re on a remote job search, you may be looking for ways to explain job hopping on your resume. After all, you don’t want to come off like someone who lacks loyalty, long-term career focus, or follow-through.

That’s why we’re covering both sides of the job-hopping equation in this guide.

Job seekers will learn how to leverage their career experiences to land the remote role of their dreams. And remote organizations will see a new way to evaluate job hoppers (and boost retention). 

Before we get to everything you need to know about job hopping when working remotely, let’s start with the basics: 

What is Job Hopping?

What is considered job hopping to an employer?

There’s no specific number of positions in a certain timeframe that automatically puts you in the job hopper category. However, most career experts say staying at a few jobs for less than one to two years could lead to that labeling.

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To employers, job hopping shows a pattern of not sticking around long-term and simply jumping from one job to the next.

Is Job Hopping Normal?

Younger workers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are much more likely to take a risk and leave a job compared to older employees who are more established in their careers [*].

One Gallup poll reported that millennials are the “most likely” generation to not only switch employers, but switch careers [*]. 

Experts also say job hopping occurs more often in stronger economies [*]. When workers feel confident that they can find a new gig and potentially earn more money, they tend to take the bait. 

With so many employers struggling to fill roles during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Great Recession, we’re now in a candidate-driven market. Employers understand this, and most seem to be working overtime to attract top talent their way.

So in 2022, is job hopping actually good?

Is Job Hopping Good Or Bad? (A Look From Both Sides of the Equation)

The most important thing to remember with job hopping is to look for and understand the why. 

Hiring teams who immediately see red flags in a job hopper need reassurance that a candidate won’t up and disappear as soon as their teams start relying on them. So job seekers must find ways to reframe job hopping as a positive step in their careers. 

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But if candidates can’t explain their reasons for leaving their roles, or if there’s a pattern of blaming everyone else for why they did so, those become legitimate warning signs.

There are Good Reasons To Leave a Job… 

While we don’t recommend that you quit your job without a plan, there are reasonable reasons for taking a new position, such as:

A better career opportunity and new challenge. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re not using your skills and talents to their fullest. If a candidate is unchallenged in their current role, taking on a new one where they can expand their skill set and grow in their career shows drive.

A higher salary or better compensation package. Most employees only receive an average 3% raise per year. But job switching can earn candidates a 10-20% boost in pay [*]. Even a small increase may be worth the jump if a new position comes with the potential for bonuses, stock options, or the best company benefits.

Realizing you’re no longer aligned with the company culture. What happens if an organization gets new investors and changes its mission and workplace practices overnight? Employees in 2022 are realizing the importance of value alignment, and they want to work for companies that share their goals.

Leaving a toxic work environment or poor management. A toxic remote workplace can lead to burnout, lower productivity and motivation, mental health issues, and more. Employees in this boat should try to resolve issues before leaving, but should never feel forced to stay in an unchanging situation for long.

The majority of remote employers will be more than understanding if people job hop for reasons like these. That’s why it’s crucial to explain and hear out all the “whys.”

How To Explain Job Hopping (On a Resume, Remote Interview, etc.)

A history of job hopping won’t doom your remote job search. As long as you learn how to explain your reasons and leverage your job hopping experience to show growth, you can get ahead of a potential employer’s worries.

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So how do you do that?

1. Get To The Root Of Your Job Hopping

Let’s say your reason for leaving a job doesn’t fall into any of the “good” categories. Before you begin your remote job search, take some time to reflect on what went wrong, what the situation taught you, and how best to avoid it from repeating.

Consider what you enjoyed and disliked most about the position, so you don’t accidentally end up in a similar situation (or one that’s worse). Then:

Learn how to decode the secret language of remote job descriptions. If you see certain red flags that remind you of bad times in your former role, move on to the next job ad.

Use this list of questions to ask remote companies in your virtual interviews to ensure that role is really one you want. You don’t want to find out months down the line that you need to job hop again.

2. Explain Your Most Recent Job Hop In Your Cover Letter

In our guide on What a Cover Letter Should Look Like (+5 Things To Include), we explained that a cover letter is your first and best chance to impress hiring teams. It should pique their interest enough to actually want to read your resume.

So use this document as your chance to confront your most recent job hop head-on.

Don’t badmouth your former employer or get into a massive explanation of why your manager refused to listen to your fantastic ideas. Just highlight the positive reasons you had for leaving, such as:

  • Wanting a more flexible schedule or the ability to work 100% remote
  • Expanding your skill set, taking on bigger challenges, leading a team, etc.
  • Focusing on specific values or company culture
  • A career change to follow your true passion

The more you show remote employers that you were job hopping to improve your situation, rather than running away from conflicts, the more they’ll be able to see you as a leading candidate.

3. Focus On Transferable Skills from Job Hopping On Your Resume

You should always tailor your resume to your dream remote job. To do that, pick out specific keywords in the job ad description that highlight what employers are looking for in top candidates.

Your resume should contain as many matching keywords as possible (do not lie here). 

You should worry less about job hopping on your resume and more about spotlighting your value. Having a wide skill set is a huge selling point to employers. 

So use your job hopping to show off all the knowledge you picked up along the way or improved because you took on a new role.

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These relevant, transferable skills will help your resume beat the applicant tracking systems (ATS) and prove why you deserve an interview. You’ll definitely stand out as a top choice despite your job hopping past. 

Psst! Check out this post on How To Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter To a Remote Job to make sure you’re doing it right.

How To Effectively Evaluate Job Hoppers and Decrease Job Hopping At Your Remote Company

Hiring remote employees with a history of job hopping can cost your organization time, money, and unnecessary stress. Between sourcing, interviewing, training, and finding their replacement, job hoppers can halt operations and hurt employee morale.

Unfortunately, you can’t just rule out job hoppers at first glance because you may miss out on a great candidate.

So how can you tell if a job hopper is likely to do it again or finally found their perfect long-term match?

1. Know What You’re Looking For
Before You Post a Remote Job Ad

It’s easy to get swayed by a persuasive resume or during an interview when a candidate says all the right things.

Next thing you know, you overlook their job-hopping past and find yourself in the exact bind you were promised wouldn’t happen just a few months later. Then you’ll be back at square one, hiring someone else for the role.

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That’s why it pays to map out the qualities and skills you’re looking for in a new hire ahead of time. You’ll also attract more great-fit candidates when you learn how to write a remote job ad that sells.

Then, get in the habit of using a hiring scorecard during your interviews. This unbiased system helps you accurately assess candidates on the skills, traits, and values you’re seeking. 

Assign a number for each item on your candidate wishlist, and you’ll soon see which candidates really check all your boxes. Your scorecard will also automatically rank how they compare to each other.

This should give you more confidence in making the right hire, job-hopping history or not. So add this task to your remote hiring strategy ASAP. 

2. Be Open To Hearing Their “Whys”

You should always ask candidates their reasons for job hopping before you discount one who might be exactly who you’re looking for.

If their answer is all about how everyone else was to blame, you may have a future job hopper on your hands. But if your candidate has valid reasons for why they left those previous roles, keep asking more questions to see if they’re a good fit otherwise.

You can use this guide on How To Conduct Successful Remote Interviews to prepare.

3. Take Better Care of Your Remote Employees

Want to prevent job hopping at your remote company?

Show your employees that you value them

Offer the best company benefits every remote team should get. In a candidate’s job market, they’ll be looking for organizations with competitive salaries and employee benefits packages (and all the extra perks that drive recruiting and retention).

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Some other ways to stop potential job hoppers include:
  • Engaging with your remote employees often
  • Recognizing their hard work
  • Encouraging employees to level up their skills and career development
  • Providing helpful feedback
  • Building a strong remote company culture 

Those are all key ingredients to keeping employees happy and around long-term.

It’s Time To Rethink Job Hopping, Right?

There are often valid, positive reasons for people to job hop, especially when they’re early in their career, transitioning to a new one, or seizing an opportunity to advance. So it’s time to rethink whether job hopping is a bad thing.

If you’ve been a job hopper in the past, leverage all the skills you picked up during your transitions that made you into the awesome candidate you are today.

And if you’re a remote hiring team, don’t be scared to ask candidates why they chose to switch roles so soon. Then make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent your employees from looking for greener pastures elsewhere.

Check out this list of the top 30 remote companies hiring in 2022 to find your next role or scout the competition!

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