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Are you frustrated when an employer asks you, “Why have you had so many job during your career?” or “Why can’t you seem to stay at one job for any lengthy period of time?” Do you have difficulty coming up with a great response? Join career expert, motivator, and award-winning author Andrew LaCivita as he discusses the best answer to the job hopper question!
Help is here!
I’ll tell you exactly how to answer those questions, but let’s first address what’s happening when an interviewer asks you these questions.
Realize no one is smart enough to take your responses from those particular questions and determine whether you’ll be a great employee in their company. It’s just too great a leap to connect those dots.
Decisions you made years ago simply won’t help them understand how you’re going to fit into their organization.
What’s the question you’re really being asked?
If you are interviewing, whether on the phone or in person, the employer has essentially granted on paper you are qualified for the job and deserving of their time!
The question they are truly asking is, “Why will it be different this time?”
The interviewer wants to know why are you going to make a good decision that sticks…so when you join their company you’ll be a good longstanding, successful employee.
That’s what they really want to know. That’s what they want to be assured of.
That’s the question you need to answer!
Turn multiple job hops into one issue you’ve resolved!
First, take responsibility and own your previous actions.
Second, turn “several” problems into one problem you can address quickly. That is, if you’ve had a handful of job hops, respond to all of them at once. Make it a universal issue you’ve now fixed. You can diffuse it all in one fell swoop.
Third, give your response with a smile and lots of positivity regarding why this will work going forward.
“Ya know, you’re right. I do have a few (or a number of) job hops in my history.
I discovered very recently the reason I was having some trouble was due to a common issue. I wasn’t clear upfront regarding all the criteria I needed to be fulfilled in my job.
I did some self-reflection and thought deeply about everything I needed to make me happy in my work life. I hadn’t done that previously. But, now, I took the time. Performed the exercises and reflected.
This has put me in a much better position to evaluate whether any future job opportunity and company will be a great fit for me because I now have a much more complete list of the criteria I need. I have that clarity.
Previously, I wasn’t as skilled at getting the information I need from the employer, but I’m in a much better position now because I’ve gone through this reflection.
I understand specifically what I need to evaluate and how to evaluate it. Now, I’m more confident I can determine whether your company is a good one for me.”
Why this works…
First, you avoid the risk of dragging the conversation on by trying to take one job hop at a time.
When you do this, the interviewer thinks goodness. It’s always something with her. It seems like a different issue every time or he’s just like Pig Pen. He’s got that cloud of rain over himself wherever he goes.
You’ve also shifted a negative question into a positive action you’ve taken!
There are exceptions, but the pattern is what’s important…
I realize people leave jobs for countless reasons. You could have an illness in the family. Your husband or wife could be getting transferred.
But, if you’re getting asked the job hopper question, the interviewer is looking for the common pattern.
Take responsibility. Defuse it all at once. Speak positively about the action you’ve taken to overcome it and why it won’t be an issue this time!
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I read this after your post from today. You are so practical and informative! You are such a great story teller… I had goose bumps the whole time I was reading the salary part!
Thanks so much Edward!
Thanks this was so helpful!
So glad you liked it Caitlyn!
I don’t know about this one. The idea is good. Come up with one answer to cover all, but the answer given sounds more like an addict who “gave up” his addiction. Is that addiction coming back? If so, will it be more severe? If someone gave me that answer, I would be very skeptical of their intent, no matter how serious they were about it.
A more realistic answer would be “Because they didn’t have what I needed to feel fulfilled in my workplace. Do you?”
Hi George, I can see your point. Will respectfully disagree. And, regarding your more realistic answer, my response if you gave me that answer would be, “No one has seemed to be able to fulfill your needs, so I’m assuming we won’t be able to either.”
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Thank you so much for this. I need the answer. So glad you came to help. It is trouble when you don’t know what you want and need to continue to work.
This is the answer I need, I came across a few interviews, and cannot figure out how to answer such kink of questions. Thank zou so much. It is so helpful