How to ask about job hopping in an interview

How to approach this topic

Asking about a candidate's job history, including any instances of job hopping, can be done in a respectful and non-confrontational manner. Here are some tips on how to approach this topic during an interview.

Be neutral & non-judgmental

During the interview, it's essential to establish a neutral and non-judgmental tone when discussing a candidate's job history. Begin by expressing genuine interest in their career journey and use language that is neither critical nor accusatory.

Ask open-ended questions

Start the conversation with open-ended questions that invite the candidate to share their perspective on their career path. For instance, you could initiate the discussion by saying, "I noticed you've had a few different roles in the past few years. Can you walk me through your career path and what led you to each transition?"

Engage in active listening

As the candidate responds, practice active listening. Allow them the space to explain their career choices and provide insights into the factors influencing their decisions. This will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of their professional journey.

Ask about motivations

Delve deeper into the motivations behind each job change. Pose questions like, "What prompted you to make a move from your previous position to your current or most recent job?" This allows the candidate to articulate the factors that influenced their career decisions.

Explore career goals

Inquire about the candidate's long-term career goals and how each job move aligns with those objectives. For example, you might ask, "How does your experience in your previous role contribute to your overall career goals?" This helps contextualise their job changes within the broader framework of their professional aspirations.

Acknowledge industry norms

Recognise that different industries may have varying expectations regarding job stability. Acknowledge this by saying, "In some industries, it's not unusual for professionals to explore different opportunities. Can you share your perspective on this in your field?" This allows the candidate to provide insights specific to their industry norms.

Highlight learning & growth

Frame the conversation around the candidate's learning and growth. Encourage them to discuss the skills and experiences gained from each position, asking, "What skills and experiences did you gain from each role, and how have they contributed to your professional development?" This emphasises the positive aspects of their career journey.

Discuss stability & commitment

If applicable to the role, inquire about the candidate's commitment to staying in a position for a more extended period. Ask, "Are you actively seeking a long-term commitment in your next role, and if so, why?" This helps assess their willingness to commit to a more stable tenure if it aligns with the job requirements.

Remember to approach the topic with sensitivity, as there may be various reasons for job changes, such as career growth, pursuit of new challenges, or changes in personal circumstances. The goal is to understand the candidate's motivations and assess how well they align with the requirements and expectations of the role you are hiring for.

If you're interested in learning more about this topic, check out Indeed's guide on everything employers should know about job hoppers (and 5 interview questions to ask). Additionally, click the button below to read our article on how to hire an employee.

How to ask about job hopping in an interview

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