Making a decision to quit is difficult. Many people are worried that too sudden company change may be misinterpreted by recruiters or potential employers. How often can you change a job, not to be classified as a “jumper” or sluggard?
Baby Boomers, that is people born in 1946–1964, used to work for 20 to 30 years in one company, and it was no surprise – this generation appreciates stability above all. People of younger generations – generation X, Y or Z – are more open to career changes.
The candidate market has significantly changed during the last few years. Most wanted specialists receive up to 5 or 6 job offers each month. On one hand, frequent job changes may raise doubts among recruiters, suggesting that a candidate does not care for professional development, cannot handle new challenges or does not work well in a team. On the other hand, this may be a result of a hard competition battle for specific skills.
When to change your job?
There is neither good nor just one answer to this question. Every case is different and should be considered individually. What you should take into account is the career stage, industry, nature of the position, previous workplaces, project carried out, experience or qualifications. For example, in IT, hard skills or knowledge of a given programming language will be more important than many years of experience in one company. For candidates applying for a managerial post, building position in an organisation and development within its structures will be of essence, and this cannot be achieved by often job changes. Internships, seasonal or project-specific jobs are a completely separate category – recruiters are fully aware of their temporary nature.
Ask the HR experts
“In general, HR manager is more benevolent with young adults who has left school or graduated from University recently and need to gain more experience and skills. Nevertheless, I would recommend at least 3 years in one company for more experienced workers”, says Klára Veverková, Senior Recruiter at recruitment and outsourcing agency Devire, that also has long lasting experience from internal HR.
Three years of experience means that a potential employee is committed to perform his or her tasks but wants to gain new experience. Why? Most employers requires their potential employees to have several years of experience in a given position or industry. This is fully understandable. Such candidates have the necessary knowledge and competences, and adapt more swiftly to their new roles. People working for several years in one field also know the specificities of a given sector and can share valuable insight and ideas, which may impact the company’s development.
„However, recruiters do not perceive positively nowadays being at the same position within the same company for twenty years”, mentions Klára Veverková.
Those who managed to change their jobs after a few months should be aware that at the next job interview the recruiter will most certainly ask them about the reason for this. Therefore, it would be good to prepare a substantive response, for example, pointing to the need for personal and professional development and a thoughtful management of your career.
“It’s worth to plan your career so you, as a potential employee, are perceived as someone who has wide experience within various companies but stays at one company at least a couple of years. At the same time, each change shall have a logic connection to the past and the recruiter shall see some career development and improvement in skills”, added Klára Veverková.
What’s important is that you keep good relations with your previous employer. It’s a small world, and career paths of an employee and his or her ex-boss may cross many times in the future.