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In today's corporate world, it is not unusual to find candidates who have racked up more jobs than they have years of experience. Ten years ago, such a scenario would have been unthinkable. Most companies would have viewed this as a deterrent. But the corporate scene has morphed to such an extent that job-hopping is no longer taboo, provided you do it correctly, and for the right reasons.
The HR perspective
When a recruiter is confronted with a resume that flaunts more than three jobs in the last one year, they feel the candidate may be dicey. Though these are not automatic rejects, they are viewed with a little more caution as compared to candidates with stable jobs. Without an investigation into the matter, they may be unable to discern whether the candidate left the job voluntarily or if there were shady reasons behind the move, such as the company firing the candidate.
Neeraj Desai (name changed), a recruitment manager in a prominent IT firm says, "I go through hundreds of resumes daily. I once short-listed a candidate who was quite knowledgeable and technically sound, but, during the HR interview, he couldn't give coherent reasons for his frequent job changes. He had changed four jobs in around a year and a half, and it seemed he had switched over just for minor pay hikes."
There may be exceptions to the rule, of course. Says Sujay Chatterjee, director of a consulting firm in New Delhi, "If a candidate has gone through a number of jobs in a short period of time, I would like to examine the reasons behind it. If I can see from his resume that he has moved from a smaller company to a bigger, more reputed one, I would give him the benefit of doubt. Also, if he has moved a step up the hierarchy while shifting to a new company, that too, would count in his favour."
The employee perspective
From the point of view of the job seeker, switching companies poses problems for two primary reasons.
First, you have to prove yourself. In a new company, you have to prove your worth once again. All your hard work at your former company has helped you bag this job. But at the new place, you have to start from scratch.
Second, you have to set up new relationships: At your new company, you have to establish a new set of relationships with different departments like HR, vendors and service providers, and others such as marketing or quality, depending on the job role. The process or the way of doing things may vary widely from company to company. It is not unusual for a candidate to feel a bit disoriented at the new environment, and it often takes time to acclimatise.
You may have toiled the whole year and expected to reap a reasonably tidy bonus as a reward. Leaving the company before receiving the bonus is a tough financial decision to make, and is best avoided.
If you are looking to change, and have offers on the table, take a minute to evaluate the reasons for which you are taking this step. The best reasons to change include growth prospects. Your current firm isn't offering you the same scope for growth as you might get in the new firm. This is one of the most acceptable reasons, and a majority of HR managers will have no issues with this.
The second acceptable reason is relocation. Due to some family reasons, if you have been forced to move to another city, you may have left your old job. Whatever your explanation, the important thing is to ensure you are telling the truth to the company and not fabricating some story. As long as the reason is genuine, the HR managers will hear you out.
"Too many candidates fib about their job changes," says Deepali, a member of the recruitment team at a large IT company. "In the light of severe background checks conducted by companies nowadays, especially IT companies, it is a bad idea to do unethical things like fudging relieving letters. I have had plenty of those, and have had to fire people who did this, even though they may have done it in desperation."
Another significant point to keep in mind is -- do not create bad blood with your former employer. You may express your concerns about the various negative aspects of the company at the exit interview, but ensure to your utmost that you leave the firm on good terms, not just the HR, but also with managers you have been working with.
Make sure you do not leave things half-baked or undone, be timely in returning company property, and co-operate fully for any handovers to be given to the person taking over your work.
At the end of the day, job-hopping is vastly accepted in today's corporate scenario. As long as you do it for the right reasons, and without burning any bridges, then by all means, go ahead and take the plunge.
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