Answering the Interview Question: Why Did You Have So Many Jobs in Such a Short Amount of Time?

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out like we think it’s going to. You might start what you thought was a perfect job and find out you hate it. Or you get hired in one state but your significant other has to move and you decide to go with them, leaving that new job behind. Or maybe a family member gets sick and you have to quit your new job to take care of them.

Regardless of what the reason is, your resume makes you look like a job hopper—you’ve had multiple jobs in a short time span, like three jobs in two years. This can scare potential employers who want an employee to stay for the long haul.

According to Bersin by Deloitte, as reported by Glassdoor, the average cost per hire is around $4,000. And that doesn’t even include the time it takes to train a new employee. Employers don’t want to spend all of that time and money only to see a new hire quit a few months later. They’re going to ask why you had so many jobs, so it’s important to have a planned answer ready. Here are our thoughts on how to answer.

  1. Be (Appropriately) Honest

When it comes to job hopping, trying to make up made-up excuses isn’t going to work. Just tell the truth, but be professional about it. Instead of “I hated my boss and they were horrible at their job,” opt for “the management style didn’t really mesh with me.” If the workplace was full of gossip and negativity, say something like “the company culture wasn’t the right fit.” And if you left because of a sick family member, a relationship, or something else that was out of your hands, just explain that situation.

  1. Be Quick

Remember, employers see job hopping as a red flag because they want you to stick around for at least a few years. That means your job-hopping explanation needs to focus on why this company is different, not on long-winded explanations for why you left your other positions.

Don’t spend a ton of time talking about what led you to leave each position. Keep it short, around 20 seconds or so. If you think you might end up rambling during the interview because of stress, prepare your answers ahead of time and time yourself. Feel free to write them out if you want, but don’t bring those written answers into the interview.

  1. Put the Focus on the Company and Job You’re Interviewing For

Your potential employer wants to know why this job and this company are different than the ones you job hopped between in the past. Research the company and know how it fits into your career plan. Explain how the company culture is perfect for you, how this position is one your skills match up to perfectly, and why you wouldn’t job hop from this particular job.

Contact Express

If you’re looking to avoid job hopping in the future, you need to find the job that’s right for you. This is where Express Employment Professionals comes in. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Express is a leading staffing provider in the U.S. and Canada. If you want to start looking for that dream job today, contact your local Express office, download the ExpressJobs app from your mobile store, or fill out our online contact form.

For more in our Answering the Interview Question series, check out:

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Tell Me About Yourself

What Are Your Top 3 Strengths and Weaknesses?

Why Should I Hire You?

Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job/Company?

Answering the Hardest Interview Questions

What’s Your Most Impressive Accomplishment?

How Would Your Co-Workers Describe You in Three Words?

Why Do You Want to Work at Our Company?

Do You Like to Take Charge of Projects and Situations?

Can We Contact Your Previous Employer?


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