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How to hire a job hopper - and why you totally should

While ‘job hopper’ might have some negative connotations, we’re using the term to define that elusive top talent; those who are usually in permanent roles, but who have a track record of frequently changing jobs.

What constitutes ‘job hopping’?

Outside of civil service and government office, there’s no such thing as a ‘job for life’ any more. But what’s an acceptable tenure today? Given the choice, would you take an average performer for four years over a rock star performer for 18 months? It’s not always clear.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of hiring a transient rock star.


• They inspire those around them

• They can upskill & cross-skill other team members with new and emerging practices

• They can bring new ideas, skills and perspectives from a multitude of other organisations

• They can have a quick and measurable impact on the business

• They can act as a ‘beacon’ to attract other top talent in the market


• Hiring costs, if any (ie. recruiter or head hunter fees)

• It takes time to learn a new systems, products or services, and become productive

• They can disrupt the business when leaving; other top performers may consider leaving too

• Intellectual Property (IP) leaves with them

In this analysis, the argument for hiring a job hopper actually outweighs that against it. Now that we’ve got this perspective, we can start to look at how to counteract the cons to optimise value.

Hiring costs

If you engage an agency, the cost is approximately 20% of the candidate’s salary (which you will not be getting back). If you keep them for 18 months, you’re effectively paying just 1% per month in additional costs, but that’s negated by the cost savings and/or revenue generation they deliver to the business.

Time to learn the environment

Job hoppers will often be familiar with the industry and systems your business uses, meaning they can get up to speed faster than the average hire. Your own on-boarding processes should be optimised for these quick learners to have the greatest impact on business objectives.

Disruption / Loss of IP / Impact on team

These elements are all connected, as the relative costs to the business come down to the relationships that have been built during the candidate’s tenure. Such individuals can be extremely difficult to replace, and their departure can affect many within the company.

Transparency is the key here. Stakeholders and teams need to be informed from the outset of the individual’s expected tenure, so that there are no surprises.

Protecting IP can be managed by ensuring your rock star passes their expertise onto others and delivers solid documentation before they depart.

Consider the following…

  • A rock star sales person can generate revenue and relationships, but it could take 6 months for them to be profitable
  • A top-drawer creative can deliver a feature or a design that could drastically improve the adoption of a product
  • A high performance project manager can streamline processes and find efficiencies that positively impact the bottom line
  • An exceptional accountant can unearth tax breaks or improve cash flow, and ultimately EBIT, to the business.

In summary

Don’t be too quick to dismiss candidates who have moved from company to company. You never know; they could have a dramatic impact on the business – for the better. Keep in mind the benefits that this individual could bring, and ensure your on-boarding will maximise productivity. Manage internal expectations, and you’ll eliminate the disruption when they leave.

Find My Recruiter can help you unearth job-hopping talent. Connect with one of our industry-specialist recruiters on today and find your next rock star.

AuthorWritten byEmma Jones
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