How to Explain Job Hopping: 5 Ways to Discuss Your Unstable Job History in an Interview
Many people in the hospitality industry have switched jobs frequently. If you haven’t stayed with an employer for more than a few months, you’re not alone. However, employers sometimes view frequent "job hopping" as a red flag, so if your resume indicates several job moves in a short period of time you may be asked to explain this in the interview. Here’s how to answer.
1. Don’t complain about past employers
If you’ve moved between employers because you didn’t like your bosses, the pay was bad, or you got laid off all the time, it’s best not to dwell on those reasons. Complaining about past employers can suggest to the hiring manager that you’ll be discontented in a new position, too. It’s better to briefly acknowledge your job-hopping history without pointing fingers at anyone. For example, you can say, “Like many of my colleagues, I’ve found that opportunities in the industry are often short-term. Although I’ve enjoyed those experiences and learned a lot from them, I’m looking for a more permanent role now.”
2. Explain extenuating circumstances
You may want to go into a bit more detail about the reasons for your job-hopping if there were unusual circumstances that no longer apply. For example, maybe your spouse was serving in the military and you had to move between bases. Or perhaps you decided to travel through different countries in your first year post-college and now you’ve settled down. As long as these explanations are accurate and positive, they can help reassure the hiring manager that you’ve put the reasons for your job moves behind you.
3. Stress the good points of job hopping
Talk about what you’ve gained from your frequent job changes and how the experience has helped you. For example, you could mention all the people you were able to meet and how you learned to quickly acclimate to a new workplace and team. Or, you could talk about how you’ve seen more of the industry by working in several different hotels. You probably won’t convince the hiring manager that a history of job hopping is actually an asset, but that’s okay. The point is just to demonstrate that you have the soft skills to respond to a tough question with confidence and an upbeat attitude.
4. Talk about commonalities
If you can make the case that there were many similarities between your different positions, that shows the hiring manager that your work experience is more stable that it might seem at first glance. For example, you could say, “Although I’ve worked for five different employers, all those roles were guest-facing. I’ve honed my customer service and communication skills in each of those jobs.”
5. Talk about your desire to stay with the company long-term
You don’t want a hiring manager to assume you’ll be eager to leave your next job, so state your plans to stay longer in your next position. Be clear that you want your next position to last for years, not months. Discuss your ideal career path and how you envision moving up within the company. The more specific you are about your plans to maintain a job long-term, the better the hiring manager will feel about considering you for the role.