Although the stigma around job hopping has reduced, it’s still an interview question that every candidate dreads. Not only does it force you to look inwardly and present reasons for your job jumping ways, but answer wrong and it can blow your chances of landing the job.
So, whether you were out there chasing bigger opportunities, got laid off from a previous job, or simply decided to try different things -- you will need to address this tactfully with potential employers.
Here are some tips to help you answer this tough question with confidence:
Highlight your many skills – Having worked at several companies, you’re sure to have picked up a bunch of technical and soft skills. Use the interview as an opportunity to showcase your talent and talk of how it contributed to the business. If you’ve got concrete examples of your accomplishments, don’t be shy to highlight it. All of this steers the conversation from something potentially negative to one that positions you as an asset.
Body language can give you away – Body language can say so much more than what comes out of someone’s mouth. And while your understandably nervous about the question, try not to let it show in your actions or tone of voice. Folding your arms, twiddling your thumbs, quivering voice and umming and aahing are dead giveaways. Instead, hold eye contact and leave your arms free, and take a moment to frame your answer, if you need to.
Share what’s not on your resume – Your CV says a lot about you, but it doesn’t carry 100% of the information about you as a person. When hiring you, they want to get to know the real you! So, if it helps your case, tell them more about your background, challenges you’ve overcome, and momentous life decisions or happenings that have shaped you into the person you are today. Sharing your circumstances humanizes you and gives employers a chance to see you more than just as a candidate.
Practice your answer – As cliché as it sounds – practice makes you perfect. Write down your ideas and go over it in front of a mirror. Having said that, it’s important to maintain a balance – you want to know what you’re going to say but you don’t want it to come across rehearsed.
Provide references – References from your previous jobs, even from managers who are no longer at the firm are can help tilt things in your favour. Make sure you pick people who can discuss your abilities and experiences and don’t forget to keep your references looped in!