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As specialist Change & Transformation headhunters, we are always searching for ideal candidates for our clients. Some of these candidates may not have actually been in their current position for that long. However, for a variety of reasons, they are considering moving on. In some cases after less than a year into the role. Naturally, one of the questions we frequently get asked is, “Will it harm my CV if I leave my current role too soon?”

The answer varies, if you’re a contractor then no. The nature of contracting is that you complete the brief and move on. Of course, some contracts last longer than this but it will be not be viewed negatively, if you have held a number of contracts within a few years.

Likewise, your age needs to be factored in. If you’re not long out of university and you are still working out what you want to do or be, it’s quite likely that you might try out a number of roles in fairly quick succession, before settling with the right company and job. However, if you’re in your late 20’s to mid 60’s, you’re not a contractor and have been in five different jobs in as many years, this will be a red flag to many hiring companies.

There are no hard and fast rules on how long you should stay in one job. However, we have put together some guidelines to help manage your career, your CV and perceived job-hopping from potential employers:

1) Before you leave your job, ask yourself if you really want to?

You need to ask yourself why you want to leave. Is it because you have received a better offer or is the job you’re doing just not what you thought it would be? There are always warning signs; a fall in productivity, a dread of Monday mornings (more than the usual), poor sleep, spending your time away from the office thinking and worrying about work, physical ailments and more. If you’re at the stage where your job is making you sick, it’s definitely time to assess your options.

2) Is your current employer aware of how you feel?

It may seem obvious but before you hand in your resignation, have you actually given the company a chance to help turn things around? Do they know how you’re feeling about the role, company and its culture? In most circumstances, the last thing the organisation would want is to lose you. Don’t wait until it’s too late to speak up and voice your concerns. Companies are increasingly recognising the importance of onboarding but to make it effective, communication has to work two-ways.

3) A one off or is your CV peppered with short-term placements? Job_Interview_Reading_CV

Hiring Managers will ask you why you want to leave your current role. If you have been in this role or others for a noticeable short period of time, then you will be expected to explain why. From not feeling aligned to the culture of the company to getting a better offer elsewhere, your reasons for leaving need to be communicated positively. Whatever level you are at, companies will not want to risk wasting crucial time and resources interviewing, recruiting and training a new employee, for them to turn around and resign six months later. Once, perhaps even twice can easily be explained but a series of short-term placements will be perceived negatively by future employers.

Woman_Jumping_New_Job4) Have you asked yourself why you keep job-hopping?

The classic adage for how long you should remain in one position seems to be a year. In reality, a year really isn’t all that long. For many roles, it can take at least six months to learn the ropes and actually start delivering some results. To then leave a few short months after becoming productive would be a blow to any organisation. It’s important to recognise that resigning from a company after less than a year will not impact negatively on your CV or career. But what you should be concerned with is leaving multiple jobs after a short period of time. Before continuing on this cycle, ask yourself why things repeatedly aren’t working out? Could you be in the wrong career? Is your work-life balance misaligned? Would you be happier working for yourself?

5) Are you using the interview-process to assess the company is right for you?

Part of our role, when compiling a shortlist of candidates to put forward to clients, is to ask ourselves if the personality and values of our candidates will be aligned to those of the hiring company. However, candidates also needs to use the interview process to assess whether the company is right for them. Not just for the next six months but potentially for the next six years. One of the most common reasons candidates cite for wanting to leave a company, after just a few months, is that the organisation’s values are not aligned to their own. The job not being what they expected is also a frequently mentioned reason. Clearly, more time needs to be spent during the interview process, asking questions, researching the company and interviewing the hiring company as much as they are interviewing you. Only then can these types of career mistakes be avoided.

There’s no denying the workplace is changing. A job or employer for life doesn’t really exist anymore. A recent article from the Independent highlights that many millennials plan to quit their job within two years. Salary is no longer the key driver for motivation or loyalty. If employers want to attract and retain the best talent, employee experience needs to be strongly considered. The meaning of work and being aligned to the company’s culture is a significant contributor to overall workplace happiness

We’re search and selection specialists within the interrelated field of Strategy, Change Management and Digital Transformation. We cover a  wide range of sectors including retail, life sciences, manufacturing and technology/engineering. If you would like to find out more or want to contact us, please visit our website.