5 Reasons Job Hoppers Make Great Sales Reps

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 11.06.19 AMAlthough recruiters are traditionally warned to stay away from job hoppers, many employers now expect candidates to have a history of job hopping. In fact, a recent survey from CareerBuilder shows that 55 percent of employers reported hiring a job hopper.

Why are recruiters ignoring the advice to avoid flighty employees?

For one, jumping from job to job is common. The CareerBuilder survey found that by age 35, 25 percent of full-time employees have held five or more jobs, while 20 percent of those ages 55 and older have had 10 or more jobs.

But there is a deeper explanation. Employers see the value job hoppers can bring to certain positions. For example, workers who frequently switch from job to job may have the personality and experience needed to excel as a sales rep.

Here are the top five reasons to consider hiring a job hopper for your open sales rep position.

  1. Adaptability. Job hoppers are accustomed to being the new guy and experienced in learning new processes, taking on new responsibilities, and acclimating to the company culture. Not only will your job-hopping sales rep adapt to the position, but they will continue to adapt with new challenges, clients, and changes to the marketplace.
  2. Varied experience. Although the lack of expertise in one area is viewed as a negative, in a sales rep, varied experience can be a plus. Job hoppers have experience working with different businesses, people, and clients, and can bring their knowledge to your company. They may have a better understanding of certain industries and may find it easier to work with a range of personalities..
  3. Motivated by new opportunities. Job hoppers won’t back away when new challenges pop up. Instead, they’ll view the issue as a growth opportunity. Their diverse background can also bring in new ideas and unique approaches to difficult challenges and outdated processes.
  4. On-the-go mindset. Job-hopping sales reps are ready and willing to go. Traveling to meet clients and attend trade shows will likely appeal to the sales rep who is looking to move around and do different things each day.
  5. Valuable network. Sales reps who have held multiple positions most likely have a wide network of contacts and resources. The relationships job hoppers have created can help serve your business. As long as no bridges have been burned, a job-hopping sales rep can tap into his or her wealth of contacts when needed.

Convincing Hoppers to Settle Down

If you do hire a job hopper for a sales rep position, how do you make them stay?

Of the employers who reported hiring a job hopper in the CareerBuilder survey, 34 percent said the employee left after a short period of time, 40 percent said the job hopper stayed for at least two years, and 17 percent said the job hopper stayed for at least three years.

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According to a qualitative analysis on the motivations for frequently switching jobs, job hoppers are looking to expand their career opportunities, grow their professional networks, and find more relevant and stimulating work.

The key to keeping job hoppers is to offer constant engagement and room for growth. Are there opportunities to move within the company? Does the position have the potential to lead to more interesting opportunities down the road? Are you challenging and motivating your sales reps with new responsibilities?

Don’t bore a job hopper. Keep them engaged and you’ll benefit from their eager and adventurous personalities.

Have you hired a job hopper? How did you get them to stay?


6 Comments on “5 Reasons Job Hoppers Make Great Sales Reps

  1. Having 10 jobs when you’re over 55 means an average 3.7 years at each position. That’s not job hopping. Job hopping is people who have more jobs than years of experience, and when you try to find out why they’re all cagey about it, and cite ‘politics’ as the reason they were let go… from their last ten jobs. If you’re not a consultant and you’ve got more jobs than years of experience, you should probably face the fact that there might be something seriously wrong with you.

  2. Thought provoking article. Good points and advice. Thank you. Of course, as Medieval alludes to in his/her comment, there’s job hopping and then there’s job hopping. A couple of years is very different than a couple of weeks. But a corollary point we’ve found over the past year is that job hoppers are great sources of referrals and competitive intelligence. This is directly related to your observation regarding network strength. Moving around a lot is a good way to get to know a lot of people.

    Doug Friedman
    LinkedIn Profile

  3. One point the article left out that I’ve always heard from job hoppers is that, many are also trying to find a place where they fit best in terms of career. Hopping between 6 jobs after 3 years of graduation from college is a sign of seeking the right place that one may fit professionally. Modern day youth can prove to about what I’m saying with recent booming of quack accounts executive positions that requires you to be moving from house to house as an entry level sales rep getting paid $9 per hour. Most of today’s youth move through 5+ jobs in 2 years before they are lucky to secure a better fit salaried position in a reputable company after a 4 year college degree.

  4. Data show the belief that “job-hoppers are unreliable” is a myth: An analysis of 21,000 employees found zero correlation between the number of positions they had in the past and how long they’ll last on their next job: https://staging.ere.net/2012/04/24/once-a-job-hopper-not-always-a-job-hopper/

    >job hoppers are looking to expand their career opportunities, grow their professional networks, and find more relevant and stimulating work.

    Isn’t this what most people are looking for at work?

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