This morning I came across a discussion thread on LinkedIn. A fellow HR type was calling out a job advert for a HR Director that stated in the requirements: solid career progression and consistent career history (no life time interim contractors or job hoppers).
As someone currently in the interim market, I am naturally going to disagree with the sentiment behind this statement. Interim work has broadened me as a professional. Through undertaking it, I have added new sectors to my CV, been exposed to different approaches and ways of working and widened my network. It has certainly made me resilient.
You need a certain skill set to do interim stuff. Typically, you are there to do a particular project or programme. Maybe you are there to fill a gap or bring along some specific experience. Either way, it needs focus. You need to be able to hit the ground running. You need to be able to quickly find your way around – the building, the systems, the processes and the hierarchy. You need to be able to get stuff done.
Skills that are transferrable to many organisations and roles.
There are several underlying assumption behind the ‘no interim or job hoppers’ statement. First is that these two things are one and the same – they are not. Second, is that either of these things equal a lack of commitment, loyalty or engagement. ‘Job hoppers’ in particular has negative connotations. That someone can’t stay the course, doesn’t know what they want to do, or maybe is a low performer.
Assumptions without evidence.
The world of work has changed. Shorter service is much more typical. More and more people are making different choices around life and work. Many are in the gig economy – some through choice and some through necessity. It’s no longer about giving your all until you get your gold watch.
Here’s the thing. If you make sweeping assumptions about people in a job advert then you are limiting your talent pool. Even if I had been looking for a role like this, this wording would have entirely discouraged me from applying. This advert tells me this isn’t somewhere that I want to work. This advert tells you that this company are oblivious to the present and future of work. Plenty of people don’t have, or even want, linear careers. Lots pf people chose family or balance over progression. Many chose to retrain and change direction during their working lives. When we are all living to 100 and working into our 70’s this is going to become the norm, not the exception.
A so-called ‘solid’ CV means nothing. It is no indicator or talent. It might instead be an indicator that someone has spent a long time in one place and hasn’t been exposed to new ideas. Or it might not. Assumptions, without evidence.
It is also, frankly, arrogant. It’s like those job application processes that make you jump through a thousand hoops because they think you should be willing to do anything to work there. Only it’s 2017.
So the company that are recruiting with this approach I say simply this.
More fool you.
Unfortunately this view is not uncommon – just recently a recruiter from a big player on the HR market, who I have actually worked through as an Interim before, told me firstly that I wasn’t senior enough as had never worked as an HRD (he hadn’t clicked ‘see more’ on my LinkedIn profile so had only seen my three previous assignments) and the that I was a job hopper – I have to admit I was a little indignant and once the ‘interview’ portion of our conversation was over I may* have mentioned to him that if I were his client and he was being so narrow minded and using sweeping statements such as Job Hopper I would be extremely disappointment as he would not be providing me with a good enough service. I may have cut my nose off to spite my face in this situation but I meant it. (*totallly did)
Employers/interviewers today behave like small gods. I once attended an interview where they questioned me about all the jobs that I had and concluded that I was a job hopper and therefore not reliable. What they failed to realize was that I have mostly worked in startups that have been through rough patches which meant that I lost my job through retrenchment. Instead of looking for what value a candidate will bring to the table from his or her experience, they poke holes at the CV. It is quite unfortunate.