Why Job Hopping Should Be on Your Agency’s Talent Wishlist

Anyone who’s ever had to sort through a pile of resumes knows it: Job hopping is a huge red flag. A job hopper is any candidate who has held several jobs over a short period of time. That’s not what your agency wants — you’d rather have a loyal employee who’s apt to stick around for many years. Right? That’s the classic hiring-manager wisdom, but it’s a notion that may be sorely outdated. In reality, job hoppers may be the most valuable people you could hire. Below are four reasons your agency needs more job hoppers.

1.) They tend to be younger

It used to be that the American dream involved establishing one’s career at a company and staying there until retirement. However, the newer generation is turning that idea on its head. According to a 2012 survey, 91% of millenials expect to remain at a job for less than three years.* This isn’t due to a lack of loyalty — changing jobs is actually a proven way to boost salary and gain more experience. For an increasing number of young people, it’s a career strategy that just makes sense.

If this is the big millenial job trend, then it’s something the insurance industry should be looking to embrace. With the approaching threat of the talent gap, agencies are in desperate need of younger employees. And of course, they’re more than just warm bodies to keep the industry going: Beyond being young, millenial job-seekers have unique marketing and technology know-how (such as social media savvy!) that will prove to be invaluable in the insurance arena.

2.) They bring well-rounded knowledge of the industry (including possible competitors)

When you consider hiring a job hopper, you’re looking at a candidate who has worked for many employers. That’s a lot of opportunity to gain knowledge and experience.

Do you remember when you had to write term papers in college? Your professor probably required you to have a minimum number of sources — perhaps five, ten, or even more! They knew that it would minimize bias, stimulate thought and ensure a more well-rounded final product. It stands to reason, then, that a candidate who worked at several companies would be stronger and more balanced than one who had only a single employer. They’re more likely to have a diverse set of skills, and a unique perspective on issues in your agency. That sort of fresh outlook can be invaluable to any employer. You can expect innovation and new ideas from these candidates.

Additionally, job hoppers are very likely to be high-performing individuals. Look at their resumes to see how many of their job changes were due to significant promotions or offers from “more prestigious” companies. It’s hard to stay at one job for a long time when great offers are always coming your way!

And don’t forget — these candidates may have worked for your competitors, and could have valuable insights into their strategies. Once they’re on your side, they could help your agency identify and act on potential opportunities.

3.) Job hoppers are highly adaptable

A common myth is that training resources are wasted on job hoppers. Why invest in training someone who won’t be sticking around at your company for long? Don’t worry: Having often been the “new person,” job hoppers tend to be fast learners who can adapt to new situations quickly. Unlike rookies, who may require an explanation of all aspects of your business, a job hopper will probably need much less actual training. They’re likely to have experience with a variety of different systems and management styles, and will have no problem learning yours in short order.

Worried about a job hopper getting along with your seasoned crew? No sweat. They also tend to be great at networking, having worked with many people and as part of different teams over their careers — so adapting to your workplace culture should be pretty easy for them. What can’t these versatile folks do?!

4.) They’re likely to move on quickly

We’ve discussed how job hoppers are often innovative, fresh-thinking individuals. Much of this can come from a simple change in environment, which tends to stimulate new ideas. Of course, they’ll probably leave your agency after just a couple of years — but that’s a good thing! When these folks move on, as they are wont to do, they open the door for another new face to come on board and help refresh your agency. Job hoppers are the gift that keeps on giving.

In the end, it’s all about balance — like a perfect mix of salty and sweet. Every agency needs its share of loyal, knowledgeable employees who are familiar with your particular business. But job hoppers, with their fresh perspectives and ambitions, are every bit as valuable. That’s a recipe for one successful agency!

–By Mallory DuPuy

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