CBR Briefing #50

Apr 02, 2018

Sections Economics

Why job hopping could harm employment
Most recruiters prefer applicants who have changed positions less frequently

Frequent job changes can indicate a poor work attitude in a prospective hire.
  • Managers want to hire employees who are cooperative, loyal, and responsible, but they can’t observe these qualities until a person is hired. Instead, research by Alain Cohn, a postdoctoral researcher at Chicago Booth, with Michel André Maréchal, Frédéric Schneider, and Roberto A. Weber, all of the University of Zurich, demonstrates that managers use employment history to gauge a job candidate’s work attitude, including the ability to work well with others.
  • Frequent job changes can indicate a poor work attitude in a prospective hire, the researchers find. Employers are also less likely to hire candidates who change jobs frequently for positions in which a good work attitude is important.
  • In a field experiment, the researchers sent out fictitious resumes, varying only the number of previous employers—one or four—for each pair of otherwise identical resumes. They find that resumes with only one employer received a higher callback rate than those with four (see chart).
  • Most recruiters preferred applicants with fewer job changes because this corresponded to perceptions of a more positive work attitude, according to a survey experiment of human-resources professionals conducted by the researchers.