The Truth About Job Hopping

Ever thought about whether job hopping is a wise career move? If you’re old-fashioned like me, you probably concluded it wasn’t. But hold on – playing devil’s advocate here! Let me remind you of a Fast Company article I shared a while back. It claims that job hopping can actually enhance learning, performance, and loyalty. Wait, what?! Do Talent Acquisition leaders worldwide really believe in this concept?

Let’s break it down.

According to the article, switching jobs every three years is key for developing quick job-getting skills and ensuring career stability. But not everyone agrees. (It’s me, hi, I’m the problem! It’s me!)

The truth is, that hiring managers often see job hoppers as a red flag. It might signal a lack of commitment or trouble sticking to a role. While some job hopping could be due to a bad company fit, relocation, etc, repeating the same pattern might make them question your decision-making.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “But Timmy, there’s more money in job hopping!” Well, let me not be the first to tell you, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, right?

Looking back on my own experience, I hopped jobs early in my career, chasing an executive title. In hindsight, not my smartest move, maybe even my dumbest. Job hopping, as the article suggests, isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Here’s the deal: Avoid job hopping. For every person that it helps, it will hurt ten others. Most hiring managers don’t like seeing a resume filled with short stints, raising doubts about your stability.

So, stuck in the job hopper cycle? How do you make it look better?

Bundle your projects under one consulting job, creating the illusion of a cohesive work history. Many IT folks are doing this as contingent workers, handling multiple projects under a single brand. It’s not perfect, but it makes your resume look better.

Job hopping isn’t the career move it’s made out to be. If your career feels stuck, make a change strategically. Most careers don’t stall in just 2-3 years.

Keep at it!

Back in the day, sales, marketing, and recruiting weren’t about fancy automation tools. It was all about your trusty ‘date book’ or relying on your memory to give Timmy from HRU a ring just to check-in.

Old-school sales meant one thing: keeping at it. Reminding folks that you’re still interested, still eager for their business. It was all about bagging that deal before someone else did.

CRMs? They’re good at their job, but sometimes, they miss the mark. I can easily brush off those automated CRM messages—I’ve been in that loop. But you know what I can’t ignore? The persistent lady who’s left me nine voicemails. The power of a nudge. That level of dedication deserves respect. I get how tough it is to make that many calls.

I’m all for tech—I’ve tried it all and automation sure makes life easier. But there’s an art to the old way of following up, keeping at it, a rhythm and persistence that’s hard to replicate.

Sure, you might get tired of “John” who calls every month, but guess who’ll come to mind when you’re in a bind? Not the newcomers who show up when you’ve made it big, but John who was there from the start. John who kept at it.

The downfall comes when companies forget the human touch in their CRM strategy. It’s not about choosing one or the other—it’s about blending both. So, next time you see a familiar number calling or delete an email without a read, remember the effort behind it. The humans are keeping at it, working hard to keep those connections alive!

Escaping the Best Practice Trap

As we kick off this new year in 2024, it’s time to break free from the ‘best practices’ trap and pioneer fresh, groundbreaking approaches in HR. Ever found yourself at an HR conference, where even the mention of a best practice draws in a crowd eager to replicate its success? We’ve all been there. Sure, using strategies that have worked before is tempting. But what if these highly recommended ‘best practices’ don’t actually guarantee success?

The problem lies in assuming that what everyone else is doing must be the best way forward. But times change, circumstances shift, and what was once a winning strategy might be holding us back now.

Let’s face it, adopting someone else’s best practice might just help you reach their level, but is that enough? In the fast-paced world of business, striving to merely match your competitors isn’t what visionary leaders are after. They seek strategies that propel them ahead, not just keep them in the race.

Using successful methods from other companies might help a bit. But it’s like walking a path someone else already made instead of creating your own. The real game-changers aren’t found in replicating what’s already been done; they’re in the unexplored territories of innovation.

Picture this: HR conferences buzzing with ideas yet to be tested, concepts so revolutionary they have the potential to redefine industry standards. That’s the space where true transformation begins.

To truly revolutionize your HR strategy, dare to step away from the best practice treadmill. Instead of asking what worked for others in the past, challenge yourself and your team to explore what could work brilliantly in the future.

Are you ready to break free from the shackles of best practices this year?

Lessons from Curveballs

This holiday season, I’m stepping away from my usual writing to bring you some of the top-read posts from 2023. Enjoy!

The Ball Will Always Find You!

There is a baseball metaphor about the ball finding you. Basically, if you are unprepared or you are scared, that’s precisely when the ball will find you! The moment you least want the ball to come to you is when the ball is hit at you. I’ve heard coaches say this statement my entire life being around baseball.

Life works like this as well.

The one time when you go into the office, and you’re not really prepared for your job or function is the day you’ll be called into an emergency meeting with the CEO! The one question you don’t prepare to be asked will be the one that will be asked.

So, how do you prepare yourself for being unprepared?

1. Acknowledge it when it comes.

So often, we want to try and fake our way through something we weren’t prepared for, but it shows. We aren’t really fooling anyone but ourselves. So, acknowledge it. You know, that’s a great question you asked. I’m not prepared to answer that at this moment, but let me do some research and come back to you with a thorough answer.

2. Redirect the conversation to what you do know.

This isn’t perfect because a savvy executive will come back to the original question, but 60% of the time, it works every time! “That’s a great question. What I focused on were these factors, which, in my estimation, is what we need. I believe…”

3. Answer another question like you’re answering their question.

This is risky, but politicians use this tactic all the time, and it mostly works because the person asking the question is sure you answered their question or not, and they don’t want to sound dumb by asking it again, thinking you answered it! Tim, can you give me some insight into how much we’ll be over budget in TA by the end of the year? “Sure, first, it’s amazing the progress we’ve made. At the beginning of the year, we had no idea we’d be 75% over our planned hiring, and the team has been amazing in reaching that goal. In the second half of the year, we see hiring beginning to slow, and we are anticipating that in Q1 of 2024, we’ll be back up to normal.” Then you just shut up or ask if anyone else has any other questions! Bonus points if you actually go back at them during your answer with some verbal ques like, “You understand, right?” Of course, they’ll be nodding yes! At that point, they will never follow up with another question!

4. Bluff.

Answer the question, even though you don’t really know the answer, and hope and pray they also don’t know the answer! I’ve seen way too many people in my career try and look like a fool. I find that very few executives ask a question they don’t have some semblance of an answer to already. They are just checking to see if you’re on your game and have the answer. So, I do not recommend bluffing. This is usually a low-performer behavior that is probably getting fired soon anyway, and they’re desperate!

5. Open the conversation up to the broader audience or the person who asked the question.

This strategy works really well if you have a strong relationship and trust with the person or people you’re speaking with. In this tactic, you basically acknowledge you don’t know but come back and see if anyone knows or has a strong opinion. You are still driving the conversation and asking questions, which puts you in an authority position, so you don’t look weak by not knowing the answer to the question being asked. “That’s a great question. I actually don’t know the answer, but I’m wondering if anyone else in the room does. Or does anyone have a feeling on what this might look like?” At this point, you could offer up an educated guess as to what you believe it to be if no one else has anything and agree to come back with some more specific information.

Professionally, the ball is going to find you whether you are ready for it or not. We all hope that we will be prepared and ready, but that’s not always the case. Your next reaction is critical to how others will end up viewing you. The more confident you are in your ability and performance, the easier it is to say you just don’t know. Unfortunately, so many times throughout our careers, we get caught off guard, and it might be during a time when our confidence isn’t super high, and that opens us up to trying to make something up on the fly and opening ourselves up to being viewed as a fool.

Posted on  by Tim Sackett

Zoo-Zapped Dreams

Once upon a time, I had my heart set on being a teacher. All through my early twenties, that was the future I saw for myself. But then reality kicked in when I dove into teaching and realized it wasn’t the act of teaching that didn’t fit; it was the political chaos within the public education setup. One incident made it obvious.

There was this amazing exhibit at the local museum, perfectly syncing with my lesson plan by chance. I thought, “What luck! The kids would love this.” So, I proposed ditching our routine zoo visit for this exhibit.

“Can’t do that,” my principal said. “It had to be approved a year in advance, but you can do it next year.” “It won’t be here next year; it’s a traveling exhibit, only available this year,” I explained. “Sorry, won’t happen,” she replied. “What if I got parents to do this after school or on a weekend, and it wouldn’t cost anything?” I pleaded. “Nope, can’t let you do it. Don’t waste your energy on this,” she could see my rising frustration with something that made no sense. Guess where we ended up? The zoo. Same old tour, the same old caged animals, and the same lack of engagement.

Right then, it hit me hard—this system cared more about following rigid rules than genuinely educating kids. My dream of being an educator got a reality check.

But hold on, my dream didn’t vanish; it shifted. See, many think an unrealized dream equals failure. Nope. It’s about adapting when life throws a curveball.

The real grind isn’t just the pursuit; it’s in reimagining when things hit a dead-end. Time for a pivot!

We glamorize chasing a dream endlessly, but the truth is, sometimes dreams need an adjustment. And that’s okay. It’s not defeat; it’s evolution.

Let’s embrace the idea that dreams are adjustable. It’s about celebrating the courage to pivot, not just the pursuit. Chase your dreams fiercely, but know it’s equally admirable to adjust them when life asks you to. Adjustments don’t belittle dreams; they shape them, making the journey all the more vibrant.

Love vs. Victory

With Christmas approaching and New Year’s following shortly, it often seems like everyone’s just gliding through these final days. You know what tends to happen at year-end, right? People start assessing their lives and careers. It’s the classic: “2023 was rough. What am I doing with my life? 2024 is my year! I need a job I love!”

I run a recruiting agency, but my focus isn’t on “love”; it’s on clinching victories and having success. It’s a battleground of winners and losers. Tracking down the top-notch talent usually means they’re already working elsewhere when you spot them. You’ve got to win them over.

When you snag remarkable talent, it’s a win for one organization and a loss for another. It’s a straightforward win-lose situation.

Being an outstanding recruiter is all about a drive to win. Sure, loving this game (and I’m one of those who does) is great, but it’s not the make-or-break factor for success. What matters is the hunger for victory.

The best recruitment firms are consistently on the winning side. They rack up wins at a rate that overshadows their losses, like Stephen Curry hitting threes. Losing should sting, and winning should feel like that unforgettable first kiss.

Love isn’t what decides winning or losing. Some of the toughest rivals I’ve encountered weren’t crazy about what they were doing well; they were just determined to win.

Too often as recruiting leaders we feel we need to find people who love recruiting. All leaders fall into this trap, trying to get their teams to fall in love with the work they do. The belief that ‘love’ will drive great performance. Which might work, but getting someone to ‘love’ work, is really hard, and rare.

Getting someone who only wants to win, that’s much easier to find and feed.

I’m not in the love business; it’s messy and emotional. I’m in the business of winning. It’s clear-cut – it’s either a win or a loss.

The Ingredients of Success

I still remember an NPR interview snippet that caught my attention a few years ago. The topic? Success. Initially, it seemed straightforward—talent equals success, right? Wrong. The interviewee outlined four crucial components:

  • Talent
  • Persistence
  • Patience
  • Luck

You don’t have to have all four at the same time to be successful, but you’ll probably have all four in some kind of combination if you are successful.

Personally, I admire the relentless, persistent hustlers—the ones who refuse to take no for an answer. Persistence is their superpower, a key ingredient in the recipe for success.

Patience, though, isn’t a close friend of persistence. They rarely coexist. Yet, as I think of the successful individuals in my life, they all have great patience. Having patience doesn’t mean you’re willing to sit around and wait to be successful, it’s about understanding that success often demands time—put that on a coffee mug (we’re going to have a whole collection)!

Now, luck. Successful people never want to admit luck is involved. I’m a self-made person. I did it on my own. I’m not lucky! Luck is a bad word to successful people, it discounts the hard work, the effort and the time you put into becoming successful. But, again, each successful person I know can point to a time, or a person, or a meeting, or some chance circumstance that can only be categorized as luck.

I like this model. It doesn’t let you off the hook. You still have to do it all. You can’t just say, “well, I didn’t get it because I wasn’t lucky enough”. That’s not true, be patient. “I didn’t get it because I wasn’t talented enough.” No, keep at it. Luck finds those more rapidly who are talented, persistent, and patient.

Looking back, sure my career journey has been fortunate, but it took grinding thirty years to stumble upon that stroke of luck.

The Role of HR as Coaches

There’s an article by Atul Gawande in The New Yorker discussing the importance of “Coaching.” Gawande, a writer and surgeon, talked about coaches as not just teachers but as observers, judges, and guides. From the article:

The concept of a coach is slippery. Coaches are not teachers, but they teach. They’re not your boss—in professional tennis, golf, and skating, the athlete hires and fires the coach—but they can be bossy. They don’t even have to be good at the sport. The famous Olympic gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi couldn’t do a split if his life depended on it. Mainly, they observe, they judge, and they guide.

Gawande, A. (2011, October 3). Personal Best. The New Yorker.

In my HR role, I’ve always believed that HR can act as coaches across our organizations. But there’s often pushback, like “You can’t coach me in Marketing, Operations, or Accounting.” Exactly—I’m not here to teach you those things; I hired you for that. Building a coaching culture starts with hiring people open to being coached.

More from the article:

Good coaches know how to break down performance into its critical individual components. In sports, coaches focus on mechanics, conditioning, and strategy, and have ways to break each of those down, in turn. The U.C.L.A. basketball coach John Wooden, at the first squad meeting each season, even had his players practice putting their socks on. He demonstrated just how to do it: he carefully rolled each sock over his toes, up his foot, around the heel, and pulled it up snug, then went back to his toes and smoothed out the material along the sock’s length, making sure there were no wrinkles or creases. He had two purposes in doing this. First, wrinkles cause blisters. Blisters cost games. Second, he wanted his players to learn how crucial seemingly trivial details could be. “Details create success” was the creed of a coach who won ten N.C.A.A. men’s basketball championships.

Gawande, A. (2011, October 3). Personal Best. The New Yorker.

In working with adult professionals, coaching isn’t about teaching new stuff but helping them analyze and improve what they already do well. Instead of fixating on weaknesses, HR can help make employees’ strengths even stronger.

Coaching has become popular lately, with various types like leadership or life coaching. But coaching for professionals is less common. I believe in HR professionals acting as more hands-on coaches, working daily to improve skills that directly impact the business, not focusing on personal challenges.

One big challenge for HR transitioning into coaching roles is that many employees lack self-awareness, just like us! A great coach helps someone see things in themselves they didn’t notice before.

If HR can build this self-awareness in organizations, it could lead to some amazing changes.

The Reason You Got Ghosted After Your Interview

Dear Timmy,

I recently applied for a position that I’m perfect for! A recruiter from the company contacted me and scheduled me for an interview with the manager. I went, the interview was a little over an hour, and it went great! I immediately followed up with an email to the recruiter and the manager thanking them, but since then, I’ve heard nothing, and it’s been weeks. I’ve sent follow-up emails to both the recruiter and the manager, and I’ve gotten no reply.

What should I do? Why do companies do this to candidates? I would rather they just tell me they aren’t interested than have them say nothing at all!

The Ghost Candidate

************************************************************

Dear Ghost,

There are a number of reasons that recruiters and hiring managers ghost candidates, and none of them are good!

Here’s a short list of some of these reasons:

– They hated you and hope you go away when they ghost you because the conflict is uncomfortable.

– They like you, but not as much as another candidate. They’re trying to talk into the job but want to leave you on the back burner, but they’re idiots and don’t know how to do this properly.

– They decided to promote someone internally, and they don’t care about candidate experience enough to tell you they went in another direction.

– They have a completely broken recruitment process and might still be going through it believing you’re just as happy as a pig in shi…

– They think they communicated to you electronically to bug off through their ATS, but they haven’t audited the process to know this isn’t working.

– The recruiter got fired, and no one picked up the process.

I would love to tell you that ghosting candidates are a rare thing, but it’s not! It happens all the time! There is never a reason to ghost a candidate, ever! Sometimes I believe candidates get ghosted by recruiters because hiring managers don’t give feedback, but that still isn’t an excuse I would accept. At least tell the candidate that!

Look, I’ve ghosted people. At conference cocktail parties, I’ve been known to ghost my way right back up to my room and go to sleep! When it comes to candidates, I don’t ghost! I would rather tell them the truth so they don’t keep coming back around unless I want them to come back around.

I think most recruiters ghost candidates because they’re in over their heads with the amount of work they have, and they mean to get back to people but just don’t have the time. When you’re in firefighting mode, you tend to only communicate with the candidates you want, not the ones you don’t. Is this good practice? Heck, no! But when you’re fighting fires, you do what you have to do to stay alive.

What would I do if I was you? 

Here are a few ideas to try if you really want to know the truth:

1. Send a handwritten letter to the CEO of the company briefly explaining your experience and what outcome you would like.

2. Go on Twitter, and in 140 characters, send a shot across the bow! “XYZ Co. I interviewed two weeks ago and still haven’t heard anything! Can you help me!?” (t will work on Facebook as well!)

3. Write a post about your experience on LinkedIn and tag the recruiter and the recruiter’s boss.

4. Take the hint and go find a company that truly values you and your talent! If the organization and this manager treat candidates like this, imagine how you’ll be treated as an employee.

The Employment Lessons from the Tucker Carlson Termination

This won’t be a political post. This post is about what we can all learn from a high-profile termination. Here are my rambling thoughts on the subject:

  • You will be fired if you make a mistake at work that costs your company $750,000,000. No matter how big and important you think, you are. You will also probably be sued by your employer in an attempt to recoup any money that can, although it’s probably pennies in comparison to your screw-up. Just know if you F’up that bad, someone will come knocking on your office door. It might not be immediate, but it’s going to happen!
  • Suppose you want to criticize your bosses, your company, etc. Don’t do that on a device that is being paid for by your company. It’s a work product, and it will be discoverable. We get so casual in our messaging nowadays, and it’s dangerous. Generative AI will make this problem much worse. At some point in the near future, companies will have AI looking at every single communication that is happening on every device it controls, and stuff is going to bubble up to the powers that be much faster. Start practicing having real conversations again on the phone or in person, especially if you want to bash your boss.
  • Let us hope this is just the beginning of companies and private citizens coming after news outlets that have gone unchecked for far too long in sharing half-truths and flat-out lies. There are thousands of examples of “journalists” ruining companies and individuals only to be wrong, and besides a back-page retraction, these journalists and news outlets almost never face the consequences. It doesn’t matter where you sit on the political spectrum. It’s hard to trust most news today because every story seems to have a spin.
  • If you get a message from a co-worker wanting to “bitch” about other co-workers or bosses, don’t respond back. Call that person, or go see them in person and let them vent. You’ll be doing this person a favor in not making it worse than it is already for them. And you’ll protect yourself by not leaving any trail that you even engaged.
  • From an HR perspective, the time I’ve seen high performers screw up the most is when they believe they are “untouchable.” When they think they are at the top of their game and can’t be easily replaced. This “comfort” becomes their weakness. The best time to coach a high performer is when they get all the praise for being a high performer. This is when you have a chance to reach them and warn them. It’s the don’t-let-this-go-to-your-head talk.
  • If your company or bosses ever want you to lie, you need to document that immediately. A great way to document that is to write up in an email exactly what happened, what date and time, and who was involved and send that to yourself, a confidant, and HR. Unfortunately, you probably need to quit your job and get out of that environment as fast as possible. If it’s verbal and can’t be proven, you don’t have a case, most likely. But you still don’t want to be caught in that circumstance or culture. Your career and life aren’t worth it.

We love to believe this is a Fox News issue. It isn’t. We are being lied to by every news outlet out there. Journalists are no longer held accountable for having real sources and telling the truth. There is a rush to be the first. To grab the headline. And in that rush, mistakes are made and rarely fixed. Damn, the companies and people they destroy. As long as they grabbed headlines, the destruction if justified in their minds. What was once a highly trusted career is now a joke.