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Job-jumping is becoming more and more common, especially among millennials. The possibility of employees leaving just six months or a year after being hired is a growing concern for companies. What can you do about it? We explore three key questions below. 

Should I Worry about a Candidate Who Changes Job Every Couple of Years?

“No. Changing jobs every two or three years tells you nothing about a candidate’s personality or abilities. It’s just part of the reality employers have to deal with today,” explains Chantal Fillion, Division Director, Medical, Pharmaceutical, at St-Amour.

According to her, job-hopping is not necessarily a bad thing. Changing position often may be a sign of a candidate who is talented, driven and ambitious – in other words, exactly the kind of person you want at your company.

“The days of thinking that a candidate will spend the rest of their life with the same employer are gone. That doesn’t exist anymore,” says Chantal. 

“But even if someone doesn’t stay for many years, as long as they’re qualified, they’ll make an important contribution to the company’s success while they have the job. And who knows, they could return in a few years to fill an executive role.” 

So Which Candidates Are More Likely to Leave? 

While determining who is more likely to stay with a company for several years is not an exact science, there are some signs that Chantal views as red flags when screening candidates at St-Amour. These notably include:

  • Candidates who apply for a job far from their home: Chantal tends not to consider applicants who live far away from the company but insist that the commute is not a problem. Chances are, if another opening comes up in a more accessible location, they will take it. 
  • Candidates who will take the first offer on the table: She is also somewhat wary of applicants who are willing to accept the first job they’re offered, even if it’s for less money than they’re making now. Once again, they’re likely to be out the door as soon as a better offer comes along. 
  • Candidates seeking change for change’s sake: Is the applicant leaving their current position to advance their career or find a corporate culture that suits them better? Or are they making a change because they’re idealizing a different job or a particular industry? In the latter case, you may want to think twice about hiring them, since there’s a risk they’ll become disenchanted once the honeymoon period is over.  

“You should always validate the motives behind a candidate’s departure from each of their previous jobs,” advises Chantal. “They will often say it was because of corporate restructuring or reorganization, but I try to go further with my questions and really understand the underlying reason. That’s very revealing.”

She also recommends checking applicants’ references and having them take personality-related psychometric tests to ensure their profile matches the company’s needs. 

What Can I Do to Retain Employees Longer? 

Besides offering a competitive salary and benefits package, make sure you build a lasting relationship with candidates by offering them a rewarding work environment that includes opportunities for growth and advancement. 

But, Chantal cautions, “One thing employers should keep in mind is to never make promises that are impossible to keep. Don’t build up false expectations to attract candidates, because once they join, they’ll realize they were not realistic and leave the company.”

If the position you’re offering is temporary, such as a six-month or one-year contract, you should anticipate a higher risk of the employee leaving, as they will accept a permanent offer elsewhere the moment one becomes available.

Once candidates have been hired, the first step is to have an exemplary on-boarding process. Be there for new employees and support them during their first months on the job so they don’t feel lost. 

Good communication is also essential. Don’t just talk to employees once a year during their annual evaluation. Touch base with them informally on a regular basis to build a connection and check that they’re still happy and engaged. 

“You need to be proactive about supporting and training new employees, especially during the first six months. You need to integrate them into the team, take care of them and create a sense of belonging,” adds Chantal. “By concentrating on developing and promoting good employees and managers, companies will be more likely to retain candidates.”

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