Job Hopping Damages Employment Prospects More Than Age or Unemployment, Finds Bullhorn

Job Hopping Damages Employment Prospects

Despite people in their 30s being in highest demand, a 55-year old with a steady employment history is easier for recruiters to place in a new job than a 30-year-old job hopper, according to survey

BOSTON-Bullhorn, the global leader in online recruiting software, released the results of a survey today to help job candidates pinpoint what might be holding them back from landing a job. The anonymous survey of 1,500 recruiters and hiring managers revealed that job hopping, a path often taken by the younger workforce, has long-lasting implications on a resume.

Job Hopping Damages Employment Prospects

According to 39 percent of recruiters, the single biggest obstacle for an unemployed candidate in regaining employment is having a history of “hopping jobs,” or leaving a company before one year of tenure. Thirty-one percent consider being out of work for more than a year as the greatest challenge in regaining employment, followed by having gaps in your employment history (28 percent).

Additional key findings include:

Age is Not Just a Number. Seventy percent of respondents say candidates in their 30s are the easiest age group for recruiters to place in new jobs. Respondents also said that there is greater demand for candidates in their 40s than for candidates in their 20s. Only one percent of recruiters felt candidates in their 50s were the easiest to place, with zero percent responding favorably for the 60-year-old age group.

Unemployment Can Lead to Being Unemployable. The range of time for which a candidate can be unemployed before it becomes difficult for recruiters to find him or her a job is between six months and one year, according to 36 percent of respondents. Seventeen percent said that being unemployed for fewer than six months would still make it difficult to place someone in a job and four percent feel it is difficult to place anyone unemployed, no matter the duration.

Long-Term Unemployment is Like a Crime? Recruiters admit that it’s easier for them to place someone with a criminal record (non-felony) in a new job than it is to place someone who has been unemployed for two years.

Your Skill Set Could Kill Your Chances. When asked about factors that make it hardest for recruiters to place unemployed candidates in jobs, 31 percent said “if the skills [candidates] possess are no longer in demand,” while 26 percent said “if [candidates] are out of touch with the modern workplace/technology.”

Getting Fired Cools Your Prospects. No surprise here that 78 percent of recruiters ranked getting fired as the most severely damaging to a candidate’s future employment prospects. However, only 2 percent of recruiters felt that being laid off would be the most serious future detriment – an acknowledgement of the tough economic times.

“One of the most frustrating elements of a job search is the silence – not knowing whether you’re even being considered for an interview. We wanted to help shed some light on what goes on in the minds of recruiters,” said Art Papas, founder and CEO of Bullhorn. “Being informed can help candidates avoid certain traps and increase their likelihood of getting a job. The bottom line is that recruiters understand what their clients value most and certain factors, whether controllable or not, will impact a person’s chances of landing a job.”


Between August 23-28, 2012, Bullhorn conducted an anonymous survey of 1,500 staffing recruiters, corporate recruiters, and hiring managers. More information on the survey findings is available on the website of Bullhorn’s social recruiting product – Bullhorn Reach® – at

About Bullhorn:

Bullhorn® creates software and services that improve the way employees and employers come together. For over ten years our innovations have powered the recruiting and staffing operations of fast-growing start-ups up through the world’s largest employment brands. Headquartered in Boston, with offices in London and Sydney, Bullhorn’s recruiting CRM and social recruiting products serve more than 130,000 customers across 126 countries.

Bullhorn® and Bullhorn Reach® are registered trademarks of Bullhorn, Inc.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Brent Jones says

    This is an amazing article – going to link to it from my blog.

    I think part of the reason why job hopping hurts so much is because:

    – Age can be perceived as both a positive and a negative.
    – Unemployment can be explained in most cases.
    – Job hopping always sets precedent for a poor hiring decision.

    The statistics here are fascinating.

  2. Martin says

    Great article, going to use it as well for sharing purposes.
    I think another reason to why job hopping is looked upon so carefully is that it shows quite a great deal about the individual as can show loyalty and I feel that an individual whom isn’t jumping from ship to ship is learning a great deal more as they may be there working there when times are tough which can help with development.

  3. Michael says

    Maybe if employers gave raises, better benefits and a favorable working environment there would not be so much job hoping. I will leave a job if a better paying one with better benefits and a better working environment comes along, but only after I have tried to get the same from my current employer. As far as long ter unemployment, that is explainable, look at the economy jobs are not that easy to find and if recruiters and employers can’t understand that then they are idiots I would not want to work for in the first place,

  4. Josh Tolan says

    Interesting figures! It’s pretty shocking that job hopping is looked upon so poorly, especially considering the fact that more young workers are seeing more job and career turnover. The facts about skill sets makes perfect sense though. Employers are really looking for candidates with skill sets who can bring concrete value to the organization. They’re especially looking for candidates who can embrace new technology in this today’s digitally-focused world. A great way you can show off your digital savvy is to record a video resume. Video resumes will quickly show you’re willing to embrace new technology, while also showing off your communication skills and personality.



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