Our Blog

How bad is it, Doctor? Pretty bad…we have a ‘Job Hopper.’

Are you exploring job opportunities as a result of a bad work environment? Here are five questions to ask a potential employer in an interview to prevent job hopping.

After fighting I-270 and I-40 on my way into town this morning, I sat down at my desk and booted up my standard issued 15 year old PC. Before I started working here, I didn’t even realize they kept these things in circulation anymore. Just another compounding frustration with my employer who obviously cares more about cutting costs than employee efficiency. Once old ‘Bes is fired up, I open Outlook. 35 new emails. Not bad considering it is a Monday. As I scroll through and delete the spam, I return to focus on emails from my colleagues. Jeff from AP needs receipts for my expense report and he has obviously cc’d my supervisor in a passive aggressive move to show me who’s in charge. Already sent them, but I guess we will re-add that to the to-do list because he is incapable of downloading Adobe PDF Reader. The new Director of Operations sent out yet another corporate email about her daughter selling Girl Scout cookies. If she spent half as much time working as she did trying to push her cookies on employees, maybe that new cloud-based document management process would have been implemented as scheduled two months ago. As I run through the last of my emails, Tim, my manager, walks over and sets a pile of month-end reconciliation printouts on my desk and tells me they need reviewed by end of day to wrap up the books. Oh, and he forgot to save the excel docs so everything needs manually entered. All I can think to myself is, “I need to get out of here. I don’t like anyone I work with. My boss thinks I’m a monkey. This company is going downhill.”

Now obviously for those of you reading this who know me, you know this is not my situation. That being said, time and time again I hear very similar stories when working with accounting and finance professionals in the St. Louis area who are seeking to take the next step in their careers. For most of us, we all have had a moment where we felt like this. When you are stuck working in a job you hate, it can be difficult to think about anything other than finding a new job. As a recruiter you begin to hear the frustration in their voice and you can sense the desperation they have to leave their current position. This then leads them to “jump from the frying pan into the fire.” They leave one bad job taking anything they can just to find themselves in another bad job they are looking to get out of. This then leads to “job hopping.”

In today’s business world, 42% of job seekers job hop every 1 to 5 years.[1] This number has only continued to increase year over year for the past 6 years. Although job hopping is sometimes justified, it is still poorly perceived by employers. If your resume lists you working with five different companies in the past five years, employers begin to ask a number of questions such as: Does this individual have a behavioral problem? Are they disloyal? Can they be trusted?

All too often, unhappy job seekers jump ship after the first offer they receive. The problem is that desperation oftentimes results in overlooking major red flags about new positions or companies. For those of you who are extremely frustrated with your job and desperately looking to leave, we wanted to pull together a list of questions you should ask as you are interviewing. The following questions are designed to help you truly “look before you leap” and prevent developing the dreaded “job hopper” resume.

The questions to ask yourself:

  1. What drew you to apply for a job with this company and does it still hold true after your interview?
    What about the company you are interviewing with did you find appealing? Was it the culture? The work-life balance? Fridays off? Salary? Fringe benefits? After your interview, ask yourself, “From what I learned in the interview, is it really true or was that maybe an upsell?”
  2. What is the biggest challenge you have had to face working with your current employer? How did you handle it? What did you learn from it?
    Introspection may seem like a silly art, but it will improve your ability to effectively assess companies you will interview with later on and help you establish your own personal list of red flags to watch out for as you move forward.

The questions to ask the person interviewing you:

  1. What will my average day look like? What will I be expected to do?
    Although job descriptions are great starting points when trying to understand the responsibilities of the role that you are applying for, they can oftentimes be vague. It is extremely important to ask the interviewer what day to day activities you will be responsible for to gain a better understanding regarding the nature of the work you will be doing.
  2. Do you offer employees the opportunity to attend conferences or work on new cross-functional projects to ensure my continued professional development?
    Good companies will want to work with good employees to ensure they are developing skill sets which advance their careers. If the potential employer doesn’t encourage employees to take on challenges and explore means in which they can develop new technical skills, you will have to explore other means to augment your resume and demonstrate professional development if you ever choose to look for a job again.
  3. How many projects or initiatives were implemented in the past year as a result of employee-generated ideas?
    Is the company truly open to hearing and implementing your ideas? Feeling ignored is a huge frustration for much of the workforce. If the individual interviewing you cannot answer the question or hesitates to answer the question, this is a red flag for job seekers who are looking for a job where they can truly make a difference.
  4. How often are employee promotions or raises given? Are they merit-based or generally a result of tenure?
    If a company is open to discussing promotion and incentive structures, you can trust they have a fair process in place to award employees for their hard work. Although some feel as though it is inappropriate to ask during an interview, money, and recognition are driving factors for many job seekers. Knowing what to expect in advance creates a set of realistic expectations you can weigh later when extended an offer of employment.
  5. What is your company’s most valuable asset?
    The answer you should expect is “the company’s employees.” A company is nothing without great employees (at least thus far… we are still waiting for Elon Musk to develop an AI workforce which will operate from space).

To conclude, always trust your gut and take your time with your job search regardless of how desperate you feel. If you need someone to bounce career ideas off of and provide real feedback, contact our team at Burchard & Associates!


We hope you have enjoyed the latest Burchard & Associates blog! For more hiring and career advice, visit http://wise-coast.flywheelsites.com/hr-blog/. If you have questions or would like to learn more regarding our accounting and finance recruiting services, please contact us at info@exechunter.com.


[1] https://www.jobvite.com/jobvite-news-and-reports/2017-job-seeker-nation-survey-finding-fault-lines-american-workforce/


Burchard & Associates provides a personal approach to accounting and tax recruitment for St. Louis and beyond. We are ready to listen to YOU.

Get in Touch