Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

Laid Off More Than Once? Your Fault or Bad Luck?

I keep seeing more and more resume's with 2 year job hops to even 1 year job hops! These apparent Job Hoppers get so upset when I don't call to interview them or respond to their resume's.  Their resume's are laced with multiple jobs, some as many as 3 jobs within 4 years!  When these Job Hoppers do get a hold of me, (like when I accidentally pick up the phone blindly) and I have to tell them, "I am so sorry, but my hiring client will not accept someone who has had so many jobs!"  Whew, I wait for their response holding my breath wondering, will it be the polite Job Hopper or the other type?  Those Job Hoppers that are just damn MAD and have decided they won't take it anymore!

Most of these callers are the MAD Job Hoppers.  They are Mad at me and the other recruiters who ditch their resume's and never call them.  They are mad at the hiring companies who ignore them and just mad at life in general.  So they start to yell at me, after all, I am one of the few recruiters they were able to reach and have a live conversation, so this is a rare treat for them!  A living, breathing recruiter enemy who is blocking them from the one job they will stay at for life!  So recently I thought, "Hey, let's see if I can spend a few minutes and help them at least understand why recruiter's won't give them a chance and maybe how they could change their situation."  

So I started talking to one of the Job Hoppers, then another one, then another three, then I kept going because I couldn't believe what I was consistently hearing from almost ALL OF THEM!   I picked through each job and the reason for the job move, and this can take forever because within 10 to 15 years there may be up to 12 job moves on one resume!  So many jobs for each person begins to take up a lot of my time, but I keep going until I realize, enough, enough, I just can't take it anymore!  I will go out of business doing this and the conversations become all the same and ended all the same way!  I realized I just wasn't helping these people and they didn't even grasp why I couldn't help them.  

They all summarized their many job moves (after we reviewed each move and the reason's for each move) as;

"It simply isn't my fault, the Job Hops happened to me; it is the companies fault!  The companies I worked for all had problems with their (now take your pick here on the selection), their products malfunctioning, Medical Reimbursement, Company Wide Lay-Off, Company eliminated their entire sales force and etc, I have had the worst bad luck!"


Wow!  How incredible, no one is taking ownership for their multiple job hops!  Everything just happened to them!  A string of bad luck, sometimes lasting for years and every two to three years!  So, because I am the enemy, blocking them from being interviewed as my Job Candidate, representing my firm for my hiring client, I begin to ask them some tough questions to see if I can get them to see the light.  Surely a few questions may get them from seeing themselves as a job victim and begin to take ownership for some, if not all, of the reasons behind the Job Hops.  So I ask the following questions:

  1. Did you decide to take those jobs with each company or were you forced to?
  2. Did you research each company before you hired in? They all say yes, until I give I press with, "Oh, you then went to Finance and looked at their financials and listened to what the Directors were telling Wall Street?"  "You went to LinkedIn and found someone who worked at that company so you could find out the scoop?" or "You asked around to find out what happen to the person who had the job before you?"  A start up?  Easy, you have more questions to ask of the top people and if you don't like the answer?  Don't take it!
  3. Were you ever a top performer in your company? If they are in Sales, easy to answer, but I usually get excuses about how their territory, ALL of them, were so different than the top sales people in those companies.


I receive almost always a "no" to each of the above questions for the jobs littered upon their resume.  Even then, they end the discussion with, "You see, just a string of bad luck, none of it my fault as I told you in the beginning of our conversation!"   I am shaking my head in amazement as I listen to the same voice, the same words from what is now appearing to being the singular truth of a Job Hopper, the belief "It is not their fault."  

Most will end the conversation with, "Linda, come on, you gave me more time than most recruiters.  Just get me in front of your Hiring Manager and I will get the job!"   I reply with something they inherently will understand, "I am sorry, but my Hiring Manager will not accept someone with your Job Hops, after all, it is not my fault."

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Comment by Linda Hertz on March 26, 2013 at 2:34pm

Whew!  Did I tick off a few people on LinkedIn when I published this Blog!   Unfortunately, some missed the point of the article, but I am happy to say many did not!   Yes, I have deep previous early BtoB sales and mostly Medical Device Sales background and sales management (Like 29 years of it), before becoming a recruiter and opening my own firm (now there is a straight commission job if there is one!).  

I often write based upon my experience of talking to hundreds of  Job Seekers each week, but also Job Seekers that are Sales People and Sales Managers; roles I played for many years and enjoyed.  It is with this blended background that I often write my articles.

This article was really written with one theme in mind, understanding when to take ownership for where we are in our career (and life) and understanding what we can do differently to change our path.  Understanding we cannot control everything that happens to us, but if the same thing keeps happening over and over (good or bad) we probably had a hand in guiding that repeated success or failure.   

When I was a Sales Manager I could see the behaviors and the attitude of the multiple Presidents Award winning sales reps. and also those that repeatedly underachieved.  The President Award Winners would be telling me how they were going to make changes to win it again or, if they fell behind one year, what they would do to win it again next year; and they did!   The underachievers just told me how it was everyone else's fault they couldn't win it and ...they never did.   

Someone indicated that it was rude I don't respond to all the job applicants.  I can't call every Job Seeker back that apply to my positions, although they get an automated email response and also usually an email when we close out the position (certainly far short of a personal response).  I wish we could respond personally to all those that have applied to our jobs and not a fit, but in this day of internet and social media we will get hundreds of applications per job post.  We review all resumes, but taking the time to call or email each back individually?  It is not rudeness, but it is just business and we would like to stay in business!  

That said, thank you to the many that got back to me on this article and those asking for help and realized that they fell into the chronic Job Hopper asked me what you could do to change?  Bravo!  That was the point of the article; you are on your way!


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