Job Hopping or Financial Survival?

I’m seeing a trend lately where sales reps – even A Players – are taking any job they can find, even if it doesn’t make sense for them in the long-term, then continuing to shop for the right position. In many cases, it’s an economic necessity. Which is why hiring managers may need to adjust their opinions of job-hoppers, at least until the economy recovers.

The reality is that professionals who would have once waited out the job market are now accepting the first position they’re offered, either because they’re next in line for a pink slip or they’ve already received one. They’re frightened, which is understandable. The current state of the economy has put things into perspective for us all.

It has also forced many sales pros into the role of entrepreneur, figuring out how to survive on 100% commission positions that are the now the norm among companies that are currently hiring in sales. Once, these positions would have been disregarded by highly qualified A Players. Now, they may be the only opportunities out there.

This trend goes hand-in-hand with another one I’ve noticed:  Hiring managers relaxing their standards a bit when it comes to vetting potential sales candidates.

A year ago, no one would have looked twice at a resume from someone who had been on a job for less than a year and was already looking or out of work. Nor would they have put much faith in the decision-making abilities of someone who was in a position for which they were clearly overqualified.

But it appears – and perhaps rightly so – that today’s hiring managers recognize that a shaky recent employment history doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate is high-risk. It may simply be the case of an A Player doing whatever it takes to pay their mortgage and put food on the table. When that’s the case, any position is better than no position. And even if they aren’t happy, because they are A Players, they will put 100% toward earning their commission to ensure they can continue to survive.

What are some of the recent economy-related employment trends you’ve noticed?

6 thoughts on “Job Hopping or Financial Survival?”

  1. Pingback: trends watch
  2. Hi Kathleen –

    Well, sometimes reality checks can be refreshing! Coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago I posted (in another LinkedIn group) a question coming from the other end of this equation, essentially pondering the question of ethics on the part of the job hunter when accepting a position that was obviously a poor fit. The responses were all over the board, but leaning towards the ‘survival mode’ thinking that is supported by your report. One of the issues I am seeing with some consistency is an understandable level of nervousness and 11th hour re-strategizing; I have had no less that 4 positions, for which I know I was the lead candidate, get tabled at the last minute, and some simply withdrawn completely. Besides my ‘corporate sales’ history, I am also a practicing real estate agent, specializing in high-end estates, horse properties, farms and land. Likewise, in those markets, there is an unprecedented lack of urgency, spawned, of course, by the same lack of confidence in the economy, coupled with questions about ‘where the bottom really is…’. The good news, at least in this part of the country, is there seems to be a slow reversal of this mindset, and indications of a rebuilding of confidence in the market. Hopefully this will carry over to the corporate sector as well.

    Having been in the hunt now for a full year, and being ‘an A Player among A Players!’, I am finding myself considering opportunities that 6 months ago would not have been on my horizon at all. Not necessarily lower positions per se, or significantly distant from my areas of expertise, but more entrepreneurial, such as you mention. The challenges I face, and I’m certainly not alone here, is a need for the basic benefits, insurance, etc., that are typically missing in this kind of situation. Being 56, even a youthful and energetic 56, brings it’s own set of issues, but that’s for another discussion!

    Thanks for opening the topic –


  3. The trend is being witnessed every day by my recruiting team. We recruit across North America and in every major metro city.

    We are evaluating candidates; interviewing, reviewing resumes, etc. and we see more and more candidates who are currently in a role that they recently accepted (3 months or less) and are now looking for the right position.

    These aren’t people with a history of job hopping and/or bad tenure. These are people who have historically showed phenomenal tenure, a record of achieving revenue goals and were laid off or had to get out of a dismal situation due to the economy.

    This behavior is new for these people and not consistent in any previous career behavior prior.

    These are people who had to find a position quickly for financial security and now find themselves looking for the position that really suits them.

    This is a new behavior that I have never seen in my career, from talented people.

    Kathleen Steffey

  4. I wanted to echo Tom’s comments regarding an extended job search and I, too, am now looking at positions (and commute lengths) that I would not have considered six months ago. I have also had potential positions withdrawn, and have had employers that are less concerned about communicating status back to me, as an applicant.

    It’s a different job search environment than it was six months ago, and worlds apart from where it was 12 months ago.

  5. A trend I’ve noticed is the utter lack of response by hiring managers to the job seeker.

    This is at the point where there has been one-to-one communication via direct email, phone or in-person. The hiring manager or recruiter goes AWOL not responding to follow up correspondence, voice mail messages or snail mail. As a sales person, you may interpret at first that this is a “test” of your persistence. Yet, after X times of follow up, the hiring manager should have the common decency to respond with a “no thank you” or our direction has changed. SOMETHING

  6. J Radio,

    I encourage you to hold that recruiter accountable more so than the hiring manager… that’s completely unacceptable and unprofessional.

    It clearly represents the caliber of the firm and the value they place on your partnership. I say this as a business owner of a national sales and marketing recruiting firm..

    The recruiter’s responsiblity is to “block and tackle” for the hiring manager.



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