How “hoppy” is TOO job hoppy?

It’s a polarising subject that divides a lot of people in sales – being job hoppy. It is subjective and if you’re a hiring manager who has experienced a lot of cultures, you might be open to sales candidates who have moved about.

However, if you’ve been at Oracle or Microsoft for 24 years, loyalty is a key value for you that you probably want to see in your sales team.

Beggars can’t be choosers in some instances. Time and time again, software vendors aren’t giving themselves the best chance of securing talent because they make it so difficult for top talent to join them. Long interview processes… not enough “selling” of their own brand… not providing career opportunities… sometimes companies hurt themselves without knowing it.

There are the 1% of software companies who everyone would love to work for. Innovative tech, collaborative culture, marketing is on-point… everyone wants in! But it got me thinking that being job hoppy is very subjective.

How do you define being job hoppy?

A job a year? 3 jobs in 10 years? Can someone be very unlucky and be made redundant a few times? Or does that explain that they haven’t been right for any of the roles that they were hired for.

What if someone is too stable?

Where’s the innovation in being with a company for 20 years? Are you part of the furniture? Loyalty is great, but it can be misplaced loyalty. Does it show that you don’t have the drive to learn? Are that you’ve chosen comfort rather than take risks?

There is no right or wrong answer and it is subjective. Your own opinions.

More importantly, does your opinion of being job hoppy correlate with that of your peers? If the Sales Director wants stability in a CV, but the MD wants to mix things up – who will win and who will lose? Almost every time, the candidate will lose.

  • 1 in 3 sales professionals will be in their job 3 years or less.

  • 1 in 3 sales reps will be in their job between 3-5 years.

  • 1 in 3 sales people will stay for over 5 years.

These are very interesting stats and a good way to split it. 3 years is long enough to show commitment, but not too long where you’re becoming a fixture.

Having worked in recruitment for 15 years, I’ve heard the same reasons over and over about being job hoppy. What I’ve heard is…

In the red corner (JOB HOPPING IS FINE)

“You learn more when working at different companies”

“Sales people need to stay fresh”

“There’s nothing wrong with furthering your career”

In the blue corner (JOB HOPPING IS AWFUL)

“They haven’t stayed long enough to sell anything!”

“Where is the loyalty to the brand?”

“You lose credibility selling the same software but for a different brand”

Over 2/3 of sales professionals plan to look for a new job in the next year.

If you are a software vendor where sales cycles can last a couple of years, it is important that you are pipelining talent. The long-term ROI of a high-performing sales team is astronomical. The short-term losses could also be crippling.

2/5 of sales professionals plan to look for a new job in the next 3 months.

The likelihood is that for every 5 sales people you have, 2 won’t be there next quarter. And what does that mean to your business?

  • More time spent interviewing.
  • More time spent training and developing.
  • Less time focused on your clients.

What do you think sales professionals look for? Money, right? Not all the time…

7/10 candidates will accept less money to work at a company with a top culture.

This is a very interesting fact, considering that 8/10 candidates will love to sell something that is particularly compelling.

All these leads into what influences sales people into making a job decision. 2 of the top 3 sources when finding out more about a company are work colleagues – either current colleagues or past colleagues.

How transparent are you with your team? One reason why sales reps leave is because of how hard it is to understand the commission plan. Is yours confusing? Can it be explained in one sentence? We know there will be caveats… but your commission plan must be simple.

Below is a fantastic infographic from the team at Glassdoor. Here at LivRecruit, we advocate researching heavily before interviews and Glassdoor is a pillar of that research. If I was a sales director for a software vendor, I’d be thinking about:

  • What does Glassdoor say about our business?
  • How can we improve our online presence for candidates interviewing for us?
  • Where else do candidates research our business?

LivRecruit can help you to ensure that you are an attractive business to join. If you are having offers rejected, or you are losing members of your sales team – call me on 07583 965071

p.s if you would like to know my thoughts on being job hoppy… time is just a number. My advice will always be – meet them. Just go and meet them. At worst, it’s a 10-minute meeting. Providing the candidate fits the brief and aligns to your company values – those 10 minutes are ok.

At best, you could interview someone who has needed a ‘home’ for the last few jobs. They’ve had poor management and not been given the same opportunity that others have. They were in the wrong place and the wrong time. It doesn’t make them a bad person or awful at their job.

You could share a similar vision, you could coach and mentor them and have them as a trusted sales performer for the next 5 years. You’d look great as you’re hitting targets, and you will have a reference site that will demonstrate to every hire that if you do believe in them and they have the right personality, that they can be a long-term success for your innovative software company.