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How to answer the interview question: Why so many different jobs in a short time frame?

Second to resumes in what job seekers tend to struggle with is the interview process.  YES, employers today are weighing the interview questions and responses more and more.  In this uber-competitive employment environment, you have to be tight and right in all that you do! 

This is a way for you to demonstrate your knowledge of the position and also the company itself. Through the years we have heard some off the wall interview questions, but what we have found, is that the average job seeker struggles with the basic questions. 

There is not a list of questions that all hiring managers follow, but there are basic interview questions that can be fairly certain that you will be asked. You will want to be prepared for those questions and not get tongue tied, especially for our first question below.


EMPLOYER:  "I notice from your resume that you have had 5 jobs in the last 4 years.  Why so much movement?"


Common question.  Although "job hopping" is viewed today differently than what it was 10 to 15 years ago, understand this is a valid concern for an employer.  They want to understand the reasoning.  Why?  Two fold.  First companies are investing in you far beyond than your salary.  When you break down training, benefits, taxes, and equipment, the investment made by companies is usually 1.5X – 3X that of the salary.  It is a reasonable request.

Secondly job seekers, especially millennials, are very candid in their responses.  Such as you didn't like a manager, co-worker, or corporate environment.  However, being too candid may cost you a job opportunity.  You want to temper the truth in your response.  Are some managers a pain in the butt?  YES.  Are some the worst to work for?  YES, but this is not the message we want to convey.


Job Candidate Response:  "I understand on the surface it appears I am not content in a job or position.  That is not the case.  When looking at a job, I first evaluate the work and responsibility I will be doing.  My career is important to me, it goes beyond the salary or hourly wage.  At times you take a position, a job because of the work.  However, companies pivot priorities and projects and the work changes.

The reason I am interviewing and evaluating this job opportunity with you, is I believe I have found the passion of the work, projects, mission, and future opportunities.  I look forward into investing in your company and the position."

TIP: The key thing to this response is you have quelled two concerns.  First, it is NOT about the money.  You are showing that you are about the work and company first.  Second, you have deflected any negative perception of you, because you have basically told the employer you have investigated their job, position, culture, and mission and believe you have found the perfect match.  You have successfully answered the question and re-enforced to the interviewer you are the right choice!


Another Response: I had an interest in a variety of career paths so I tried different positions in different fields to find the best career for me. In that time, I had found that working in the medical field (NOTE: you will insert whatever industry you are interviewing for here) is the work I enjoy the most. Now, after doing some research on the company, I am ready to commit to a long term career as (Insert position) with (Insert company name you are interviewing for).

TIP: The key to this response is to show that although you may have had many jobs in the last few years, now you are ready to commit to a long term position. This is the main thing that the hiring manager is concerned about, are you a good investment or will you quit in 6 months?


Another Response: Position A was a temporary position that I was working through a staffing agency and it was only a 10 month position. Position B was a seasonal position for the holiday season. Then Positon C, I worked for a start-up company that downsized and laid off my entire division. Now I am ready to have a long term impact in this position with (company name).

TIP: The key to this response is to take away doubt by explaining that the previous positions were temporary. Then letting the hiring manager know that you are ready to work for one company, which is their company.


Key pointers to always remember, never bad talk a previous employer or co-workers that definitely will not get you the job. Always be short and to the point, don’t talk yourself out of the position. In answering this question there may not be the perfect answer, but you can remove doubt from the hiring manager and then wow them in the rest of the interview. Being prepared for the interview by doing your research in advance will help you answer these common, but difficult questions.


Click Here for answers to the top interview questions and tips that will have you ace the interview!