SoloPoint Insights

Why Candidates with Short Job Tenures May Be Worth a Gamble

Some candidates may have a history of short job tenure on their resumes. This can be a deterrent or a “red flag” for many employers and, in many cases, be the end for the candidate.  In some cases, candidates with short job tenures may possess very strong qualifications, which can lead to a dilemma for the hiring manager to “take a gamble.” Here are some reasons why short-tenured candidates may deserve a closer look.

The average employee tenure is 4.1 years and it varies across groups and industries. Manufacturing industry workers have one of the longest private-sector tenures, averaging 5.2 years. The variations in employee tenure are influenced by factors such as age, job, industry, personal life, new hires, and the company’s financial standings.

What are the stigmas surrounding candidates with short job tenures?

Survey shows that “job hopping” is one of the top concerns (77%) of hiring managers when evaluating a candidate’s resume. Many employees tend to switch jobs to boost salary or skills early in their career and this trend appears to be common among workers, with 22.3% spending 0-12 months at their jobs and 33% spending 1-2 years at their jobs in 2022. Here are some common stigmas on short-tenured candidates:

Why consider candidates with short tenures?

A resume with many short-duration jobs can be perceived as having a lack of commitment for employers, but that is not always the case. Here’s why you should consider candidates with short tenures:

  1. Some short-tenured candidates often have hard-to-find in-demand skills. Candidates with short tenures can have skills that are in high demand. Data shows that people who change jobs every 2-3 years typically out-earn those who are in long-term positions as they can rapidly gain diverse experiences and unique expertise, making them more marketable and invaluable to companies. These candidates are typically desirable for a contract or project basis or as subject matter experts.
  2. Optimize available talent amidst a tight labor market. With the recent competitive labor market, hiring short-tenured candidates can address immediate staffing needs for in-demand engineering roles. Employers need to be discerning in considering these talents, especially in the middle of a talent shortage. Here are the recent data on engineering unemployment rates:
  3. Other reasons for their short tenure.
    • History of working with startups: Many startup employees have shorter job tenures due to the high failure rate, with 90% ending up failing within 4 or 5 years. These companies often undergo rapid changes in short periods and it can affect the tenure length of its employees.
    • Personal reasons: Family leaves, medical issues, sabbaticals, or extended travels can be a possible cause of short tenures as these personal breaks require significant time away from work.

How to explore fit with candidates?

  • Consider contract-to-hire 
    • Many companies are using “contract-to-hire” strategies to assess potential employees before offering permanent positions. If the candidate meets specific criteria and performance standards, employers can convert them into permanent positions. Contingent hiring helps mitigate hiring risks on skills or cultural mismatches and allows a seamless separation.
  • Consider engaging workers on an S.O.W. Project basis
    • The Statement of Work (S.O.W.) is a project-based engagement. These arrangements are guided by a Statement of Work, a list of deliverables, a budgetary quotation, and a schedule of completion. S.O.W. helps short-handed engineering companies add the needed manpower to meet deadlines without increasing the headcount.
  • Due diligence
    • Ask probing questions during the interview stage – is there a pattern of low performance and culture mismatches? Or are the circumstances behind the short tenure that can be manageable or worth taking a chance on?
    • Lastly, do references. Insights from past employers can be very helpful in gauging the level of risk in hiring someone with short job tenure.

The world of work is changing and it’s no longer common for employees to stay with one company for their entire career. Candidates with shorter tenure are not deal-breakers if you can “test drive” them. With the market still being competitive for engineering talent, it pays to keep an open mind. 

If you’re having trouble filling hard-to-find Mechanical, Electrical, and Manufacturing Engineers, contact SoloPoints today to review our vast engineering talent pool, and engage them on a contract or contract-to-hire assignment.

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