The Body Count Conundrum

Everyone wants someone who’s got experience and can do a lot of amazing things, but then we don’t want someone who’s been around everywhere and will probably leave in a jiffy, stomping out into the late evening. To find that perfect balance is more of an art than anything else.

Wait, what do you think I was talking about?

Recently I helped a friend review a resume for a vacancy. It was quite impressive; and having spoken to the candidate previously, I was half assured of the quality. But, the resume said a bit more than the exciting background – candidate has worked at five different companies but never spent more than 2 years at any of them.

The person recruiting wanted a solid performer. But most importantly someone he could build a team around – someone who would stay for a decent number of years. For those of us out there who know the pain of building a good team, stability is as important as skills.

My friend never followed up on the lead as he was very concerned about the candidate’s stability on the job. I have seen this play out many times over.

Is it right to judge someone based on the number of places they have worked?

Experience is key but too much of everything is bad
When recruiting experienced hires, recruiters welcome diversity as we believe, sometimes erroneously though, that if you have been around, you probably have learned a number of important contexts which should bring the richness of your experience to bear.

However, if you have worked in too many places and it seems you frequently change jobs, then we are very worried you won’t stay long in the new role, fracturing the team and making a mess, especially if you are senior and lead a large team.

Think before you resign
Forget what you read on the Internet, including this one – every job will be annoying at one time or the other. The grass is greener on the other side, until you scale the fence and discover it was just an optical illusion.

Careers, just like relationships, aren’t inconsequential to get into – the history stays with you for a very long time.

Therefore, don’t leave your job on a whim or because your boss pissed you off, or because you missed that promotion. Unless there is a threat to your life, stay until you find a solid career move worth the hassle and increase in body count.

When you leave a job too fast or too soon, your resume stops talking about your experience but about your person. Recruiters and others start to think you have a commitmentphobia, can’t work in a team, get bored easily like a teenager or some other random problems. We are probably wrong about you, but the bad part is we won’t even discuss it with you; we just form a bias in our little minds and move on.

Don’t hate us, we have a mountain of resumes and LinkedIn profiles to wade through with not enough time pull a Sherlock Holmes.

Spin out the positives
When you finally get to have a chat about a new role and you have a career record longer than a street whore, you can still spin a positive tale around it.

Always have a good story to say about each place you have worked. When you say nice things about others, it makes people think highly of you, feel you are a team player and a grateful soul. Even if you aren’t any of this, stick to the script.

There is a limit to this though, if your ex-company was involved in salacious things, just say you had a good time but would rather not discuss what happened as many of the things you know are confidential. When you don’t run your mouth at interviews, we believe that you will keep our own secrets if you are brought on board.

Talk about the diversity of experience and how it has made you a more rounded person with a world-view…whatever that means. After all an interview is more like a solo theatrics performance.

Talk about other areas of your life that has been stable so nobody thinks you are a rocket on a mission. For example, you could talk about how you have been using the same dry cleaners for 150 years or that you love your old perfume.

Okay, so now that I’ve told you about why you should stay loyal, what’s your body count?

Comments 3

  1. Emeka Acho wrote:

    Hmmmmm, I like this line: When you leave a job too fast or too soon, your resume stops talking about your experience but about your person…..a good point…noted

    Posted 30 Jun 2016 at 7:47 pm
  2. Ojie wrote:

    Body count is usually associated with the number of people one has had sex with. That is what I thought when I saw the headline. But, on reading it, obviously such was nit the case. I agree with your thoughts on the issue.

    Body count- 2

    Posted 06 Jul 2016 at 12:28 am
  3. @tolucomms wrote:

    Nice twist to a term otherwise used.

    I also realised how feeble and worrisome my CV would look to a recruiter, considering the kind of organisation I would love to work with. The multi-industry experience is good but the body count nullified the positives. So I’ve decided to be faithful and longsuffering, carefuuly marking time and enjoying the benefits of stability!

    Body count – 6!

    Posted 11 Oct 2016 at 6:26 pm

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