Interview Question: Why Have You Had So Many Jobs?

asking interview questions

If you’ve had many jobs in a short period of time and get an interview, you can expect to be asked about this. You’ll want to have a great answer to this important question because it could make a big difference to the interviewer’s perception of you.

The process of hiring and training employees is very time-consuming and expensive. Companies want to hire individuals who they believe will be committed and loyal to their organization. The last thing an employer wants is to hire and train you, only for you to leave the position within a few months of being hired.

Holding too many positions in too short a time leads employers to question your loyalty and long-term commitment. It is critically important to make them understand that you did not “quit” an unfinished job. Rather, you completed various short projects. It is important to stress the difference between the two so that you don’t come across as a quitter.

People who quit a project halfway are considered the least desirable kind of employees to hire. They will be concerned about you being unstable as a candidate or a person who cannot get along with your colleagues at work.

If you’ve had many jobs in a short period of time, you can expect to be questioned on this in every job interview you attend:

Here’s how to give a solid answer to the important question: Why Do You Have So Many Jobs on Your Resume?

  • List all of the accomplishments you have been able to make in each role, that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
  • List a specific reason why you left each job role. This could include contract positions, dead-end positions, company sold out, downsizing, underemployment, dissatisfaction with the role, etc.

If these were short contracts, start by explaining that the jobs are fixed term projects: The different jobs on my resume represent fixed-term projects that I successfully completed as a consultant for clients in different industries. I never quit any of those jobs halfway. That’s just not how I roll.

Explain why you chose to work as a consultant, which could be because you wanted to broaden your knowledge of different industries: I decided to work as a consultant for a couple of years to broaden my knowledge with experiences in different industries.

Explain the skills you have acquired in previous roles: In each of these roles, I have been able to acquire skills and experience in ______, ______ and ______. This experience is something that other candidates will find hard to match.

If you were not happy at one of those companies, say so. Do not appear defensive or apportion blame to anyone: XYZ Company had values and a company vision that I simply could not agree with, and I decided I would be happier with an employer whose goals I believed in. Since then, I have made it a habit of reading the mission statement of every company that I want to apply to. I read your mission statement, and believe that we are on the same page and share the same vision. I am ready to commit long-term to a position that I feel passionate about.

Explain the benefits of working in different industries: This has worked out really well because what it means is that I have now gained experience from working in so many diverse industries. This has made me a more rounded employee. As a result of my varied work history, I have developed successful relationships with key decision makers in numerous companies. This gives me a clear edge over other candidates that have not had the opportunity to work in different industries, and this makes me stand out.

Explain that this has been the plan all along, and add that getting a permanent role has always been your long-term goal: The long-term goal has always been to move back into a permanent role once I have gained sufficient experience and find a role that interests me. I have also been able to accomplish different goals in every industry that I worked in. I’ve become more selective lately, and hadn’t been able to find the right job until this opportunity came along. I am very interested in this opportunity because the job requirements align very well with the skills I have gained, and I truly believe that I could make a significant contribution to the position.

If you were at studying and inundated with coursework, say so: I couldn’t give the job my all because I was also studying at the same time, and my availability kept changing. There would be periods of days when I was just buried with coursework which took up my nights and weekends, and some days when I had a free schedule. At the time, this caused me to move around now and again, but I never quit a job halfway. And now that I have graduated, I can finally commit to a single employer. Furthermore, each job taught me a valuable experience that I can bring to this role. For example _____________.

The most important thing is to highlight experiences from each of these roles that are directly relevant to the job you are applying for. Ensure that you do not appear to blame anyone for your frequent job changes. If the situations were forced on you, explain the circumstances. Maybe the company went out of business or got sold.

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