Bloom where you are planted.

“Bloom where you are planted” is a quote I have often come to love and use. I first heard it when I was interviewing for a job. It was early in my career. I had moved from one state to another, and on my resume, the work experience I listed showed that I had moved about every two years for the last three jobs. Gulp! The standard lore that existed then and still exists is that hiring managers should stay clear of job hoppers.

It was not lost on me that if I did not create my narrative in the time that I had with the hiring manager, a narrative might be created for me. So, my focus became explaining why I had moved from one position to the next and from one state to another. It was then that I heard the following, “You don’t need to explain why you moved; you bloomed where you are planted.” I can’t tell you the wave of relief that came over me at that moment. I literally felt the stress leave my body. I could now focus on discussing the experience that made me a suitable candidate for the position, examples of what I had accomplished, and my genuine excitement and interest in the work.

The hiring manager asked me great questions about my work and the tangible impact I had made in other positions. She probed for the things that she valued in building her team, like collaboration and the ability to teach others. She also shared her values as a female leader in a predominately male space. She, too, had experienced moments of judgment and her experiences were helpful in her giving me grace and paying it forward.

Perception can be reality. Research shows that employers are less likely to employ someone who has moved around in positions every year or two. A Robert Half survey conducted by independent research firms found that “seventy-five percent of employees ages 18 to 34 view job-hopping as beneficial, compared to 59 percent of workers ages 35 to 54 and 51 percent of those 55 and older…The biggest drawback of job-hopping, cited by 46 percent of workers, is being perceived as a flight risk.”

LinkedIn data shows that women tend to have more frequent moves than men. There are many reasons for this: following a spouse or partner, taking care of an ailing parent, managing childcare, and much more. Women’s mobility in the workplace is different from that of men’s mobility.

Gallup’s research shows that millennials, who currently make up about fifty percent of the workforce and by 2025 will be seventy-five percent of the workforce, are the least engaged in the workplace and move around more professionally because they feel less emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company. They crave a company culture that provides growth, coaching, clarity in communication, and flexibility.

If you have frequent moves or gaps in your resume, you should address them in your interview. Be honest and be prepared to highlight your hard and soft skills. Craft your resume to tell your story, and be sure to have references that will help reinforce that story.

As hiring managers, it can be easy to make assumptions about someone’s professional strengths and weaknesses and attribute them to gaps or frequent moves. Our unconscious bias can limit our ability to see the talent someone can bring to our organization. We should position ourselves to be strategic during the hiring process and ask competency and behavioral based interview questions to get the necessary data points to make sound hiring decisions that result in getting the best individuals onto our teams.

Yes, I did get the job!

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2 Responses

  1. O my gosh. I remember this exact same experience and the anxiety that came along with building my narrative so it wasn’t done for me. I still recall the sense of relief when I was engaged in a constructive and supportive conversation about it. And yes- I got the job too! 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing that Erin! Wonderful story with a happy ending. Sounds like a great manager. ????

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