Employers would be well served not to pay much attention to a candidate's job history.
Indeed, a recent study by Evolv, a San Francisco-headquartered provider of data-driven selection tools and services, reveals there is essentially zero correlation between the number of jobs hourly call-center agents held and their future job tenure.
The study analyzed applicant data and employment outcomes of more than 21,000 call-center agents in five major contact centers.
Regardless of the call-center position held, the study finds that, just because someone hopped from job to job doesn't mean they're not going to stay in their next job.
"We went into the study with the expectation that people who had lots of different jobs, or none at all, were going to have very different kinds of outcomes from their next employer than those with more typical work histories," says Michael Housman, managing director of analytics at Evolv. "But the study found that clearly wasn't the case."
Recruiters and hiring managers are much better off focusing their attention on other characteristics, such as job fit, personality and skills, he says.
Depending on the type of position, Housman estimates between 2 percent and 7 percent of call-center applicants are rejected because of their experience and work history.
Clearly, he says, a more "nuanced understanding of the applicant and his or her personality" is warranted.
To ensure the best candidates are hired, Housman says, previous work experience needs to be placed within a much broader context.
JoAnne Kruse, founder of HCpartners in Chester, N.J., agrees that companies need to look beyond a single datapoint such as work history.
Although "job jumps" can sometimes be an indicator of a potential bad hire, Kruse says, the recruitment process requires "a careful evaluation of a candidate's qualifications and fit for a role." Weighting job history above other criteria may result in the loss of some excellent talent.
A recent study by TheLadders, a New York-based job-matching service, reports that recruiters spend just six seconds looking at a resume before deciding if a candidate is a good fit.
Bill Humbert, president of RecruiterGuy.com in Park City, Utah, says recruiters need to be better trained, especially because so many candidates have been adversely affected by the recession.
"Far too many managers haven't been properly taught how to interview and select good candidates," he says.