Question for hiring managers - how seriously do you treat job that is held for a short time?

Some may remember that only a few months ago, I took a new position; things are not turning out so far and this job is exhausting for all the wrong reasons. Inside politics are out of control for such a small company, travel demands has been excessive despite promises to the contrary and in the process of setting up this new department, I've discovered that they really don't need this new department they created; they need other managers to do their jobs. What I'm being asked to do can't even take up a single full time position, let alone an entire department.

I've started searching again and I'm trying to line up something so I can go to my boss and lay out the same thing. My concern is what to talk about when people ask about changing jobs after only 3 months. My focus will certainly be the positive - after getting there, I discovered that the way I could be most effective for shareholders was not to take their money. What else?

Advice on the general situation welcome...


HMac's picture

Brian - sorry for you in the short-run, but happy for you in the long-run...

When I see a "short" job on a resume, I divide them in my mind between the "really short" (probably some hideous misunderstanding on the part of the candidate or the company), and the "not so short" (probably the match didn't work out). Here are the variables:

Length of time:
For me, and for my industry (marketing), under six months is generally explained that there was some misunderstanding: the job was not what it was purported to be, the selection process wasn't rigorous enough to pick the best match, the candidate maybe oversold himself, the company maybe oversold itself, etc.) It happens. It bad and disruptive, but it happens.

Finding "fault":
Related to length of time - if somebody's in the job for more than six months, unless there's some verifiable disruptive factor (company goes under, market changes hugely, career-affecting illness, death, divorce) - then I tend to find that it's a case of something "not working out" - the employee and the company didn't get along. It could be the fault of either - or both - but yes, there tends to be fault to be found.

Using my mental map, your experience fits the first category - in a very short time on the job, you came across some unanticipated developments that affected whether you should be there or not.

PS - Obviously I'm basing this on the argument that it will appear in your resume - so you're explaining what happened, and not explaining a gap.

PPS - As always, from your perspective as a candidate, there's a way to find a positive frame for your experience - what you learned as a result, the relationships you developed, etc.

Hope this helps,


jhack's picture

It's how you explain why you took the job ("I wanted to do X, ...") and why you left it.

Bottom line: Was your decision making process rational?


MsSunshine's picture

Bottom line: I'm not concerned unless I see a pattern of very short jobs.

I will always ask why it was so short. I won't be concerned unless the answer really slams the company, boss, etc. Mistakes happen and you are moving on.

I will be concerned if you do it more than once. Then I wonder if you are really thinking about what you want. Would you be leaving my team after 3 months too? I have seen some resumes with a bunch of under 1 year jobs. Then I'd really be drilling in. I don't want someone who just runs away at the first sign that the honeymoon phase is over - or who maybe interviews well but really can't do the job - or always thinks the grass is greener over there - or who just can't get along with anyone.....

So, if I were you, I'd really be careful about how I pick the next job. :lol:

Nik's picture

I agree with everything everyone has said. But add "Why was your job at XYZ so short?" to your interview questions you'll want to know cold. :)

HMac's picture

Nik's right: know it cold, and NEVER portray yourself as a victim.