How to Address Job Hopping in an Interview
There's this negative stigma associated with people who job hop. Unfortunately, job hopping may be voluntary or involuntary. Either way, if your work history shows a repeat pattern of how you jump from job to job every 1-3 years (or less), you will need to know how to address the question of loyalty when the time comes during your interview.
Tell the Employer That They're "THE ONE"
Imagine this scenario – you're doing awesome on your interview and one of the last questions that you get from the hiring manager is about the fact that you have had 2 jobs in the past 3 years. If the reason why you job hopped was that you were laid off, then, by all means, tell them that one of them was a result of a layoff. We recommend expanding on that if you can. In other words, if you managed to make it through three waves of layoffs before you were laid off, mention it. This is what the hiring manager wants to hear.
However, if you left the job because you were either bored or just wanted to try something new, you have a slightly more difficult challenge ahead of you. Don't even bother by saying that "you were looking for a challenge" because that's a very old and commonly used reason/excuse. Instead, focus on how the position that you left to had something that the other one didn't.
An example of what you can say is, "It was an extremely difficult decision because I really loved working with my team. However, there was an opportunity to lead a team of people and that was the type of experience that I was looking for in my career."
Finally, if during the interview, the hiring manager asks you if you plan on staying with the company for a while, say, "Yes," immediately, and follow it by saying that, "The people here have been great. You can see the smiles on everyone's face. This is the type of company that I want to work for."
Don't Dwell on It
The important takeaway with this is to not dwell on this issue very long during your interview. Address it quickly when asked, and move forward. Never volunteer why you left unless you are specifically asked. The reason why is that the hiring manager may not have noticed your work history and/or may not even care that you job hop. Don't give him/her a reason to care about why you job hop.
Resume, interview and other career-related articles written by Tony Lim of Jobonomics.com. Empowering Job Seekers.