How To Handle High Turnover In An Interview?

Question: I have some turnover in my background that makes me look like a job hopper. Most of the turnover resulted from the company either closing or moving, not me leaving. Do you have any recommendations on how to handle this when asked about it in an interview?

Yes, don’t wait to be asked. Regardless of your negative situation you should always address it head on. Bring the issue up before you are even asked. In your case I would say, “From my resume it appears as if I have a lot of turnover. I would like to clarify this as in most cases the company either closed or moved. I never really left the positions.” Candidates often think that because the interviewer didn’t bring up the issue that they are comfortable with it. This just isn’t correct. It is always better to make it appear that you have nothing to hide. I refer to this as making a preemptive strike. This is especially true if you have been let go. It is better to discuss the issue on your terms and get your point of view out, than to let the interviewer jump to an incorrect conclusion.

You can review our Candidate Job Search Workbook for FREE (just pay $5 shipping). You can review the questions, read the multiple chapters on interviewing, and even learn the ten must ask questions in an interview. CLICK HERE to learn how to get your workbook sent to you for just the cost of shipping.

Download our sample cover letter. This will help make sure your resume aligns with the position, and recruiters appreciate this style. It is free.  CLICK HERE to get yours.

Finally our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group is free to join and all are welcome. This group has over 3,800 members and a wealth of articles, job postings and discussions to help you. CLICK HERE to join the group.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. If this was helpful, please pass the link on so others may benefit also.

Brad Remilllard


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  • By Bill Shambrook, July 22, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

    Brad is exactly right-don’t assume that it will not be noticed address it early once a level of report is established. If you were in a fairly senior level operating position, and the reason you are no longer with the company is that it is closed, downsized or restructuring due to poor performance, you must do as much as you can to isolate yourself from the reason for the closure, downsizing or restructuring. The objective to leave the impression that you were a victim not the cause of the problem. If not in a senior marketing or business development role, identify specific market/competitive/economic/financial/working capital challenges,that the company was facing, but you did not have direct or prime responsibility for addressing. If in an operations or financial role redirect the reason for company problems towards the development group or external forces that caused your departure. If the company is moving and you were in a senior level position the assumption could be that you would be moved with the company. If not offered the opportunity this may hurt your candidacy for a new position. Develop a story around family etc that would support your situation. The key is to be proactive, have though through the supportable and provable reasons that you are no longer with the company. Do not lie, but do not blame management or talk about differences between you and management in strategy, direction etc that the company was going. You do not want to be seen as disloyal or unwilling to accept responsibility. Get it behind you and focus on the measurable and relevant accomplishments that you have built SHARE stories around and focus on the position you are pursuing. You can also use the learnings that you gained from previous employers that failed and how in retrospect you would now address.

  • By Mary Paige Forrester, July 22, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

    You could also address this *in* your resume. Next to the dates of employment or at the end of your summary bullets, indicate the reason the position ended.

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