Find the Long-Term Key Player, rather than the Fare-Weather Employee


It’s interview time. You sit together. Talk together. And, finally the interview process is done and it’s time to make a decision. It’s a leap of faith you hope will pay off with a long-term employee who grows with your company. Until, six months later they quit.

What went wrong? And, what could you have asked during the interview process to predict a long-term key player, rather than a fare-weather employee?

Average Worker, Staying Shorter Amounts of Time… 

The average worker stays in their job for 4.4 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the younger generation moves on even faster.

In fact, 91 percent of workers born between 1977 and 1997 expect to stay in a job fewer than three years, according to a survey conducted by the Future Workplace, which surveyed 1,189 employees and 150 managers. This means, they could have up to 20 jobs over their lifetime.

Some companies review work history, in an effort to predict long-term key-players. However, this might be misleading.

It’s Counter-Intuitive  

A recent study showed a candidate’s job history isn’t an accurate predictor of future job longevity. The study, which was conducted by ERE Media, analyzed applicant data and employment outcomes from more than 21,000 call center agents, an industry with relatively high turnover. The results showed a zero correlation between the number of positions an employee held in the recent past and how long they would stay at their next job.

Instead, Focus on Career Aspirations  

Are you talking about career aspirations during the interview process? If not, you should. Career aspirations help you determine whether the candidate’s goals fit within your organization. Ask candidates questions, like:

What are your career aspirations?  

What would you like to achieve 5 years from now? 

What are your long-term career aspirations?  

For example, the candidate might want to enhance their professional skills to achieve advancement in the organization. Or, they might seek a solid job with stability or predictability.

Or, you might uncover the candidate wants to hone their skills, and become an expert in a specific area of interest. Pay attention to the candidate’s responses to analyze further.   

What to DO with the answers 

After collecting the answers take inventory to determine if the candidate’s career aspirations fit within your organization. Can they achieve what they’d like to in 5 years, or even 10 within your organization? If so, you might have success with this candidate. And, if not, the employee may become discouraged and move on, regardless of their job history.

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Forbes Magazine. Job Hopping is the ‘New Norma’ for Millennial: Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resource Nightmare. Retrieved 11/6/12 from

ERE Media. Once a Job Hopper, Not Always a Job Hopper. Retrieved 11/6/12 from

Kansas State University. The Effects of Behavioral Interviewing. Retrieved 11/6/12


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