Hiring managers: How many under 2 year stints can you have til you're a walking red flag?

My current company is not doing well. We've switched the pay plan 5 quarters in a row and we are struggling to fundraise. Im at my 18 month mark and starting to look, already have a few interviews lined up this week.


I do have concerns over my "job hopper" status though. My last role I was at for 15 months, and the one before that ~2.5 years. So two straight under two year jobs and then my longest is 2.5 years, im 29 for reference. Do you think I should try my best to stick it out for 2 years or is the difference not really much at that point?

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46
Kosta_Konfucius
Politicker
16
Sales Rep
" The VP of Sales' average tenure has steadily declined the last seven years. Once standing at a healthy 26 months, it's now just19 months."

Given leadership is within that range, I dont think you have much to worry about. As long as you have a reason for each move.
Rajan
Politicker
6
Senior Account Executive
Didn't realize it was so low. Definitely a concerning industry trend
Kosta_Konfucius
Politicker
3
Sales Rep
100%, sales is a pressure cooker for sure
Blue_Turtle
Opinionated
1
SDR
Sounds like rapidly less realistic goals.
ilovemondays
Executive
0
Senior Account Executive
The average VP takes too long to iterate their GTM model, it should be changed each quarter but they usually do year long experiments
SaaSsy
Politicker
6
AE
Yep! I just saw average rep tenure is only 18 months. I’ve never had short stints matter and think most sales leaders understand this is common.
TennisandSales
Politicker
15
Enterprise Account Executive
i dont think this is a deal breaker. I do think the longer you can stay the better though. having a solid story on why you are leaving is important.

my resume went:
5 years
6 months
3 months
2 years
2 years

never had a problem. ever move was for an increase in pay and role.
saaskicker
Celebrated Contributor
7
Enterprise AE
same.

2.5 years
11 months
1.9 years
3 months
2.8 years
antiASKHOLE
Big Shot
2
Account Executive
mine isn't too far off from yours tbh
butwhy
Politicker
6
Solutions Engineer
I haven't made it over 2 years in 10 years. I rarely get flack for it - the average tenure of a startup employee is 1.8 years. Just means more diverse experience and ramp up muscle memory; you need to have confidence in pitching it.
ExtremeVibeChecker44
Arsonist
1
Inside Sales
It's 2023, not 1923. No need to stay on a sinking ship.
Tf1859
0
BDR
Not a great look that you haven’t chosen anywhere that was worth staying at though. Getting promos internally is a great look if it’s possible
Sunbunny31
Politicker
6
Sr Sales Executive
Shouldn't be a deal breaker as long as you can speak to why the tenure is the way it is when you're asked.

Of course, you're not going to badmouth the existing company in interviews. The most I'd admit to is that it has changed since you came onboard, and then something really complimentary about the interviewing company's solution or strategy or mission statement that resonates with you.

Best of luck!
CuriousFox
WR Officer
5
🦊
No one stays anywhere 2 plus years anymore.
Sunbunny31
Politicker
2
Sr Sales Executive
And here I am, an outlier. That said, I know I'm an outlier. 2 year stints are definitely not unheard of, nor should they be an automatic concern.
Diablo
Politicker
4
Sr. AE
Shouldn’t be a deal breaker, I don’t have a steady record as well and it’s has never been an obstacle.
punishedlad
Politicker
4
Field Sales
I think you'll be fine. I've been "job hopping" for the entire 6 years of my career so far. Longest position was 22 months. Haven't had any issues.
ChumpChange
Politicker
2
Channel Manager
Not an issue. Especially, if your employer goes under which could be attributed to 1000 reasons outside of sales. I would just stay the course and ride it until you get a severance or the ship turns around. Just remember not to stress because when things get dicey... leadership loves making you feel like it's all riding on you.
Pachacuti
Politicker
2
They call me Daddy, Sales Daddy
Your resume is what YOU make of it. You don’t need to include everything and while I say don’t lie, you can play for dates a bit.
fidelcashflow
Opinionated
1
Account Executive
my track record is worse and I've never had an issue. My last 4 jobs all under 2 years. As long as you have legit reasons, they won't care. I'd get 1 out of 10 interviewing companies grill me on it. They sucked anyways
FinanceEngineer
Politicker
1
Sr Director, sales and partnerships
Depends. Are you in the same industry? Are you moving up? If yes and yes, you are all set.
Rajan
Politicker
2
Senior Account Executive
Moved up last two jobs. Right now title wise, the jobs Im looking for would seem like a lateral move. But my company is dysfunctional and Im looking for a more stable one.
GDO
Politicker
1
BDM
I think it depends on the story
Justatitle
Politicker
1
Account Executive
In the current state of tech sales it really is not as concerning as it once was. I can promise you that.
ChiefGreef45
Catalyst
1
Account Executive
Have that same feeling as I have been on a less than 2-year streak in my past two roles. Certainly reassuring to hear about others' experiences.

Definitely important to have the story down pat. The confidence and poise you show during the interview will speak more than the details on your CV.
EQSales
Opinionated
1
VP of Sales
never a "deal breaker" but does become a yellow flag to ask about in the interview.
-1 short job, doesnt even register
-back to back short hops- going to inspect decision making, ego (title chasing), etc
-3 + short stints- I am assuming something is up and rest of resume needs to be strong to have a call to basically understand why all the short stays
Rajan
Politicker
0
Senior Account Executive
what would you consider a "short stay" in this situation?
SaltySales
Opinionated
1
Ops Director
I have never stayed at a job for more than 1.5 years. 10 jobs in 10 years. I am now an ops director.
As long as you can both fail up, and communicate your successes properly, job hunting is trying to close a contract on yourself.
Numbers game, fuck load of interviews, being hyper self-aware, track your response rates etc.

Like dating:
Rule #1. Don't be unattractive
Rule #2. Be attractive
Time in role means less to people that give a shit about results. If you can get results you'll be fine.
Places asking for degrees for entry level sales jobs are red flags. Find the red flags, fire shitty companies during the interview process, use your brain real super good.
A lot of people think you should leave a company if it isn't working out, but the opposite can be true. If you're fucking killing it use that company as a tree branch you can swing to the next company on. Better pay, better benefits. Absolutely never ever never never ever ever take a base cut, whatever you do.
JustGonnaSendIt
Politicker
0
Burn Towns, Get Money
I think you're fine. It's all about how you tell the story.

If you had 2x or 3x back-to-back stints less than 1 year, perhaps more concern.

But this shows that you made an effort to ride things thru, survived an annual quota at 3 sequential roles now. I think you're good-to-go.

Just have a mental map of where your journey has taken you so far, what you've learned, where you think you're headed, and what this next role (the one you're interviewing for) is going to teach you on the path to that destination.
Lambda
Tycoon
0
Sales Consultant
Sounds like you aren't confident in your abilities
I think if you can speak to the reason WHY you "hopped" it shouldn't really matter. Employers are looking for the best quality candidates. If they aren't, then they probably aren't a long term successful company (10-15-20+Yr)
Armageddon
Valued Contributor
0
Account Executive
I think it’s more important to get outta there and start your time with a better company then to stick it out for 6 more months just to say you put in 2 years. Good luck!
finboi
Notorious Answer
0
Fi-nance
I would find the job you will be happy and most successful in. That is SO much more important than trying to get your resume to look “perfect”.

I’m not sure anyone should suffer through a mediocre job solely for the resume. Life is short!
TheHypnotist
Valued Contributor
0
Sales Manager
Why have you been leaving the positions?
Or have you been fired?
If you can't stay at a job because you're changing your mind about what you want then I would consider that a red flag if I were looking for someone long term.
It might suggest that you are not managing expectations very well.
htxjoe
Good Citizen
0
Sales consultant
Sales is all about selling a product you believe in. If you don’t think you’re employer will be in business next year shame on you for sticking around and selling negative value for 6 whole months. If it’s more complicated than that, the company is good, the product is good - perhaps just the marketing is bad? Then sure, stick around 6 more months. If not then you answered your own question.
growthmindset
Personal Narrative
0
Sales Director
I think it also depends on the industry and the particular company that you’re trying to get hired into as well as where in your career timeline you are.
For example, if you’re early in your career, I feel that moving positions every so often may just be a sign that you’re still trying to figure out what kind of position and organization suits you.
On the other hand, if your past the first 7 years of your professional life or so, but have a number of changes within the past 5-7 years, then a “good story” behind each jump would be expected.

That being said, at some point, as a hiring manager I prefer to see that a candidate has some tenure somewhere if he/she is no longer in the early stages of their career.

What’s do I consider tenure? 5+ years.

Why? Simply because I find adage of “a rolling stone gathers no moss” to be true. There’s so much time spent in onboarding every time you start a new position (learning the product, the applications, the sales process of your customers, the lay of the land in your territory, as well as the ropes within your own organization) that one really isn’t effective or productive unless one has been at a company for multiple years.

On a personal note, I feel that Sales Rep turnover is damaging for business continuity in the field with our customers and distribution partners. Thus I’d prefer if I could glean from a candidate that they had the potential to stay awhile.

Last but not least- this is not a recommendation for anyone to stay at any position for longer than they feel engaged, empowered and appreciated.

For whatever reason, if you’re already thinking seriously about leaving, as a hiring manager I’d say have a conversation with your manager first- and if that doesn’t pan out - then do it.

I’d rather my team members come to me with their concerns first- but if I can’t resolve them or they continue to be unhappy- then they should find their fortune elsewhere.

Engaged employees are good employees.
If you don’t want to be in the journey with me… then peace out. No hard feelings.
GingerBarbarian
Opinionated
0
Lead Sales
The average tenure for an SDR role is only 1.2 years. The median for private sector employees is only 3.7 years. If they have a problem with 18 months, they do not really know the industry.
LMachine
Valued Contributor
0
Sr. BDR
Going back some. (College till landed my 1st real sales job: 8 yrs longest, & 2 roles).

Then:
2 yrs
1 yr
6 mos.
5 yrs
2 yrs
9 mos.
1 yr.
2 yrs
4 yrs
18 mos
18 mos
18 mos
&.....next!
RelationshipMaker
Good Citizen
0
Head of Sales
The story behind each move needs to back you up also.
The last 3 years has changed a lot of recruiters attitudes, people are moving more frequently. Good luck.
maxmartin
Valued Contributor
0
Senior Sales Executive
You can move on only for better money and better role IMO.
SADSAAS
Valued Contributor
0
Account Executive
I agree with most of the comments here, 2 years in Sales is now seen as long-term.

Under a year, there are questions to be asked but still not a deal breaker. Over a year and it is pretty much the status quo.
Corpslovechild
Politicker
0
Inbound Sales Manager
It depends on the story you sell about why it happened.
londoniscoldandwet
Opinionated
0
SDR
I’ve been labelled as a job hopper and a risk to hire, and I’ve still managed to find and work with incredible companies and advance.

If you have good reasons to make a move, and they don’t listen, you shouldn’t be wanting to join them anyway.
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