Ask HR Bartender: Is Your Candidate a Flight Risk

Welcome to our first installment of Ask HR Bartender, where I’ll answer questions from readers via video.

Here’s the question:

I’m currently a recruiter and the dreaded “flight risk” reason for not selecting a candidate has been really bothering me.  If the job is entry level, I don’t think a hiring manager should reject someone because he/she hopes to one day be a flight attendant … (no pun intended).  It seems that, if there is a snippet of other goals or ambitions, then hiring managers are ready to claim “flight risk”.  I know sometimes it may be a valid concern but how can you tell the difference between real flight risk concerns versus legitimate dreams/ambitions?

Great question!  And one we’re faced with often.  You can check out my reply below or over on the HR Bartender YouTube Chanel.

Let’s all learn from each others’ experience.  Tell us if you have a favorite interview question that will help determine if a job candidate is a potential flight risk.  If you’ve got any other suggestions for this reader, be sure to leave them in the comments too.  Cheers!


  1. Vito Scotello says

    While I do not have a question, I do have a suggustion. To find out if someone is a flight risk you need to look at their work history. We all know how to identify job hoppers. These are your flight risks. And, by the way, we all make mistakes.

  2. says

    I think asking them where they want to be in 5 years is useful. Ideally, any job posted should have some sort of possible career path and we should value candidates who aspire to more. The good match isn’t someone with no desire to do more, it’s someone with a desire to do something they could actually aspire to in that job. It’s not reasonable to expect people to want to stay in place, particularly for more challenging roles, which tend to require more of a go-getter personality.

  3. says

    I agree with Vito. Look at their resume. If there is a progression from one job to the next this may be a solid candidate. If they continue to have the same job year over year just in different companies…flight risk.

  4. says

    Thanks for the comments. I agree that understanding the candidate’s thoughts about their own career path is valuable.

    IMHO, it’s becoming a challenge to evaluate time in position as an indicator of job hopping. At one time, changing jobs every 2-3 years was considered job hopping. Today, it appears to be acceptable, if not encouraged. Bottom line: if we can’t figure out what job hopping looks like, we need a better barometer.