How to Answer "Why Are You Leaving Your Job?" in an Interview
While answering common interview questions about your weaknesses or why you want the job usually comes naturally, “What’s your reason for leaving your current job?” always proves to be trickiest and deserves careful consideration.
In fact, the answer you give can actually strengthen your chances of securing a new opportunity or moving onto the next interview. If you don’t take the time to prepare an answer with intent, you can actually negatively impact your odds of getting the job.
Here are some tips on how to discuss your reasons for leaving a job.
Is there a “right” answer?
In shaping your response, know that there isn’t one single acceptable way to answer this question. Approach the question as an opportunity to demonstrate your work ethic and desire to grow. While there are many, here are three examples of strong answers:
1. More responsibility and career growth
If you aren’t being given the tools necessary to grow and perform in your current role, it’s important to explain this to a possible new employer when sharing your reasons for leaving your job.
Wanting to develop your skills exemplifies your professional engagement, which is an attractive quality to nearly every company in every industry. Remember to give examples of the kinds of skills you want to sharpen and how you’d like to get it done.
2. A career change
Wanting to change careers indicates that you’re dedicated to finding meaningful work that engages you. Research has found that employees who find their work worthwhile are more likely to be happy, and happy employees are an essential component for healthy, positive companies.
By explaining your career development plan and outlining your end goal, you’re demonstrating passion and commitment rather than indifference.
Sometimes a good answer to why you’re leaving your job is as simple as relocating. If this is the case, explain why you’re making the move and what skills you can offer the company.
So what does a bad answer look like? Here are a few examples of what not to do when answering why you’re leaving your job:
Avoid launching into a stream of complaints about your workplace or coworkers. You’ll come out looking negative and this is definitely a characteristic hiring managers actively seek to avoid in candidates. Instead, highlight the positives of your role, such as what you learned and the opportunities you received.
Criticizing a manager
This is another instance where putting a positive spin on your negative situation can be an opportunity to showcase your personality. Explain why the management style didn’t work for you and the steps you took to improve the relationship before seeking new opportunities.
For example, if your boss micromanaged your projects, you can talk about how you initiated weekly or daily updates for visibility. Ultimately, speaking candidly about a previous employer’s shortcomings will be received as a reflection of your character and may come across as unprofessional.
Are you considering a new opportunity? Contact one of our recruiters today to get started!