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How to Answer 'Why Are You Leaving Your Current Employer ...

or "why did you leave your last job?" Below are a few sample answers for various situations. If everything is fine at your current employer, or if you left your former company on good terms: "This is the easiest situation in which to keep it positive," Slayter says. So, go ahead, speak well of your current or former employer, and explain what ...

Here's a last-minute, panicked prayer the Interview Gods have heard a million times:

Please, have the interviewers ask me about my brilliant solution to their company's branding problem.

Have them ask me about my greatest professional achievements.

Have them ask me what I thought about the latest Matt Damon movie, because I have some theories that will blow them away.

But, please, I beg: Don't let them ask me about why I'm leaving my terrible job. That one's too tricky.

Unfortunately, no amount of wishing or hoping or praying will get you out of this common interview question. It's too important a query for employers, who ask it to gauge how risky of a hire you are, writes Tony Beshara in "Acing the Interview." In other words: If hired, will you stick around for a while, or will you quit or be fired six months in?

"The answer to this question is one that will immediately end the interview process for you or enhance the rest of it," Beshara writes. Instead of crossing your fingers for the latter outcome, follow these tips:

Never, ever, ever bad-mouth your current or former employer. "Even if you were miserable, save it for happy hour -- don't dump that in the interview," says Mary Ellen Slayter, Monster's career advice expert and founder of the marketing company Reputation Capital Media Services. "If you bad-mouth the previous employer to me, I'll assume you're going to bad-mouth me to your next employer."

Be honest. OK, maybe don't choose the I-was-a-lazy-jerk-so-I-got-fired degree of honesty, but never lie about being fired. In fact, that's about the worst thing you can do, Slayter says. More on discussing the firing later, but in general, follow Slayter's advice: "Tell me that it happened, and be as factual and as unemotional about it as you can."

Remember that it's not all about you. Discussing how your current or former position didn't provide opportunities for growth, for example, is fine. But avoid answers that revolve around your wants. "If you communicate self-oriented answers like, 'I need more money,' 'I want a better title,' or 'I'm going nowhere in my present firm,' you'll be dead in the water," Beshara writes.

Practice your answer. Practicing for interviews is (hopefully) a no-brainer, but Slayter points out that this particularly tricky answer warrants lots of rehearsing. "You really want to come across as best you can as nondefensive and open and self-aware," she says. "You don't want to clam up or start sweating at this question. Assume they're going to ask it, and have a good, positive, future-oriented answer."

Still not sure how to formulate your answer to "why are you leaving your current company?" or "why did you leave your last job?" Below are a few sample answers for various situations.

If everything is fine at your current employer, or if you left your former company on good terms:

"This is the easiest situation in which to keep it positive," Slayter says. So, go ahead, speak well of your current or former employer, and explain what interests you about the position for which you're interviewing. You could even tell your interviewer about how you learned about this opportunity or about a particular aspect of it that sparked your interest, Slayter adds.

If you loathe your current job or former employer and position:

In this situation, the advice to "be honest" and "don't bad-mouth" in your answer can seem contradictory, and pulling it off requires some soul-searching ahead of time. First, try to muster up a kind, true statement about your employer. Then, consider what you've learned from this disappointing work situation. Bonus points if you can loop in why the position at hand will be a better match. Slayter gives the following example: "I learned a lot at this company, and I appreciate my time there. However, while I was there, one of the things I learned about myself is that I just don't work well in a remote environment. So, I'm really looking forward to a position where I'm in the office every day and get lots of face-to-face time with my co-workers."

If you were fired from your last job:

Again, reflect on what you learned from the experience, and plan to work those lessons into your answer. "I don't need you to sugarcoat it for me," Slayter says. "I want to hear what you learned and why you are going to be a better employee now than before you got fired." While explaining the situation, use "nonemotional, nonjudgmental language," says Andrea Kay, career consultant and author of "Work's a Bitch and Then You Make it Work: 6 Steps to Go From Pissed Off to Powerful," in a U.S. News article explaining what to do if you're fired.

Answering with maturity and grace will likely send a big message to interviewers, Slayter says: "This is a person who has dealt with adversity -- and they're still standing; they didn't fall apart."

Laura McMullen is the Careers editor at U.S. News and was previously a Health Wellness reporter. You can follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, circle her on Google or email her at [email protected]

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How to answer the “Why are you leaving your current job ...

You need to know why you are looking from a new job and let the interviewer know what your current employer is not giving you, without being negative. There must be a reason for you leaving, so you can keep it simple if you want.

Why are you leaving Hero Image

If you are new to interviewing, one of the main causes for nerves is not knowing what they will ask you in an interview. The best way to be prepared for this, is to go through some popular questions and come up with some mock answers. Something that is easy to remember and an important thing to know is, you don’t have to memorise answers word for word, just have a good idea of what you may say. You want the conversation to feel natural.

One popular question is “Why are you looking to leave your current job?”. If you are put on the spot, you may not know what to say straight away. You need to know why you are looking from a new job and let the interviewer know what your current employer is not giving you, without being negative. There must be a reason for you leaving, so you can keep it simple if you want. Just never talk badly about your employer or line manager in an interview.

Why are you leaving your job?

Your reasons are your own but lead the answer with a positive beginning. Think of what you want to get out of your new role and all of the opportunities it may bring to your career. Some potential reasons can include:

  • A desire to learn something new
  • Working in a new industry or sector and wanting to use your transferable skills
  • You may want to take on more or less responsibility
  • You might have outgrown your job. Is there no room for you to progress throughout the company?
  • You want to learn more and the opportunities in your current role are slim
  • You want to improve work-life balance
  • You are relocating or want a more hybrid working environment

There can be many reasons you want to move on from your job, but if you pick one, be ready to back it up with more context.

The next step

If you know the why part of your answer, it’s always a good idea to back up your claims with a reason. This turns your answers into more of a conversation, rather than just a one word or one sentence answer.

If you are wanting to learn new skills or develop the ones you already have, what do you want to learn and how can this job give that to you? The reason you are leaving your current job may be skill related but link this back to what you know about the job description. What daily activities does this role include, are there learning opportunities and does this company nurture and help grow their employees? This is where your research can start to come in.

Where do you want to take your career, and can this company give it to you? This question is usually asked to find out more about what you want out of your career and your development. It may feel like a trick question at first, but really, they want to know if you have thought this through and if you really feel like this is the job for you. They already know what you can give them, but what can they give you? Never forget that a job is important for both you and the employer.

Be honest and professional

It’s important to remain honest for multiple reasons. You don’t want to start your employer – employee relationship in a negative way, being honest works out better for both parties. You want to really understand what you can gain from this, so be sure to provide honest information.

Also, when it comes to your new employer contacting past employers for references, they may ask. Another reason to be honest with your previous company for leaving, you don’t want everyone having different sides of the story. Positivity is key. Leaving a job isn’t always positive, but showing you have a constructive personality can shine through an application.

Example answers

If you are looking for the opportunity for progression

“Throughout my time in my current role, I have had the opportunity to learn new skills and gain valuable knowledge about the industry, which I am very grateful for. It has been a great start to my career, but I believe I am ready to use this knowledge to my advantage and take on some more responsibilities. I am looking for a new role that will support my development and help me progress through an organisation.”

If you are looking for opportunities in a different field of work

“Whilst working in my current role, I learned how much I enjoyed tasks where I could create and develop ideas. I started helping my other colleagues, when I had some spare time, and found that this might be a good direction for me to develop my career. I still enjoy and continue to learn skills in this field but would love the opportunity to be more creative in my next role. Unfortunately, my current employer has no vacancies in this department, so I am looking for a company that can help me achieve my goals.”

If you are looking to work for a company in a different sector

“I love my current role and the responsibilities that come with it; however, I am looking to work for a company in a different sector. I would like to learn and develop my skills for a company in the charity sector. I have been working at my current company for what feels like a long time and I am ready for a change of pace and subject. My skills gained from working in the defence sector are transferable and think I could bring some good knowledge to this role.”

All examples can be tailored to you and your job search. Think about what you want to gain from the job you are interviewing for rather than just focusing on the negative reasons you want to leave your current job. Practice and preparation can really help answering interview questions like this.

How to Explain Your Reasons for Leaving a Job (With ...

Know how to respond when an interviewer wants to know why you’re leaving your current job. Focus your answer around personal and professional growth.

By Hanne Keiling

December 8, 2021

Senior Content Manager at Indeed passionate about making career advice enjoyable and accessible, so people feel confident about getting and succeeding in the right jobs.

Related video: "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?" 3 Strategies for Best Answers

In this video, we explain three key reasons why employers choose to ask this question and shares interview strategies for how to best answer it in a professional manner.

One of the most common questions interviewers ask is, “Why do you want to leave your current job?” Hiring managers want to know why you’re leaving so they can learn more about what’s important to you in a job and how you handle undesirable situations.

There are several ways to answer this question, so take time before your interview to prepare a thoughtful answer that will give your interviewer confidence about the decision to hire you. Here are a few examples of how to answer, as well as some tips on choosing the best option for you.

Common reasons for leaving a job

  • Your values no longer align with the company mission

  • You’d like additional compensation

  • The company you worked for went out of business

  • You feel undervalued in your current role

  • You are looking for a new challenge

  • You want a job with better career growth opportunities

  • You had to leave due to family or personal reasons

  • You don’t like the hours at your current job

  • You decided to relocate to a new city

  • You want to change career paths

  • You decided to go back to school

  • Your personality didn’t align with the company culture

  • You found a better opportunity

  • You had to leave for health reasons that have since been resolved

  • You were laid off or let go

  • You wanted to work in a different industry

How to answer "Why do you want to leave your current job?"

1. Be clear about your reasons for exiting

Take time to write down all the reasons you’re looking for a new opportunity. If you’re not sure about what they are, consider the following questions to get started:

  • What are your values?

  • What are your career goals? Where do you want to be in five years? 10 years?

  • What are your needs in a workplace environment? What do you need in a job?

  • What do you like about your position? What do you dislike?

  • What are your relationships like with coworkers? Managers?

  • What industry do you want to be in?

  • Are you passionate about your company’s mission?

  • Does your current situation align with these answers? Why or why not?

After you’ve written your answers down, circle a couple of key reasons you want to give in your interview. You should select reasons that stand out as professional rather than personal. For example, you may be looking for a new job because of a recent life change such as a marriage or move—these are not the reasons you should lead within the interview.

2. Keep your answer short

Though it’s important to fully answer your interviewer’s question in explaining why you want to leave your job, keep your response to around one or two sentences. Then, point the conversation back to why you’re the best person for the job.

3. Stay positive

Even if negative experiences have informed your decision to leave a job, it’s extremely important to find a positive way to explain your desire to move on. Employers want to hire problem solvers who can work through difficult situations. Focus on the skills you learned in your current role, good relationships you may have built with your coworkers or positive interactions you had with customers or stakeholders.

For example, instead of,
“I don’t like my manager. I’ve tried talking to him, but it looks like I have to find a new job,” try something like, “In my current role, I’ve learned many new skills. I’m looking for a position in which I can continue to grow that skill set in new circumstances.”

4. Be honest without being too detailed

When answering this question, you don’t need to go into all the details. If you find your current job unsatisfying, there is always a way to share that without disparaging your current employer (tips on this below). Keep your answer focused and short, and move the conversation back towards why you are excited about the opportunities ahead of you.

It’s important to keep in mind that the company you’re interviewing with may contact your previous employer, so what you’ve told them should be in line with what they’ll learn in those conversations. If you’re unemployed, be honest about that situation as well. If they get in contact with your previous employer to confirm start dates, salary range or get a reference, this could hurt your chances of getting the offer if you’ve provided different information.

Read More: How to Explain Employment Gaps in an Interview

How to frame your reasons for leaving a job

After you’ve thoughtfully listed out your reasons for leaving a job, the next step is to consider how an interviewer might interpret your answer. Here are a few examples of reasons that might not present well in an interview, and a few alternatives if any of the following are on your list:

"I don’t like the company."

There are positives and negatives in every company, including the one you’re interviewing for. Take a moment to think about why you don’t like the company you work for, and use this to craft a more positive, clear response.

For example:

“At my current organization, I’ve expanded my professional skillset and built great relationships. Recently, it became clear to me that I need motivation from a strong mission while continuing to grow professionally. The mission of your company to serve underrepresented communities is something I’m excited to work on.”

“I’ve been working on my communication and collaboration skills when it comes to facilitating large, complex projects. The opportunities to grow that expertise are limited in my current role, so I was excited to learn about this opportunity, where collaboration and transparency are mentioned as important components of the job.”

"I’d like more pay."

Think carefully about whether this is the reason you want to share—it can be interpreted by interviewers in a number of ways that can be hard to predict. If you decide it needs to be addressed, try framing it in a way that focuses on the larger topic of incentives and your motivation to take on challenging work that comes with big rewards:

“I’m motivated by a lot of factors, and client satisfaction, as well as peer and manager approval, are at the top of the list. But compensation is also a motivator for me and I’m excited about the opportunity to sell a product I’m passionate about, exceed my targets and celebrate when I’ve surpassed my goals.”

"I’m bored at work/I don’t like the job."

This reason for wanting to leave likely comes from dissatisfaction with the work you’re doing in your current role. Often, this means that you’re doing work that doesn’t fit with your skills and abilities or isn’t challenging. Try explaining this with a response based on skills and opportunities you’re seeking:

“I’ve learned a lot in my current role, but I’m looking for an opportunity that provides more challenges as I continue developing my skills and abilities.”

or

“While I’ve gained important skills in my experience with this role, like communication and time management, I want to focus more on honing my leadership and writing skills. I’m excited that this role provides more opportunities to grow those skills.”

"I don’t like the hours at my job."

If the hours and flexibility of your next job will play a significant role in your decision to accept an offer, this may be a good detail to share with your interviewer. However, the way you frame this response is crucial. You don’t want to come across as someone who isn’t willing to work hard. Instead, give an answer that positions you as a responsible and mature professional who knows how to manage your time well:

“I know that I do my best work when I have a healthy balance between work and life. The commitments I make to my managers and colleagues mean a lot to me, and I plan my days around following through on those commitments efficiently. It’s important to me to work for a company that values my ownership of my schedule and allows for flexibility when appropriate.”

Related: How to Quit a Job the Right Way

Good reasons for leaving a job

There are many reasons you can and should explain why you’re looking for a new opportunity. As professionals grow in the workplace, there is a natural flow from one job to the next as people seek out new learning opportunities, career development, new environments and other factors. Let’s look at a few examples of good reasons you’re looking for a new job:

1. Looking for career growth

Depending on how companies are structured, some may provide more opportunities to grow than others. It might also be challenging to change teams or departments if you’re looking to grow in a different direction. The desire to move to a new level in your career is a common reason for leaving a job. Here’s an example of how someone in this situation might explain why they’re leaving:

“I love my role and coworkers, but I’ve come to a point where there are no longer growth opportunities on my team. Can you tell me a bit about growth opportunities for this job, and what the company does to develop employee careers?”

2. Desire to change career paths

It is increasingly common for people to explore several different jobs and careers in their lifetime. Whether you want to go back to school, change industries or pivot what you’re working on, changing careers is a great example of why you may want a new job:

“I’m looking for a new opportunity that doesn’t exist at my current company where I can develop and expand my account management skills.”

3. Identified a better opportunity

Perhaps you’re looking to leave your job because you simply have a better choice. Whether that means your work environment will improve, you’ll get better pay or the company’s mission is a better match your values, it’s reasonable to seek out a new work situation when a better opportunity comes up:

“Though I’ve learned a lot at my company, from my research about this opportunity, I can see that the position is a better fit for where I want to take my career—specifically, collaborating with cross-functional teams to develop innovative products for your users.”

4. Let go or laid off

This is a reality for many people and can understandably be cause for anxiety when it comes time to explain why you’re looking for a job. Take some time to prepare your answer and follow these guidelines:

  • Be truthful without going into unnecessary detail

  • Avoid using the word “fired” if you can

  • Explain what you learned from the situation

  • Direct the interviewer toward why you’re a good fit for the position

Here are two examples:

If you were let go:
“In retrospect, I understand my former employer and I had different expectations about what success meant in my role. As I reflect on that experience, I realize there are some things I could have done differently. I learned a lot, and I’m excited about the opportunity to bring that maturity to my next job. This role is in line with my skills and abilities, and the direction I’d like my career to take.”

If you were laid off:
“Unfortunately I was impacted by a company restructuring that resulted in a loss of 15% of our employees. In the meantime, I’ve been thoughtfully considering my next move, reconnecting with my network and researching opportunities. I’m excited about this position because it exemplifies the parts of my past work I enjoyed the most and will position me in the direction I’ve always wanted to pursue in my career.”

These are just a few of many valid reasons you should explore new opportunities. If you’re unsure about what your answer may communicate to interviewers, try to get feedback on your reasons from trusted friends or mentors.

Related: How to Know When It Is Time to Leave a Job

Preparing for follow-up questions

Depending on the way you’ve answered the question, your interviewers may have follow-up questions, such as:

  • “Did you try to pursue this position at your current company?”

  • “How did you try and resolve those issues before deciding to look for a new role?”

  • “How do you plan to prevent miscommunication about expectations in your next role?”

Consider these as you complete your answer, and develop a few ideas for what your answer may look like for follow-up questions. Remember: Leaving a job for a new opportunity is very common. Your interviewer has likely left a job in their past, so they will be able to understand your position. Be clear on your reasons, plan your response and continue directing the conversation toward why you’re the best person for the job.

People also ask
  • How to explain your reasons for leaving a job?

    Ways to positively frame reasons for leaving a jobLooking for higher pay. It's best to provide other reasons for leaving a job if this isn't your only reason. ...Interested in a different company culture. If you're searching for coworkers who are more collaborative and engaging, explain to your interviewers how important company culture is to you.Want to work under new management. ...

    Walk

    Explaining why you left a previous employer in your interview is never easy, and there are a lot of traps you can fall into that can cost you your next job.

    This article is going to walk you through how to safely explain your reasons for leaving an unpleasant company without hurting your chances of getting that next job.

    1. Don’t Badmouth

    You may have had a really bad work situation, but if you talk a lot about a terrible circumstance, you’re only going to make the interviewer wonder whether you were part of the problem.

    It’s nothing personal. It’s human nature to want to know the other side of the story. The safest bet is to avoid talking about how horrible things were and to never badmouth your former company or boss.

    What should you do instead then?

    2. Turn It Into a Positive

    It’s okay to briefly mention the problem and the reason you needed to leave – without speaking too negatively. But then, you should turn it into a positive situation and frame the conversation around what you gained by leaving.

    Let’s say your boss was unsupportive, and you felt that was destroying your career. You could say that you didn’t feel supported by your boss and others in your organization felt the same, so you decided to find a company with a stronger leadership team that would help you take your career further.

    Rather than stopping at the problem, talk about what you decided to look for next in your career. It will make it sound like you’re striving to improve yourself, which is always a good thing.

    The example above did one more great thing, too – it provided social proof. You didn’t just say that you felt your boss was lacking; you mentioned that other people felt the same way. This is a good way to show the interviewer you weren’t the problem. Be prepared to face follow-up questions if you use this strategy, including questions about why your colleagues felt that way.

    3. Reiterate Why You’re Interested in Their Company

    The interview is about your prospective employer’s job above all else, so focus the conversation on that. With the example above, you could say that strong leadership is still important to you and one of your priorities in your current job search. Then, ask the interviewer what types of things management does in their company to help employees grow and improve. (In fact, that’s one of the best questions to ask in any interview.)

    Here’s a Full Example Answer:

    Based on the above, we can formulate a full example answer:

    Question: “Why did you leave your previous job so quickly after joining?”

    Answer: “After joining the company, I did not feel my career was advancing as I hoped it would. My boss wasn’t very supportive compared to previous bosses I’ve had, and others on my team felt the same. I decided to take action and left the company to find a work environment that would support my growth and provide the next step in my career. Working for great leadership is still very important to me. Can you tell me about what management in your company does to help its employees grow and improve?”

    If you follow the steps above, you’ll be able to craft a great answer that avoids many of the common mistakes that other people make, such as badmouthing too much or giving a long-winded answer. You’ll also end your answer perfectly, by turning the focus of the conversation back onto your new employer!

    Biron Clark is an executive recruiter, career coach, and founder of careersidekick.com.

    How to Explain Why You Left a Toxic Work Environment
  • What is the best reason for leaving a job?

    What is a good reason for leaving a job?Company downturn. …Acquisition or merger. …Company restructuring. …Career advancement. …Career change to a new industry. …Professional development. …Seeking a different work environment. …Better compensation.

    Are you looking for a reason for leaving your job to give your boss or a prospective employer? Should you be careful about what you say? When you're moving on to a new position and applying for a new job, one of the questions you'll need to answer is why you are leaving or have left a job.

    Your boss may want to know why you are resigning, and future employers will want to know why you moved on. Before you start a job search, it's a good idea to figure out what you're going to say so that your reason is consistent with your job applications and with your responses in interviews.

    Here's a list of some good—and some very bad—reasons for leaving your job. Being tactful will help you leave your job graciously and remain on good terms with your soon-to-be former employer.

    Thousands of people quit their jobs each month, and there are plenty of legitimate reasons for doing so. You will likely want to explain your reasons carefully in your resignation letter.

    In certain cases, you may be asked to list on job applications your reasons for leaving, and you will probably be asked during job interviews why you left your last job or are leaving your current job.

    Many people who choose to leave their current position are simply looking for a career change.

    • I am leaving because I want to make a career change from my current industry to a different one.
    • I feel like I’ve developed as much as I can in my current role and am now seeking new opportunities for career growth.
    • I am ready to explore a new trajectory on my career path.
    • Although I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to work for you, I’ve been offered my dream job by another company.
    • I decided to go back to school for my master’s degree.

    Difficult situations within an employee's team or organization can be a signal for them to move on.

    • Changes at my company have proven to be difficult to navigate; my team’s overall morale and productivity have declined, so I think it’s time to explore new options.
    • Company cutbacks have meant that I’m working with a team a third of its original size.
    • My company downsized, which meant that—because of my lack of seniority—I was one of the employees whose contracts they terminated.
    • My company was restructured, and my department was eliminated.
    • The company I worked for went out of business.
    • My last job was outsourced abroad.
    Several other employees and I were laid off after an economic downturn.

    Work is important, but it isn't the only important thing in life. Family or health issues are common reasons people leave their jobs.

    • Family illness required that I give up my job in order to become a primary caregiver.
    • I had to leave my employer because of family reasons.
    • My previous job didn’t allow the flexible schedule I needed to care for my children.
    • I’m getting married and will be moving out of state.
    • I had to leave for temporary health reasons, which are now resolved.
    • I left my previous job because I was pregnant.
    • I won’t be returning to work after maternity leave, because I’ve decided parenting is a full-time job.
    I need to leave because of personal circumstances/problems.

    Oftentimes, a better opportunity simply comes along.

    • I’ve been offered a great opportunity to work for a company located closer to my family.
    • My hours were reduced, and I need a full-time job.
    • My last job really wasn't a good fit.
    • Your company has such a good reputation and offers such wonderful opportunities that I’d leave my current employer in a heartbeat.
    • I landed a higher-paying job.
    • I’m leaving the workforce/retiring.
    • There were limited growth opportunities at my former company.
    • The commute to work was too long.
    • I’m looking for a new challenge.
    • I would be happier with a job that offered me more responsibility.
    I’ve been offered a permanent position.I’m relocating to the opposite coast.My previous job was only seasonal/temporary, and now I am looking for full-time work.I have plans to travel for the foreseeable future.

    Even if they are true, there are some reasons you shouldn't use to explain why you are looking for a different job. Sharing these reasons for your departure would not reflect positively on you, because they may raise automatic questions in a hiring manager’s mind. 

    • I’m about to get fired.
    • I was arrested.
    • It was a bad company to work for.
    • I was bored at work.
    • I didn't get along with my co-workers.
    • I didn't like the job.
    • I didn't like the schedule.
    • I hated my boss.
    • The job was too difficult.
    • I was let go for harassment/tardiness.
    • My parents/family members made me quit.
    • I didn’t have good transportation to work.
    • Overtime was required.
    • I was passed over for promotions.
    • I was suffering through a rocky marriage.

    It's not a good idea to bad-mouth your past jobs, bosses, colleagues, or companies—or to share too much personal information.

    You could be leaving your current position for professional reasons (a better job, career growth, or a flexible schedule, for example) or for personal reasons (leaving the workforce, family circumstances, or going back to school, for example).

    Or, you could simply hate your job or your boss, but don't say that.

    One thing to keep in mind is that it's important that the reason you give a potential employer matches what your previous employers would say, should they be contacted for more information about you.

    It's a red flag to a hiring manager if the reason you give for leaving doesn't match the answer your past employers give when they check your references.

    The decision to leave a job should not be made lightly. While there are good reasons to quit a job, there are also equally valid reasons not to quit a job.

    Should you, in fact, decide that the reasons to leave are greater than any incentives you have to stay, then being prepared to present your decision as a positive one is essential.

    If you left your former job in good standing—meaning that you didn't burn any bridges on your way out—you may be able to get your old job back. Reach out to your former colleagues or supervisors and inquire about any job openings, even if they aren't exactly the same position you had before. Here's a sample letter.

    Most experts agree that you should stay at your job for a minimum of two years before quitting, if possible. Shorter tenures may give an illusion of unreliability that could concern future employers. However, as long as you're able to explain your reasons for leaving sooner, many employers will likely understand.

    In most cases, it's standard practice to give your employer two weeks' notice when quitting your job. This time frame is generally considered to be long enough for you to wrap up any loose ends and work on transitional items, and for your employer to plan for your absence.

    After losing or quitting your job, you may be eligible to keep your health insurance for up to 18 months through COBRA. COBRA is a federal law that may allow you to continue your employee health insurance for a limited time; however, you will be responsible for paying the full cost, along with any administrative fees.

    Reasons for Leaving - Good and Bad Reasons for Job Departures
  • What are some good reasons for leaving your job?

    Some good reasons for leaving a job include company downturn, acquisition, merger or restructuring as well as the desire for change — be it advancement, industry, environment, leadership or compensation. Family circumstances may also be a factor. September 16, 2021. Dr. Marie Morganelli.

    It’s the interview question we all dread. The one where everyone tells you, “Be honest but don’t be too honest".

    That question is: “Why do you want to leave your job?

    Deciding how to answer this question can be tricky. There are many valid reasons why you might want to leave a job. And, although your potential new employer will understand your desire to move on, they will still want to know your reasons.

    Remember, an interviewer can ask this question in many different ways, but your answer should still be roughly the same. Here are some variations you may come across:

    • What made you quit your last job?
    • What made you start looking for a new job?
    • You only worked for (number of days/weeks/months) for your last employer. Why?
    • What made you part ways with your last employer?

    Ways to Approach This Question

    The way you answer this question depends on your current work situation. For example, if you’re currently employed and looking to leave your job, you’ll tackle it slightly differently (and may find the question easier) than if you’ve already left your previous role and are out of work.

    That’s because many employers worry that leaving a job before you find a new role indicates there was a serious issue, and will be on the lookout for replies that point to real problems.

    Regardless of your current situation, it’s possible to formulate an effective response that will give future employers the right impression and demonstrate not only your ethics and ambitions, but also your knowledge of the company and how they fit together.

    Below are tips on how to structure your reply, based on different scenarios:

    If You Are Currently Employed

    You are in a strong position. Be honest about your answer and use your employment as an asset. Tell them that you are looking for a better opportunity and that you are currently on good terms with your employer.

    If You Have Been out of Work for Some Time

    Yes, there is some explaining to do as to why you have remained unemployed - but don’t present yourself as a victim. The best way to answer is to show that the time you have spent unemployed was productive, i.e. you learned something new that adds to your skill set.

    If You Were Fired or Made Redundant From Your Previous Job

    If you were made redundant or fired from your previous job, you should focus on two main points:

    1. To avoid blaming your employer for that outcome, and

    2. Stating your experience before getting fired and how you value what you learned during your employment there.

    If You Have Changed Your Past Few Jobs Frequently

    If you have been a job-hopper, this is the toughest question for you. One way to answer is to state the reasons for quitting honestly while saying what you learned – for your current job and the previous one at least.

    The second way is to be creative and say that in each case you’ve moved for an evident reason, e.g. career progression, more interesting role, better training etc.

    Before You Start

    The purpose of this article is to help you express your reasons for leaving in a way that will satisfy your current and prospective employers.

    Therefore, before reading the top 10 reasons you might want to leave your job, make your own shortlist of reasons (however vague they may be).

    Keep them at the forefront of your mind as you read on.

    For example, you feel you have outgrown your position. Employers will like that you are proactive enough to look for new opportunities, so long as you:

    1. Mention specific career goals – Such as a desire to take on more responsibility.
    2. Appear motivated – Do not imply that you didn’t progress in your last job because you didn’t chase any opportunities.
    3. Don't badmouth your previous employer – Never imply that they were holding you back.

    Good answer:

    "Although I enjoy my current role, I am looking to accept a bigger challenge and move into a position that allows me more space to develop professionally.”

    Bad answer:

    “I got passed over for a promotion. I’m fed up with people barely even noticing I exist.”

    2. The Company Restructured or the Dynamics Changed

    Companies grow and evolve, and internal dynamics change as a result. Acceptable answers for leaving a job will focus on the positives of the situation. Try not to appear resentful or suggest that you were unwilling to try and adapt.

    Good answer:

    "My team recently downsized and the scope of my responsibilities narrowed. Although this was necessary for the company’s new direction, I think it’s time for me to pursue opportunities which better fit my skill set.”

    Bad answer:

    “My old manager left, and my new manager is useless.”

    3. You Weren’t Enjoying the Work

    An employer will be impressed by your motivation to find a career which you enjoy and which fulfils you. After all, a satisfied employee is a productive one. Just make sure you don’t blame your lack of enjoyment on your employer.

    Good answer:

    “Although I appreciated the opportunity, after reconsidering my long-term goals, I decided I want to pursue a career in social research instead.”

    Bad answer:

    “I don’t like the job because my manager only gives me boring tasks to do.”

    4. Personal Reasons

    Family and health always come first and are good reasons for leaving a job. But remember, you do not have to disclose your health problems or disabilities to your employer if you don’t want to. Therefore, be as vague as you like.

    “I had family issues which required me to move closer to home.”

    “I have to leave this job because of health issues.”

    “I decided to be a stay-at-home parent to my children. Now they are in school, I am ready to re-enter the workplace.”

    5. You Decided to Pursue Other Goals

    Alternative goals might include a total career change, or a return to school to gain further qualifications.

    These reasons are acceptable, but make sure you are always focusing on your professional development. For example, if you left your last job to travel the world, focus on your discovery of different cultures, and the life lessons you learned along the way. Don’t focus on the nightly beach parties you attended in Thailand.

    Good answers:

    “I decided to take a bit of time to re-qualify in social care as this is where my passions lie.”

    “I wanted to take a year out to travel so I could learn more about the world. I now want to use what I have learnt in my future career as a teacher.”

    Bad answer:

    “I inherited some money from my grandparents so I decided to just have a bit of fun for a year.”

    6. You’re Self-Employed or a Part-Timer Looking for Full-Time Employment

    Whatever the reason for becoming self-employed or going part-time, a prospective employer will be interested in your decision to return to full-time work. To satisfy them, always give positive reasons for returning.

    For example, if you ran your own business which subsequently failed, focus on your entrepreneurial spirit, what you learned from the experience, and how you can bring your new skills to a full-time job.

    Good answer:

    “I pursued my own business for three years. Unfortunately, the market down-turned and the business became untenable. Despite this, I have gained valuable skills, such as the ability to manage my time well, which I now want to bring to a full-time role.”

    Bad answer:

    “I tried to run my own business but I wasn’t making any money so I have had to look for a full-time job.”

    7. You Want More Flexibility

    Perhaps you work odd hours and are looking for a more traditional nine-to-five job. Or maybe you have family responsibilities that mean you need a flexible employer.

    This reason needs to be phrased carefully to avoid making you sound unreliable. When applying for jobs:

    • Ensure you recognize the employer’s need for a dedicated employee.
    • Emphasize your ability to manage your time well.
    • Emphasize that you aren’t avoiding responsibility, but ensuring you can balance the demands of your job and your personal life.

    Good answer:

    “My previous job didn’t allow the flexible schedule I needed to care for my children and focus on my work.”

    Bad answer:

    “I don’t really want to work so many hours; I’d rather be at home.”

    8. You Were Offered a Better Opportunity

    Unless you are job-hopping every few months, leaving one job to take up a better opportunity at another company is never a bad thing.

    You don’t need to embellish your reasons. A good answer may be:

    “A great opportunity came up that I wanted to accept”

    9. The Commute to Your Current Job Is Too Long or You Are Being Asked to Transfer Location

    A respectable employer understands that a good work/life balance is essential to maintaining happy, productive employees.

    Good answer:

    “The company is closing its head office and moving to [far away city]. I was offered the opportunity to transfer. However, my family and I would prefer to continue living here.”

    Bad answer:

    "My company sends me abroad for two weeks every month against my will, and it’s tearing my family apart.”

    This answer is bad because it pushes blame onto the employer.

    10. You Were Laid off or Fired

    Remember, you do not have to disclose to an employer that you were let go from a previous job. However, if you are directly questioned in an interview about how your previous employment ended, it can be difficult to side-step the issue. Sometimes honesty is the best option, though always put a positive spin on the situation.

    You were laid off

    If you were laid off, the reason was related to the company rather than your performance. For example, the company downsized or restructured. Ensure you mention that you left the employer on good terms.

    Good answer:

    “Unfortunately my team was absorbed into a larger one and my position became redundant. However, my former employer will be happy to provide a reference.”

    You were fired

    If you were fired, the reason would have been related to something you did. For example, your performance was not reaching the expectations of your employer.

    When expressing this to a prospective employer, do not lie or criticize your employer. Instead, accept any mistakes you made, and explain how you learned from them.

    Good answer:

    “Shortly after I was hired, my responsibilities progressed beyond my experience level. Although I relished the challenge of learning on the job, I appreciate my employer required someone with more expertise. I am therefore looking for a role which better suits my interests and skills.”

    Things You Should Avoid Saying

    In addition to the top 10 reasons above, here are some things you should not say:

    1. Do not criticize your employer. Being critical of your former or current company, boss or colleagues not only looks unprofessional, but will make the interviewer question whether you will be as critical of their company should you get the job – which may well make them think twice about offering it to you.

    2. Do not get defensive. Your interviewer is only trying to get a feel for the kind of employee you might be.

    3. Avoid using unprofessional words such as ‘boring’, ‘annoying’, or ’tedious’ to describe a previous job.

    4. Avoid using company politics as a reason for leaving. It can be taken as a criticism of your previous employer.

    5. Don't give vague answers as it will make you sound like you’re not sure of your motivation and therefore of your interest in the job in question. There might be many reasons why you want to leave, but pinpoint two or three positive reasons that you can tailor and relate back to the role you’re interviewing for.

    Resist saying how unhappy you are in your current role.

    How to Prepare in Advance

    As with all interview questions, answering honestly is really important – not only to ensure you are a good fit for the company and they for you, but to avoid sounding fake.

    For example, many interviewees will happily reply that they are looking for a new challenge. This may be true, but you’ll need to back your answer up with examples of what these challenges are – and how you feel the role in question satisfies that desire - if you want your answer to be effective and convincing.

    To prepare, the best thing you can do is spend some time thinking about the real reasons you’re looking to leave or have already left. In many cases, the reasons may not all be positive.

    For example, you might be looking to step up into a more senior position and manage a larger team, but you might also have a difficult relationship with your boss that has prompted your decision to leave.

    When deciding how to answer, it’s important to present yourself as a positive, proactive and rational person who is leaving for the right reasons. As a result, it’s best to avoid listing reasons that reveal issues with other members of staff or with the company overall. If that’s unavoidable, it’s important to put a positive spin on things.

    For example, if you’re applying for a role as a manager but have had issues with a more junior colleague, don’t say:

    “I really want to leave because of our team assistant, Mark. He just has no idea what he is doing and I end up having to pick up all his work and do it for him, giving me double the workload for the same salary – it’s really frustrating.”

    Instead, you could say:

    *> “I’ve been working closely with a junior colleague to help him improve his performance and as a result have undertaken additional tasks and responsibilities.

    "I’ve really enjoyed being able to mentor and train him and am looking for a new role that will enable me to develop these managerial skills.

    "I understand the junior manager role here has two direct reports and I think it would be a great opportunity to use the skills I’ve learned in my current role and develop them to the next level.”*

    Effective Sample Answers

    Sales Manager (currently employed):

    *"I’ve been at the company for four years and have worked my way up from a junior sales role to sales manager in that time.

    "Throughout this period, I’ve had the opportunity to develop my sales skills and have worked with, and now managed, an incredible team that has consistently beaten its targets by up to 30% every quarter under my leadership.

    "Having achieved what I set out to do, I feel that the skills and experience I’ve gained there have equipped me to take the next step in my career.

    "I’m ready to tackle bigger challenges in a more senior regional sales role. This position in particular really appeals to me, as it will enable me to use my existing experience to take the step up to managing a larger team, while using my strategic planning skills to help the company beat targets across a wider product range."*

    Financial Advisor (not currently employed):

    *"I worked at my last company for 18 months and I learned a lot in that time. When the company was taken over by GTV Banking, restructuring meant that there were a number of redundancies across several departments.

    "In my department six out of twelve personnel were made redundant, all of whom were juniors. I’m really happy that I had the chance to work there, though, as it gave me a wealth of experience and enabled me to put what I learned during my internships into practice.

    "In addition, the redundancy enabled me to seek out a new challenge with this additional experience.

    "The role here appeals to me as I'll be able to use the client advisory experience I have, while developing in a larger team and gaining skills thanks to your training and development programme. I’ve heard great things about how the company invests in its staff and the training opportunities on offer and that’s something I’m really keen to find in my next role."*

    Supply Chain Manager (currently employed):

    *"I’ve been at my current company for two and a half years and I’ve gained a huge amount of experience in food supply chain and logistics, going from managing a supply chain of four suppliers and seven distributors to ten suppliers, eighteen distributors and a fleet of delivery vehicles.

    "Having seen our annual turnover increase by 22%, I’m now keen to put my skills to work for a larger company with more scope for progression.

    "I’m excited by this role as I know it is one that has been created to facilitate the company’s development into food and beverage sales. It looks like a role with huge scope for development, one that I can really get my teeth into and that will make use of the in-depth experience and contacts I have in the food and beverage industry, which is exactly what I’m looking for."*

    Developer (out of work for some time):

    “I have been unemployed for six months because I chose to be so. I’m lucky enough that I was able to raise enough surplus income from my previous role to mean I didn’t have to work for a while – so I took that opportunity to live in Thailand and teach myself some new programming languages, via a combination of self-teaching and online courses.

    "Given that this role requires knowledge of Python, which was one of the languages I learned and have since used, I wouldn’t be here today in this interview if I hadn’t taken that time off to recharge and re-educate myself.”*

    Explaining Why You Want to Leave a Job

    Now you can express your reasons for wanting to leave your job, here are some tips for success in three vital contexts.

    1. Your Job Application

    In addition to a resume and a cover letter, many companies also require you to fill in a formal job application, which might include the question “Why do you want to leave your job?”.

    • First, ensure your answer is consistent with the rest of the application. If you answer a question on career goals with, “I want to pursue a career in sealife conservation,” do not later say, “I left my last job because I hated rescuing turtles”.

    • Second, keep it brief, but ensure you can expand on your reasons in your job interview. The job application is often a jumping off point for your interviewer’s questions. Don’t say you left to pursue other goals if you don’t actually have any goals to discuss.

    • Finally, focus on your professional development, skills and career goals rather than your previous employer’s shortcomings.

    2. Answering the Interview Question “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?”

    Your interviewer is asking the ‘reasons for leaving’ interview question to discover:

    • Whether you left your last job for the right reasons. Your interviewer wants to know that you will be a loyal, dedicated employee.

    • Whether you left of your own volition. If you were let go, your interviewer will try to gauge whether you had any performance issues that might affect you in this job.

    • Whether you are on good terms with your previous employer. If you are, this suggests you are adept at maintaining relationships.

    Follow-up Questions to Anticipate

    Depending on your reasons, your interviewer is likely to ask you some follow-up questions. For example:

    “Did you try to resolve the situation with your employer before leaving your job?”

    Here your interviewer will want to find out whether you resolve conflicts proactively and professionally.

    • Ensure you do not blame your issues on your previous employer.

    • Give specific examples of how you tried to resolve your issues. For example, “I discussed the possibility of moving to a role within the sale team with my manager. However, no position was available. My best option was therefore to pursue other opportunities.”

    “Why did you apply for this position?”

    • Do your reasons for leaving your last job coincide with your application for this job?

    • For example, “I am prepared to manage larger projects than are available at my current job. I applied for this position because I would be taking the lead on four to six major projects a year”.

    “What are your expectations for your next role?”

    • As above, you need to link the reasons for leaving your last job with your reasons for applying for this job.

    • For example, you could mention the opportunities for progression, or the opportunity to take on a management role.

    3. How to Tell Your Current Employer You Want to Leave

    It is vital to give your manager valid reasons when informing them you want to leave your job because:

    • You want a good reference.
    • Your reputation as an employee could reach the ears of prospective employers.

    Here are some tips for telling your current employer you want to leave:

    1. Prepare thoroughly – Consult your employee handbook and familiarize yourself with your notice period. Write detailed notes of your reasons for leaving so you don’t forget anything. Make an appointment with your manager in a private room so you can talk at length without being disturbed.

    2. Be honest, confident and direct – Tell your manager directly that you want to leave. Don’t embellish your reasons or act like you don’t have a choice but to leave. It is better to say, “I’ve accepted another opportunity” rather than, “I’ve received another offer. I can’t say no. My family needs to eat. Surely you understand?"

    3. Be appreciative – Thank your manager for anything you gained from this job, such as specific training or relationships you built with colleagues.

    4. Don’t burn bridges – Don’t imply you can’t wait to escape the company. You might need to call upon your connections in the future.

    5. Tie off the loose ends – Discuss how you will manage your last few weeks at the company. For example, if you need to distribute your workload to colleagues.

    This article has outlined the top 10 reasons you may want to leave your job, and how to approach the situation in three different contexts. You now have the tools to express your own reasons sufficiently, but here are some key points to remember as you go:

    • Keep your answer brief and straightforward. The more details you provide, the more room you create for the interviewer to ask potentially awkward questions.
    • Never disparage your employer.
    • Focus on what you learned, rather than ranting about what you lost.
    • Make sure your answer is consistent across your job application, interview and when you tell your current employer you want to leave.
    • And, most importantly, be honest but positive.
    10 Good Reasons for Leaving a Job
  • What is the best answer for leaving a job?

    What to say when you are leaving a job?A Thank You for the Opportunity. …An Explanation of Why You Are Leaving. …An Offer to Help With the Transition. …Appropriate Notice. …The Date You Are Leaving. …Have a plan for the following outcomes, and you won’t be caught off guard:Be Prepared to Leave—Now.

    Are you looking for a reason for leaving your job to give your boss or a prospective employer? Should you be careful about what you say? When you're moving on to a new position and applying for a new job, one of the questions you'll need to answer is why you are leaving or have left a job.

    Your boss may want to know why you are resigning, and future employers will want to know why you moved on. Before you start a job search, it's a good idea to figure out what you're going to say so that your reason is consistent with your job applications and with your responses in interviews.

    Here's a list of some good—and some very bad—reasons for leaving your job. Being tactful will help you leave your job graciously and remain on good terms with your soon-to-be former employer.

    Thousands of people quit their jobs each month, and there are plenty of legitimate reasons for doing so. You will likely want to explain your reasons carefully in your resignation letter.

    In certain cases, you may be asked to list on job applications your reasons for leaving, and you will probably be asked during job interviews why you left your last job or are leaving your current job.

    Many people who choose to leave their current position are simply looking for a career change.

    • I am leaving because I want to make a career change from my current industry to a different one.
    • I feel like I’ve developed as much as I can in my current role and am now seeking new opportunities for career growth.
    • I am ready to explore a new trajectory on my career path.
    • Although I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to work for you, I’ve been offered my dream job by another company.
    • I decided to go back to school for my master’s degree.

    Difficult situations within an employee's team or organization can be a signal for them to move on.

    • Changes at my company have proven to be difficult to navigate; my team’s overall morale and productivity have declined, so I think it’s time to explore new options.
    • Company cutbacks have meant that I’m working with a team a third of its original size.
    • My company downsized, which meant that—because of my lack of seniority—I was one of the employees whose contracts they terminated.
    • My company was restructured, and my department was eliminated.
    • The company I worked for went out of business.
    • My last job was outsourced abroad.
    Several other employees and I were laid off after an economic downturn.

    Work is important, but it isn't the only important thing in life. Family or health issues are common reasons people leave their jobs.

    • Family illness required that I give up my job in order to become a primary caregiver.
    • I had to leave my employer because of family reasons.
    • My previous job didn’t allow the flexible schedule I needed to care for my children.
    • I’m getting married and will be moving out of state.
    • I had to leave for temporary health reasons, which are now resolved.
    • I left my previous job because I was pregnant.
    • I won’t be returning to work after maternity leave, because I’ve decided parenting is a full-time job.
    I need to leave because of personal circumstances/problems.

    Oftentimes, a better opportunity simply comes along.

    • I’ve been offered a great opportunity to work for a company located closer to my family.
    • My hours were reduced, and I need a full-time job.
    • My last job really wasn't a good fit.
    • Your company has such a good reputation and offers such wonderful opportunities that I’d leave my current employer in a heartbeat.
    • I landed a higher-paying job.
    • I’m leaving the workforce/retiring.
    • There were limited growth opportunities at my former company.
    • The commute to work was too long.
    • I’m looking for a new challenge.
    • I would be happier with a job that offered me more responsibility.
    I’ve been offered a permanent position.I’m relocating to the opposite coast.My previous job was only seasonal/temporary, and now I am looking for full-time work.I have plans to travel for the foreseeable future.

    Even if they are true, there are some reasons you shouldn't use to explain why you are looking for a different job. Sharing these reasons for your departure would not reflect positively on you, because they may raise automatic questions in a hiring manager’s mind. 

    • I’m about to get fired.
    • I was arrested.
    • It was a bad company to work for.
    • I was bored at work.
    • I didn't get along with my co-workers.
    • I didn't like the job.
    • I didn't like the schedule.
    • I hated my boss.
    • The job was too difficult.
    • I was let go for harassment/tardiness.
    • My parents/family members made me quit.
    • I didn’t have good transportation to work.
    • Overtime was required.
    • I was passed over for promotions.
    • I was suffering through a rocky marriage.

    It's not a good idea to bad-mouth your past jobs, bosses, colleagues, or companies—or to share too much personal information.

    You could be leaving your current position for professional reasons (a better job, career growth, or a flexible schedule, for example) or for personal reasons (leaving the workforce, family circumstances, or going back to school, for example).

    Or, you could simply hate your job or your boss, but don't say that.

    One thing to keep in mind is that it's important that the reason you give a potential employer matches what your previous employers would say, should they be contacted for more information about you.

    It's a red flag to a hiring manager if the reason you give for leaving doesn't match the answer your past employers give when they check your references.

    The decision to leave a job should not be made lightly. While there are good reasons to quit a job, there are also equally valid reasons not to quit a job.

    Should you, in fact, decide that the reasons to leave are greater than any incentives you have to stay, then being prepared to present your decision as a positive one is essential.

    If you left your former job in good standing—meaning that you didn't burn any bridges on your way out—you may be able to get your old job back. Reach out to your former colleagues or supervisors and inquire about any job openings, even if they aren't exactly the same position you had before. Here's a sample letter.

    Most experts agree that you should stay at your job for a minimum of two years before quitting, if possible. Shorter tenures may give an illusion of unreliability that could concern future employers. However, as long as you're able to explain your reasons for leaving sooner, many employers will likely understand.

    In most cases, it's standard practice to give your employer two weeks' notice when quitting your job. This time frame is generally considered to be long enough for you to wrap up any loose ends and work on transitional items, and for your employer to plan for your absence.

    After losing or quitting your job, you may be eligible to keep your health insurance for up to 18 months through COBRA. COBRA is a federal law that may allow you to continue your employee health insurance for a limited time; however, you will be responsible for paying the full cost, along with any administrative fees.

    What is a good reason for leaving a job?
Job Interview Question: Why Are You Leaving Your Current ...

28-08-2019 · Being upfront—not pushy—about the importance of work-life integration is a great comeback to questions about why you’re leaving your current job. “Again, be careful—you don’t want to seem like you’re only applying because the company offers great work-life balance. Talk about how you’re impressed with the company’s approach to work-life balance and employee support, and that …

28-08-2019

A job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be. As a job seeker, you can minimize your jitters by being prepared for the kinds of questions you might be asked. One of the most tough interview questions is when employers want to know, “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Don’t let that question stymie you. Employers asking this question are trying to uncover your motivation for finding a new job, and in particular, why you want leave your current role and work for them.

They’re also likely trying to assess if you’re an employee who will stick with the company and align with its mission. The cost of losing employees and hiring and training new ones is high, and companies want to feel like you’re applying to their job for the right reasons.

Be prepared to answer this question with confidence to boost your chances of getting hired.

check mark icon How to answer, “Why are you leaving your current job?”

You’re looking for greater work flexibility

The “why are you leaving your current job” question can open the door for you to talk about any past success working remotely, your technical know-how in operating from your home office, and your steadfast dedication to flexible work.

Brie Reynolds, FlexJobs’ senior career specialist and career coach advised, “Be careful with this one, though. You don’t want a prospective employer to think you’re only in it for the flexibility. Talk about how flexible work helps you be more productive and creative, or specifically how it’s helped your work in the past. And don’t speak badly about your less-than-flexible current or past employers.”

You’re looking for new challenges

Use the opportunity to talk about your professional skills and how you’re looking for fresh challenges in your career that make the most of your abilities. Avoid describing your current job as “dead-end,” which may come across as bad-mouthing your current employer.

You’re seeking to advance your career

Put a long-term spin on your answer by explaining that your overall career goals include achieving a specific job level or title in your profession. Follow up by saying that, in your experience, your current job doesn’t allow for the kind of advancement you’re seeking.

“A key to this response is connecting your career advancement with helping to advance the company at the same time. You’re looking for a place where you can grow with the company, not just the next step in your rise to the top,” said Reynolds.

You want to take on more responsibility

Put yourself in a good light by presenting yourself as a highly responsible job candidate who’s willing and capable of taking on even more. This forward-thinking approach signals a maturity and level-headedness that could be appealing to a potential employer.

You believe the prospective employer’s job opening is a great fit for your skills and experience

Get specific and offer a litany of reasons why you’re tailor-made for the job. Here’s where you can elaborate on the skills that have gotten you this far (to the interview stage) in the hiring process. Talk about the specific requirements of the position and how your background makes you a good fit.

You’re seeking better work-life balance

Employers are increasingly sensitive to the demands of millennials, working parents, caregivers, and others who want a healthier work-life blend.

Being upfront—not pushy—about the importance of work-life integration is a great comeback to questions about why you’re leaving your current job.

“Again, be careful—you don’t want to seem like you’re only applying because the company offers great work-life balance. Talk about how you’re impressed with the company’s approach to work-life balance and employee support, and that you’re also excited about the job opportunity itself,” warned Reynolds.

You’re looking to move your career in a different direction

Circle back to your resume and all the accomplishments spotlighted there, and then mention that you’re ready for a career pivot that will allow you to try new things. Focusing on your achievements can help.

“This is a great answer because you can talk about what you’ve achieved already, what you’d ideally love to work on in this new role, and how you can see yourself making an impact and using your skills in a new way,” said Reynolds.

You’re looking for an opportunity where you can make a difference

It’s OK to talk about frustrations in your current job that make you feel you’re unable to make the contributions you’d like to make in your career.

Talk about the specific impacts the employer’s organization has made to the profession (or in general), and discuss how you’d like to be a part of that effort in the future.

You weren’t looking to change jobs, but came across their posting and think it would be a great fit for you

Make it seem like kismet—that the job opening found you as much as you found it. This is a great answer that has the advantage of portraying you as content enough in your current job, but ready to leap for a great job opportunity when it arises.

x icon What not to say when asked, “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Sometimes certain things are better left unsaid. While you may have other reasons for leaving your job, you need to show discretion in what you share with a potential employer. Keep it professional and avoid the statements below.

I don’t get along with my boss

Not getting along with your boss or coworkers happens. Sometimes personalities don’t click, or sometimes you have a truly bad boss.

But telling this to your interviewer will only lead to them to wonder what’s wrong with you and if you won’t get along with your new boss. Talking negatively about your boss or company won’t reflect well on you. Skip this statement, even if it’s true.

I’m leaving before they fire me

Sometimes employers will allow an employee to resign instead of being fired. Or maybe you know you’re being let go for one reason or another.

No matter what it is, avoid using negative terms like “fired,” especially if it hasn’t actually happened to you yet. Talk instead about wanting to explore a new job and why you’re a great fit for the role at hand.

They don’t pay me enough

Being underpaid is a real concern. But it’s not necessary for your potential new boss to know this information.

If you’re seeking a better pay rate with a new role, focus on proving your worth and experience during the interview. When it comes time to negotiate, you’ll be in a better spot to get the salary you deserve.

I’m bored

While being at any job for long enough may cause you to tire of the everyday tasks, there are more diplomatic ways of saying this.

If you’re uninspired by your work, consider saying something like “I’m looking to grow my knowledge and experience in a new area.”

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No matter your reason for leaving a job and seeking out a new one, FlexJobs has you covered. We have flexible jobs in over 50 career categories to help you find the perfect fit.

               Start Your Search for Flexible Work >>>      

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35+ Acceptable Reasons for Leaving a Job ...

Get a list of reasons for leaving a job or reasons for why you left your last job. When an employee decides to resign from their current employer and seeks new employment, they need a reason to resign. There are a few places where the job seeker and job candidate will be asked what the reason was for leaving their current position. The job candidate might be asked in a job application. Or in ...

Get a list of reasons for leaving a job or reasons for why you left your last job. When an employee decides to resign from their current employer and seeks new employment, they need a reason to resign. There are a few places where the job seeker and job candidate will be asked what the reason was for leaving their current position. The job candidate might be asked in a job application. Or in the job interview. And when the candidate goes to resign from their current place of employment.

The first place a job seeker is going to have to refer to their reason for leaving a job is during the interview. A hiring manager may ask the interview question, “Why did you leave your last job?” The job seeker may still be employed with their current employer during this interview. The reasons the employee and job seeker choose should align with the reasons they are going to use for their resignation process. This will come after accepting a job offer and needing to resign from the current place of employment.

When choosing a reason for resigning during an interview, it’s important to mention a legitimate reason. As a job seeker, the interviewer will be able to sense when the reason is false. For example, if the job candidate mentions their reason for leaving is organizational changes, but there’s no news of layoffs; this could create problems. Choose a valid reason.

Choosing the right reasons is hard

Certain reasons should be avoided. And you need to mention the right decision for leaving. For example, a common reason can be working conditions with the previous employer (or current employer/current role). While this is a valid reason, it’s one of the reasons that should be exempt from mentioning to your interviewer or prospective employer. In the event, the potential employer contacts the previous employer; this could be an issue. Pick professional reasons for leaving even if they aren’t entirely true to your own point of view.

When resigning from a current job and submitting a resignation letter, the employer (upcoming former employer) may mention their reasons for resigning or leaving. The reasons should align with the ones mentioned to the future employer and job opportunity (the new job). Deciding to leave a job should not be made lightly.

Tip: Resign professionally and be considered a “good employee.” During the resignation process (resigning with ample notice period and reasons) is the goal. Leaving reference opportunities open that can be very impactful to a job seeker's career.

list of the job reasons for leaving a job

List of Reasons for Leaving Your Job (Job Application or Interview)

Below are good reasons for leaving a job. All are considered to be acceptable reasons and professional reasons for resignation from a current employer.

This list of reasons can be used for job applications or to explain during job interviews. During the interview, the manager might ask, "Why are you looking for a new job?" Or ask "Why did you want to leave your last job?" Then it means they want to know why you're leaving your current job.

Pro tip: It's not important to over-explain your reasons for leaving. Anticipate one of the future interview questions being, "Why did you leave your job?" And make sure they align. Keep it simple.

list of the job reasons for leaving a job

Organizational Changes

  • Company restructuring and layoffs.
  • Organizational changes, resulting in layoffs to a specific department.
  • Company downsizing
  • Change of job description and no longer being passionate.
  • The company decided to outsource the job title.
  • Being laid off or let go for “good cause” during annual budgeting.

Personal Reasons

  • Feeling a need to make a change after a number of years of employment.
  • Needing to relocate due to family reasons.
  • Needing to relocate due to spousal reasons.
  • Feeling the need to retire. Or having work/life balance.
  • Desiring to travel full-time and seeking only part-time employment or contract work.
  • Looking for a job with a more flexible schedule.
  • Getting married and needing to reevaluate career paths.

Career Advancement

  • Desiring to make a career change and career path change.
  • Wanting a new challenge after a number of years of employment.
  • Desiring to be exposed to new types of work and functional areas.
  • Leaving due to high salary or better benefits.
  • Being offered a permanent position if part-time.
  • Being offered a full-time position if a seasonal position.
  • Seeking career growth and upward mobility.
  • A job opportunity that aligns with career goals more acutely.
  • Wanting to fill an employment gap.
  • A better opportunity to advance specific skills.

Back to School

  • Desiring to go back to school to receive an MBA.
  • Wanting to go back to school to receive a Bachelor’s Degree.

Maternity

  • Needing to stay at home for an upcoming birth from a pregnancy.
  • Needing to stay at home after a birth and pregnancy.

Job Aspects

  • Feeling like the workplace was unethical.
  • Feeling like unfair treatment was happening in the workplace.
  • Unhappy with the management of the business.
  • Desiring to switch departments.
  • Leaving due to general job dissatisfaction.
  • Leaving due to the travel distance to work.
  • A hostile working environment.
  • No opportunity to move from part-time to full-time.
  • No longer can lift heavy objects.

Family & Health Issues

  • Personal health reasons and needed to focus on that.
  • Family health reasons and needed to focus on that.
  • Parental health reasons and needed to focus on that.

The best reasons for leaving a job are those that support the reason without much detail. Each positive reason above is going to be received as professional and cordial with both the new employer and current company.

Good Reasons for Leaving on a Job Application

Using the following reasons when a job application asks, "Why did you leave your previous job?" is acceptable. As a job seeker, be sure to use the same reason for leaving a previous position on the job application. This includes a cover letter, job application, and when the interviewer asks about a job in the job interview.

list of the job reasons for leaving a job

Or when the job applicant uses multiple reasons that don't align on two of these job application assets. Then when the hiring manager asks about a previous job experience, and the answer is different—it makes the employee seem untrustworthy.

Example of a Bad Reason

Below are a few examples of a bad answer to the job interview question. Or a bad reason for resigning from a current job (an upcoming previous job).

  • Finding a “dream job” and needed to pursue those passions.
  • Unhappy with the work conditions.
  • Being unhappy with the way work is being accomplished.
  • Unhappy with the work culture.
  • Unhappy with the supervisor, boss, or manager.
  • DUI or other legal problems.
  • Filing bankruptcy and needing to focus on that.

These are a few bad reasons for resigning from a current position. While they may feel valid to the job seeker, it is best not to share these personal details with the employer. As they display differences in the company culture and the employee.

A common mistake amongst job seekers is to presume that leaving a job due to a "lack of passion" is considered a bad answer. It's not a bad answer to say that the reason for resigning happened to be because of a lack of passion.

list of the job reasons for leaving a job

Jared Brox describes, "passionate employees are engaged employees. They believe in the work they do and that they have a vested interest in the success of their company." As Jared alludes, passion is precisely the reason why this interview question is prompted to candidates.

Leaving a previous job due to a lack of passion is an answer that a hiring manager or recruiter is going to respect. Rather than see it as a "bad thing."

How to Answer "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?"

When a hiring manager asks this question during a job interview, it's best to refer to the reason listed on the job application. When the hiring manager asks this question, be honest, and open about the reason.

Answer the interview question with brevity. A long answer, that takes more than 30-seconds to answer, can sound like the interviewer is holding onto resentment. Have a clear reason for leaving a previous job, and announce it.

In order to make the interview answer sound enticing to the interviewer. Structure the answer with an opportunity that aligns with the job the candidate is interviewing for. For example, leaving a previous job due to a lack of upward mobility options. And then saying at the end of the answer, "This is why I pursued this job opportunity. There seems like a healthy amount of upward mobility that can serve me along my career path."

Example Job Interview Answers to "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?"

It’s not uncommon for a hiring manager to ask about the reason for leaving a previous job in the job interview. Asking a question can break the ice and begin an accurate interview, where the interviewer can ask more targeted qualifying questions.

Company restructuring and layoffs.

Sample answer: “In my last job, the company was going through a number of restructuring changes and layoffs. I see myself as an adaptable person. But I felt like it was time to move onto a new company that had more stability.”

Organizational changes, resulting in layoffs to a specific department.

Sample answer: “In my last job, the company was going through a number of department changes. I wasn’t feeling job security in my position any longer and felt it was time to pursue a new venture.”

Company downsizing.

Sample answer: “The company was going through a significant amount of downsizing. And I decided to depart the business before that happened to my team. I really enjoyed working with the company.”

Change of job description and no longer being passionate.

Sample answer: “My job changed over time. I was with the business for more than a few years. But ultimately, I decided that I needed to pursue a new job that I had more passion for.”

The company decided to outsource the job title.

Sample answer: “My job was replaced by a company outsourcing and contracting. I’m pursuing a new venture with a business that can better utilize my skills on-premise.”

Being laid off for “good cause” during annual budgeting.

Sample answer: “During the annual budget analysis, the company decided to lay the position off. We left on good terms.”

Feeling a need to make a change after a number of years of employment.

Sample answer: “I was at my last job for more than 5-years. I felt like it was time to make a change before I became too comfortable, and my job performance began to suffer.”

Needing to relocate due to family reasons.

Sample answer: “I left my last job due to family reasons. I needed to take time off to care for my family. Now I’m back in the workforce. I'd like to share that the situation was mildly extreme. We lost a family member. And for myself, I needed to spend time considering what was best for my family. I decided to pursue a career path once again.”

Needing to relocate due to spousal reasons.

Sample answer: “My spouse needed to relocate for their job. And this forced me to have to resign from my previous job and pursue new work. I'm looking for a position where I can apply my skills. And have an equal amount of passion that I had in my prior job. While it was unfortunate to have to leave my prior job, change is always a good thing.”

Desiring to travel full-time and seeking only part-time employment or contract work.

Sample answer: “I left my last job because this job is full-time, and that’s something I’m seeking in my career. While I had many discussions about turning my freelance career into a full-time opportunity, I didn't find the right fit. That's what led me to this opportunity and why I'm choosing to pursue this business.”

Looking for a job with a more flexible schedule.

Sample answer: “My last job had a very difficult scheduling conflict with my ability to balance my life out. Balance in life is very important to me. It allows me to do great work. I’m pursuing a new job with more flexibility. I'd like to affirm though, this does not mean that I'm looking for a position where I can "slack off" per se. I would simply like to be upheld to results rather than working hours. And it appeared this open position was perfectly in alignment with those types of working conditions.”

Getting married and needing to reevaluate career paths.

Sample answer: “I left my last job right before I got married. I decided I needed to rethink my career path when I was on my honeymoon. It comes down to passion for me. During this time, I spent a number of hours reflecting and deciding what my life should look like. I'd like to explain that this job opportunity is one that I've given a healthy amount of consideration. And that's why I'd like to be hired here.”

Desiring to make a career change and career path change.

Sample answer: “I decided I wanted to change my career and take a new direction. For me, I decided to do this when I was feeling passionate about new parts of a business that I didn’t previously have.”

Desiring a new challenge after a number of years of employment.

Sample answer: “Honestly, leaving my last job came down to wanting to be challenged again. I felt like I was reaching a point where I had learned everything that I could. And I would like to be exposed to new challenges once more.”

Desiring to be exposed to new types of work and functional areas.

Sample answer: “In my previous job, I was doing wonderful work but unable to coordinate with other departments and functional areas of the business. This is something that I’m looking for in a new job. I believe this exposure will allow me to advance my career while being able to apply my unique skills. This is what led me to this job opportunity.”

Leaving due to high salary or better benefits.

Sample answer: “I had the opportunity to depart my last job after reaching a salary cap within the business. I’ll be able to do the same level of great work with this business and be compensated more. While the salary is not my main driver for work, passion is. I would still like to advance myself and the measurement of salary is a great way to do that.”

Being offered a permanent position if part-time or freelance.

Sample answer: “I left my last job because this job is full-time, and that’s something I’m seeking in my career. While I had many discussions about turning my freelance career into a full-time opportunity, I didn't find the right fit. That's what led me to this opportunity and why I'm choosing to pursue this business.”

Being offered a full-time position if a seasonal position.

Sample answer: “I left my last job because it was a seasonal job. We knew going into the position that it was going to be a limited time with the business.”

Seeking career growth and upward mobility.

Sample answer: “I left my last job because I wasn’t seeing where I was going to be able to grow within the business. It came down to upward mobility. This business has a lot more growth opportunities for me. More job titles that I can learn from and potentially grow into.”

A job opportunity that aligns with career goals more acutely.

Sample answer: “My last job was starting to feel misaligned with my personal career goals. This job opportunity lines me up for my goal of becoming a manager one day. It will expose me to the proper skills and daily activities that will help me become a manager.”

Wanting to fill an employment gap.

Sample answer: “To be honest, I wanted to change jobs in order to fill some employment gaps on my resume. By no means does this say that I'm looking for a short-term employment opportunity. If I can find the right job opportunity, I would love to stay with the business for a long period of time. But currently, I need to think about what position I'm a "good fit" for and try to apply myself to that role.”

A better opportunity to advance specific skills.

Sample answer: “I left my last job to pursue being able to gain technical skills and coding abilities that I wouldn’t be exposed to. I have a list of skills that I'm looking to obtain in my career. Mostly stemming from sitting down, reflecting on myself and my future. Then looking at what I desire for my future, and what I feel like I'd like to accomplish. I believe these skills can be obtained through this position.”

Desiring to go back to school to receive an MBA.

Sample answer: “I left my last job to pursue higher education. I went into my graduate program and completed all of my courses, graduating with honors. Now that I’ve completed my education, I’ve decided it’s time for me to back into the workforce and pursue my new career.”

Desiring to go back to school to receive a Bachelor’s Degree.

Sample answer: “I left my last job to pursue receiving my bachelor’s degree. I was fortunate enough to be able to start my career without a bachelor’s degree. But decided it was time to receive this certification. Now that I’ve completed my bachelor’s degree, it’s time for me to get back to work. And I can’t think of a better place to do that than here.”

Feeling like the workplace was unethical.

Sample answer: "This is difficult for me to share. But I feel like being open and honest about my prior working experience will help us establish a trustful relationship moving forward. While it's not certain, I simply felt like the workplace was practicing some unethical behavior for our clients and customers. I'd like to stand behind what I produce. And for me, this wasn't feeling like something I could stand behind any longer."

Feeling unfair treatment in the workplace

Sample answer: "It started to feel like in the workplace, there was some unfair treatment happening. Favoritism and other things in the workplace that was creating a very unhealthy environment. I'd like to pride myself not only on my work but on the workplace itself. For example, when my wife and kids come to visit the office, I would like for it to set a good example for them."

Unhappy with the management of the business.

Sample answer: "I can go into this further if we'd like to dig, but I wasn't happy with the management. Often, we were missing deadlines and work was not being completed on time. This was causing our customers and clients to be unhappy. And it was creating difficult customer service situations that were becoming difficult to manage over time. It felt like passion wasn't there for a lot of the employees. And because of that, we started to fall behind on a lot of work and deliveries."

Desiring to switch departments.

Sample answer: "I wanted to switch departments, go from a software engineering role to a sales role. But that opportunity wasn't available. I decided it was best for me to start seeking a position where I could utilize my software engineering talents. As well as a sales role, which led me to this job opening and this job interview."

Leaving due to general job dissatisfaction.

Sample answer: "To be honest, I simply wasn't satisfied with the job any longer. I can't explain whether it was a lack of passion or maybe too much time on the job. But I was starting to become dissatisfied with the work. And the position. And decided it was best for both the company and myself if I moved on."

Leaving due to the travel distance to work.

Sample answer: "The travel distance to the office was starting to get cumbersome. I needed something closer to home as my spouse starts to think about having children. Additionally, I was spending anywhere from 0 to 0 per week on the commute. And that was starting to have a significant impact on the future of my family. My spouse and I decided that it was best I begin to look for positions that are closer to home."

A hostile working environment.

Sample answer: "I can't say for certain what sparked the actions of everyone in the office. But I have a feeling it may have been recent organizational changes that the employees felt unhappy about. But due to these changes, the working environment became hostile. And difficult to collaborate with others. It's simply not an environment that I would want to expose myself to any longer. Nor would it be an environment that I would be proud of if my spouse or children came to visit me in the office."

No opportunity to move from part-time to full-time.

Sample answer: "I was working part-time with the company for a number of years. And was looking for something more full-time. Especially as I begin to think more seriously about my career path and general plan in life. I spoke with the manager and supervisor about the desire to move to full-time frequently. Unfortunately, the manager didn't have the opportunity to change the job title from being part-time or full-time. And we both agreed that it could result in myself deciding to pursue a full-time position. And do what's best for both me and my family. That's what led me to this open job opportunity."

Needing to leave due to maternity leave.

Sample answer: "Last year I decided it was time to start a new business, the business of parenting. I decided it was best if I resigned from my last position, while pregnant, to focus on the pregnancy. My spouse was able to support us financially, which I'm very appreciative of. But I always knew that I wanted to return to the workforce. Because I'd like to continue my career, my passions, and advance myself while still being a mother. This is the reason why I left my last job. And why my resume has gaps in employment history. And why I'm deciding to pursue this open job opportunity."

No longer can lift heavy objects.

Sample answer: "Last year I went through a back surgery that was quite cumbersome. It disabled me in a number of ways. Primarily, I can no longer lift heavy objects. And I must pursue a career path for myself that has more reasonable accommodation. And the ability to sit behind a desk, where I can have limited mobility. For me, this is a partial career change, job change, as well as a lifestyle change. I hope you can understand that my surgery left me mildly disabled. And I would like to discuss how that might look for us when starting this position."

Common Mistakes

Avoid these common mistakes amongst job seekers.

Using multiple reasons for resigning from a previous job.

Avoid listing multiple reasons for resigning from a previous job. An employer can ask about the reason for leaving a previous job on the job application and in the job interview. Be sure the reasons are the same.

Answering the interview question with a long story.

When the hiring manager asks, "Why did you leave your last job?" avoid answering with a long story. Job seekers make the mistake of telling a lengthy story that embodies the emotional reasons for leaving a previous job. All this communicates to the potential employer is that the candidate has poor verbal communication skills. And that the candidate might be difficult to work with. Answer the interview question in under 30-seconds.

Being too open about salary.

When leaving a previous job due to salary, don't share details. Instead, simply state that there wasn't any budget to increase salary or make raises. And that because of that cap in human resources budget, it was time to move onto a new job opportunity.

Speaking poorly about a previous employer.

A reason for resigning should never include a negative comment about a previous employer. By doing this immature act, it will leave a negative impression upon the hiring manager. The hiring manager will start to consider what the candidate might say about them when they resign. The point is to keep the conversation professional, even if the candidate feels like they've been "wronged" by their previous employer.

Why This Interview Question is Asked

The interview question, "Why did you leave your last job?" is a qualifying interview question and ice breaker question. It's used to begin the interview and help guide how the remainder of the interview session might be positioned.

Indeed.com defines an “ice breaker” as “thought-provoking questions you can use to encourage people to talk and get to know them better. These questions can be used in most situations where a fun, light-hearted conversation is needed to lighten the mood and encourage real bonding.”

The interview question should be answered with brevity, as this question intends to test the job candidate's verbal communication skills. In addition, this question provides the hiring manager with insight into how well calculated the candidate is about their career aspirations or career goals.

For example, if the job candidate answers by saying, "I left my last job because I felt there was no upward mobility. I wanted to move into a management position, which is a career aspiration of mine." It shows the hiring manager that the candidate has intent with their career. That insight can be helpful for the hiring manager to ask follow-up questions or decide which qualifying questions they might ask the candidate.

Resignation Letter Resources

Additional resignation letter resources.

Job Title

  • Teacher
  • Nurse
  • Chef
  • Pastor

Format

  • Simple Resignation Letter

Reason

By Time

Additional Resources

  • Resignation Email
  • Goodbye Email to Coworkers
  • How to Quit a Job

Favorite Resources

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Reasons for Leaving Your Current Employer? How to Respond

01-08-2017 · Here are some examples of acceptable reasons for leaving a job, that aren’t likely to come across as negative and raise red flags: 1) “I am happy with the company …

01-08-2017

reasons for leaving your current employerOne of the interview questions may job seekers dread, but is almost always asked, is “What are your reasons for leaving your current employer?”, or “What are your reasons for leaving your previous employer?”  Since in most circumstances the reasons tend to include aspects of the company you didn’t like, or issues with your boss or other people you work with, this can be a difficult question to answer in interviews without coming across as negative, unprofessional and bad mouthing your employers and co-workers.  While you don’t want to lie to the potential employer you are interviewing with, you can’t always come out and speak from the heart about how much you hated the upper management at your last job and how miserable you were.  When asked about reasons for leaving your current or previous employer, here are some tips:

Tips for Answering Interview Questions About Current or Previous Employers

  • Always speak positively, and don’t badmouth your current or previous position, boss, company or co-workers. This will send an immediate red flag to the potential employer.
  • Turn the conversation as much as possible to the position and company you are currently interviewing for. Show off the research you have done, and the reasons the job peaked your interest.
  • When talking about reasons for leaving your previous employer or current employer, be sure to explain the accomplishments you had with them. Demonstrate how your time there helped you develop the skills you can now use to contribute to your future employer.
  • Then turn the conversation towards the future. Speak about your professional goals and how the position you are interviewing for helps you work towards them.
  • Try to mention things you like about your current employer or previous employers as well as the position you held with that company. Mention similarities that drew you to the potential employer you are interviewing with.  After starting the conversation on a positive note, you can then discuss your reasons for leaving your current employer or previous employer.  For example, “One of the things I really like about working for my current employer is that it is a small company, with an offbeat and unique culture.  Your company has a similar feel, but unlike my last company the opportunity you are offering will allow me to be front-and-center to the creation of new technology.”
  • Don’t discuss lack of pay as a reason for leaving your previous employer or current employer (even if that is the real reason). You want to show that your motivation for wanting the job comes from what you will be doing, not how much you will be paid for it.

Examples of Reasons for Leaving Current Employer or Previous Employer

Here are some examples of acceptable reasons for leaving a job, that aren’t likely to come across as negative and raise red flags:

1)  “I am happy with the company I currently work for, but after exploring all the options there, it has become clear there are no more opportunities for growth. I want to avoid becoming stagnant in my career and professional growth.”

2)  “This opportunity allows me to shorten my commute significantly, which will give me more time to spend with my children.”

3)  “After working at my current job for several years, I am looking to take my career in a different direction. My current employer cannot accommodate this need, but the opportunity you have is exactly in the direction I want.”

4)  “I feel I have grown too comfortable in my current position, and desire a position that will challenge me.”

5)  “The company I worked at previously went through significant changes in upper management and my last position was dissolved/no longer needed.”

6)  “My spouse had to relocate for his/her job, and for that reason I am leaving my current employer. This opportunity at your company is a match for my skills and experience and is close to the location we are moving to.”

7)  “I am content at my current employer and wasn’t actively looking for a new job. But when I happened to come across this opportunity it seemed to be a perfect match for my talents and experience and I couldn’t pass it up.”

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

Reasons for Leaving Your Current Employer? How to Respond
The Best (and Worst) Reasons for Leaving a Job

You could be leaving your current position for professional reasons (a better job, career growth, or a flexible schedule, for example) or for personal reasons (leaving the workforce, family circumstances, or going back to school, for example). Or, you …

Are you looking for a reason for leaving your job to give your boss or a prospective employer? Should you be careful about what you say? When you're moving on to a new position and applying for a new job, one of the questions you'll need to answer is why you are leaving or have left a job.

Your boss may want to know why you are resigning, and future employers will want to know why you moved on. Before you start a job search, it's a good idea to figure out what you're going to say so that your reason is consistent with your job applications and with your responses in interviews.

Here's a list of some good—and some very bad—reasons for leaving your job. Being tactful will help you leave your job graciously and remain on good terms with your soon-to-be former employer.

Thousands of people quit their jobs each month, and there are plenty of legitimate reasons for doing so. You will likely want to explain your reasons carefully in your resignation letter.

In certain cases, you may be asked to list on job applications your reasons for leaving, and you will probably be asked during job interviews why you left your last job or are leaving your current job.

Many people who choose to leave their current position are simply looking for a career change.

  • I am leaving because I want to make a career change from my current industry to a different one.
  • I feel like I’ve developed as much as I can in my current role and am now seeking new opportunities for career growth.
  • I am ready to explore a new trajectory on my career path.
  • Although I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to work for you, I’ve been offered my dream job by another company.
  • I decided to go back to school for my master’s degree.

Difficult situations within an employee's team or organization can be a signal for them to move on.

  • Changes at my company have proven to be difficult to navigate; my team’s overall morale and productivity have declined, so I think it’s time to explore new options.
  • Company cutbacks have meant that I’m working with a team a third of its original size.
  • My company downsized, which meant that—because of my lack of seniority—I was one of the employees whose contracts they terminated.
  • My company was restructured, and my department was eliminated.
  • The company I worked for went out of business.
  • My last job was outsourced abroad.
Several other employees and I were laid off after an economic downturn.

Work is important, but it isn't the only important thing in life. Family or health issues are common reasons people leave their jobs.

  • Family illness required that I give up my job in order to become a primary caregiver.
  • I had to leave my employer because of family reasons.
  • My previous job didn’t allow the flexible schedule I needed to care for my children.
  • I’m getting married and will be moving out of state.
  • I had to leave for temporary health reasons, which are now resolved.
  • I left my previous job because I was pregnant.
  • I won’t be returning to work after maternity leave, because I’ve decided parenting is a full-time job.
I need to leave because of personal circumstances/problems.

Oftentimes, a better opportunity simply comes along.

  • I’ve been offered a great opportunity to work for a company located closer to my family.
  • My hours were reduced, and I need a full-time job.
  • My last job really wasn't a good fit.
  • Your company has such a good reputation and offers such wonderful opportunities that I’d leave my current employer in a heartbeat.
  • I landed a higher-paying job.
  • I’m leaving the workforce/retiring.
  • There were limited growth opportunities at my former company.
  • The commute to work was too long.
  • I’m looking for a new challenge.
  • I would be happier with a job that offered me more responsibility.
I’ve been offered a permanent position.I’m relocating to the opposite coast.My previous job was only seasonal/temporary, and now I am looking for full-time work.I have plans to travel for the foreseeable future.

Even if they are true, there are some reasons you shouldn't use to explain why you are looking for a different job. Sharing these reasons for your departure would not reflect positively on you, because they may raise automatic questions in a hiring manager’s mind. 

  • I’m about to get fired.
  • I was arrested.
  • It was a bad company to work for.
  • I was bored at work.
  • I didn't get along with my co-workers.
  • I didn't like the job.
  • I didn't like the schedule.
  • I hated my boss.
  • The job was too difficult.
  • I was let go for harassment/tardiness.
  • My parents/family members made me quit.
  • I didn’t have good transportation to work.
  • Overtime was required.
  • I was passed over for promotions.
  • I was suffering through a rocky marriage.

It's not a good idea to bad-mouth your past jobs, bosses, colleagues, or companies—or to share too much personal information.

You could be leaving your current position for professional reasons (a better job, career growth, or a flexible schedule, for example) or for personal reasons (leaving the workforce, family circumstances, or going back to school, for example).

Or, you could simply hate your job or your boss, but don't say that.

One thing to keep in mind is that it's important that the reason you give a potential employer matches what your previous employers would say, should they be contacted for more information about you.

It's a red flag to a hiring manager if the reason you give for leaving doesn't match the answer your past employers give when they check your references.

The decision to leave a job should not be made lightly. While there are good reasons to quit a job, there are also equally valid reasons not to quit a job.

Should you, in fact, decide that the reasons to leave are greater than any incentives you have to stay, then being prepared to present your decision as a positive one is essential.

If you left your former job in good standing—meaning that you didn't burn any bridges on your way out—you may be able to get your old job back. Reach out to your former colleagues or supervisors and inquire about any job openings, even if they aren't exactly the same position you had before. Here's a sample letter.

Most experts agree that you should stay at your job for a minimum of two years before quitting, if possible. Shorter tenures may give an illusion of unreliability that could concern future employers. However, as long as you're able to explain your reasons for leaving sooner, many employers will likely understand.

In most cases, it's standard practice to give your employer two weeks' notice when quitting your job. This time frame is generally considered to be long enough for you to wrap up any loose ends and work on transitional items, and for your employer to plan for your absence.

After losing or quitting your job, you may be eligible to keep your health insurance for up to 18 months through COBRA. COBRA is a federal law that may allow you to continue your employee health insurance for a limited time; however, you will be responsible for paying the full cost, along with any administrative fees.

Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job? Sample Answers ...

30-06-2021 · One very important question that many job seekers seldom prepare for during an interview is answering the question, “Why do you want to leave your current job?” This may also be asked as “Why are you looking for a job?” or even “What would you change about your current role?”. This question can make the most seasoned interviewee squirm a little because of the first word; why.

30-06-2021

One very important question that many job seekers seldom prepare for during an interview is answering the question, “Why do you want to leave your current job?”

This may also be asked as “Why are you looking for a job?” or even “What would you change about your current role?”

This question can make the most seasoned interviewee squirm a little because of the first word; why. A question starting with “why” immediately places you on the defensive.

If there is anything that is dissatisfying about your current position, this is where you might unwittingly share that information and unintentionally emit a negative vibe — a VERY bad impression to make.

Best Reasons for “Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job?”

The most effective and acceptable reasons for leaving your current job are positive — not negative — and relate to moving forward in your life or career.

Some of the most common, and easiest to explain, reasons for leaving a job include:

  • Desire to learn.
  • Desire to take on more responsibility.
  • Desire to take on less responsibility.
  • Desire to relocate.
  • Desire for a career change.
  • Desire to gain a new skill or grow a current skill.
  • Company reorganization has led to change in job content.
  • Desire for a shorter commute to work.
  • Desire to improve work/life balance.

When answering this question, it’s easy to think about all of the things you dislike about your current job, but don’t go there.

Look Forward in Your Response to the Question of “Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job?”

Unless you are part of a well-publicized corporate implosion (e.g. Enron) or reorganization, stay positive in your response. Start by responding with “What I really like about this job and company that is different from my current one is…”

Take the opportunity to share what you’ve learned about the potential new company (demonstrating your interest in the opportunity). Talk about the environment and culture of this company, and how you feel it’s a strong match with your strengths and experience.

Demonstrating your buy-in to this potential employer’s brand and culture is a good way to sell yourself as a match.

  • Talk specifically about the job for which you are currently interviewing.
  • Show excitement about the opportunity to learn some new skills and adapt to change.
  • Focus on your strengths and what you will bring to the employer.
  • Make sure you take time to describe your accomplishments, and all of the good that you’ve done for your current employer.

Most importantly, demonstrate that you are dignified and professional and will not talk disparagingly about another company or boss.

Don’t Be Negative About Your Current Job or Employer During Interview Questions

According to several resources, the number one reason most people voluntarily leave one position for another is because of a bad boss or supervisor. There may be a combination of reasons as to why you want to leave this job, but most all of them will likely tie back to poor management or a bad supervisor.

So, knowing that you shouldn’t say anything negative regarding a company or individual supervisor in an interview, how should you answer this question?

If you speak poorly of a company or boss during an interview, what proof does the potentially new employer have to believe that you wouldn’t say the same thing to a customer or coworker in the new company? Everyone knows that would be bad for business.

Sample Answers to “Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job?”

It’s best to avoid going down the slippery slope of discussing specifics regarding compensation, poor management, company finances, poor morale, or any other negative aspect of the job.

You can gloss over negative information by focusing on the future and staying positive, stating something like:

  • I want to build on one of the aspects that I like most about the work I currently am doing…
  • One of the things that has made things a little more challenging is that I’d like to have a platform where I could share my ideas and offer up ways to improve…(service, operations, technology, communication, etc…)

Using phrases like that still keeps the mood positive, but allows the employer to read between the lines. It also shows that you want to contribute positively to the success of your employer.

You can also just share your interest in this opportunity by saying something like:

  • I am interested in learning more about (something this job includes), and this job provides an opportunity to leverage my current areas of expertise and increase my skills in…
  • Your focus here is on (something that you like), and I really enjoy doing (whatever that is). So, I expect to increase my enjoyment of my work when I am able to focus more on (that aspect of the job).
  • I enjoy working as part of a team and am looking for an opportunity to work on an interesting project. This job is part of a team working on a fascinating project, and I would love to join in this work.

You can demonstrate your interest in this new employer by saying:

  • I’ve enjoyed working with a great group of people at my current employer, but this opportunity in this company fits very well with the direction I want to take my career. 
  • I’ve learned a great deal in my current job, but I’m interested in working at [name of employer] based on the great things I have learned about this organization.
  • This job has been a great experience, but growth is limited because the company is relatively small. So, to continue to grow, I need to look elsewhere, and working in this this opportunity looks very interesting to me because…

Be honest, positive, and frame your response in a way that includes the job you are interviewing for.

Bottom Line on Answering “Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?”

If asked why do you want to leave your current job, remember to keep it positive, promote yourself and your accomplishments, and follow the old adage of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Answering the Common Job Interview Questions:

Questions About You:

Handling Special Career Situations:

Questions About Them:

Questions for You to Ask Them:

Interview Preparation:

About the author…

Beth Colley CEO/owner of Chesapeake Career Management Services has guided over 1,200 job seekers to career success since joining the careers industry in January of 2000. She is a Certified Master Resume Writer, a Certified Career Management Coach, and a Certified Brain Based Success Coach and an active member of Career Directors International, The National Resume Writers Association, and Career Thought Leaders.

Best Answers to “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job”

One of the most common interview questions you’ll face: “Why did you leave your last job?”Maybe you left under odd circumstances and don’t want to share the whole truth. But you’re n

how to answer why did you leave your last job

One of the most common interview questions you’ll face: “Why did you leave your last job?”

Maybe you left under odd circumstances and don’t want to share the whole truth. But you’re not sure what to say instead.

Or maybe you think you’ve got a pretty solid reason for why you left your last job, but you want to make sure. Either way, this list has you covered.

I’m going to share 20 safe, proven answers you can give when the interviewer asks “why did you leave your last job?”

20 Best Answers to “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?”

Here are 20 safe, acceptable answers for why you left a past job. If you give one of these reasons, the interviewer is likely to be satisfied and quickly move on to the next question.

After the list, make sure you keep reading because there are 5 big mistakes to avoid when answering this question.

1. “I had been with the organization for a number of years and wanted to experience a new environment to continue growing.”

Most people who advance far in their careers have worked in a variety of companies. Large, small, public, private, etc.

No hiring manager will fault you for wanting to have well-rounded experience and gain a new perspective in your career.

2. “I was offered a promotion at another company.”

Your past employers can’t always offer the ideal next step for your career when you’re ready. Leaving to advance your career is a common reason and this won’t be the first time the interviewer has heard it. So if another company offered a promotion, just say so.

3. “I left for an opportunity to advance my career.”

Maybe you didn’t receive a promotion in terms of job title, but you saw a better path forward at another company. Or you joined a new company for an opportunity to build a new skill that was important to you.

It’s fine to change jobs if you feel it will help you advance in the future even if it’s not an immediate promotion. So you should be fine using this as your answer.

4. “I was offered a significant pay increase.”

We all go to work for money. Companies get it. I’d try to combine this with another reason though, so that you don’t sound too focused on money.

So you could say something like this: “I was offered a significant pay increase, and was also excited about a couple of product launches that this new company was working on, so it seemed like a great opportunity to take.”

5. “I left to work on a product I was very passionate about.”

Sometimes an amazing opportunity comes up that matches perfectly with your interests. Nobody will blame you for leaving to pursue something like this. It’s a perfectly good reason for why you left your last job.

In fact, it’s a good reason even if you “job hopped” and left very soon after being hired. While job hopping never looks great, this is one of the reasons that an interviewer will understand.

6. “A former boss or colleague recruited me to join their company.”

Maybe you had a great boss who left to start a company. She called you a year later and said they could really use a great salesperson like you to round out the team, so you went over and joined her. That’s a great reason for why you left your job.

It’s pretty common in some industries, and it shows that your former boss thought very highly of you.

7. “My department brought in a new manager and I felt it was the right time to leave.”

Things change. A job you used to love could turn not-so-good, and one of the most common reasons is a new director or manager is brought in to replace your old boss.

Sometimes it’s just not the right fit, so you decided to leave.

If you use this answer, don’t badmouth the new management, just say that things changed and you didn’t feel as excited about the job under new management, so you decided to look elsewhere for the next step in your career.

8. “I was hired for a certain role, but over time that changed and I was no longer being given the opportunity to do the work I was interested in.”

Jobs change. Or sometimes you’re hired for a job and what they ask you to do ends up being nothing like the job description (unfortunately this happen a lot). This is a fine reason for why you left your last job.

This is a very convincing and acceptable answer, even if you left the position very soon after being hired. It make sense right? You’d leave pretty quickly if the job ended up being completely different than what the company had promised.

9. “I was no longer finding the work fulfilling or enjoying my work as much.”

If you stayed a few years but left because you didn’t find the work meaningful or enjoyable, that’s fine. Just make sure to show this new company that they’re different, or that they offer something you do enjoy. If they think you’ll find their work boring too, they’re not going to hire you.

10. “I had been with this company for a number of years and learned a lot, but felt ready for a change.”

If you had been at your last job for a few years or more, there’s nothing wrong with just saying you felt ready to move on.

Maybe you learned almost everything you could there, or just wanted to try something new. Those are good reason for leaving if you spent a long time within one company.

11. “I reevaluated my career goals and decided a change was needed.”

Goals and objectives change. And if your company doesn’t offer something that fits with your new goals, it’s fine to leave. There’s nothing wrong with this answer for why you left your last job.

Just make sure to show the interviewer that you know what you want in your career now. And show them how their job fits into your goals. If not, they’ll be worried that you might change your mind after they hire you.

12. “I went back to school to pursue a Master’s Degree (or PhD, etc.)”

This happens all the time. It’s very common and you shouldn’t feel any anxiety about giving an answer like this for why you left your last job.

13. “I didn’t feel there was an opportunity to grow or advance further in that role so I decided a change would best for my career.”

If your company was holding you back, or if you were stuck under a “glass ceiling”, this is a nice way to say it in the interview without sounding too negative.

14. “I wanted to take on new responsibilities that this role and company couldn’t offer.”

You mastered the basics of the job and wanted to lead people, projects, etc. And the company couldn’t offer it, so you had to make a change. Totally fine. The interviewer will understand. And you’ll sound ambitious and motivated which is great.

15. “I didn’t feel the job was using my abilities to the fullest or challenging me enough.”

If you’re bored or not being challenged, it’s hard to stay motivated and focused on your career and your work. So there’s no problem with giving this as your reason for leaving your last job.

Just make sure you don’t sound spoiled or negative or ungrateful when you say this. Don’t make it sound like the job wasn’t worthy of you, or anything like that. Just explain that you felt you were capable of more and wanted a greater challenge.

Or mention a specific skill of yours that wasn’t being utilized. Maybe you’re a great salesperson but they had you doing customer service. You’d sound great mentioning this if you were interviewing for a sales job, because it shows you really want to do sales.

16. “I resigned from my last job to take care of a family issue. The issue is resolved so I am able to work full time again without any issue.”

You don’t have to go into a ton of detail. Just keep it simple. Make sure you tell them that the issue is resolved though, so they don’t worry whether you’ll have to resign again.

If you do want to share a bit more information, that’s fine. As a recruiter I’ve talked to a few job seekers who had to take time off to care for an elderly parent or relative. So that’s one common story I hear, and it’s completely normal.

17. “I took a position with a company that was closer to my home.”

Just like salary (mentioned earlier), I’d recommend you combine this with another reason. Here’s an example: “I took a position with a company that was closer to my home that also offered an opportunity to lead a couple of big projects right away.”

18. “I left my last job to take time to start a family.”

You can share as much or as little detail as you’d like with this answer. I’d keep it simple though.

19. “My position was eliminated and I was laid off. “

Layoffs happen. This is one area you want to be specific in your answer though and share details. Were you laid off due to financial struggles? Did your job get outsourced overseas? Did the entire department shut down? Did the company go out of business? etc.

20. “I was fired.”

If you were fired, I recommend you tell the truth and come clean. It’s not worth lying and getting caught later when they check references. Even if you get hired, if they ever find out you lied, it’s grounds for termination.

Make sure you NEVER badmouth your former employer though, and try to take responsibility for what happened. Show the interviewer what you learned and what steps you’ve taken to ensure this never happens again.

Tips and Mistakes to Avoid When Answering Why You Left a Job:

Now you know 20 good answers for you can give any time the interviewer asks, “why did you leave your last job?”

However, there are a couple of more tips you should know, and mistakes to avoid when answering.

So here are my top tips and mistakes when you explain your reasons for leaving a job in the past.

If you follow these rules, you’ll avoid most of the things interviewers hate to hear in response to this type of question. 

1. Never badmouth, especially if you were fired.

I mentioned this above but it’s worth saying again. Take responsibility, and don’t sound bitter or angry about the past.

As soon as you badmouth, the interviewer will start to wonder what your employer would say. They’ll want the other side of the story. If you take responsibility and sound like you accept what happened, you’ll avoid all that.

2. Don’t say you had a fight with a coworker, and definitely don’t try to then blame them for it.

It’s okay if you were fired or had a professional disagreement. But if you say you couldn’t get along with somebody on a personal level… all the hiring manager will be thinking is, “how do I know this isn’t just going to happen again if I hire you for my team?”

3. Don’t make it sound like money is the only thing you care about.

If you skipped it, you can scroll up and check out the section about what to say if you left your last job for higher salary. It’s one of the 20 reasons above but you need to do it the right way.

4. Don’t sound impulsive or scattered in terms of what you want in your career.

You need to show the interviewer that you’re focused and ready to come in and help them if they hire you! Regardless of what happened in the past. You can’t seem unsure of what you want, or undecided even if you pivoted your career recently.

5. Don’t be vague.

Especially if you were fired or laid off, try to be as clear and direct in your answer as possible. Don’t use vague words like “I was let go.” This will make the interviewer suspicious and open up a ton of possible follow up questions.

Say the words you mean (“I was fired”). You’ll get through it much faster… while building trust instead of suspicion.

6. Always be upfront and take responsibility.

Answering “why did you leave your last job?” when you were fired or had trouble getting along with your boss can be tough. And you don’t need to say, “everything was my fault,” but the interviewer also doesn’t want to hear, “nothing was my fault.”

It’s about finding a balance and showing you’re responsible for your actions and you try to learn from experiences like this. If you seem stubborn or unwilling to learn from the past, you’ll struggle to get a job. 

7. Don’t rush to bring it up if they don’t ask.

Don’t feel pressure to explain why you left previous jobs unless you’re asked.

If it fits naturally into the conversation, that’s fine. But don’t walk into the interview and feel like you need to explain everything immediately. If they care, they’ll ask.

One way you can naturally work this into the conversation is by explaining the key career moves you’ve made when answering “tell me about yourself.”

Since this is one of the first interview questions employers typically ask, it’s an opportunity to not only walk them through some accomplishments and professional achievements, but also the big career moves you’ve made and the reasons for those moves.

But if you aren’t comfortable doing that, or the employer doesn’t ask you that question, it’s best to just wait for them to ask why you left your last job.

8. Practice your answer so you do not hesitate. Delivery is key!

After you have a reason for why you left your last job that you’re comfortable sharing in an interview, make sure to practice a few times.

I’d recommend recording yourself talking on your smartphone voice recorder app (every modern phone has one).

You don’t have to memorize your interview answer word-for-word. Just make sure you sound confident and relaxed and are hitting the key points that you want to mention as you explain why you left your previous job. 

Those are the do’s and don’ts of answering “why did you leave your last job?” in any interview.

Pick one of the acceptable answers above for why you left your last job, avoid the mistakes we just covered, and you’re going to impress the interviewer and quickly and easily move on to the next question in your interview.

10 Good Reasons For Leaving A Job

03-09-2020 · If you left on your own, again, the employer wants to make sure it’s for the right reasons. If you were asked to leave, was it because of performance or integrity issues, or if it was due to other circumstances like downsizing, mergers, or a whole host of other, non-performance related issues.

03-09-2020

In life they say all good things (and bad things) must come to an end…and in the job market, that can ring especially true.

Are you in a job that you plan on leaving?

Have you already left and are actively in the market looking for a new position?

Unless you’ve never worked a day in your life ever, eventually everybody with a job will all find themselves having to answer the question, “Why did you leave your last job? or having to give your current employer reasons for leaving a job. (Our “exit interview” and 2 weeks notice letter articles might help as well.)

So when can you expect to have to deal with these scenarios, and what is the best way to deal with this tricky situation?

There are three main scenarios where this can happen:

  1. You are in a job interview and have been asked the question “Why did you leave your last job?”
  2. You are applying for a new job and one of the requirements on the job application is to give the reasons you left your last job.
  3. You are leaving your current job and need to give your current boss a reason for you leaving.

Here’s the good part though.

Once you learn how to properly describe your reasons for leaving for one of the scenarios listed above, you can apply the same logic to the other two.

In our case, we’ll start with the job interview, and then you’ll see that you’ll already have the answer when it comes to the job application and the conversation you’re going to need to have with your current boss.

P.S. To ensure a graceful exit from your job check out blog post “How to quit your job.”

1) During An Interview: Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

There are generally three things a hiring manager is trying to figure out about you when they ask this question:

  1. Did you leave for the right reasons? Are you a person who is solid and reliable or are you flighty and impulsive? Did you leave because you were offered another position at another company or did you wake up one day and decide you were quitting to pursue your dreams of alpaca racing? Ultimately an employer wants to know are you loyal, stable, responsible and/or reasonable.   This can also roll into your work values. Did you leave your job because you felt underutilized or unappreciated? Was that a result of your overblown sense of importance or because you had truly achieved as much with a company as you could possibly achieve. Did you outgrow the role professionally because of your skills and abilities or did your ego outgrow the role?
  1. Did you leave on your own or were you asked to leave? If you left on your own, again, the employer wants to make sure it’s for the right reasons. If you were asked to leave, was it because of performance or integrity issues, or if it was due to other circumstances like downsizing, mergers, or a whole host of other, non-performance related issues.
  1. Did you leave as a professional? When you left, did you do it in such a way that you are still on good terms with your former employer or are you officially “persona non gratis?” Were you escorted out of the office by security? Best case scenario: your former boss is one of your references. Worst case scenario: Your boss is the star witness in your upcoming criminal case.

This is always a great way for a potential new employer to figure out that not only are you a good employee, but that you’ve got solid positive relationship skills, something which is always a highly sought after quality in the professional world.

BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Download our "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you:

  • 5 word-word-for-word answers to this tough interview question including the following scenarios:
    • You didn't enjoy the work
    • You needed a change
    • You needed more money
    • You were fired
    • And more!
  • PLUS: 20 more great reasons you can use to enter into your job application that aren't found in this article. PLUS 15 reasons you SHOULD NOT use!

CLICK HERE TO GET THE "WHY DID YOU LEAVE YOUR LAST JOB" CHEAT SHEET

Let’s Get the Heck Out Of Dodge!

Jobs end for a whole multitude of reasons.   If you’re a freelancer, it could be you’ve completed the task you were hired for and it’s time to move on. If you’re a full time salaried employee, it can be a bit more difficult.

There are jobs where you leave because you want to…and then there are times when you leave because you have to. Neither is an easy situation…but it also doesn’t have to be an impossible one…

(And while we are talking about actually leaving a job… do you know how to write a proper resignation letter?  No?  Then head over to our article “How To Write a Resignation Letter” to get our tips for making this difficult situation much easier!)

Anyway, when faced with having to answer the question, “Why did you leave your last job?” it’s understandable to have a moment (or two) of trepidation and uncertainty. The last thing you want to do is give any possible employer any reason at all to question hiring you.

Luckily, we’re going to show you that this question isn’t anywhere as scary as you think it is.

Brace Yourself, This Question Is Coming

The first thing you want to do is make sure you think about how you answer this before you even get to the interview.

Now would be an excellent time to read “Job Interview Questions and Answers 101”, the absolute best interview question resource available on the internet. We give you our formula for answering any job interview question perfectly, including “Why did you leave your last job?”.

Remember all that prep we tell you to do? All that research? All those practice questions and scenarios?

Well…this question is no different!

The more you think about it before you get to the interview (or even before you fill out the application) the better off you’ll be answering it! And remember, like any question you’ll be answering, the key to success (beyond preparation beforehand) is to keep your answers clear, concise and positive!

This isn’t the time to get defensive, or worse, talk trash. No employer wants to hear how awful your last job was (even if it was literally the worst job on the planet, with the worst boss in the history of all jobs. Save those stories for your tell all biography…or better yet, movie of the week…).

A good employer is going to recognize and understand that people leave jobs every day for many reasons.

This question is meant to honestly assess why you’re back on the market, not trip you up…so instead of seeing it as a landmine, use it as yet another opportunity to demonstrate why YOU ARE THE PERFECT CANDIDATE!

DISCLAIMER: Before we get too deep into this whole article, let me make one thing PERFECTLY CLEAR. YOU ARE NOT LEGALLY REQUIRED TO INFORM A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER IF YOU WERE FIRED OR TERMINATED FROM A FORMER JOB. More on that a little down the line…but for now, keep that in mind.

Let’s look at a few different reasons why you might have left your last job.

1. Another Company Offered You A Better Deal

Leaving a former employer to take on work with a new employer should never affect your application status. If you left one job to take a position with another company for an increase in pay, a promotion, or simply because you wanted to work for a different company, those are all very valid reasons. When answering this question, you don’t need to list those reasons, simply keep it short and sweet:

  • “I was offered a position with another company and accepted.”
  • “I was offered a promotion with another company and accepted.”

Short, sweet, and without too many details. You don’t need to tell the potential employer how much your raise was, or what the promotion was…

2. You Didn’t Like What You Were Doing

Maybe the job wasn’t one you enjoyed doing, or the job changed from what you originally anticipated it to be. Maybe you just woke up one day and said, “Being an accountant isn’t really what I want to do with the rest of my life, I think it’s time to finally try being what I was always destined to be, a free range squirrel wrangler.” More power to you!   In this case, you want to make sure to avoid words like “quit” or “walked out.” Instead try the following:

  • “I reevaluated my career goals and am looking for other employment opportunities.”
  • “I am interested in pursuing other possibilities within my chosen career field.”
  • “I am currently looking for a position better matched to my skills and long-term career goals.”
  • “I am looking for a position within a company where I can contribute and grow.”

3. You Have Other Life Goals You Want To Accomplish

It is perfectly acceptable to leave a job because you realize that you have other goals you want to accomplish. Prime examples of this include quitting a job to go back to school, travel, work on outside interests or hobbies, or even try self-employment for a time. Although changes like this might leave large gaps in your work history (especially in the case of going back to school) those gaps are not a reason for an employer to be concerned…especially if the ultimate goal was a desire for self-improvement!

  • “I went back to school to pursue a master’s degree program.” (especially strong answer if what you’ve gotten your degree in relates to the job you are applying for!)

4. Your Old Boss Is No Longer With The Company And You Don’t “Vibe” With Your New Boss

This scenario is not unusual. As the dynamics in any company changes, it can mean working with individuals who might not see eye to eye with you. Of course, we go back to our earlier comment about always keeping your answers positive.

  • “I am looking for a position with a company where I can be challenged and grow.”
  • “When my boss left, it made me realize that it was time for a change and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to move on as well.”

5. You’ve Been Working Toward A Promotion That Has Never Come

Man, that sucks. Being at the same job for years and never experiencing a promotion or feeling challenged can be incredibly frustrating. Rather than letting future employers know about that frustration, turn it into a positive!

  • “I realized that the opportunity to grow wasn’t available to me and that in order to continue to improve myself professionally, it was time to move on.”
  • “I achieved everything professionally that was available at my last employer and feel that in order to keep improving myself both personally and professionally, that it was time to move onto a new company with more room for growth.”
  • “I’m interested in a job where I can be given more responsibility and will challenge me.”

6. You Are Overqualified and/or Under-Utilized

We are all on the quest to find the perfect job that satisfies all our needs…but there are also times in our lives when you’re forced to take a job because, well, you need the money!

  • “Although it was a good job, I felt as though I had learned everything I could and wanted to move on to a new company where I can continue to grow professionally.”
  • “The job was a good fit for who I was when I initially accepted it, but as I have worked there, I have realized that where I want to go and where the company is going don’t align.”

7. You’re a Part-Timer or Freelancer Looking For Full-Time Opportunities

Being a freelancer is a little different. You’re usually hired for the duration of an assignment and then free to accept other work once that assignment is complete. In this case, a simple “Completion of Freelance Assignment” is perfectly acceptable on a job application. When faced with this question in an interview, you can add a bit to that simple answer.

  • “As a freelancer, I am contracted for only as long as it takes to finish the task I have been assigned. At this time I’m looking for employment with a company that allows me to use my professional experiences and skill sets in a long term, mutually beneficial professional relationship.”

8. You’ve Had Personal Issues To Deal With

Family always comes first and there are times when you have to step back from a job in order to take care of personal situations. This can be everything from personal health issues to taking care of other members of your family.

  • “I left my last job in order to take care of a family issue. The circumstances have changed and I now find myself in a position where I’d like to reenter the workforce.”
  • “I decided to take five years off to start a family.”
  • “I accepted a position with another company that was closer to home.”

9. You’ve Been Laid Off

Hey, It’s okay. As long as you weren’t laid off due to reasons related to performance or integrity, a potential employer isn’t going to hold it against you…especially if you weren’t the only one laid off from the company at the same time. With mergers and restructuring, it’s not unusual for a company to let go of a group of employees, regardless of performance or skills. Just be honest and let your potential employer know.

  • “My position was eliminated and I was let go. Although I no longer work with the company, my former manager is one of my strongest references and would be happy to answer any questions you might have about my performance and skills.”

10. You’ve Been Fired

Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, you got fired. Trust me, you’re not alone. Some of the best, most influential people in the world have been fired. As they say in Hollywood, “You’re nobody until you’ve been fired at least once.” Unfortunately, some employers see being fired as a red flag, regardless of what the reasons might be, so saying “I was fired” is not something you want to do in an interview or on an application.

DON’T LIE! But at the same time, there are ways to answer this question without either tanking yourself or talking smack about your last employer (neither of which is a good idea!)

WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT BAD MOUTH YOUR FORMER EMPLOYER. I will say it again…DO NOT BADMOUTH YOU FORMER EMPLOYER. I don’t care if you were kept in the worst conditions ever where you were underpaid, forced to endure humiliating situations, and had a clown come into the room every three hours and kick you in the gut…DO NOT BADMOUTH YOUR FORMER EMPLOYER.

The world is a surprisingly small place, and you never know who knows who… On top of that, any future employer is going to wonder what you’re going to say about them down the road or the next time you’re looking for a job.

If you were fired for performance issues, make sure you mention extenuating circumstances, but don’t put all the blame on other people. Own up to your mistakes, but make sure to turn them into positives by showing how you’ve grown since then. Keep your answers neutral and clear of any negativity or defensiveness.

  • “Although I was hired, it was clear as the job progressed that what was expected of me and what I was hired to do were two different things. When it became clear that they needed someone with more experience, I was let go. Although at the time I was devastated, I realize now this was an opportunity to move my career in a new direction and continue my professional education.”

One final note about your job interview.  As we mentioned above, you need to make sure you know how to structure an interview question properly.  But there are also certain things you NEED to know about the job interview itself.

What Should You Put On The Application?

2) Reasons For Leaving a Job on an Application

Ok, so now you know how to answer the question “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job” when faced with it during a job interview.

But what happens if you get surprised with it before you even get an interview?

Huh?

Occasionally, certain companies will require that you give reasons for leaving your last job on your job application. Now while this isn’t very common, you should still be prepared for it just in case it is a requirement.

After all, if you aren’t able to tackle this portion of the application there is a good chance that you won’t make it into the interview!

Here’s the good news though…

You can use the examples we gave you above to help you give the best answer on your application… and thanks to space restrictions, you can give condensed version.

Here’s an example.  Using “Reason #2” from above, you could simply put on your application:

Left to pursue (and complete) Masters Degree.

There is a good chance the hiring manager will want to dig into this question deeper during the interview, so don't feel like you have to write a 200-word response to the question on your application (especially if there is only space for a ten word response!).  The most important thing to do is to quickly summarize your reasons for leaving your last job while keeping it positive, so that whoever is screening the applications doesn't have a reason for putting your application on the "no pile".

3) What to Tell Your Current Boss If You Are Leaving

This can be one of the most uncomfortable situations that you could face in your career. I know that I’ve had several tough talks with different superiors for a variety of reasons, but at the end of the day, the one thing that was common was that it needed to be done.

Unfortunately, sending an email or a text message isn’t going to cut it, as you run the risk of being viewed as “spineless” or even worse, unprofessional.

So think of it like a band-aid… rip it off all at once!

Walk into his or her office and ask for a moment of their time.

Close the door and sit down.

Look them in the eye confidently and…

Let them have it!

Trust me, it always seems like it is going to be a lot worse than it is.  If you remain calm and professional, 99 times out of 100 your boss will totally understand.  In fact, the majority of the time they will have seen it coming already.

They are bosses for a reason, meaning they have a pretty good idea of how their subordinates are feeling.

Now there are certainly exceptions to this rule.  Some bosses are jerks (those of you that have a jerk boss know what I am talking about), and their reception isn’t always going to be “hugs and kisses” like some of the nice bosses out there.  They could yell and scream or say something derogatory about you…

Don’t sweat it.

All that should do is reaffirm your reasons for leaving.  After all, do you really want to stick around in a position where you have to put up with that kind of behavior?  Probably not.

So keep these tips in mind when you walk into the office:

1. Be Direct

Don’t waffle around, beat around the bush, or go into any long stories to try to delay the inevitable. Get right to the point.

2. Give Reasons and Be Honest

This is where you offer the message that we discussed above in the job interview example.  It’s important that you give them an honest response, but you don’t want to be disrespectful.  After all, you never know who your boss could know in other industries, and all it takes is one bad comment from this person to cause you problems in the future.

3. Express Appreciation

This one speaks for itself.  Thank them for the opportunity and what they have taught you during your time with the company.

4. Close It Out

This is the time to go over any “housekeeping” such as what your last day will be (usually two weeks down the road), but also to answer any questions your boss might have.  When this is wrapped up, offer a firm handshake and say thank-you once again.  You did it!

It’s Your Turn

So there you have it… all three potential scenarios covered for dealing with the reasons to leave your last job, and more than enough examples and sample answers to get you started!

Just keep in mind as you go through the interview process that a potential employer is going to be curious about all your past jobs, especially as they relate to your ability to work well within their company.

Your reasons for leaving a job can say volumes about who you are both professionally and ethically and help an employer determine if you’re a good fit (or not) for the new position.

Answering this question can be a tricky balance between telling the truth while still managing to paint yourself in the best light possible.

Always be honest, always be positive, and always keep your answer short.

Before you go into an interview, look at your resume and make sure you can easily answer why you left your last job for every employer you have listed.

And as always…

GOOD LUCK!

Here's what you're getting:

  • 5 word-word-for-word answers to this tough interview question including the following scenarios:
    • You didn't enjoy the work
    • You needed a change
    • You needed more money
    • You were fired
    • And more!
  • 20 more great reasons you can use to enter into your job application that aren't found in this article.
  • PLUS 15 reasons you SHOULD NOT use!

Click Here To Get The "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job" Cheat Sheet

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.

His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others.

Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.

Tough interview questions: ‘Why are you leaving your ...

20-07-2020 · If you're looking for a new job while you're already employed, you can expect interviewers to ask why you're leaving your current employer. While this question is fair to ask, it can be tricky to answer. Leaving your current employer implies that you're unhappy in some way, but sharing those feelings may not be appropriate in an interview.

20-07-2020

Editor's note: This article is one in a series on how to answer some of the toughest job interview questions. Read previous articles on answering interview questions about yourself, your greatest weaknesses, and your salary expectations.

If you're looking for a new job while you're already employed, you can expect interviewers to ask why you're leaving your current employer. While this question is fair to ask, it can be tricky to answer. Leaving your current employer implies that you're unhappy in some way, but sharing those feelings may not be appropriate in an interview.

"In today's day and age, traditional responses like 'looking for growth' or 'seeking more opportunities' won't cut it," said Lindsay Gaal, chief human resources officer at accounting firm Friedman LLP in New York City. "Employers are looking for, and almost expect, stronger answers because creativity is key in a competitive job landscape."

What the hiring manager wants to learn

Hiring managers ask this question for two reasons: to learn why you are looking for a new job and to see how you choose to talk about your current employer, said Michelle Armer, chief people officer at the job website CareerBuilder, based in Chicago.

"If you bad-mouth your current employer, it is a red flag for hiring managers; whereas if you speak highly of them but simply talk about how you're looking to take the next step in your career, it shows that you are mature, professional, and goal-oriented," she said.

Your answer may also provide clues about your goals, said Gina Curtis, executive recruiting manager at JMJ Phillip Group and career coach for the career-coaching firm Employment BOOST in Troy, Mich. In some cases, those goals indicate that you might not be the best fit — for instance, if you say you are looking for advancement, but are interviewing at a smaller organization that can't offer you as many opportunities.

Finally, knowing why you're leaving your current employer helps the potential employer at the offer stage, Curtis said.

"They can truly understand your pain points and what will get you to accept a new position," she said.

Good strategies for answering the question

Go into an interview assuming you'll be asked this question. To provide a strong answer, Gaal suggested researching the organization to learn about new initiatives and using what you've learned to frame your answer.

For example, you might say something like, "I want to join an organization that is growth-oriented and innovative. I see that in the past year, your firm grew its employee numbers by 15% and expanded to new practice areas." That response is "not about the past; it's about the future," Gaal said. 

"I love to see candidates who deliver well-informed responses," she added. "It shows me that they are taking this opportunity seriously and that they truly want to contribute to our firm."

Another strategy for answering the question is to share the kinds of tangible changes you want in your career, suggested Armer.

"Examples may include an opportunity to expand upon your current area of expertise, the chance to take on more responsibility, work with clients in different industries, or experience working in a different type of team or organizational setting," she said.

But "be authentic in your response," she cautioned, "as you never know how this could impact your future role if you are hired."

What not to say

An honest answer to this question may include some negative reasons for leaving your current job, such as a difficult boss or demanding schedule, but Armer said candidates should not share that type of information with the hiring team.

"Instead, focus on positive ideas first," she said. "And if asked directly, you can speak lightly about areas for improvement."

Curtis also said that you should never speak poorly of your current employer. "This will only reflect negatively on you and can make you look difficult," she said. "Keep all answers positive."

Stephanie Vozza is a freelance writer based in Michigan. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Courtney Vien, a JofA senior editor, at [email protected]

Interview Question: "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?"

There are all kinds of reasons to leave a job. Maybe you wanted more money, you felt the company was in constant chaos, your new manager never provided guidance or direction, or you were laid off. However, not all of these responses should be raised during a job interview.

Are you ready to discuss why you're available for employment in a job interview? Interviewers will typically want to know why you left your last job. Common variations of the question include:

  • "Why did you leave your last job?"
  • "Why did you quit your job?"
  • "Why are you looking for a new job?"
  • "Why were you fired?"

It's important to have a response prepared so you're not caught off guard by the question. When you respond, you'll need to give an answer that’s honest and reflects your specific circumstances but avoids negativity. That is, even if you quit because your boss was difficult or because you disliked the company, now is not the time to share.

Interviewers like to ask this question because it reveals a lot about you, such as: 

  • Did you leave this position voluntarily, or were you fired or laid off? 
  • Are you on good terms with the company you're leaving? 
  • Does your reason for quitting seem valid or reasonable?

How you answer this question offers a window into your on-the-job character and values.

This can be a challenging question to answer. Perhaps you left your job due to long hours and impossible deadlines. If you do not phrase your explanation carefully, you might appear lazy or unmotivated, which is off-putting to employers.

Your best bet is to keep your answer short. Be honest, but frame it in a way that puts you in a good light.

Keep your response positive (no venting about your previous employer), and try to pivot to discussing why the job at hand is an ideal match for your skills, knowledge, and experience.

If you're still working but are about to quit, then alter your responses accordingly. Every situation is unique, so be sure to tailor your response to fit your circumstances. 

Review examples of answers, but be sure to tailor your response to fit your professional circumstances.

To be honest, I wasn't considering a change, but a former colleague recommended this job to me. I looked into the position and was intrigued by the role and by the company. What you're offering sounds like an exciting opportunity and an ideal match for my qualifications.

Why It Works: This is so flattering to the company! If you don't overdo the compliments, making it clear that this specific position brought you into the job market is appealing to interviewers.

I was able to take advantage of an early retirement offer due to company downsizing, and now I am ready for a new challenge.

Why It Works: This to-the-point answer gives the facts without any tinge of resentment or negativity. 

I was laid-off from my last position when my job was eliminated due to downsizing, so I'm actively seeking employment.

Why It Works: This is another just-the-facts response that does a nice job of avoiding emotions or negativity.

I recently achieved certification and I want to apply my educational background and technical skills in my next position. I couldn't accomplish this goal in my previous job.

Why It Works: This answer makes the candidate seem like a real go-getter—eager to grow skills and to put those new skills to work. Employers find those traits positive.

I left my last position in order to spend more time with an ill family member. Circumstances have changed and I am ready for full-time employment again.

Why It Works: While often in interviews it's a good idea to avoid getting too personal, this is a good example of an acceptable reason to leave a company.

Other strong answers to consider:

  • "I quit my job because my supervisor retired. After many years of working in the office, I felt that it was time for a change, and it seemed like the ideal time to move on."
  • "I resigned to focus on finding a job that is closer to home and will use my skills and experience in a different capacity."
  • "I didn't have room to grow with my previous employer."
  • "I have been volunteering in this capacity and love this kind of work. I want to turn my passion into the next step of my career."
  • "After several years in my last position, I am looking for a company where I can contribute more and grow in a team-oriented environment."
"I am interested in a new challenge and want to use my skills and experience in a different capacity than in the past.""I am interested in a job with more responsibility.""I was commuting and spending an hour each day traveling back and forth. I would prefer to be closer to home.""The position seems to correlate with my skillset. Unfortunately, in my last job, I wasn't able to use my training and experience fully.""The company was downsizing and I thought it made sense to find another position before my job was eliminated."

If you were fired from your job, it's important to keep your responses as positive as possible. Try not to blame yourself or your previous employer. Give a brief answer, then move the conversation forward.

Here are some sample answers and tips for responding to interview questions about being fired.

There are all kinds of reasons to leave a job. Maybe you wanted more money, you felt the company was in constant chaos, your new manager never provided guidance or direction, or you were laid off. However, not all of these responses should be raised during a job interview.

You need to be honest, but also strategic in your response. Avoid any answers that reflect poorly on you.

Here are some tips on how to develop a response that will be well received: 

Be honest: You don't have to tell the whole truth. Just be sure to focus on the real reason you are leaving. For example, you can say you were frustrated by the lack of opportunities. Start by describing some of the things you accomplished, and then pivot to saying you were roadblocked as far as being able to accomplish more. You'll score bonus points if you can tie your answer back to why the job you're applying for is a better fit because you'll be afforded more opportunities. 

Keep it short and positive: This is one question where you might want to keep your response brief since there are a lot of minefields. A simple sentence—maybe two—is likely sufficient. If possible, try to frame your departure in positive terms.

Practice: Practice your responses so you come across as positive and clear. Practicing (especially in front of a mirror) will help you feel more comfortable answering this difficult question. This is particularly true if you were laid off or fired. In a situation like that, give a short, clear, and unemotional response. 

Avoid negativity: Do not speak poorly about managers, colleagues, or the company. You may speak negatively about a coworker only to learn that he or she has a close relationship with the interviewer. However, you can speak broadly about corporate goals or mention that you disagree with the direction the business is taking.

Be sure not to get personal in your response. Industries can often be small and you don't who knows whom.

Unprofessional comments: Are you bored at work? Underpaid or underappreciated? So sick of everything about the job? Now's not the time to let it all out. You don't need to overshare or get really personal about your motivations for departing the job. Make sure your answer is professional.

A short and simple response is best. There's no need to go into extensive detail.

Be honest. If your references are checked, fibs may be uncovered.

Stay positive. Avoid complaints about the company, your coworkers and supervisor, or about the circumstances around your departure. An emotion-free, factual response likely works best here. 

7 Better Ways to Answer "Why Are You Leaving Your Job ...

No one stays at a job forever. One way or another, you will have to leave. Retirement, resignation, termination, retrenchment…the time will come for you to leave your job. For employers, they need to…

No one stays at a job forever. One way or another, you will have to leave. Retirement, resignation, termination, retrenchment…the time will come for you to leave your job.

For employers, they need to work on ensuring they keep their employees. Especially the good ones. Employee retention is a key pointer to a company’s success.

Unless you are retiring or have decided to get into entrepreneurship, you’ll be looking to get another job.

Are you ready for your new job?

You will meet new people and develop new friendships. You stand a chance of growing in your career. You may experience more personal growth due to the challenges in your new job.

There is a lot of good that can come with a new job. As with many things in life though, landing that new job is not automatic. There is a process.

You have to go through an interview, or several interviews.

Job interviews can prove to be the biggest hurdle in your quest to get a new job. Whereas some questions are normal, expected and quite easy to answer, others are just the opposite.

The hiring manager, or interviewing panel may ask you some questions which can throw you off balance. These are the kind of questions many candidates dread.

Such questions are not necessarily difficult but can surely be challenging. One such questions is, “Why are you leaving your current job?” If your resume shows that you are not currently working, then this question could be framed to be, “Why did you leave your last job?”

Understandably, this question can be a tricky one to answer. If only you could tell the panel, ‘PASS’ and they move on to the next question.

WHY ARE YOU LEAVING YOUR JOB?

When you think about it, you really have the answer to this question. Don’t you?

Yet, the answer is not the problem. The real problem is what your answer makes the panel think of you.

It is often said that what you say doesn’t matter.

How you say it is what matters.

This statement is true.

Not only in an interview, but also in your daily relations.

For example, if you receive a gift from a friend, you will be expected to say ‘Thank you.’ If you say it with no enthusiasm, the conclusion will be that you did not like the present.

There is definitely a reason as to why you are leaving your job. From personal reasons to difficult managers, there will always be something that pushes you to move.

Technically speaking, there are three ways of leaving a job. Through retirement, resignation or termination by employer.

Retirement comes with age. For you to retire, you will usually have attained a certain age. In many countries, the retirement age is set by the government as part of its policies on employment. If you are looking for a new job, the reason is likely to be either resignation or termination by employer.

If you resigned, there was a reason which you gave for your decision. The reason may be the only one or just one you picked and kept others to yourself. For example, you may have had difficulties relating with your boss. You may also have struggled with the work pressures and felt that your efforts were not being recognized. But to keep things simple, you may have preferred to mention only the work pressure.

If you were terminated by your employer, you still have a chance with another one. Whatever caused your termination may sound bad but there is always room for corrections.

Now that you have been invited to an interview, you are required to make known the reason you are leaving your job. You have the option to give any or all the reasons you have.

All the same, it is best to stick to one and avoid discussing your current job too much.

This means you need to pick the main reason and keep others away. Remember that honesty is vital.

The main reason this question may be difficult is that you don’t know why it is asked.

Probably making it worse, it comes at a time you have discussed other things and so it seems like it’s intended to unearth some truth you are hiding.

Unless you have been through significant job positions and gone through many interviews, you are understandably nervous.

Some job interview questions are tough and can make you very uneasy. This makes you want to quickly get to the end of the interview and perform well. If you perform well, then you get the job.

Since getting the job is the ultimate goal, you want to ensure everything goes well. Your dressing. Your words. Your posture. Your tone.

In the heightened need for perfection, you are likely to make mistakes. Striving not to make mistakes, you want to give the perfect answer.

It will be worth noting that the perfect answer does not exist.

What you need to do is have the truth and present it properly. It however happens that this does not work out as easy as it sounds.

It would be very easy to answer such a question if asked by your best friend. You wouldn’t even have to think about it.

But the hiring manager is not your best friend, so you do not know how they think.

Moreover, not only are you facing a stranger, but you also need to make an impression. A good and lasting impression. This is the cause of the difficulty.

WHY THIS QUESTION IS ASKED

You may wonder why you are being asked the reason you’re leaving your job. “What is the relationship between my current job and this one?” you may ask.

Well, a lot.

Not in the sense that the management in both companies work in similar ways. Or that both companies have the same vision. Or are competitors in the same field.

In any case, even when moving from one field to another, you will still meet this question.

So what’s the big deal about it?

When interviewers ask you this question, they are essentially trying to answer some other questions. There are three main ones which hiring managers need answers to.

Are you the best candidate for them?

As expected, there are many candidates applying for a position. Yet it is only the best candidate who will get it.

This question helps recognize the candidate with the right attitude towards work. Your answer will also reveal what kind of work ethics you have.

For example, you may say that there is too much work in your current job. A further question may be asked as to how you handle the situation.

If you give an answer such as “I do what I can finish by the end of the day. The rest is for the following day,” then you could set off some alarm bells. Such an answer could be understood to mean that you cannot give some extra time when needed to.

Are you an honest person?

This is an interesting way of confirming a person’s honesty. It may not be openly evident how it works but it’s quite simple.

Through out the interview, you will be asked many questions about yourself. The way you answer this one will either agree with or contradict your other answers.

For example, you may have said that you are sociable and freely interact with people. You may then say that you are leaving your job due to inability to work well with colleagues. This shows inconsistency.

Or, you may have said that you work well under pressure and can put in more time as required. When responding about leaving your job however, you say that there was too much work.

Whereas this is not intended to point out lies, it can do a good job at that.

When you contradict yourself, you are simply saying that you are not honest. Who knows what else you could lie about?

Will you be happy with the job?

Employers are not only keen on ensuring they get the best talent. They also want to ensure their employees love their jobs.

This question therefore gives you an opportunity to show your interest in the company. Watch the below video and learn how you can express this interest.

When responding to this question, you will not just be giving a reason as an answer. You will essentially be telling the panel about the situation in your current job.

They will compare that to the situation around the position you are interviewing for. If they are the same, then there is no need to hire you. If they do, you will still be unhappy and probably leave sooner than later.

Here, the hiring manager is keen on ensuring he has a low employee turnover.

Also, the company is seeking to hire someone who will happily embrace all that the position brings. At the end of the day, a happy employee is a productive employee.

WHY YOU SHOULD PREPARE FOR THIS QUESTION

Preparation for an interview can never be overstated.

Have you ever been asked this question before and were not sure whether your answer was well received? Or did you fumble with words, unsure which reason to give. Did you probably have the answer but could not explain things adequately?

It could be disastrous for you when you have the answer but just fail in delivery.

Interviews themselves make many people anxious.

Whenever you are unsure about anything, then things get worse. The more you try explaining, the easier it is for you to come across as lying.

Saying things the right way is not just about the words you use. As important as your choice of words is, so is your facial expression and the tone of your voice.

You should have the right answer and practice giving it well. This will enable you give a short and clear answer to the question when asked. Not only does this save you anxiety but also shows that you are prepared.

Let’s see how to answer this question without inviting additional feelings of nervousness.

HOW TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION

While in an interview, it is important to remember that the interviewer is out to make a business decision. Therefore, he needs to hire the best.

When this question comes up, do not take your mind to your employment. Do not start talking emotionally about the bad working conditions, unfair treatment or similar things.

Although these things may be happening, you need to bring out this information in a professional way. Below are some common situations which cause people to leave their jobs in search for a better one.

With each situation, there is an answer given as an example of what could be used in an interview. These answers are not to be memorized. They are instead supposed to act as guidelines in your specific situation.

Go through them with an open mind and implement the ideas in the answers you have.

A bad relationship with your boss

Bosses are human beings and no human being is perfect. Humans are also very different in nature.

Apart from that, the work environment has a way of bringing out some character traits in a person that can rub off wrongly with others. This is expected.

Many surveys conclude that employees do not leave companies but managers. Some companies have picked this and actively work on their management personnel.

If you are leaving your job because of your boss, you can say:

I have recently realized that the direction my employer is headed is different from the one I want for my life. This has made it difficult to be on the same page with my employer. I am therefore looking for a job which I’ll be able to flow well with. That will make it easier for me to be more productive for the company as well as my own career.

Too much work

The amount of work you do matters a lot. If it’s too much, it can impact your health and personal life. You may not have time for your family or friends yet these are an important part of you.

You should be able to achieve a good work-life balance.

If you allocate little time for either work or other aspects of your life, you will actually perform poorly in everything.

Working hours differ from country to country as well as between the genders. At some point, there may be more work and your employer can request you to work extra hours.

This is subject to compensation agreements. Working extra hours should however not be the norm. If there is too much work to be done, your employer should just hire more staff.

If you are leaving your job because the work schedule is not conducive for you, you can say this:

Whereas I have always loved my job, the amount of work has been steadily increasing. As a result, I have experienced a challenge in balancing between my work and personal life. A good work-life balance will help me be more productive in all aspects of my life. I believe this job will help me achieve the right balance.

Seeking a higher pay

As you work, you obviously expect to be paid. Your pay should reflect the kind of job you do and the skills you have.

Despite how you started, you may have improved your skills thus expect a higher pay. If you are not satisfied with your pay, it is very unlikely that you will be productive at work.

Whatever job you do, you will always utilize your knowledge and expertise to move the company forward. The company on the other hand is to pay you accordingly.

In some cases, together with the pay, the company implements other forms of benefits. If you are not comfortable with your current pay, the first thing to do is talk to your boss.

If there is no solution from that, then you wouldn’t be blamed for seeking to change jobs.

You can say this:

I have made significant progress in my career and learned new skills. Through these, I have been able to implement cost effective measures in the production process in my job. With the overall effect of higher profits, I feel that my knowledge and skills could attract more value than they currently do. I believe this job will give me the value that reflects my expertise and effort.

Relocating

If you are moving to a different neighborhood, then you will most likely need to change jobs. Working closer to your home has great benefits.

This is to ensure you don’t struggle getting to work in the morning or back home in the evening.

Whereas you don’t need to mention to the hiring manager the exact reason for relocation, feel free to give this as a reason for leaving your current job. You can say this:

My family has moved and getting to my current job is weighing down on me due to the long distance. Despite the joy I have in working in my job, the long commute makes me spend too much time on the road. To avoid getting to work late and to get back home in good time, I need to reduce the commute. I look forward to achieving that with this job.

Lack of promotion

Nobody wants to work somewhere they are not being recognized for their efforts. One of the ways you can be recognized for your efforts is through a promotion. Promotions make you happy as you feel appreciated.

Promotions are helpful as they enable you move to higher levels in your career.

Unfortunately, some companies either don’t promote employees or promote with favoritism. If your job has not provided you with a good growth track, you may feel that it’s time to call it quits. Here is how you can say it:

My experience and skill set have enabled me provide solutions at my workplace, including increasing sales during lean times. I’m however not progressing in my career despite additional education and several expressions of interest in higher positions. I am hoping this job will give me an opportunity to grow my career further.

Change of career

It is expected that you chose your career path long ago and so you should stick to it. It is however not wrong to change your mind about your career.

Changing your career can seem dangerous as you get into a new field. This is nonetheless better than getting stuck in a place which is not right for you.

The below video gives you some guidelines when you want to change careers.

As it is rightly said, a wise man changes his mind. All the same, your wisdom may be questioned by the interviewer. He may think that you are making the wrong move. Don’t worry though. Everyone starts somewhere.

What you need to do is convince your interviewer that this move is the right thing for you. Tell him what motivated your decision and show him how it will benefit his company.

This is where you bring in what you learned about the company when researching about it before the interview. To bring this out well, you could say:

I have decided to change from engineering to marketing so as to tap into my passion. I love interacting with people and have always had an easy time communicating ideas. I know that not only will this new career be more natural for me, but I will also enjoy it. When I fill the vacancy you have, you will be able to see the difference I’ll bring within a very short period.

Your job is boring, no longer challenging

This is a great reason which you can easily turn to your advantage. As with all other answers, you should not be negative at all.

Do not start talking about how you sit in the office doing nothing. Don’t say how bored you are to the point of spending half the day on social media. No matter how true this may be, it is not what your interviewer should know. At least not now.

A great job should offer optimum growth opportunities. Growth opportunities come in the form of challenges. If you are not getting challenged at work, you are not growing as you should.

In giving this reason, show how ambitious and goal-oriented you are. Tell the panel how much you like engaging with people to solve problems.

Have some examples to use as evidence of what you are saying. Since organizations exist primarily to solve problems, you will stand out among the candidates.

Here is how to frame your answer:

I have been working in my current job for the past five years and have mustered everything about it. This has made my job less interesting and more routine. Having successfully designed and installed the security systems in use and there is now no challenge to my daily work. I have also enrolled for a specialty course which I will complete by end of summer. Considering the scope of work mentioned in the vacancy, I believe your company will provide me an opportunity for growth.

CONCLUSION

You may be leaving your job for reasons other than the ones listed in this article. Going by our tips, you can learn how to communicate the answer you have. You only need to keep four things in mind and you will stay on top of the situation.

  1. Be positive – your attitude can easily show when you speak. If you have any hard feelings against your job, deal with them before the interview. Do not blame anyone or anything for wanting to leave your job.
  2. Do not go into too much detail – the more you talk, the more you are likely to say something you would rather not have said. Use the tips above to answer this question but don’t explain the situation.
  3. Focus on the future – you are leaving your job because of some things which happened in the past. Recognize those things as what made you decide to leave and keep your eyes on the future. Your answer should indicate your assurance of a better future. It is in pursuit of this better future that you’re looking for a new job.
  4. Direct the conversation back to the interview – have some control over the interview. Since you are not dwelling on the past, your answer should bring the focus back to the interview. Do this by including in your answer how your new job will be different. Remember to use information about the company that can back your assurance.

As intimidating as this question may sound, it is very possible to answer it well. Look at it differently and you will realize that it’s an opportunity to further ‘sell’ yourself.

It’s an opportunity you have been given to say what difference you see your potential employer bringing into your career.

7 Better Ways to Answer

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“Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job?” Best Answers ...

The best way to answer the question of why you’re leaving your current job is to focus on the positive aspects you’re hoping to gain from a new position, rather than badmouthing any negative aspects of your previous job or company.

why do you want to leave your current job - sample answers

If you’re interviewing while you have a position, one of the first job interview questions you’ll hear is, “Why do you want to leave your current job?”

And there are a couple of big mistakes that can cost you job offers when answering, so this isn’t a question to take lightly.

Here’s what you’ll get in this article:

  • How to answer why you are looking to leave your current job
  • 12 good reasons for wanting to leave your job/company
  • 4 critical mistakes to avoid when explaining your reasons for leaving
  • 3 word-for-word sample answers to why you want to leave your job

How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Leave Your Job?”

How to Answer if You’re Actively Looking to Leave Your Job

The best way to answer the question of why you’re leaving your current job is to focus on the positive aspects you’re hoping to gain from a new position, rather than badmouthing any negative aspects of your previous job or company.

How to Answer if You Were Already Let Go From Your Job

If you were let go and the interviewer was unaware that you’re not currently employed, you should say so. This is likely to come up in a background check in the future if you’ve been unemployed for more than a few weeks.

Read this article for how to explain being fired.

And if you need to explain other reasons you left a previous job, read this article.

How to Answer if You’re Not Actively Looking to Leave but Open to Opportunities

If you’re unsure about leaving your job and simply taking a few interviews to see what’s out there in the job market, then you can inform the interviewer that you weren’t actively looking for a change. Then, explain how you heard about this employer’s position and tell them why you were interested in applying/interviewing.

For example, maybe you don’t have any strong reason to leave your current position but a recruiter called you and spoke to you about a position that’s higher level, provides better work-life balance, and is closer to your home.

In this case, you could simply say:

“I wasn’t in an active job search, but contacted me about this new job opportunity and it sounded like a career-advancing move that fit well with my background and skills, so I was interested in having an interview and learning more.”

When answering interview questions about why you’re looking to leave your current job, it’s not recommended that you mention factors like work-life balance and commute length, though, at least not in a first job interview or phone interview answer.

It’s better to focus on career-related reasons for looking for a new job or being open to leaving your current role.

Next, I’ll share a full list of good/bad reasons for leaving your job, so don’t worry if you’re still unsure what exact reason to give.

12 Good Reasons for Leaving a Job

All of the following answers are great reasons for leaving a job and are safe to say in your job interview.

  • Seeking new challenges/opportunities
  • Seeking a higher-level job title or position
  • Seeking a role that’s more closely aligned with your long term career goals
  • Wanting to be in a new industry or type of company
  • Wanting to experience a new work environment after spending a long time at your current company already
  • Wanting to be in a larger or smaller company (as long as you can explain why you want this for your career)
  • Having to relocate and needing to find a job in a new city or state
  • Wanting an opportunity to take on more leadership work
  • Wanting to change careers entirely
  • Layoffs or other uncertainty at your current employer
  • Changes in company vision/direction at your current employer
  • A change in management at your current employer

Mistakes to Avoid When You Answer This Question

Never badmouth

When an interviewer asks, “Why are you leaving your current job?” it might sound like they’re inviting you to bad-mouth your current employer or talk about the negative aspects of your role.

However, you should never do this. Badmouthing will always make you appear unprofessional in an interview. Even if there are major problems in your current role or organization, it’s best to resist the urge to share them.

Hiring managers want to hire someone who is positive and leaving their last job on good terms, since this suggests you’ll fit in well if hired into their organization, too.

So the top mistake to always avoid with this job interview question is badmouthing. Coming up, I’m going to dedicate a whole section of this article to how to avoid badmouthing with this interview question, so don’t worry if you’re still unsure.

First, let’s continue with more mistakes to avoid when you answer.

Don’t list too many reasons for wanting to leave, and don’t talk for more than one minute

You don’t need to name five different reasons for leaving. It’s best to keep your answer to under a minute and share just one to two reasons that you’re open to changing jobs.

If you have multiple reasons, such as wanting a role that fits your career goals better, wanting to learn a new skill set, and not liking the management at your current employer, pick the one or two reasons that sound most positive and that you’re most comfortable discussing.

Avoid saying anything that suggests you’ll struggle to perform well for your next company

All of the following are bad reasons for leaving your current position:

  • Being unable to get along with your boss/coworkers
  • Making frequent mistakes at work
  • Struggling to learn the job or not performing well in your current company

Avoid giving an answer that’s not work- or career-related

It’s also a mistake to tell your next company that you’re looking to leave you are leaving your current job for a reason unrelated to your career.

For example:

  • Wanting a shorter commute
  • Not being paid enough
  • Working too many hours in your current role

Now, these are okay to mention as a secondary reason for leaving, but you should always lead with a work-related reason for why you want to leave your current position.

For example, you could say:

“I’m looking for a career-advancing opportunity that will allow me to take on more leadership work, and my commute is also quite long so if I can find a position closer to where I live, that’d be a nice bonus.”

How to Avoid Badmouthing When You Answer, “Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?”

If you read everything above, you know you should never badmouth an employer when describing why you want to leave your current job (or why you left your last job).

Below, I’ll share some ideas and sample responses for exactly how to avoid badmouthing a previous employer, no matter how awful they were.

This will help you keep your interview answer 100% positive so you can get hired faster.

Talk About What You Want Gain

What do you hope to gain or get MORE of in this job transition?

It could be a certain work environment you’d like to be a part of. A certain challenge you’d like to tackle (like leading a team, leading projects, working more hands-on, etc.)

It could be a variety of things. But pick one or two tasks/areas that you want to do more of… and make sure they’re areas that this job offers.

(You don’t want to say you’re looking for an opportunity to lead people if the job is an individual contributor role. Why would they hire you for a job that doesn’t fit what you say you want to be doing?)

But if you do this correctly, it will show them that you’re not desperate and that you’re looking for the RIGHT fit, not just for any job that’ll take you.

That’s a GREAT way to position yourself as a top candidate and someone they should hire.

Talk About What You’ve Enjoyed in Your Current Job

There’s also one more thing you should do when answering, “why are you looking to leave your job?” to make your answer sound more positive.

You can talk about how you’re grateful for what you’ve learned in your current job. Or talk about how you’ve built great skills there, but it’s simply time for something new.

Here’s what this might sound like:

“I’ve learned a lot here and it’s been great. I just feel it’s time for a move because I want more of an opportunity to do ____”.

That’s one way to begin an answer to the question of why you want to leave your current job.

A few other examples/phrases you could use to start your answer:

“I’ve learned a lot in this role, but after 2 years, I feel I’m ready for ____”.

“I’ve enjoyed this position a lot over the past 3 years. I just feel that to grow my career further, I need to expose myself to new challenges, and your company caught my attention because ____”.

One word of warning: Be aware that if you say you want more of an opportunity to do something, the interviewer will ask if you’ve tried to get that in your current job.

For example, if you say you want to be more involved in working with customers or clients, the hiring manager might ask, “Have you tried to see if there’s an opportunity to do this in your current company?”

So, be ready for that.

Now let’s look at some full example interview answers…

Sample Answers to Why You Want to Leave Your Current Job

Sample Answer #1:

“I’ve enjoyed my role a lot, but I’ve been here for two years and think it’s time to challenge myself further. One thing I’d love to do is manage projects, and I noticed that’s mentioned in the job description for this role. I’ve asked my current boss about this and it’s just not a responsibility that I can take on in my current role or my current team, and they don’t have room to promote me right now, so that’s why I’m willing to leave my current job.”

Sample Answer #2:

“I’ve gotten a lot out of my current position in the year I’ve been there. However, I think to continue challenging myself and growing in my career, it’s time for a change. Right now my role doesn’t involve a lot of human interaction, and that’s a skill I want to build more of. I love that this job seems to offer a mix of data entry like I’m doing now, but also some customer service work. I love interacting with customers and it’s something I did a lot of in the job I held three years ago, so I’d love to get back to doing some of that. Can you tell me more about how I’d help in your customer service efforts in this role?”

Now, the above example interview answers assume you’re actively searching for jobs and actively trying to get out of your current job. Next, let’s look at some sample answers if you are considering opportunities but not in an active job search.

Example Answer if You’re Not Actively Job Searching:

“I’m actually not in an active job search, however when your recruiter contacted me about the position, it seemed interesting. I’ve been managing people for two years in my current job and would love to take on more leadership as I advance in my career. The recruiter I spoke with, Josh, mentioned there was an opportunity to build and lead a team of 5 in this role. Can you tell me more about that?”

This is a great answer because you’re explaining your situation clearly and directly, while also showing them why you want their job or what might convince you to take it.

You’re also ending your answer by asking a question of your own. That’s a great tactic to set yourself apart in the interview!

Answering “Why You Are Looking to Leave Your Job?” – Quick Instructions

  1. Talk about what you’ve learned and gained in your current job, and how you appreciate that (even though you may be ready to move on)
  2. Then highlight what you hope to gain in the next opportunity
  3. Always sound positive and talk about what you want to do next, instead of badmouthing or talking about what you want to “escape” in your current job
  4. Never badmouth or complain
  5. Don’t talk about performance-related issues, or an inability to handle the work in your current job
  6. If you’re actively looking for jobs, be honest and say so
  7. If you’re not an active job seeker, be clear about that too, but give a reason why you might consider a new job

Now you know how to answer questions like, “Why are you looking to leave your current job?” or, “Why do you want to leave your job?”

If you follow these steps, you’ll impress the interviewer and boost your chances of getting the job offer.

Reasons for Leaving a Job: How to Explain (With 10+ Examples)

10-02-2021 · And interviewers definitely do not want to hire "job hoppers" who will leave the organization in a couple of months. There are tons of reasons to leave a job: Your values do not match with the company goal. Your manager asks you to do something unethical in …

10-02-2021

Why did you leave your last job?

Why are you leaving your current job?

If you go to an interview in 2021, we can guarantee that, at some point, the recruiter will ask you these questions.

“Can you give a good reason for leaving your previous job?”

Now be careful!

This is a tricky question, and how well you answer it may be the decisive factor for you to get the job.

There are different reasons for leaving jobs, and everyone has their unique circumstances.

Maybe you got fired, or perhaps you got laid off. Will you tell the truth to the interviewer?

**You don't want to tell something that will lead to rejection. **

So, take time before your interview to prepare a list of reasons for leaving a job to help the interviewer hire you.

Don't worry; we will tell you everything you need to know about answering these types of questions.

Below are the topics we will cover in this blog:

Why do interviewers ask the question: Why do you want to leave your current job?


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The interviewer can get a lot of information about you from your answer to the question: Why do you want to leave your current job?"

Here are some things that your recruiters are looking for:

  • They want to know if your reason is appropriate
  • To understand what are you looking for in a new job
  • Are you serious about your work
  • Did you leave your job voluntarily?
  • Did you leave on good terms?

They want to know if your reason is appropriate

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The interviewer wants to ensure that you are not irresponsible and you had good reason for leaving a job. It takes a significant amount of work and resources to train an employee. And interviewers definitely do not want to hire "job hoppers" who will leave the organization in a couple of months.

There are tons of reasons to leave a job:

  • Your values do not match with the company goal
  • Your manager asks you to do something unethical in your job
  • Your organization went out of business
  • You don't feel appreciated in your job
  • Your mental health was suffering
  • You are looking for more responsibilities
  • Your current position does not have any growth opportunities
  • You had some personal issues
  • You want to shift to another city
  • You are looking for a career switch
  • You want to study for higher education
  • You had to leave for health reasons
  • You were laid off or let go
  • You are looking to switch industry
  • You are looking for better pay

And many more.

They want to know what are your expectations on your next job

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As you answer the question, the interview will understand what you look for in an organization and whether you will be a good fit.

For example, say that you were working without a team in your previous organization, which put a lot of pressure on you. The interviewer will understand that you are not good at working by yourself and probably not a good fit for the organization.

They want to understand if you are serious about your next job

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Nobody wants to hire someone who is casually searching for a job. The interviewer asks this question to see if you have a proper reason for leaving a job or casually searching for a new job. That might indicate you are a chronic job hopper and might put a wrong impression on your candidature.

So, if you are job searching, you need to have a concrete answer prepared for the question "why do you want to leave your current job?"

They want to see if you are kicked out or left voluntarily

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Nobody wants to hire an incompetent employee.
The interviewer asks the question to understand if you left your last job voluntarily or were asked to leave.

If that is the case, "Do Not Lie!"

Honesty is an essential trait interviewers look for. And if you were fired, you need to prepare a strong answer explaining the situation and tell the potential employer that you understood your faults and resolved the issues to become a better employee.

Avoid:

  • Badmouthing your past organization
  • Negative talk about yourself
  • Victimizing yourself

They want to know if you are in a good term with your past employer

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Interviewers want to know if you have a good relationship with your past employer. It says a lot about your interpersonal skills and professionalism.

If you can somehow show that you are still collected with your previous employer, or better yet, have him/her as a reference, that will demonstrate your interpersonal skills and professionalism.

8 acceptable reasons for leaving a job


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There are many reasons for leaving a job and looking for a new one. But there are differences between acceptable and unacceptable reasons.

"The job was below my standard" is not an acceptable reason for leaving a job.

Whereas,

"I got a better offer from another company, so I accepted" is a short yet acceptable reason.

Let's look at a few good reasons to leave a job:

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Sometimes, organizations hire employees for a particular job responsibility, and sometimes down the line, the employee realizes that their job is entirely unrelated to the original job responsibilities.

Well, this is a good reason for leaving a job. Just make sure when you answer the question "Why do you want to leave your current job?", do not say anything negative about your current employer; instead, come up with a positive answer such as:

"I'm redefining my career goals right now, and looking for opportunities in SaaS as a project marketing manager."

"I'm looking for an opportunity in SaaS project management because it matches my interests, skills and also long term career goals."
.

You are looking for growth opportunities

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Some organizations are not structured in a way that is suitable for growth. It might also be challenging to change departments. In that case, you may want to leave your current job and look for another one.

Here's an example of an answer to the question, "why are you leaving your current job?":

"I love working with xxx organization, but unfortunately, in my organization, there are no growth opportunities for my role. That is why I'm looking for an organization that can help me grow. Can you tell me briefly about the growth opportunities in your organization?"

You have other life goals you want to pursue

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Many employees leave their job to pursue something else, like taking a master's degree, traveling, working on their hobbies, or even getting a hand on self-employment.

These changes can put a large hole in your resume. But as long as you have crafted a reasonable answer and show the potential employer that you left to improve yourself, it will not be a concern.

Example:

"I left my job to pursue my MBA degree."

Always try to give a short and to-the-point answer unless an explanation is necessary.

Your current company does not give you a raise

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This happens a lot. Sometimes, you work hard in your job but never experience a promotion or a salary raise. This can be incredibly frustrating and de-motivating. And this is a good response for the question “why are you looking for a new job?”. Just do not vent out your frustration to your potential employer. Instead, answer with a positive attitude.

"In my current organization, there are no growth opportunities. So I realized it's a good opportunity to move on and look for an organization where I'll be challenged and improve myself professionally."

You didn't vibe with your superior

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According to a study, 50% of employees leave their job because they do not want to work with their boss. Since your boss will be the person you will always be in close contact with, if you do not see eye to eye with your boss, it may create impossible working conditions.

And it's a perfectly reasonable reason for leaving your job. No interviewer will hold you accountable for leaving your job where you didn't have a good working relationship. But as we said earlier, you need to answer the question positively.

"In my organization, I've improved my video editing skills and built strong relationships with my co-workers. However, I recently understood that if I want to work with my full potential, I need an organization with a strong mission. And XXX company's mission to provide clean water to every part of the country is something I'm excited to work on."

You had no work-life balance in your job

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you may be a hard-working employee, and you love your job. But if you feel that your work is dominating your life and it's taking a toll on your mental health, leaving your job to find a job where work-life balance is appreciated is a reasonable answer.

However, craft your answer carefully. You don't want to come off as a lazy person. Instead, your response should project that you are a mature professional who is not afraid to work hard for the organization and knows how to manage time efficiently for a healthy work-life balance.

"I do not mind working extra hours to benefit the organization. But additional responsibilities on my previous job take a toll on my mental health, and due to that, I couldn't follow through on my original commitments efficiently.

It's vital that my organization values my ownership of the works and provides me the flexibility to maintain a healthy work-life balance. "

You had your personal commitments

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Any number of personal matters can let you leave your job. Maybe you had to shift to another city; maybe your parents got sick, perhaps you had an accident, maybe you have to take care of your kids. Whatever the case may be, all reasons are good reasons to leave a job. And hiring managers will not doubt your competency for that.

Here is an example answer:

"I left my job because I had to take care of my newborn son for a short period. Now that my parents are helping me with that, I find myself in a position where I can reenter the workforce."

You want to change your industry

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Gone are the days when employees worked in a single industry and probably in a single company throughout their whole career. Today, employees change industries to find new challenges in their work and to reinvent themselves. This is a reasonable reason to leave a job. However, your answer should focus on:

  • Why do you want to change
  • The shared skills you will bring to the new work
  • Your long term goal

Here is an example:

"I decided to leave my job as a software engineer because I found I'm really interested in video editing. I want to work in a creative field that brings stories to visual reality. With my job I also did video editing as a freelancer and have all the relevant experience needed for videography, which I believe will add to my role as a video editor."

Notice that the answer highlights the transferable skills that will benefit the new role.

How to answer "Why do you want to leave your current job?


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Answering this question might be tricky for you if you don't prepare well for it. We suggest you prepare your answer before your interview. Lets see how:

Identify the reasons for leaving job

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Take a piece of paper and write down:

  • All the reasons why you left your last job
  • Your values
  • Your career goals
  • What is your ideal work environment
  • What do you liked and disliked about your previous job
  • How was your relation with your coworkers
  • What are you looking for in your next job

Now, go through it a couple of times. And you will find some key reasons for leaving your job. You can give these reasons as your answer. However, try to provide a more professional than personal response.

Give positive answer

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You may have had negative experiences in your previous job, which led you to quit. However, you should never badmouth your previous employer in front of the interviewer. Instead, try to craft a positive answer focusing on your skills and achievements.

Employers love to see that you are a problem solver and know how to deal with difficult situations.
Example:

Wrong :

"I had a disagreement with my boss in my past job. I tried to resolve the problem by talking to him but in vain. That's why I left my job."

Right:

"In my last job, I learned a lot about scrum and learned how to handle difficult situations. Now, I'm looking for an organization where I can use all my skills and help grow the organization."

Be honest and refrain from giving too many details

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The more you will talk, the more you will spill unnecessary information. Although it is essential to give the interviewer a satisfactory answer, try to keep your response around two to three sentences and move your focus back to why you are the best candidate for the job.

You may didn't like your last job. And that's why you quit. There are multiple ways to say it to your interviewer without being disrespectful to your past job.

You always need to remember that we live in a small world, and you don't know who knows whom. Your interviewer may contact your previous employer to do a background check. So, you always need to be honest when you answer.

What not to say when you are asked this question, "why did you leave your last job?"


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Do not say anything negative about your last job

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You might have had a negative experience in your last job. But if you badmouth it to the interviewer, it may sound immature and unprofessional.

The truth is, most employees have faced similar situations at some point in their careers. And if you think that the interviewer will be sympathetic listening to your story, then you are wrong. Most hiring managers see it as complaining and may discard your candidature for the job.

Do not say too much

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In an interview, less is often more. The more you talk about your past company, the more chances you have of spilling unpleasant information to the potential employer.

Instead of talking about your last job, focus on why you want to join the potential employer's company, highlight your skills and make them understand why you are the best fit for the job.

Do not lie

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Interviewers are trained to understand behavioral cues. They will likely know if you are lying. And they can always have the option to do a background check to verify whether you are telling the truth or not.

So, do not try to cover up any fact by lying. If you are fired, or laid off, or left because of a salary cut, be honest with your interviewer.

Here are some examples of answers you should not say to your interviewer:

  • I did not like my previous boss
  • The work was boring
  • I could not cope up with toxic work culture
  • I hated my colleagues
  • My commute was too long
  • I had to work late-night
  • I did not get a raise in two years
  • I did not perform well in my last job
  • I didn't like my job
  • I took the job to save money for my startup
  • My values didn't align with my company mission
  • I got overwhelmed by too many responsibilities
  • I was constantly micromanaged

Interview question variations for reasons to leaving a job


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Before we learn how to prepare for the job interview question, ***let us see some of the ways interviewers can phrase the question "why did you leave your last job?***"

  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • Why are you looking for a new job?
  • Can you give us some reasons for leaving your job?
  • Why are you looking for a new job?
  • Why do you want to switch to another job?
  • Why do you want to change the company?
  • Why are you looking for a job change?
  • Why are you looking for a new opportunity now?
  • Give us three reasons for leaving your last job?

The interviewer might ask some direct questions as well:

  • Why do you have a career gap?
  • Why did you leave only after six months in your last job?
  • What did you dislike about your previous role?

How to prepare an acceptable answer for the question “Why do you want to leave your job?”


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Now that you understand what to say and what not to say when asked this question let us see some different scenarios with examples on preparing acceptable answers for leaving your last job.

When you are casually searching for jobs

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You might be in an excellent position to answer this question if you are already employed. However, the interviewer will always want to know why you are thinking about leaving your job.

You can answer the question differently. But do not try to go overboard or try to lie to impress the interviewer.

You can certainly talk about some negative reasons, if there are any, such as there is a rumor of massive layoff in your company or there is a structural change happening in your organization, and your department is shutting down.

If the reasons are solid, you can certainly talk about it in the interview. But always try to emphasize the potential job, what you like about it, and how it can grow your career.
Here are some examples of answers to the question: "why do you want to leave your current job?"

Example 1:

"I have been working with the xxx organization for the last three years and learned a lot from the amazing team I work with. I worked my way up to the senior product manager position and increased our sales by 27% YoY in the last year. However, right now, I feel that I need some more challenges in my job. And this role in the xxx company felt like the perfect opportunity for me because it would allow me to manage multiple projects and work with a diverse team."
Note:

  • Notice the answer highlighted that the candidate got promoted in his job
  • It addresses the accomplishment of the candidate in his last job
  • It gives a positive reason for looking for a new job

Example 2:

"I loved working with the xxx organization. I have successfully led the content team and increased organic traffic by 130% in the last five years. But right now, I feel the time for change has come. My organization is going through some restructuring, and a lot of projects are on hold.

Also, I've been looking to work with a bigger organization where I can use my skills on a grand scale and have many growth opportunities. And I feel this position is the perfect fit because of my experience in leading a content team and content marketing."

Note:

  • Notice that the answer highlights the candidate's achievements
  • Also, it addressed that the company's internal turmoil in a positive way
  • It also an emphasis on the candidate's interest in the job position he's applying for

When you got laid off

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Answering the question "why did you leave your last job?" becomes difficult if you were laid off from your last job. But, maybe the only positive thing about layoffs is they are unrelated to performance.

Companies make layoffs when they merge, restructure or lose business. It has nothing to do with your performance. And the good thing is, most interviewers do not judge employees because they were laid off if they can give satisfactory reasons.

So, make sure to give an excellent answer to the question, "why did you leave your last job?"

Here are things you should say:

  • Mention why you got laid off
  • Mention if other people got laid off too
  • Emphasis on your performance before lay off
  • Explain why do you think this open position is a good fit for you

Example :

"I worked with the xxx company for seven months when the company lost its biggest client. As a result, they had to eliminate some junior positions. I was one of them as I had a senior counterpart in the company.

In my time at xxx company, I learned to make animated videos and learned animation software such as Blender, After Effect, Cinema 4D, etc. And, I feel that my skills will be a good fit for the open position in your organization."

Note:

  • The answer shows that the lay off was not the candidate's fault
  • It focused on the skills and tools he learned on the job

When you get fired

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If you were fired from your last job, then it will be difficult to answer the question, "why did you leave your last job?"

However, one thing for sure, you definitely should not lie to the interviewer. Instead:

  • Try to frame your answer in a diplomatic way
  • Focus on the things you learned from this experience
  • Focus on what actions you took to improve yourself
  • Mention if there were any expectations changes for your role due to change of management or change in business strategy
    The goal should be to convince the interviewer that you are not a risky employee.

Example:

"After some change in business strategy, the expectations from my role did not match my strengths. Ultimately my manager decided to hire somebody more suited to the new responsibilities. As I reflect on that, I realize I could have done things differently.

However, this experience taught me that my expertise lies in project management, and I can efficiently use my skills in this open role in your organization. Do you want to know more about my experience in project management?"

Note:

  • The answer is diplomatic. It also doesn't badmouth the past employer.
  • The candidate accepts his faults
  • The candidate focuses on his strength in project management.

When you have a career gap of more than six months

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It is a fact that interviewers do not prefer to hire unemployed candidates. Things are worse when the candidate is unemployed for more than six months.

However, since the interviewer is considering your resume, it means half the battle is won. You just need to convince the interviewer why you had a career gap and why you will be a good fit for the role. Here's how you can answer the question:

  • Give an appropriate reason for not coming into the workforce
  • Focus on any work you had done when you were unemployed
  • Move your focus back to why you will be the right fit for the job

Here is an example:

"I left my job six years ago because I wanted to start a family and raise my daughter. During these five years, I also worked as a freelance content strategist for small businesses. I also ran a small coaching business. This experience taught me a lot about online marketing, sales, and customer service. I also produce videos for my own youtube channel.

And I believe my online marketing and video production skills will be a valuable asset to your company. "

Note:

  • Notice that the candidate gives an appropriate reason for leaving the workforce
  • It also addresses her achievements during unemployment
  • The answer emphasizes the critical skills of the candidate and shows why she will be the best candidate for this job

Preparation is the Key

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Whatever your reason is, you need to prepare and practice your answer before going on an interview. Otherwise, you will come across as unconfident or shady even though you are telling the truth.

Hiration Interview Prep

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Practice with Hiration interview preparation and perfect your answer and boost your confidence.

You can make use of the following features from the Hiration's Interview Preparation:

  • Database of 20,000 interview questions and sample answers
  • An overview/objective of each question
  • Know what the interviewer is expecting
  • Easy search for job interview questions and answers
  • Job interview Questions and Answers for 150 work profiles
  • Search for key strengths,specific questions, focus areas, and more
  • Link to additional information for specific job and question

Key Takeaways

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With that, we have come to the end of this blog. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Do not lie to the interviewer about your reason to leave your last job
  • Always prepare your answer before going to the interview
  • Avoid badmouthing your previous employer in front of the interviewer
  • Emphasis on your skills when your answer the question
  • Avoid being negative or victimizing yourself
  • Try to have a good relationship with your past employer

Now you know everything about how to answer the question, "why do you want to leave your job?" Now it's time to go to Hiration Online Resume Builder and build the perfect resume to get the interview you have been waiting for.

If you want our help, reach out to [email protected], and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

How to Explain Your Reasons for Leaving a Job

You’re leaving your job for a reason. But you should really try your best to refrain from being negative. Focus on what you have to look forward to, not what you’re leaving behind. To give you an idea of what I mean, here are four fairly blunt reasons why you might be job searching, and how to translate them into tactful responses.

Hiring managers are just people, and people are naturally curious. That means at some point during the interview process, you’re going to get the question, “So, why are you leaving your current job?”

Obviously, you want to be honest in an interview. You’re leaving your job for a reason. But you should really try your best to refrain from being negative. Focus on what you have to look forward to, not what you’re leaving behind. To give you an idea of what I mean, here are four fairly blunt reasons why you might be job searching, and how to translate them into tactful responses.

1. You Want to Make More Money

Who doesn’t wish they were paid more? It’s a completely normal thing, but perhaps not the best to bring up during an interview —at least not until the hiring manager is more invested in you.

Here’s what to say instead:

During my three years at LBD, I had the opportunity to really develop a strong skill set in data analysis, quantitative reasoning, and programming. And, while it was a great learning experience and I enjoyed contributing to the team, I’m ready to join a company that values my skills and allows me to use them more fully.

2. Your Boss Is a Jerk

There’s no other way to put it: You have a bad boss. Mention briefly and neutrally that you two are on separate tracks and move on. Wrap it up with something positive about the company.

Here’s how to phrase it:

I realized the leadership of my team was going in a different direction, and I’m interested in working in a more collaborative environment. It was a hard decision to make because I love the mission of the company, but I ultimately think this is the right choice.

3. You Want to Get Promoted

This is probably the tamest reason to be job searching. In fact, even the blunt version is more or less fine. But, if you want to go into a bit more detail, you can definitely put a positive spin on the answer.

Here’s how to say it:

I’m ready for the next challenge in my career. I loved the people I worked with and the projects I worked on, but at some point I realized I wasn’t being challenged the way I used to be. Rather than let myself get too comfortable, I decided to pursue a position where I can continue to grow.

4. Your Job Is Just Generally Crappy

Sugarcoat a turd, and it’s still a turd. Rather than try to make your job sound less awful than it is, focus instead on the one or two things that drew you to that position, how it was ultimately a bad fit, and what you look forward to in a new role.

Here’s how to put it politely:

I was really excited to start in a role that worked so closely with local wildlife and contributed to such a meaningful cause. I think, because of that, I neglected to learn more about the actual ins and outs of the company. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t a good cultural fit. Since then I’ve been seeking a role in a company that values transparency, one where I can continue to make an impact.

Notice how all of these responses have at least one thing that’s positive about the interviewee’s previous role? You don’t get any points for recounting each and every flaw of your last supervisor. Your best bet is to take the high road and look to the future.

Reasons for Leaving a Job (Interview Question Answer)

24-03-2017 · Victimizing yourself. Sounding wishy-washy or flakey. For those of you who are making a life or career change, you have nothing to fear. That’s where you’ll focus in your “why did you leave your last job” answer. For those of you making large career changes, you …

24-03-2017

Why did you leave your last job?

What are your reasons for leaving your current job?

You will always get this question, and it’s a hard one. What if you did get fired and it was ugly? Do you tell the ugly truth? 

Not to worry. There is a way to answer this common interview question well. And that’s without blowing your chances at landing your dream job.

One of our users, Nikos, had this to say:

[I used] a nice template I found on Zety. My resume is now one page long, not three. With the same stuff.

You also may like to see these guides to be more prepared for difficult situations:

Before we dig deeper, here's a quick overview of reasons you can mention when asked the "why did you leave your last job" interview question.

Perfectly Acceptable Reasons for Leaving a Job:

  • You wanted to switch to another industry.
  • The company you worked for didn't offer enough professional development opportunities.
  • You wanted an increase in pay.
  • The job turned out different from its original description.
  • The company went out of business.
  • You wanted to pursue a new challenge.
  • Corporate layoffs left you out of job.
  • You decided to move to a different city.
  • The job made it difficult for you to maintain a work-life balance.
  • You’ve maxed out your promotion possibilities.
  • You found a more exciting opportunity.
  • Family or personal reasons meant you had to leave a job.
  • You felt you haven’t been mentored.
  • You were fired or terminated.
  • You wanted a more flexible schedule.

1

What Are They Asking? - Why Interviewers Ask “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?” 

The most obvious reason for asking the “why did you leave your last job” interview question?

To find out if you’re a good employee or a bad employee. That’s because this is one of those tricky behavioral interview questions.

The employer is checking to see if you:

  • Have a good reason for leaving your job or jobs.
  • Are running away or pursuing a new opportunity.
  • Can leave situations on good terms with others.
  • Value work and have a sense of obligation.

Regardless of what may or may not be true, the right answer should always be a combo:

First, you’re moving on to a better opportunity. 

Second, you have no hard feelings against your former employer.

Third, you value work and have a sense of obligation.

Now, we’re not telling you to lie. 

You should never lie during an interview. But, you should refrain from the following:

  • Badmouthing a former employer - even if they deserve it.
  • Victimizing yourself.
  • Sounding wishy-washy or flakey.

For those of you who are making a life or career change, you have nothing to fear. That’s where you’ll focus in your “why did you leave your last job” answer.  

For those of you making large career changes, you may need to provide more of an explanation. For example, your reason for leaving a job can be transitioning from one industry to another.

Let’s say you’re going from marketing to construction. The interviewer is going to ask why you want to make such a big transition.

You’ll need to come up with clear and concise reasons for wanting to make the change. 

But for the rest of you, this question will be tough to answer.

The “why did you leave your last job” interview question is harder for:

  • The Career Changers
  • The Job Hoppers
  • The Long-term Unemployed

Regardless, there are best answers for every type of job seeker.

Here are some other ways that an interviewer might phrase the job interview question:

  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • Why are you looking for a new job?
  • Why are you looking for a new opportunity?

They may also ask more direct questions:

  • Why did you leave a particular job?
  • Can you explain your career gap?
  • Why did you leave after two days - weeks - months?
  • Why were you fired?

Pro Tip: Do you know the old saying, “less is more?” Well, that applies here. Keep your answer short, and don’t go into detail. And that’s especially true if the details are unflattering.

Want more best answers to common interview questions? We’ve got you covered. Read our guide: “Most Common Job Interview Questions and Best Answers ( 20 Examples)

2

How to Prepare Acceptable Reasons for Leaving Your Job

Let’s say that you haven’t quit your job yet. You were hanging out on LinkedIn one day and happened to see a fantastic job offer.  That makes you a “passive” job seeker.

Best Answers for The Passive Job Seeker

You’re an ideal candidate. You’re a good employee who sees the open position as a golden opportunity. One so good that you couldn’t pass it up even though you already have a job. 

That means two things:

  • You don’t have to think about what to say.
  • You don’t have to say anything other than the truth.

So what should your answer for the “why did you leave your last job” interview question be?

But how do you prepare an answer if you’re not working? The sad fact of the matter is that it’s easier for someone who already has a job to land another. 

So, in the end, a best answer for the “why did you leave your last job” depends on the length and reason of your unemployment.

You Got Laid Off

The one perk of getting laid off from a job? It didn’t have anything to do with your performance. Companies make layoffs all the time. They merge, reorganize, and lose money. 

All these things have nothing to do with you as an employee. The bad news is that you lost your job. The good news is that it wasn’t your fault. 

So when you provide a list of reasons for quitting a job, all you have to do is:

  • Briefly mention that you got laid off and why. 
  • If other people got laid off, say that as well.
  • Explain how you were a good employee.
  • Explain why you think the open position is an excellent opportunity.

The key is to practice your answer before the interview, so you don’t sound bitter or cynical.

You Got Fired

Here’s the real tough one. 

Why did you leave your last job? Well, I was fired.

And why were you fired? 

Let’s say it was the bad kind of fired. Here’s what you’ll need to do to explain why you left your last job:

  • Don’t lie or avoid the question. 
  • Speak about what happened in as diplomatic terms as possible. 
  • Add what you learned from the experience. 
  • Assure the interviewer that you are not a risky candidate. 

The key is to stay calm and be diplomatic. Also, remember that your new employer might check your answer. You don’t want to get terminated again for lying on an application. 

You’ve Been Unemployed (More than 6 Months)

When you’re unemployed for longer than six months, you’re in a spot of trouble. Around two million individuals are “long-term unemployed” in the US. 

And the longer you’re out of a job, the more unattractive you are for hiring managers. The unemployment merry-go-round is one of those weird, Catch 22 biases that a lot of people have to face. 

Here’s the good news - you’re going to the interview! That means you’ve won half the uphill battle. Now, you have to convince the interviewer that you’re not a risky candidate. That your time spent unemployed has nothing to do with you as an employee. 

Here’s what you’ll need to do to explain why it was so long ago that you left your last job:

  • Avoid lying and victimizing yourself. 
  • Focus on the productive things you did while unemployed.
  • Then swing the conversation back around to why you’re right for the job.

You can always invoke the “bad economy” argument. 

Why did you leave your last job?” Layoffs. “Why the gap of unemployment?” No one is hiring. People understand that it’s hard to find employment in the current economy.

why did you leave your last job interview question

You’re a Career Changer

Let’s say you left your last job because you want to change your career. That could include a change of industry, role, or job.

Changing Industries

For example, let’s say you’re a Sales Associate. You want to sell clothes instead of carpets. You’re core skill set still comes into play. You’re still selling something, so you have to explain that you’re a great salesperson. 

Explain why you want to change.

Focus on the progress you want to make with your career.

Concentrate on the shared skill set.

Changing Roles

Let’s say you’re a Senior Sales Associate who wants to go back to being a Junior Sales Associate - a role changer. You’ll have to explain why you want to move backward. And you’ll have to explain that it’s not a problem that you’re overqualified.

  • Explain why you want a change - i.e., a better work-life balance.
  • Reassure the interviewer that being overqualified is not a risk.

Changing Jobs

Now, let’s say that you’re a Sales Associate who wants to be a beekeeper. An extreme career change is going to be the hardest to explain. 

Your love of bees is not the best “why did you leave your last job” answer. You have to convince the interviewer that you know what you’re doing and that you’re qualified for the position.

  • Explain why you want the change.
  • Explain why your skill set still matches the job requirements.

The good news is that you have the one of the best reasons for leaving a job. The bad news is that it might be difficult to sell yourself in extreme circumstances. But if you prepare in advance, you should be convincing. 

You’re a Chronic Job Hopper 

Chronic job hopping is leaving employment after short periods of time. And no, it’s not only a Millennial thing. 

If you’re a job hopper, you may have to talk about several jobs instead of answering “why did you leave your last job.” 

If you’ve spent less than a year at a job, the interviewer is going to ask about it. 

Let’s say you’ve done that several times. Well, that raises red flags for future employers. How do they know that you’re going to stay?

You’re not only a warm body that’s going to fill an empty chair. No, you’re an investment. 

Acording to our HR statistics report, it can cost an employer from six to nine months of your salary to find and train your replacement. So, your job is to convince the interviewer that you’re either not risky or worth the risk. 

So, here’s what you have to do to provide the best answer:

  • Try to focus on the fact that you felt every change was positive for your career.
  • Then explain that you’re either a pro at what you do or that the open position is your dream job.

Pro Tip: If you’re a stay-at-home parent who took time off to raise children - say that! The same applies for those taking care of ailing family members.

The six-year gap you see on my resume was the time I took off from my career to raise my daughter. Now, she’s starting kindergarten, and I’m ready to go back to work. 

That’s a full-time job! And hiring managers aren’t going to look down on you for that. 

Plus, don’t forget to mention the many productive things you did during that time. Whether it’s the PTA, volunteer work, or freelance work all those things take skills and hard work. So mention them!

Struggling to answer those tough behavioral interview questions? Check out our guide on the STAR interview method or view all our helpful interviewing tips.

You can also bring up your hobbies and interests at an interview. It’s a good way to break the ice. Find out more: “ 20 Best Examples of Hobbies & Interests to Put on a Resume (5 Tips)

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.

Create the perfect resume

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

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Best Answers for the “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job” Interview Questions

Laid Off  - The Best “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job” Answer

Fired or Terminated  - The Best “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job” Answer

Unemployed (More than 6 Months) - The Best “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job” Answer

Career Changer - The Best “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job” Answer

Chronic Job Hopper - The Best “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job” Answer

Now that you’ve aced your interview, what’s next? Time to send a thank you email to the interviewer. Here’s how: “How to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview( 10 Examples)

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:

matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaway

Yes, the “why did you leave your last job” interview question is tricky.

The solution?

  • Practice, practice, practice. Know what you’re going to say before your interview. Preparation is the key to talking through even the worst reasons for leaving your job. 
  • Avoid lying and victimizing yourself, instead focusing on the productive things you did while unemployed.
  • Then swing the conversation back around to why you’re right for the job.

Still not sure how to tell an interviewer your reasons for quitting a job? We can help! Leave us a comment, and we will help you find an appropriate way to talk about your last job before you land your new one. 

topresume.com

The “why did you leave your last job?” question could come in several different formats. Here are three versions that are most common: “Why are you looking for a new job now?” This question typically gets asked when you're employed while looking for a new opportunity. “Why did you leave your last job?” It's logical for the hiring ...

“Because my boss was a short-sighted sociopath!” might need a little work.

“Why did you leave your last job?” Everyone knows to expect that question in an interview. However, getting to a good answer can be tricky, especially if the circumstances weren't rosy. Candidates tend to worry about saying the wrong thing. If you share that you left for a promotion elsewhere, will the potential employer think you're greedy with a big ego? If you say that your style didn't mesh with your boss, will the hiring manager judge you as being difficult to work with? And this doesn't even include getting fired!

So, let's dive into this important topic. The truth is that everyone needs to be prepared to answer an interview question about leaving their past jobs (unless you are looking for your first job).

The “why did you leave your last job?” question could come in several different formats. Here are three versions that are most common:

  • “Why are you looking for a new job now?” This question typically gets asked when you're employed while looking for a new opportunity.

  • “Why did you leave your last job?” It's logical for the hiring manager to focus on your most recent job experience.

  • “Why did you leave job X?” Sometimes, an earlier job departure might catch the hiring manager's attention. This is especially true if you had an unusually short stint there.

So, look at your resume carefully and prepare for all question variants that may apply.

Related: How to Explain Why You've Been Job Hopping

Why are they asking these questions?

The best place to begin your prep is by understanding what makes “Why did you leave your last job?” an important question. Time in an interview is always too short, which means an experienced hiring manager or HR professional doesn't waste a single minute on things that don't matter.

There are three big reasons why hiring managers need to understand why you left your last job:

  1. To evaluate your reasons for leaving. Professionals change jobs; there's nothing inherently wrong in that. The secret sauce is in how and why they do it. Did you just wake up one morning and decide you were done? Was the reason “reasonable”? What does it say about your values? Sure, the hiring manager wants to know what happened, but the real opportunity here is in getting insight into who you are as a person and as a professional.

  2. To establish whether you made the decision to leave — or were let go. If you were laid off, the hiring manager or interviewer needs to understand whether the reason was related to performance or integrity. They are also trying to gauge your attitude. Can you take responsibility for your side of what happened, or will you put all the blame on the employer?

  3. Did you leave on good terms? Your ability to build and keep relationships says a lot about your diplomatic intelligence. So, if your former boss is your champion and a prominent reference, your candidacy automatically gets a boost.  

What does it look like in real life?

Not every job departure is created equal. Without a doubt, some situations are trickier than others. Here are a few scenarios, ranked from ideal and straightforward to very complicated.

Ideal scenario: Looking for a job while still employed

Ironically, being employed and not needing a job is the strongest position from which one could look for a job. The fact that your current employer values you enough to keep you on staff sends a strong signal to your new potential employer. Plus, you have more room for negotiating, thanks to the luxury of time and a stable paycheck to fall back on.

Related: 10 Tips on Effectively Looking for a Job While Employed

Still, it's possible to mess up your answer to “Why are you looking for a job now?” Framed incorrectly, your response could be judged unfavorably. Are you greedy and willing to jump ship for a pay raise? Are you unwilling to put in the hours that your current job requires?

Here are some response options that put you in the best light:

  • “I've learned a lot in my current position, including valuable communication and conflict management skills. I'd like for my next opportunity to give me a chance to build on my leadership skills.” 

  • “I know that I do my best work when I can balance my work and personal responsibilities. I take my workplace commitments very seriously and want to work for a company that allows me to plan my days for highest efficiency and effectiveness.”

  • “I love my current role and my boss, but the company structure just doesn't allow me to take on new responsibilities.”

What about looking for a higher paycheck? It's a valid and good reason but tread carefully. Here's a way to frame this reason if it must be addressed head-on: 

  • “I am motivated by many factors. Client satisfaction and approval from my boss are two of them. Compensation is also important because it's a reflection of the value I deliver to the company and its clients. I appreciate the opportunity to do my best work and to celebrate the moments when I've surpassed my goals.”

Slightly more complicated: You left your last job

Sometimes, you leave a job without another place to land, putting you in an interesting position. On the one hand, you chose to leave a previous job that wasn't working for you, which positions you as an ambitious go-getter. On the other hand, you don't have a stable paycheck or implicit validation of a current employer.

If this is your situation, explain your reason for leaving clearly. Here's what it might sound like:

  • “I loved my experience at Company X. I learned a lot about client service, technical aspects of accounting, and process improvement. I miss my co-workers and my bosses, especially Mike who was my mentor and senior manager on the last project. However, I left my last job because I knew that I wanted to step out of the consulting role and get a chance to improve processes from within a company. That opportunity just didn't exist within Company X. I also knew that the firm was heading into busy season. It wouldn't be fair for me to make myself available, then quit the moment I found my next job. So, I chose to leave before that happened.”

Focus on what you have accomplished while in your last position, as well as your goals for the next position. If you've been in-between jobs for a few months, be prepared to demonstrate how you've used that time productively by pursuing professional training, networking, volunteering, etc.

Tricky: You were laid off

People get laid off for a host of reasons. Here's a short list: an economic downturn, downsizing, the company losing a key client or contract, restructuring, a merger or acquisition, etc. None of those reasons have to do with your performance or value as a professional, and hiring managers understand that. In fact, they may even be sympathetic, especially if they've had to let go of valuable team players in the past.

Your strategy should be to make the reason for your layoff clear. Emphasize your accomplishments and contributions to the company. Be truthful but skip anything that makes your look vengeful, unprofessional, dishonest, or unmotivated. Here's an example to get you started:

  • “Unfortunately, I was affected by the corporate restructuring that happened after Company A was acquired by Company B. The new leadership decided to relocate all the technical support staff to the new corporate headquarters in Charlotte, NC. Those who didn't want to move were laid off. I considered my options and decided to look for a local opportunity that could take advantage of my 10 years of experience as a team lead and an expert in XYZ technology.”

It's complicated: You were fired

Take a deep breath — getting fired from a job happens. It's not a death sentence. Sometimes there's been a miscommunication, like when your manager had a different understanding of your responsibilities. Sometimes, the job, the team, or the boss just wasn't the right fit for you. Mention any extenuating circumstances but own your part of what happened. Be sure to focus on the positives that came out of this tough situation. Did you discover a need to align with your core strengths, learn a valuable lesson, or uncover a skill gap that you've since fixed?

Here's what it might sound like:

  • “In retrospect, I understand that the head of my department had different expectations of me than what had been communicated in the job description. I thought my job was to provide exceptional service to the existing clients of the company. My manager expected me to go out and bring in new clients. As I reflect on the experience, I see that I was a strong service provider. Client retention during my time at Company ABC was excellent! The only clients we've lost were the ones who passed away. However, I am not a salesperson, and I want for my next position to capitalize on my strengths as a relationship builder and a problem solver.”

Related: How to Explain Being Fired During an Interview

Your prep strategy: get clear, factual, and brief

What do those answers have in common? They all require you to prepare. Here are the three steps to craft the best possible response to “Why did you leave your last job?”

Step 1: Be clear on your version of the events

Process what happened and get honest with yourself. Why did you leave? Why did the layoffs affect you, not others on your team? Why were you fired? Your early answers will be raw and not ready for prime time. Still, take note of them because they carry the truth.

Next, it's a good idea to think about what you've learned about yourself in the process. What's most important about a position to you? What do you need in your next job? What did you like the most about your last job, and what did you dread? How would you describe your relationship with your co-workers and boss, and how would you want it to be different next time?

Step 2: It's time to frame your answer

This next part is critical: Avoid bad-mouthing your former employer or boss. Even if you feel that you were underpaid, overworked, or not given fair opportunities, you must stick to the facts and do your best to make your explanations positive. Every coin has two sides, and every professional has a hand in what happens to them. Own your part, frame it in a positive light, and shift the conversation towards your value.

Step 3: Keep your answers short

Candidates can dig themselves into a hole by sharing too much. Sometimes, full disclosure with no filter isn't your best strategy. So, keep your answer short, pause, and wait for the follow-up. You can always go into more detail if needed, but you can't take back something you've already said. Frame your answers with gratitude for the opportunities you've had and with excitement for what's next, and your prospective employer will see your true value — not just a series of past positions.

Feel like your job interviews are not going the way you want them to? A TopInterview professional coach could help you figure it out!

Recommended Reading:

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How to Explain Why You Left a Toxic Work Environment

Explaining why you left a previous employer in your interview is never easy, and there are a lot of traps you can fall into that can cost you your next job.. This article is going to walk you through how to safely explain your reasons for leaving an unpleasant company without …

Walk

Explaining why you left a previous employer in your interview is never easy, and there are a lot of traps you can fall into that can cost you your next job.

This article is going to walk you through how to safely explain your reasons for leaving an unpleasant company without hurting your chances of getting that next job.

1. Don’t Badmouth

You may have had a really bad work situation, but if you talk a lot about a terrible circumstance, you’re only going to make the interviewer wonder whether you were part of the problem.

It’s nothing personal. It’s human nature to want to know the other side of the story. The safest bet is to avoid talking about how horrible things were and to never badmouth your former company or boss.

What should you do instead then?

2. Turn It Into a Positive

It’s okay to briefly mention the problem and the reason you needed to leave – without speaking too negatively. But then, you should turn it into a positive situation and frame the conversation around what you gained by leaving.

Let’s say your boss was unsupportive, and you felt that was destroying your career. You could say that you didn’t feel supported by your boss and others in your organization felt the same, so you decided to find a company with a stronger leadership team that would help you take your career further.

Rather than stopping at the problem, talk about what you decided to look for next in your career. It will make it sound like you’re striving to improve yourself, which is always a good thing.

The example above did one more great thing, too – it provided social proof. You didn’t just say that you felt your boss was lacking; you mentioned that other people felt the same way. This is a good way to show the interviewer you weren’t the problem. Be prepared to face follow-up questions if you use this strategy, including questions about why your colleagues felt that way.

3. Reiterate Why You’re Interested in Their Company

The interview is about your prospective employer’s job above all else, so focus the conversation on that. With the example above, you could say that strong leadership is still important to you and one of your priorities in your current job search. Then, ask the interviewer what types of things management does in their company to help employees grow and improve. (In fact, that’s one of the best questions to ask in any interview.)

Here’s a Full Example Answer:

Based on the above, we can formulate a full example answer:

Question: “Why did you leave your previous job so quickly after joining?”

Answer: “After joining the company, I did not feel my career was advancing as I hoped it would. My boss wasn’t very supportive compared to previous bosses I’ve had, and others on my team felt the same. I decided to take action and left the company to find a work environment that would support my growth and provide the next step in my career. Working for great leadership is still very important to me. Can you tell me about what management in your company does to help its employees grow and improve?”

If you follow the steps above, you’ll be able to craft a great answer that avoids many of the common mistakes that other people make, such as badmouthing too much or giving a long-winded answer. You’ll also end your answer perfectly, by turning the focus of the conversation back onto your new employer!

Biron Clark is an executive recruiter, career coach, and founder of careersidekick.com.

How to answer “Why did you leave your last job?” · Resume.io

02-12-2021 · Lack of professional development is one of the most common reasons for leaving a job, but you need to be careful to prove that you were worth investing in. Convince your next employer that supporting you will be worthwhile. Why did you leave your last job?

02-12-2021

“Why did you leave your last job?” is a classic interview question that should be answered carefully. A prudent response can help you win over the employer and put you on the path to landing the position.

Interviewers love questions that make a candidate squirm in their seats. Sure, they want to offer you a stage to perform, but if they do not also probe your weak spots, they leave themselves open to issues in the future. 

You won't want to be exploring your reasons for leaving a job for long.

“Why did you leave your last job?” is a terrifying question that can make even the most confident candidate gulp and consider how they frame their answer. There may be many valid reasons for leaving a job, so which ones do you choose to talk about?

In this blog, we explore the nuances of the question, how to structure your reasons for leaving a job and the most common reasons for leaving a role with some real-life examples. We consider:

  • What are interviewers really looking for when they ask this question?
  • 5 steps to frame an ideal response to “why did you leave your last job?”
  • Top nine reasons for leaving a job with examples and advice
  • What not to say when you are answering the question
  • How to prepare for follow up questions

Exploring your motivations for leaving your previous roles can be an incredibly useful exercise. As you seek to find your ideal next move it is useful to consider what was less than ideal about your previous roles. Try to avoid a workplace environment where similar issues may come about. Considering previous reasons for leaving a job is a question of risk management for both candidate and employer.

Expert tip

Prepare your answers in advance for each job that you have left. Interview preparation is sometimes difficult as you do not know which questions will be asked, but you can be sure that this question will come up. Think about some credible (and varied) reasons for leaving each of your previous roles. It is important that there does not seem like there is a pattern of behavior which may be repeated.

What are interviewers really asking when they say “Why did you leave your last job?”

An interview is as much an exercise in risk mitigation as it is in exploring potential. You might be the most talented programmer in the industry, but if you have left roles in the past and not gone on to something significantly better, interviewers will want to know why.

If you left a job for a certain reason, what would stop you from doing it again? Behaviors tend to echo, and interviewers want to understand your motivations both from a positive and a negative point of view. It costs a great deal to hire an employee, so the likelihood of retaining talent is at the top of an interviewers list.

Of course, people do leave jobs for plenty of good reasons, but it is important that you articulate these reasons for leaving a job as well as possible. In the stress of an interview, it is all too easy to blurt out a quick explanation without fully explaining yourself. You might think that moving on swiftly is a better option than dwelling on these matters, but this is an area where you should leave no doubt in an interviewer’s mind.

This is one of the questions where an interviewer needs to be fully satisfied.

So, how do you respond to “Why did you leave your last job?”

Expert tip

Make sure that you avoid portraying yourself as a victim. Your future employer wants to hire someone who is in charge of their own destiny. You can choose to actively leave a job because of a positive choice, or you can be forced into it passively by something that is out of your control. Portraying yourself with your reasons for leaving a job as a victim of circumstance (no matter how true it might be) is not a good look. Try to find more proactive reasons for leaving if you possibly can.

Related article

The definitive interview guide

Interviewing is stressful. Preparation and practice are the best ways to get yourself ready for the big day. Here is everything you need to consider before walking into that interview to help give you the best chance of getting a positive result.

5 steps to frame an ideal response

Whatever reason for leaving your job you choose to give, there are steps that you need to take to give a satisfactory response. When you are preparing your answers, try to include these five considerations:

1. Ensure that your reasons are appropriate and clear.

Any responsible employee is loyal to their employers and would only leave when the reason is justified. When answering the “why did you leave your last job?” question, avoid reeling off a long list of reasons for leaving the job. Choose one or two and explain them with brief details.

2. Leave no doubt that you are serious about your work.

If you are a chronic job hopper who has no real direction in their careers, leaving a job won’t be a big deal. You have done it so many times in the past, after all. If you are strategic and serious about building a career, every reason for leaving a job should make sense in the context of your longer-term ambitions. We all have different priorities – what are yours?

3. Frame the discussion positively and be as honest as possible.

Whether you are looking for more responsibilities, a career switch , a better relationship with a boss or a better match for your values, there are plenty of positive reasons to look for a new job. Try to steer the conversation towards these reasons, but don’t swerve being honest. Negative situations are incredibly common, and it is acceptable to acknowledge them too.

4. Be clear about how your next job needs to be different.

When answering your reasons for leaving a job, you need to identify them and show that you do not anticipate them occurring in the next job. It is somewhat sadistic to subject yourself to the same unacceptable environment, so share your thoughts on why you do not think that a similar thing will happen again. Put your future employer’s mind at rest.

5. Don’t go into too much detail unless it is requested.

While you need to give the above reassurances, 30 seconds of explanation is more than enough. Ideally you should answer the question comprehensively to allow the interviewer to move on to move positive territory. They may well want to explore your reasons for leaving the job further, in which case you should answer as comprehensively as possible, but ideally answer well and move on.

Related article

12 things you should say during a job interview

Preparation is key for any succesful job interview. These top 12 expert phrases will make sure you're the candidate that really stands out from the crowd!

Expert tip

Expect the question. Any well-prepared candidate will expect this question, so while you shouldn’t launch into an immaculately prepared response (which might seem unnatural), don’t let the question phase you. Don’t go into an interview hoping that it won’t be asked. It is one of the most revealing interview questions out there. 

Blog - Why did you leave your last job - Top 9 reasons for leaving you job
Top 9 reasons for leaving you job

The top 9 reasons for leaving your job sample answers and practical advice

You may have many reasons for leaving your role, but which are most suitable to share and what are your justifications? Here are a few of the most common reasons with some interview examples that you can adapt for any future employer.

Lack of professional development

No matter how many online training courses you take outside of work, if your employer does not give you the opportunity to practice your new skills , you will not achieve any sort of mastery. Sadly, some employers simply want their people to do a job, no more and no less, but many of us want more than that. 

Lack of professional development is one of the most common reasons for leaving a job, but you need to be careful to prove that you were worth investing in. Convince your next employer that supporting you will be worthwhile.

Related article

5 interview skills that will get you hired in 2022

You're meeting with someone who is judging you. Judging your character, your work ethic. Here are 5 interview skills that will get you hired in 2022.

Change to another industry sector

Staying in the same job function (marketing, sales, operations) but moving to a different industry is a common reason for a move. If you share this motivation, you need to make sure that your future employer is in the same sort of industry niche and would not seem like a backwards step. Focus on shared skills and how the move fits with your long-term plan.

Values no longer aligned with mission

If you don’t feel that your personal values are aligned with the company’s way of doing things, work can be a hard place to be. Of course, many of us have little choice but to put up with it, but if you can show that your values are important to you, then this is a reason for leaving the job that should be admired. Just be sure that the new employer’s stated values match the ones you prescribe – or you could find yourself in an awkward situation when the interview can’t relate.

Seeking better benefits & compensation

Financial situations differ from company to company and if your remuneration package does not reflect the value that you bring, it is entirely understandable to look for an employer who can pay you what you are worth. Only use this reason for leaving the job if you can prove that you did indeed get a significant raise as a result of your move. Otherwise, it doesn’t quite ring true.

Job specification changed dramatically

Corporate priorities can change, so if you are hired for one thing and you end up doing something entirely different, it is understandable that you want to find a role that matches your interests. Make it clear that the change of role specification was not down to your lack of competence and show that you were flexible enough to give the new responsibilities a diligent attempt before you considered jumping ship. Sometimes you need to take one for the team, but certainly not indefinitely.

Wanted to change career paths

When you wish to change your career path (as opposed to changing industry but staying in the same career), it is harder to assure a future employer that this won’t happen again. If this change happened a decade ago and you want to remain in your current career, then it is fine. However, if it was a recent career change, then you will have to be particularly persuasive around how happy and successful you are in your career direction.

Related article

How to answer interview questions with the STAR method

Every interview answer needs a structure and the STAR method is a great way to prove competency. Here’s how to apply it in an interview and land your next position!

Family or personal reasons

Personal life needs to take priority over work at various points in our lives, often due to circumstances that are out of our control. A relative may have become ill, or there could have been an accident, or your childcare situation might have changed – among many other reasons. Your competency will not be called into question with such reasons for leaving a job and if they can genuinely be viewed as one-off occurrences, your chances of being hired won’t be affected. Relocation to a new city or country falls under the extenuating circumstances category.

No promotion opportunities

It may be that your boss has been in the job for ten years and is likely to stay for another ten. There is no shame in outgrowing your role. If you can demonstrate that your achievements warranted a promotion, moving companies is the only logical step of a confident and ambitious employee. It is up to your future employer to ensure that your career can grow along with your development. Sadly, it is a common reason for leaving a role.

Company went out of business

When you work with small businesses and start-ups, this reason is an occupational hazard. If this happened, it is important to show that you did not play a major part in this business failure. Taking about any sort of previous failure is dangerous ground in an interview – your future employer wants to hire successful high-fliers. If your company folded and had to fire everyone, you have no choice but to state it as a fact. Hopefully, this only happened once.

Expert tip

What do you say in an interview if you were fired from your last job? There is always a certain degree of creative licence when giving your reasons for leaving, but if you were fired and that is likely to be included on your reference , then you should not leave it out of the conversation. Share the reason why you lost the role and try to find a positive spin on the situation. Being fired is more common than you think, and it doesn’t always mean that you aren’t good at your job

Blog - Why did you leave your last job - What not to say when you are answering this question
What not to say when you are answering this question

What not to say when you are giving reasons for leaving a job

While you probably have plenty to say about the emotionally charged reasons for leaving a job (we understand that it still hurts), there are plenty of things that you would be well advised to avoid saying . Here’s what to watch out for:

Don’t say anything negative about your previous role.

It is perfectly possible to mention why you left without a negative slant on the situation. Being a professional often entails leaving emotions at the door, so no matter how much a certain situation hurts, try to focus on the facts of the matter. Your future employer will be able to read between the lines and they will be impressed by your restraint. In any case, no one wants to work with someone who has a negative attitude

Never consider bending the truth – they will be able to tell.

Lying is a slippery slope. If an interviewer senses that something doesn’t quite add up – it is often visible in your body language – they will ask questions. At this point, you either lie some more or you swiftly change your story. Either option will mean that you don’t get the job. Trustworthiness is one of the most basic human qualities, so if you can’t be honest in an interview, who knows what other demons lurk within. You can certainly choose not to say certain things, but whatever comes out of your mouth has to be truthful.

Make sure that you give a reason – but not more than two.

There is always a reason for life-changing moves like leaving a job. Whether the reason initiated from you or someone else, you need to look back and explore the background scenery that accompanied the move. Don’t go into too much detail in terms of your reasons for leaving a job and certainly don’t give more than two reasons, but by the end of your explanation the interviewer should get nodding their head in understanding (and sometimes sympathy).

Avoid saying anything that casts doubt on your future performance.

There are certain reasons that you can give which might serve to make an interviewer think that they could impact on your future performance. For example, losing a job is common, but try to share reasons that are not performance related. If you were looking for a promotion that didn’t come, highlight that the reasons for leaving your role were organizational. If you are changing careers, make it crystal clear why this new career is for you.

Expert tip

How do you prepare for follow up questions? Juicy questions such as “why did you leave your last job” will likely be the start of a mini conversation. Very few interviewers will nod and move on after your initial answer. You need to think through the possible questions that may come after your answer and prepare some authentic and believable responses. If you remain honest, humble and positive you won’t have too many problems.

Related article

Why do you want to work here? Bad & good answers to this tough interview question

“Why do you want to work here?” This is a question often asked in job interviews — and if you’re not prepared for it, finding a good answer can be harder than you think.

Key takeaways

  • “Why did you leave your job?” can apply to any of your previous roles and your answer can reveal all sorts of motivations that your everyday work life cannot.
  • Frame your responses carefully and consider the reasons for leaving a job that you wish to share in advance.
  • Develop responses that are positive signs for the role that you wish to secure.
  • There is no need to overshare. Answer succinctly and be ready for follow-ups.
The Problem With (And Solution To) Leaving Your 401(k ...

23-10-2019 · Your former employer might have changes of its own. As time goes by, and you move further from that firm, it only gets harder to reclaim your retirement assets. “The old …

23-10-2019

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There should be a “Leave No 401(k) Behind Law.” Too many people forget to take their retirement savings with them when they clean out their desks at their old employer. Why is this so pandemic and what should you do to inoculate yourself from this potentially debilitating financial disease?

There’s a trend permeating throughout the retirement plan industry right now. Have you heard of it? It’s called “set-it-and-forget-it.” It’s generally credited with encouraging more people to save more for retirement.

That’s a good thing.

On the other hand, this same philosophy may also be responsible for people having less interest and even less awareness of their own retirement nest egg.

That’s a bad thing.

“The biggest problem with the way people treat their 401(k) retirement savings accounts with former employers is that they ignore them altogether,” says Laura Davis, a Financial Planner at Cuthbert Financial Guidance in Decatur, Georgia.

This isn’t a temporary problem. It’s chronic. Once people have “set it,” they then naturally “forget it.” How long does it usually take before an ex-employee finally notices their orphan 401(k) account?

“Typically, the employee does nothing with it,” says Wesley Botto, a Partner at Botto Financial Planning & Advisory in Cincinnati. “It sits unmanaged for years before the employee makes any changes to it.”

This apathy can have long-term repercussions for your financial well-being. “When employees have old accounts, they risk losing track of them and they lose the ability to have an overall cohesive financial plan,” says Alexandra Demosthenes, Director of Financial Planning at Investment Advisory Professionals, LLC in Boca Raton, Florida.

Believe it or not, when it comes to their old 401(k) account, ex-employees often choose a far worse alternative to ignorance. They take it with them. “Another problem, and potentially more damaging than ignoring it, is cashing it out,” says Urban Adams, Investment Advisor at Dynamic Wealth Advisors in Orange County, California. “This creates tax liabilities, penalties and untold impact to their plan for securing retirement.”

“Nothing grinds my gears more than hearing otherwise intelligent Americans tell me, ‘I’ll just cash out my old 401(k) to cover myself until I get a new job or to pay for moving expenses,’” says Gary Herman, President of Consolidated Credit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “They see a 401(k) as free money today instead of an investment in their future. We chide our children for not thinking about what happens tomorrow if they eat a lot of candy right now, but we don’t take our own advice as adults. Trust me, if you raid your 401(k), you face an epic stomach ache that will last the rest of your life.”

There’s a far better way to take your retirement savings with you—without the penalties, without the taxes and without harming your best interest. You simply roll it over. Do this and you increase the odds you won’t lose sight of decades-old savings when it comes time for you to retire.

“Depending on your circumstances, you should always roll your old plan into your new employer’s plan or into an IRA,” says Davis. “You would be surprised how many say they simply don’t remember if they contributed to an account and haven’t kept track of it, sometimes over more than a decade. You certainly don’t want missing money and the best way is to consolidate and simplify whenever possible.”

But, is it better to roll your precious retirement savings into your new employer’s plan or into your own personal IRA? (Or perhaps neither if you expect to be rejoining your old employer again sometime in the future.)

“Every situation is unique, so you’ll want to evaluate all the options—there are great reasons to roll your 401(k) together at your current job while someone else may find it’s best to rollover to an IRA,” says Kelley Long, Senior Financial Planner at Financial Finesse in Chicago and a member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates. “There also may be a reason why you would leave your retirement savings at your former employer. The best news here is that this is not a time-sensitive decision unless your old employer requires that you make a withdrawal due to a low balance. In that case, this should be toward the top of your list, and you’ll want to explore the pros and cons of rolling your account to your new job versus to an IRA.”

Indeed, some will argue it’s better to leave your money in an old 401(k) plan. Still, it’s important to recognize the risks inherent in leaving your retirement savings behind.

“Often we assume the original selections we made when we started at our last company are still relevant, in terms of investment decisions, when in fact we should take a yearly look at things with our financial advisor,” says Matt Pietsch, Chief Revenue Officer for ENGAGE Talent in Charleston, South Carolina. “The best time to do this is when we change jobs.”

It’s not just a change in your personal circumstances. Your former employer might have changes of its own. As time goes by, and you move further from that firm, it only gets harder to reclaim your retirement assets.

“The old company could shut their doors or be acquired,” says Kelley Steven-Waiss, Founder of Hitch in Los Gatos, California. “It will become tedious to try to figure out what institution that account is still with. Additionally, you have the problem of forgetting passcodes or your email is no longer working. It just makes it that much more difficult. Make it a part of your onboarding or exit process!”

There’s also a risk in leaving lots of little baby retirement accounts strewn across your financial landscape. “Like anything else too much of something is bad for us,” says Raquel M. R. Thomas, CEO of Dream Catchers Corp in Columbia, South Carolina. “In the day-to-day of operating in the on-the-job space, having multiple IRA accounts could be mishandled or not handled at all due to having multiple accounts. Consolidating allows for a one stop shop.”

You can’t underestimate the value of “one stop shopping.” You shouldn’t misunderstand it, either. All it means is the ability to bring independent experts under one single umbrella. It’s easier for them, it’s easier for you and it improves your chances for success.

“Consolidating retirement savings from your old company into a single IRA account streamlines the management and administration of your retirement funds and makes it significantly easier to track and invest in the future,” says David Levine, COO at BerlinRosen in New York City. “In addition to being able to see all funds in one place, it’s easier to make changes to fund investments in one central location rather than several disjointed accounts. Additionally, consolidating into the right IRA may give you better investment options and lower administrative fees, ultimately helping you maximize your investments and get a better return.”

Eventually you’ll retire and you’ll need to roll over your retirement savings into a personal IRA. At the same time, you’ll want to have built your team of advisors well in advance of your retirement party. Why wait? You can begin this process the moment you leave your first job for your second. This will allow (and encourage) you to start working with the professionals you’ll need to work with down the road.

“It is beneficial to keep all of your retirement savings in a personal account with the help of an accountant or financial advisor as this will keep your funds safe from any change that might happen with you or the company itself,” says Sean Collins, VP of Operations at Maine Marketing Association in Portland, Maine. “This is an added safety measure that not many employees take advantage of.”

Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from acting. Ask around. See how others have addressed this same situation.

“The point of surrounding yourself with experts is genius,” says William Tincup, President of RecruitingDaily in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area. “We’re not taught personal finance in school. That’s why most Americans make horrible financial decisions.”

Don’t be like most Americans. Don’t make horrible financial decisions.

Seize the opportunity.

Even if retirement is years away, changing jobs provides you the opening to take your first step towards controlling your future.

The Best-Ever Response to "Why Did You Leave Your Last ...

The Best-Ever Response to "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?" I took my current job right out of college and have moved laterally and been promoted a number of times. A while back, a new director was brought in to finally give my department the stability it's been lacking for many years. Since then, I've seen this company make some very suspect ...

Dear Pat,

I took my current job right out of college and have moved laterally and been promoted a number of times. A while back, a new director was brought in to finally give my department the stability it's been lacking for many years. 

Since then, I've seen this company make some very suspect business decisions, including laying off good workers, hiring lazy workers, and targeting to eventually fire people who have been the backbone of this company. People who have given this company their all are either no longer working here or fear for their jobs daily, which makes the work environment almost unbearable. To top it all off, the new director has replaced everyone who is now gone with someone from her team at her previous employer. It's like they're staging a coup!

I decided months ago that it was time to start looking for a new job, but never got serious until my mentor was fired. Since then, I've been sending resumes left and right but a nagging question keeps coming back to me. If and when I finally get that interview and they ask me why I'm looking, what can I say? I know better than to trash my current employer, and my old standby has been, "I really can't see myself growing professionally there," but will that get me by? Do employers see right through that canned response?

Please help,

Tough questions

Hello Tough,

Your question is a good one, and how you answer it is very important in the process of your job search. New employers are quite attentive on all of your responses, but this one is “interview critical.” Often, executives come to me at a time when they are considering making a move, and their rationale needs to be sound when explaining a career transition.

First, you should never, ever be negative about your current or past employers. You have nothing to gain by being negative, and it only detracts from your presentation. Just as they say, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” this too exists between companies and employees. Your cultural needs and expectations can be quite different from others within any given organization. In this case, I recommend you focus your response on seeking a company with cultural dynamics that better suit you, versus blaming the company for the lack of fit.

For example, instead of saying a company “laid off good people” and “hires lazy workers,” you might say, “I believe I am better suited to work in an organization that has a strong commitment to mentoring and developing executives, where there is a strong sense of loyalty on both sides and a culture that fosters career development and growth.” You could further say, “I realize that there are some companies that are in highly intense growth mode, or have over-arching financial or business pressures and problems that can’t possibly foster this type of culture. While this is all well and good for some, I don’t want to work for the latter. It just does not feel like a good fit for me.”

This approach allows you to be honest without being negative, trashing the current company or any one person in particular. The unbiased approach on your situation is that your company has gone through a lot of organizational changes, has hired new management, and has an evolving corporate culture and strategy, and the company is no longer a good fit for you. The more you can adopt this unbiased view, the better for you.

And yes, try and really believe it. If you don’t make a meaningful attitude shift, your approach and presentation will lack sincerity, and you’re right: Most perceptive hiring companies will see right through it.

Hope this helps!

Sincerely,

Pat

How to Explain Why You Are Leaving Your Job: 15 Steps

You have decided to leave your job, but how do you break the news to your employer? Whether you are leaving your job for a new challenge, higher pay, personal reasons, or even a job-related conflict,…

  1. 1

    Request a face to face meeting with you manager and/or Human Resources. Usually when leaving a company, notifying your manager is good enough. However, if a situation has already involved Human Resources (such as a dispute with your manager or a harassment issue), request that a representative from Human Resources be present. It is easier to request a face to face meeting if you work in the same office or can easily travel to a common location (as you may do for other meetings). If either your manager or Human Resources are not readily reachable in person, you may request a phone call or video conference. It is not essential to fly or drive over 4 hours to break the news.

    • When requesting a meeting, say “I would like to have a short meeting with you to discuss something. When is a good time today?” You do not need to say you are leaving your job at this point.
  2. 2

    Remain polite but truthful. Start off by thanking anyone present for taking the time to meet with you. Then, politely express that you have chosen to leave the company. Give your last date of employment. A 2-week notice is considered customary and professional. However, if the situation is serious as with a harassment issue, you may be waived the 2 week notice requirement.

  3. 3

    Avoid showing any negative emotions such as anger and/or frustration. When you come into a meeting with strong, upsetting emotions, it is difficult to have a productive meeting. The meeting may become high-tension and leave both parties upset. This is not the best way to leave your job. It is important to remain as calm as possible, even if it pains you to do so.

  4. 4

    Do not focus unnecessarily on the negative. This means not to discuss all the negatives about your job. Keep it simple and short by briefly stating your reasons for leaving and move on.

    • For example, if you are leaving because of a conflict with your manager, do not say, “I am leaving because my manager is mean and doesn’t understand me." Instead, you can say, “I am leaving due to conflict in management style and (your manager’s name) would agree this work relationship is not working out.”
  5. 5

    Offer constructive criticism. You may provide constructive criticism during an exit interview. If your company does not conduct exit interviews, you can ask your manager or Human Resources if you can provide suggestions on how to improve the company. If they decline, do not insist. If the company does want to hear your suggestions:

    • Provide valuable suggestions or constructive criticism so that the company can retain its other employees. For example, if you left because of harassment, you can say “It would be good for the employees if the company provided additional harassment training."
  6. 6

    Do not brag about your new role. If you are leaving and already have a new job, it is OK to disclose the name of the new company and your new title. However, if you start discussing details such as your new responsibilities, it may seem like you are bragging and can leave a bad impression.

  7. 7

    Thank your manager for the opportunity to work for the company. Many jobs provide valuable knowledge and experience to help you advance your career. Even if you are leaving due to an unpleasant situation, it is important to recognize this fact and thank your manager for the opportunity. This will leave a good lasting impression.

  8. 8

    Have a signed resignation letter prepared. Your letter should state the basic details of your resignation. Present your resignation letter at the end of your meeting. This letter will be kept in your file and should include:

    • A sentence telling the company you are leaving.
    • Your last date of employment.
    • A thank you for the opportunity to work for the company.
    • An example of a good resignation letter would be: “I wish to inform you that I am resigning from my position as Sales Manager. My last date of employment will be April 5, 2022. Thank you for the opportunity to gain valuable experience and I wish the company good luck in the future.”

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How to Answer "Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job ...

16-07-2020 · This blog provides the probable answers to the job interview question "why do you want to leave your current job?"

16-07-2020

How to answer “why do you want to leave your current job?”
1. To learn more
2. To take on more responsibility
3. Willing to relocate
4. Desire to commute less to work
5. You are looking for new challenges
6. You want to take a break from frequent travel away from the city
7. Your contract will expire soon

How NOT to answer “why do you want to leave your current job?”
1. Avoid mentioning office politics as a reason
2. Avoid mentioning troubles with the boss
3. Assigning unrealistic deadlines/ targets
4. Avoid being negative altogether

In almost every job interview, recruiters have asked “Why do you want to leave your current job?”

This frequented job interview question is asked to assess whether you are a flight-risk or someone who will stick around and align yourself with the company’s mission.

How you answer this job interview question can make or break your chance at bagging the job.

Here are a few ways you can answer “Why do you want to leave your last job?”

How to answer “why do you want to leave your current job?”

1. To learn more

You can say that you have saturated the learning experience in the current company and want to learn more.

This will point out that you are willing to work hard, learn, and help the XYZ Company to grow more.

Sample answer

“I have been working with a great team in the company for the past 3 years. They have helped me a lot in learning the basics since I had joined as a fresher.

However, I feel like I have reached the optimum point of learning here, and would like to take a step ahead to learn the intricacies and more complex aspects of my field.

I have read and heard of the amazing talents that your company has recruited over time and it would be a privilege for me to learn from them.”

2. To take on more responsibility

To answer such a job interview question, you can point out that you are willing to take up more responsibilities.

This will show that you are ambitious and focused.

Sample answer

“I have had a great learning experience in this organization.

However, the reason for switching jobs is that I want to take up new responsibilities that the organization is being unable to provide me with.

I have read and heard a lot about XYZ Company and it would be a great opportunity for me to work here and learn with the new responsibilities that will be provided.”

3. Willing to relocate

Many professionals want to relocate to their home city/ town after staying away from their families for a long time.

So, for such people switching jobs becomes a requirement.

Sample answer

“ I have been working in Pune for almost 6 years now. I am looking to return to my hometown since my parents need attention and I need to take care of them.

Although my current organization is a great place to work in, it does not have a branch in my hometown where they could transfer me.

The job profile offered has great scope of learning for me and I am sure that I can also add value to the team.”

4. Desire to commute less to work

The extensive daily commute to work is a serious problem in India.

It not only takes away your time but also drains you before even reaching office, affecting your productivity and health naturally.

Sample answer

“The company where I am working currently is a great organization. I have no complaints about it.

The only reason why I am looking for a change is that the distance from work to my current organization is quite a lot and my health is getting affected.

Also, the job profile that you offered is a great opportunity for me to learn and challenge myself further, and being close to my place I will also be able to focus more on the work.

Also Read: 12 Ways to Make Commuting to Work Productive.

5. You are looking for new challenges

Every employee must know when he/she starts feeling less challenged at work. That is the best time to switch jobs to meet fresh challenges.

Sample answer

“Honestly, I had the opportunity to work with the most amazing team and colleagues possible.

Not only did they treat me like an equal despite being a fresher, but they also helped me learn and guided me whenever I required a little help.

But after working there for 3 years now, I am looking forward to a fresh set of challenges and the job profile offered by you seems perfect.

It would help me to push my limits and get out of my comfort zone and I am sure I will be able to add value to the team as well.”

6. You want to take a break from frequent travel away from the city

There are many job profiles where a lot of travelling is involved, both within and outside the country. It can be quite overbearing for some.

So, it is only natural to look for a job with lesser travel and you can also say the same when asked “why do you want to leave your current job?”

Sample answers

“Although travelling and meeting clients is a great experience, but I need to slow it down by a notch.

I have been travelling on and off every week with hardly a day to spend with my parents.

So, I would like to slow it down a little to bring balance to my work and personal life.

Or,

“ We have just started our family, but with frequent travel every week, it is becoming a little difficult to take care of them.

So, I am looking for a switch where a little less travelling will be involved and I can also be around my family.

The profile offered by your company is perfect and I know I will be able to add value to the team if given the opportunity.”

7. Your contract will expire soon

It is common for some companies to hire employees on a contractual basis. So, you can cite it for a reason to switch jobs for a more permanent one when answering.

Sample answer

“Working with my current organization has been a great experience.

However, I am looking for something more permanent and secured since my contract is soon to be expiring.

I believe I have the required skill set that is required for the job role you have offered.

I am sure that I can add value to the team and also learn in the process.”

How NOT to answer “why do you want to leave your current job?”

Whatever the situation had been, it is unwise to bad-mouth your previous company. Doing so will only leave a negative impact on your recruiter.

So, to avoid it, here are a few things you must never utter when asked “why do you want to leave your current job?”

1. Avoid mentioning office politics as a reason

It is a given that almost every organization has politics. However, leaving an organization because of it might render you as an escapist, incapable, or even worse a quitter.

Trust me, you wouldn’t want to give that impression to your current recruiter.

2. Avoid mentioning troubles with the boss

It is best to not mention your troubles with him/her.

There is a chance that your recruiter will not be able to trust you if you go around bad-mouthing your boss to the world.

3. Assigning unrealistic deadlines/ targets

Mentioning deadlines and targets as a reason to switch will be a silly mistake on your front. Your recruiter might think of you as a slacker if you do so.

4. Avoid being negative altogether

You should look deeper and find a point worth putting forward when asked, “Why do you want to leave your current job?” instead of citing issues like working with a bad boss, etc.

It is best to prioritize the positive aspects of switching jobs when asked in a job interview question.

Given that we now know what NOT to say, here are a few ways you can answer “why do you want to leave your current job?”

So, the most important takeaway is do NOT badmouth your current company in front of your recruiter and always give a positive answer while answering “Why do you want to leave your current job?”

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