Interview Tips – Why are you looking to leave?

Latest News — 02.04.2019

We have all been there, quivering in our seats at the dreaded interview question; “why are you looking to leave your current employer?”
This question can make the most seasoned interviewee squirm a little. A question starting with “why” immediately places you on the defensive.

It shouldn’t be that difficult! We know why we want to leave… poor management, feel undervalued, clash of personalities, disagreeing with processes, change in culture or direction of the business which you do not agree with, shift patterns changing,  expectations and responsibilities increased with no financial gain or simply wanting to challenge yourself after becoming stagnant in your current role (the list could go on)… but how do we make sure these reasons are professional and suitable for an interview?

The most effective and acceptable reasons for leaving your current job are positive, [not negative] and are related 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 reorganisation has led to change in job content.
  • Desire for a shorter commute to work.
  • Desire to improve work/life balance.

Take this question as an 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.

How to Tackle the “Bad Boss” Scenario:

According to several sources, the number one reason most people choose to leave a position is because of a bad boss or supervisor. Therefore, knowing that you SHOULD NOT say anything negative regarding your current company or an individual in an interview, answering this question can cause you to stumble. It is best to avoid going down the slippery slope of discussing specifics regarding poor management, company finances, poor morale, or any other negative aspect of the job.

Be honest, positive, and frame your response in a way that includes the job you are interviewing for; you can gloss over negative information by focusing on the future and staying positive, consider something like:

  • I would like to build on my experience in the aspects of my role I like the most…
  • I am interested in learning more about…
  • Your focus is on [something that you like that this company can offer] and that is something that I really enjoy, 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. 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 organisation.
  • 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 this opportunity looks very interesting to me because…

The moral of the story here is to remember to always keep your interview answers positive, whilst also promoting yourself and your accomplishments, emphasising your interest in the company, and sticking to the age old saying your parents taught you “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

We wish you the best of luck in your interview, please feel free to get in touch with our team for information on roles.