In some instances, the interview question, “Why did you leave your last position?” can be uncomfortable. Maybe your boss was a terrible manager or perhaps you just hated the job. Of course, these aren’t the best stories to share with your recruiter during the interview process. How can you answer these questions honestly without coming across poorly during the interview process?
Best Ways to Answer “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job”
When answering this question, which is very common to hear in most interviews, it’s important to remain diplomatic. Of course, you want to be honest but you also don’t want to come across as ungrateful to the company you worked for in the past. Don’t go into a long-winded rant about how mean your boss was and don’t tell the interviewer how you were cheated out of a promotion. Instead, try some of these reasons (if the shoe fits):
- It was just time for a change. If you’ve been with an organization for a few years, it’s plausible to share that it was simply time for a change. This is especially true if there was no upward mobility in the position you were in. No hiring manager would turn away from a candidate who wants greener pastures and new challenges to keep them fresh and interested in their work.
- If the question is related to a job you moved to in the past (and not the one the interviewer is offering), you could say something like, “I left for a new opportunity to advance my career.” This could cover a host of situations, whether it’s a lateral move to take on a new challenge or a raise in pay or title. Both of these reasons illustrate your ambition to better yourself.
- You can also share that you are more passionate about the mission of the company you’re joining. If the new company was more aligned with your interests, that’s a good reason to switch jobs. After all, the majority of workers are disengaged. You are an employee that wants to be “all in” and passionate about the position you’re in. That’s very attractive to a hiring team.
- If you were recruited, by all means, say so. Since many job jumps occur as a result of a recruiter reaching out or someone in your network making a connection, this is a plausible excuse for a job change. It also shows that the recruiter or your network colleague knew or heard good things about your work.
- If the change was related to management you can say that the department went through some big changes in management and strategies and you knew it was the right time to move on. That’s a very professional way of relating that the work environment may have been a difficult one or a new boss wasn’t a good fit for you.
While these are all good reasons to leave one position for another, one thing you don’t want to do is badmouth your former employer. Find a way to diplomatically describe why you left or you’re considering leaving to get through the tough question about your motivation for doing so.
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