How To Explain Why You're Leaving a Job

How To Explain Why You're Leaving a Job

When you plan to leave your current position for a new one, you have a difficult conversation waiting for you. You need to be ready to tell prospective employers why you want to leave your current job. Unfortunately, explaining this without setting off any alarm bells is a challenging balance. You need to word your explanation carefully, or you risk scaring off the employer.

Explaining That Your Job Was Too Demanding

In certain situations, employers ask too much from their employees. If you had an employer who overworked you, it's important to explain what happened in a tactful way. Instead of saying that you were burnt out, say that you're looking to leverage your experience and skills while balancing your time at home. You should also mention that you believe you do your best work when you have a healthy work-life balance.

Sure, you could say that your employer expects you to work 70 hours a week or to spend your weekends working, but that might not sit well with the interviewer. They don't want to hear negativity about your employer, nor do they want to find out that you're averse to working long hours. For the best results, you should focus on the positive and what you like better about the new position.

Explaining That You Left to Care for Family

When a medical emergency strikes, you might be the only one available to care for a sick family member. If you took off a few weeks or months to look after a family member or your own health issues, you should explain this to the interviewer.

And, while an explanation shouldn't be held against you, there's no need to go into the explicit details of the situation. In fact, you have no obligation to disclose information about the health issue to the interviewer. You can simply call it a health problem and leave it at that.

With that said, you may want to explain why you never returned to your old job. You should be honest but avoid any negativity. Whatever you say, be sure to explain that it was a one-time situation and that it won't happen again. Addressing this should ease their fears about you quitting after only a few months on the job.

Explaining A Need for Change

You might be leaving an employer because you're ready for something new. If this is the case, you should proceed cautiously. The interviewer might think that you're a flight risk unless you properly word your explanation.

When the interviewer asks you about your reason for leaving your current position, tell them you're looking for an opportunity that will allow you to make use of your skills or pursue your passion. Rather than make it seem like you could be a detriment to the company, your explanation makes it seem as if you'll be a major asset.

During the interview, you want to highlight the fact that you're stable. The way you explain your career change affects how an interviewer perceives your stability. It's up to you to show the interviewer that you won't seek out change again.

Explaining a Conflict of Ethics

If a company crosses a certain line, you might choose to resign from your position. But, once again, this isn't easy to explain to an interviewer. They could see negative comments about your former employer as unprofessional. As you describe the conflict of ethics, you need to be careful.

Regardless of how unethical your former employer might have been, keep your thoughts on them to yourself. Instead of discussing the company's values, talk about your own. Specifically, discuss values that you and your potential new company share. After that, talk about what you admire about the new company.

For instance, you may have left your previous employer because they didn't have an inclusive workplace. Before your interview, research the inclusivity policy of the new company. Pick a policy or mission statement that highlights the company's inclusivity, and mention it during the interview.

Explaining a Need for More Money

Another common reason for individuals to leave an employer is a desire for more money or a promotion. Everyone wants to advance their career and make more money, so people often jump at the opportunity to leave one company for a better opportunity.

While you deserve fair compensation and a better job title, you shouldn't tell your interviewer that you were chasing more money. If you admit that, they might see you as greedy or disloyal. Prove them wrong by explaining that you reached your growth ceiling.

By not mentioning money or prestige, you make it seem as if you're more interested in developing skills and improving than you are in the money. In your search for a new job, you're looking for new challenges and professional development.

Other Advice for Your Explanations

No matter what your explanation may be, you should keep a few other tips in mind. For one, you need to know that less is more. You don't need to give a lengthy speech on why you are leaving your employer. To make a positive impression, you should leave the details to a minimum.

Even in your short explanation, you need to make an effort to stay relevant. There's no need to discuss former colleagues or managers. Everything you mention should relate to the new company and the position. More importantly, keep your explanation truthful. You might place a positive spin on things, but avoid lying about a situation.

If you're extremely nervous about an interview and explaining your situation, you may want to practice your interview answers. Write down the questions an interviewer might ask about your previous job and have a mock interview with a friend. Ask them to grade your responses and give feedback on your answers. Then, adjust your answers accordingly. On the day of the interview, you'll have confidence in your explanation.

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