How to Explain Your Reasons For Leaving a Job

How to Explain Your Reasons For Leaving a Job

When you go into an interview, you should be ready to answer some uncomfortable questions. One of the most awkward questions to answer is the dreaded, “Why are you leaving your current job?” Answering this question takes a great deal of finesse. If you’re too negative, the hiring manager will hold it against you. But if you don’t have a good reason for leaving, the hiring manager could view you as a flight risk. Learn how to navigate this tricky question so you make the right impression.

Why They Ask This Question

Every question a hiring manager asks you has a purpose. So, what’s the purpose of this very specific question? Usually, an interviewer asks this because they want to know about what makes you tick. They want to know what tasks are fulfilling to you, and whether or not you would enjoy working with them.

Another reason for this question is to find out if you’re likely to quit when you work with them. The hiring process is expensive and time-consuming. If you seem like a flight risk, they won’t hire you. To avoid raising a red flag, you need to let the hiring manager know that you had a good reason for leaving.

Coming Up with Your Response

Before you go into an interview, spend an hour deciding how you want to explain your departure. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Be Clear About Your Reasons

Write down a few of your real reasons for leaving your current employer. If you’re not certain of your reasons, think about what makes you unhappy. Does the company no longer share your values? What are your career goals? When did your unhappiness begin?

Once you have a few reasons for leaving, think about how they would sound to a prospective employer. If any of the reasons are unprofessional or ambiguous, don’t bring them up. Circle one or two reasons and use those in your interview.

Be Brief

You should keep your response to this question relatively short. After all, a hiring manager doesn’t want to hear your life story. Using one or two sentences, explain your reason for leaving. Only elaborate if the interviewer asks you for more details. Even then, try not to talk too much about it.

Remain Positive

Employers don’t want to add negativity to their teams. Although your reasons for leaving might be negative, you should try to put a positive spin on things. For instance, you might have felt that your company was becoming immoral. Rather than speaking about the incident, you can sum it up in one sentence. You could say “My values no longer align with the company’s values.”

Then, say something positive. Talk about how you love the new company’s values. By not focusing on the negative, you show the hiring manager that you would be a good addition to their team. Even in adversity, you can remain positive.

Tell the Truth

Typically, lying to a hiring manager only hurts you. If you don’t want a lie to come back to haunt you, then be truthful. Don’t make up a reason for leaving unless there’s some truth to it. During the interview, a hiring manager might be able to tell that you’re lying.

Examples of Good Reasons for Leaving

Are you still unsure of how to answer this question? By looking at examples, you may have a better understanding of what you should say in an interview. Here are some examples of good reasons for quitting:

I’m Ready for a New Path

It’s OK to admit that you’re looking for a new career path. If you’re ready for a change, tell the hiring manager about it.

I Want to Grow as an Employee

Some employers don’t encourage their employees to grow. If you feel stunted at your current employer, explain to the hiring manager that you feel as if you’ve reached your maximum. Tell the hiring manager you’re excited that their company values growth so much.

I Left to Pursue a Degree

Most employers encourage their employees to have an advanced degree. Therefore, if you took a break from work to further your education, you should admit this to the hiring manager. It’s a great way to explain a gap in employment.

I Want a Better Opportunity

If you’re unhappy with a current employer, it’s sometimes good to simply say that you want a better opportunity. Whatever your reason may be for leaving, this explanation sums it up. By saying this, you avoid too much negativity.

A Former Colleague Offered Me a Position

Did someone from your network tell you about this position? If so, inform the hiring manager of this. But whatever you do, don’t lie about this. It’s easy for a hiring manager to find out whether or not you know someone in the company.

I Was Laid Off or Let Go

It can be particularly difficult to answer this question if you were fired or let go. Fortunately, most hiring managers are understanding. If you tell them that you were laid off or let go, they may not hold it against you. Avoid using the word “fired” and don’t give too much detail.

Other Tips for Explaining Your Reasons for Leaving

Now that you have a few ideas about how to answer this interview question, you can fine-tune your answer. First, you should check your response for negativity. Is it overly negative? Do you counter the negative with the positive? If you do, you’re on the right track.

You should also make sure your answer talks about your career goals. If you can, tie your reason for leaving into your career plans. Give the hiring manager some insight into what you want your future to look like. If you can do this, you make it easy for the hiring manager to see why you’re the best fit for the position.

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