With interviews, as with anything, preparation is key. Learning how to get just a little better at job interviews is one of the best-value things you can do for yourself. The best preparation consists of thinking through how you want to answer common questions, so you don't get caught off guard.
One of the questions you're likely to be asked in an interview is "Why do you want to leave your current job?". This can be a difficult question to answer, especially if you're not entirely sure why you're looking for a new job.
What does the interviewer want to find out?
As with many interview questions, it can be helpful to consider what the interviewer really wants to learn when asking why you want to leave your current job. Maybe you're bored and frustrated by what you do all day. You crave a change of scene or some progress. Maybe you need more money. Whatever the reason maybe that's not what the interviewer wants or needs to know. It's not about you. It is about what the company needs. Interviews are about solving somebody else's problems, not yours. Show your running towards something, rather than running away. To put it another way, they could be asking: "Do you know what this job is?" In this context, it has much more to do with the positives afforded by a new job, rather than any negativity you may feel about your current position.
Examples of positive reasons for leaving a job
You've been asked in an interview why you want to leave your current job. How do you answer this question without sounding like a complainer? Fortunately, there are plenty of reasons for leaving a job that can be explained in a manner that paints you in a positive light. Consider the following:
I want to learn more
I feel like I'm ready to take on more responsibility
I want to manage a team
I believe I've progressed as far as I can in my current role
I need a change of environment to motivate me
I want to develop a new skill that isn't required in my current job
I don't feel like my current role is challenging me anymore
I need to relocate to be closer to family
I am looking to make a change in the industry
It's sensible to prepare a couple of answers to this question because people often leave jobs through a combination of factors. Your interviewer may ask for additional reasons.
Why it's important to avoid negativity
Even if you're not happy in your current role, it's important to avoid bad-mouthing your employer in an interview. This will make you look unprofessional and could damage your chances of getting the job. Remember that you're not venting in the pub after a hard day in the office, you're trying to impress a hiring manager. Launching into a tirade about grievances with your boss or employer – broken promises, sleights on your ability, lack of respect – will only paint you as someone who likes to complain. Who's to say you won't be the same at another company?
When answering this question, it's important to focus on the future rather than the past. Explain how the next job will help you to develop and improve, rather than dwelling on any frustration you may feel in your current role. It's also a good idea to emphasize that you're looking for a new challenge. This will show that you're proactive and motivated to progress in your career.
Finally, remember that the interviewer is ultimately interested in whether or not you're the right fit for the job. So, make sure to emphasize the skills and experience that make you the best candidate for the job.
By following these tips, you can explain your reasons for wanting to leave your current job in a way that is positive and professional. Good luck!
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