Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job

How To Answer The Interview Question: Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?

Interviews aren’t always easy – that’s why you have us. When you’re moving from one job to another, your potential employer might be curious to learn why you’re leaving your current job. Just like every other open-ended interview question that starts with why this question might put you on the defensive. Without proper preparation, you might find yourself stumbling through this question. To help you discover the best way to answer the interview question ‘why are you leaving your current job?’ keep reading this article for the best answers to put you in the best light.


Different Variation Of This Interview Question

It doesn’t always come straightforward; sometimes, the interviewer twists the question to confuse you a bit. That’s why it’s always a good idea to learn the different variations of this interview question. This strategy will ensure you aren’t caught off guard when a question is thrown at you by a potential employee. Here are different variations of the common interview question ‘why are you leaving your current job?’

  • Can you give the reasons you’re leaving your current job?
  • Why did you leave your previous job?
  • What are you looking for in a new job?
  • Why are you looking to change careers?
  • Why are you looking for a job with your current job?
  • What do you dislike about your last job?
  • Why are you trying to change jobs?
  • What was the worst part of the role you played in your last job?
  • Why are you in search of a new job?
  • Why are you leaving your current job at this time?
  • Why do you want a new role?


Why Employees Ask the Interview Question: Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?

There are many reasons why your potential employer asks this common interview question. Sometimes, it is more than just curiosity. Below are some of the reasons you might be facing this question or its variation in a job interview.

To Find Out The Reasons You’re Looking to Leave

Sometimes, they’re just curious why you would want to abandon your current job. Sometimes, their curiosity gets piqued when you’ve been at the company for less than a year. A potential employer will want to confirm you had good reasons for deciding to leave. The reason is to ensure that you won’t hop out of their company within a few months of being employed. This shouldn’t scare you at all. There are great reasons why a person would leave their current job, and we’ll be introducing you to them later in this article.

To Find Out What You’re Looking For

Since you’re trying to get into the company, a potential employer will be curious about what you’re looking to get with their company that you couldn’t achieve in the last job. Getting answers to this will give them a better idea of who you are as a person and as an employee. It will also help them decide if your values align with the offered role and the company in general. Having an idea will help a potential employer determine if you’re the right fit for the role they’re offering or not.

To Know If You’re Seriously Searching For a Job

Sometimes, a potential employer asks these questions about your career move because they want to know how serious you are. They want to determine if you really want to change jobs or you simply want to see what’s out there. When you’re asked this question and have no solid reasons to offer, the employer sees you as unserious. If you haven’t left the job yet, they would decide that you need to have a clearer idea of why you want to move before you do.

To Find Out If You Left Voluntarily

Another top reason why your potential employer might be throwing this question at you is to determine if you were asked to leave the job or you’re leaving on your own. If you were asked to leave, you need to be honest with your potential employer. You also need to prepare a solid answer for the follow-up question that’s bound to follow: why were you fired? When you’re able to answer the follow-up question succinctly, your potential employer will understand that you know why you were fired, but you have resolved the issues, or you’ve worked on yourself if needs be.


How To Answer ‘Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?’

Now, to the reason why you’re here. Below are some guidelines to help you craft the right answer to the interview question. These tips will help you answer the interview question without leaving any doubt in the potential employer’s mind. Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s begin.

Be Clear About Your Exit Reason

If you have to, you should write down all the reasons you’re at a job interview looking for a new opportunity. If you’re clueless about your reason for leaving your current job, you can ask yourself some of the following questions to put you on the right track.

  • What are your career goals for the next five to ten years?
  • What are your values?
  • What do you need a workplace environment to offer you?
  • Is there something you like or dislike about your position?
  • What type of relationship do you have with coworkers?
  • What industry do you want to break into? Does your current job fit into the industry?
  • Are you interested in the company’s mission?
  • Does your current situation fit with the answers you provide to the above questions? Why and why not?

Once you have the right answer to your questions, circle the top reasons you would like to use in your interview. Ensure that the selected reasons are professional and not just personal. If you’re looking for a new job because you’re getting married, that should not be the reason you provide in the interview.

Keep The Answer And To The Point

When your potential employer asks you this question, they don’t want you to ramble on and on. Don’t start telling stories; keep your response short and to the point. Although you want to explain why you’re looking to leave your current job, don’t drag the conversation. Instead, answer with one or two sentences and then direct the interview back to why you’re the perfect fit for the role.

Remain Positive

Even if negative experiences led you to decide to leave your current job, you need to find a positive way to express your desire to leave. The reason for this is that employers are always looking to hire problem solvers. They want to know that they can trust you to handle yourself and work through difficult situations. When answering this question, focus on skills learned in the current role and the positive relationships you’ve built. Instead of telling your potential employer about how you don’t like your manager, tell them how you’re looking to grow in a different environment.

Stay honest But Leave Out The Details

When you’re answering the question about why you’re leaving your current job, leave out all the gory details. If the last job was frustrating, find a better way to share that information without necessarily disparaging your current employer. Your answer should be focused, as we’ve earlier pointed out. While you’re trying to stay positive, don’t embellish. Your potential employer might contact your previous employer to confirm that you don’t lie about your provided information. In this case, when they contact your previous employers for reference or to confirm information, they won’t get contrasting information. When you’re dishonest, it could seriously hurt your chances of getting an offer.


How To Structure Your Reasons For Leaving Your Current Job

Now that you know why your potential employers are asking you this common question and tips on how to figure out why you’re leaving the job, the next step is learning how to frame your answer. There are diverse reasons you might be leaving the workplace; people are continually growing and seeking new career development opportunities. However good your reason is, you need to phrase it appropriately so that your interviewer doesn’t misinterpret your answer. Below are a few reasons to present at an interview and how to properly frame them.


I Don’t Like the Company

Every company has its positive and negative sides; this includes the company you are trying to get into. This is why you should take some time to think about why you don’t like the company you’re leaving. Once you have the reason, try to craft a positive response like the example below:

At my present organization, my professional skillset has expanded, and it has provided me with the opportunity to build great relationships. However, it has become more apparent that I need motivation from a stronger mission while growing professionally. The mission of your company is something I look forward to working on.

Lately, I’ve been focusing on developing my communication and collaboration skills while dealing with large, complex projects. The opportunities to build my expertise in this aspect are limited in my present role. That’s why I was excited to discover this opportunity where transparency and collaboration were mentioned as crucial components in this role.


I’m Looking For a Higher Salary

You should carefully consider the reason you would like to express. This is because interviewers can interpret the information provided in several ways you cannot predict. If you want to address this reason, then try focusing your reason on the topic of incentives and how you find bigger rewards as an incentive to take on more difficult tasks. Below is an example of how you can phrase this reason.

There are many things I find motivation. While client satisfaction and managerial approval are top on the list, high compensation is also important to me. This is why I was excited to find an opportunity to sell a product I’m passionate about. When I exceed my targets, I’d be able to celebrate that I’ve surpassed the set goals.


I Don’t Like My Current Work

Half of the time, people leave a job because of dissatisfaction with the job. This means that your current job isn’t challenging or isn’t in line with your skills. You shouldn’t just point this out negatively; place the focus on the skill and opportunities you’re on a search for.

My current position has taught me many things. Nevertheless, I’m currently looking for an opportunity that pushes me while I develop my skillset and abilities.

Alternatively, you can say

Although I have developed essential skills while working with my present company, I would like to focus more on developing other skills like leadership and writing skills. That’s why I’m excited that this position will provide me with the opportunities I need to grow these skills.


The Hours Are Too Long

If you’re looking for flexibility in your next job and it played a vital role in your decision to leave your current role, it’s a piece of great information to share with your potential employer. However, you need to take note of how you frame this response. You don’t want your interviewer to interpret your response as you are not willing to work hard. Instead, you need to frame your answer in a way that presents you as a professional who is aware of time management. Below is one way to effectively do this:

I always give the best results when I have a healthy work-life balance. My job commitments are important to me, and I plan my days to efficiently fulfill my obligations. It’s vital that I work in a company that allows me to control my schedule and allows for flexibility when necessary.


I’m Looking for Career Growth

Some companies provide you with more opportunities to grow than others. Sometimes, some companies make it difficult for you to change teams or departments if you prefer to grow in a different direction. If you want to move to new career levels, it’s a good reason to leave a job. How do you present this reason positively? Below is one way to get it done.

I enjoy the relationship I have in my role and with my team members. However, I have gotten to a point where there are no available growth opportunities in my present role. This opportunity seems like a new challenge that will help me grow professionally; I’m interested in the growth opportunities this job offers.


I Want To Change My Career Path

It has become increasingly common to want to explore different careers in one lifetime. Whether you’re looking to change industries or you want to go back to school. Change of career is a great reason to leave an old job, and you can express this in anyways. If you’re clueless about how to express this, below is an example you can use.

I’ve learned a lot and developed a skill set I believe would be profitable to any organization I join. However, I am looking to explore other opportunities that currently don’t exist at my present job. This new skill would be a challenge for me and allow me to perform excellently in a passionate role.


I Saw A Better Opportunity

Maybe you’re leaving your current job because this new offer looks much better than what you currently have. Maybe it’s the salary or simply the work environment; the new opportunity is the attraction to you. This is a reasonable reason for leaving a job; you just have to phrase it the right way, like the example below:

Although I have learned so many things at my company, finding this new opportunity was a welcome change. I think this role will take me where I’m aiming for in my career from my research. I’m excited to explore one opportunity to collaborate with cross-functional thinking to advance this company innovatively.


I Got Sacked

Most times, this is the real reason why people are looking for a new job. Maybe your present company is looking to let you go, or you were simply laid off from work. Understandably, you would be uncomfortable sharing this reason with your potential employee because of the reason you were sacked. One thing to take note of is never to use the word ‘fired’ when explaining why you’re leaving your current role. Be truthful, but as we explained earlier, don’t go into many details. Below is a way you can phrase your answer to the interviewer.

My employer and I had different expectations and views about what success meant in my position. However, I have reflected on that experience and recognize there are things I could have done differently. I learned a lot from my previous job, and I’m excited about the opportunity to explore this maturity in my next job. The position offered is in line with my skills and will take me in the direction I’m aiming for in my career.

If you got laid off, you could alternatively use the example below to convey your reason for being on the search for a new opportunity.

Unfortunately, I was affected by the company’s restructuring which led to over 15% of the employees being laid off. I have taken the time to consider my next move, reconnect with my network and explore opportunities. I’m excited about this new opportunity because it illustrates the roles I enjoyed in my last job. More importantly, it will place me in the direction I’ve always aimed for in my career.


Final thoughts

Remember that the idea is to put yourself in a positive light without necessarily badmouthing your previous company. You don’t want to make a negative impact on your potential employer. The tips provided above will help you give the right answer to the interview answer ‘why are you leaving your current job?’ Note that honesty is more important in an interview, don’t dwell on too much information about your previous job, and avoid negativity. The examples above should serve as a guideline to help you put your best foot forward; good luck at your next interview.

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