Interview Question: Why Are You Looking for A New Job?
How to Answer Interview Question: Why Are You Looking for A New Job?
Why would an interviewer ask you why you are looking for a new job when it is obvious? Indeed, the idea behind asking this question is to find out a candidate’s motive for wanting to jump ship.
How do you state your reasons without saying something negative about your former job while you show you only have eyes for this one?
It’s high time you learned how to ace this interview question.
Let’s begin with the “why”.
Why do interviewers ask this question?
Employers need to know what they are getting into before committing. Thus, to find out reasons why a candidate is looking for a new job, interviewers need to ask this question. These reasons for asking this question will guide you in providing the answer that the interviewer is looking for:
To see if your goals match.
Questions like these have a way of revealing interesting facts about a candidate. One of such facts is the goals of such candidates and how they fit into the employer’s plans.
Having an employee that has goals and ambitions that mirrors the organization’s goals is a win-win situation for everyone. It means that the expectations on both sides would be reasonable and attainable. When employees and employers move along the same wavelength, they have chemistry, and they can work together for a long time.
To know if you had a good relationship with your previous employer.
Employers have a fear of hiring a candidate that would turn out to be a disaster. They believe that if a candidate has displayed a series of unruly or unprofessional behavior in their previous job, they would repeat it.
Thus, knowing if a candidate left their former job on good terms is important to employers. For this reason, questions like these are brought up. If the exit or switch was cordial, it will be revealed in the answer to the question.
To ensure that you want to join them for the right reasons.
Candidates looking for a new job for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons are influenced by money, while some are purely about professional advancement.
The reasons for looking for a new job should include helping the company reach greater heights as well. If the reasons for a candidate wanting to get a new job are not in tune with what the employer can provide, there could be a problem.
How to answer the question
To answer an interview question like this, you need to stay calm and not overthink the process. By following these next tips, you would make a good impression on the interviewer.
Flip the script.
This first tip is why you need to follow this guide because most candidates don’t lead with this. Although you are asked why you want to switch jobs, you should try showing appreciation first.
Lead by saying how much you appreciate the opportunity the previous job opened for you. Extend the gratitude to your superiors and colleagues who helped you become the professional you are today.
Next, talk about the highlights of doing your previous job. When you flip the script this way, it impresses the interviewer. It shows them what to expect from you in the future even if you eventually leave them.
Address grey areas.
Not all reasons for looking for a new job are genuine which is why the topic of changing jobs raises eyebrows. Thus, it is your job to squash all the misconceptions surrounding your decision by clearing the air. Do this by addressing the possible grey areas surrounding your situation.
Let the interviewer know why you didn’t consider applying for the new position in the first place. It could be due to a lack of sufficient information, or that the previous job felt like a suitable option at that time.
Also, talk about your goals upon taking the previous job and how they have evolved. Lastly, end the curiosity by stating why you think you can reach your personal and professional goals in the new job.
Show that it was a tough decision to make.
Leaving your old job means that you would be leaving a known environment for an unknown one. Familiar faces will be missed and good memories will become a thing of the past. All these and more are the thoughts that come to mind when you decide to look for a new job.
These feelings and fears are what the interviewer hopes to deduce from your conversation. Knowing that you had strong ties with your former job shows that you can replicate such dedication with them.
Speak enthusiastically about the new challenge.
After you must have spoken well of the previous job you left, it is only fair that you speak more highly of the new prospect. Employers only want to employ candidates who are excited and motivated to work with them. This shows that they are changing jobs for the right reasons.
Talk to the interviewer about the best things about the new challenge in your opinion. Let them know that you have done your homework and have insights on the true state of affairs in the new position. If you have always dreamed of getting the job, say it.
Also, if someone inspired you to love the profession, let the interviewer know. Perhaps, you both may have been influenced by the same person in the industry.
Give practical reasons for the change
An answer that shows that the reasons for looking for a new job are completely based on self-improvement is most welcome. Any of these can be the reason for wanting to change jobs:
- A fresh challenge.
Regardless of what ties an employee has with a company or their colleagues, asking for a new challenge is a respectable choice. Being in a position for years means the chances of having seen and done it all are high. The job becomes less exciting after nearly all there is to achieve has been achieved. For this reason, a fresh start should, by all means, be on the cards.
When a candidate gives this sort of reason for wanting a new job to an interviewer, they show respect. If that is truly the case with you, having some sort of special honorarium from the previous company would speak volumes.
- A change of environment.
People sometimes forget that a change of environment may lead to needing a new job. This is a rather personal reason since it has little to do with the candidate’s career. Thus, a change of jobs would be necessary if the candidate feels like having to settle down in a new city.
Perhaps you are fed up with the hustle and bustle of life in the top cities and you want to settle somewhere calmer and slower-paced. This change of lifestyle is a valid reason to relocate.
During the interview, feel free to express how your love for the new city and settling there warrants the job search. While you do this, make sure the interviewer knows that you don’t see yourself leaving for another city anytime soon.
- The chance to be closer to family.
When the family is the reason for looking for a new job, even the previous employers would respect the decision. This understanding of your need to get a new job comes from empathy. Family is perhaps the most important factor in individual lives, especially those with spouses and kids.
For instance, if a candidate gets a divorce, they may have to get a job closer to the house so that they can take better care of the kids. Likewise, the death of a spouse could also result in the need to look for a new job that makes them more available to the children.
These are only a few examples of instances where the need to stay closer to the family could lead to changing jobs. If a family emergency is why you are looking for a new job, explain briefly to the interviewer. They will understand and show empathy.
Let your resume back you up.
Your resume is more powerful than you think – you can use it to your advantage in this instance. Since your resume tells your true professional story, it can help you answer this question.
Firstly, employers take note of a candidate’s work history to see a pattern. If a candidate has worked in more than three places in less than 10 years, it is a turn-off. Thus, if your resume details a decent work history, it gives your reasons for wanting a new job more credibility.
Likewise, when you talk about the role you are applying for, the resume can reveal why it makes sense. Therefore, you should take some time to update your resume to back up your reasons for looking elsewhere for a job.
Prove how it is a well-planned move.
Arguably no one wants to start a new job while looking forward to quitting the job in no distant time. No matter what the cause of the job hunt is, you ought to convince your prospective employer that it was well-planned. If the job switch is a hasty one, then it sends the wrong message to the interviewer.
It would seem like you were hasty or impatient in your decision-making if you switched jobs suddenly. When you talk about the reasons and the build-up to the change, make it known that it took weeks or months to come to the decision. That shows that you must have weighed the pros and cons of the situation.
Employers don’t appreciate it when an employee decides to jump ship suddenly. Thus, this will help them determine who you are.
Talk about your expectation for the new job.
At the end of your explanation, try to talk about your expectations for the new job. Be as realistic as you can and try to keep your expectations at a reasonable level.
Use this opportunity to explain to the interviewer how you do not see this opportunity as a stepping stone to better opportunities. You may talk about where you believe the company can get to shortly and how you can make that happen.
How not to answer the question
Candidates can shoot themselves in the foot when asked why they are changing jobs. By doing any of these, they are never getting a positive review from the interviewer:
Speaking idly about the previous job.
If there was one trait employers detest in a candidate, it would be trash-talking their former employers. No matter what the reason behind your decision to get a new job is, try to mind your language.
It makes the interviewer think that if a candidate could talk idly about their former employer, they could do the same to them. Thus, try not to answer the question in an attempt to soil the reputation of your former employer and colleagues.
Although you want the new employer to see that you are focused on them, you can do that without talking idly about your former job. It will not impress the new employer.
Pointing the finger at former colleagues.
Sometimes candidates who look for new jobs did not decide on that by choice. Some were kicked out for biased reasons. Even if that is your situation, try not to blame others.
By making it seem like you were forced out, you are admitting to wrongdoing. Learn to take some responsibility for what you were involved in. Some interviewers are less concerned with one-sided stories, while some may not believe you. This is another reason why pointing the finger at someone else is a waste of time.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions and reasons for making decisions on a career change. Yet, having the wrong motivation for looking for a new job does not send a good message about you to the interviewer. A move motivated by money, or agitation for not getting your way with your former employer is a red flag to the interviewer.
When asked why you are looking for a new job, try not to assume the interviewer is trying to trick you into saying something bad. Then, focus on staying positive throughout the interview in actions, words, and intent.