“Why are you leaving your job?”
This is a question that I have heard countless of times in interviews, and as a hiring manager, I am guilty of asking that question too. Hiring managers like myself are naturally curious people so we want the tea on why you are leaving so that we can make the best hiring decision on our end. If your answer gives us the signal that you are leaving on a negative note, then that will definitely be something we consider when deciding upon hiring you - remember, no one wants to hire a Negative Nancy.
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When you are asked this question, I know you would rather respond by saying things such as:
“My pay is crappy and I need more money.”
“I can’t stand my boss and my hand is itching to slap her everyday.”
“I’m bored at work and Snapchat isn’t that much fun anymore.”
However, responses like that in an interview will get you nowhere. Even more, responding like that will get you an unexpected end to your interview and probably not even a courtesy, automated rejection email.
When I left my last job, I left because of a scheduling conflict. I had dreams of going back to school and the hours that I worked wouldn't allow me to pursue my dream. Instead of saying that I couldn't work the hours or I didn't like the schedule, I said this in my interviews,
"Recently I have decided to further my education in graduate school to earn my MBA. This MBA will be valuable to my professional development and for any organization that I am apart of. With my current employer, I work on the weekends, which prevents me from attending classes on Saturday. For this reason, I am looking for a new company with flexible a more flexible weekend schedule."
In interviews when the hiring manager asks you this question, instead of being brutally honest, use my examples below for a more softer and respectful answer. As my mom has always told me, “It’s not about what you say, it’s about how you say it.”
You can’t stand your boss and wouldn’t flinch if she burned in hell
I’ve been in a position where I hated my boss. Honestly, I’m not sure if "hate" is even the best word to describe how I genuinely felt. If you dislike your boss and think that he or she is the worst, I’m sure you are itching to get away from them.
Nonetheless, walking into an interview and bad-mouthing your boss will not get you the job. If this is your reason for leaving, try saying this:
“Recently, I realized that the energy and goals with the leadership team is different from my own goals and values. I am looking for a company that can better match my own values and interests. Taking the direction to leave my job is a hard decision because I love the mission of my company, but I think it is only right that I do what is best for me and my professional development.”
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You are tired of getting low pay and want more money
It is nothing more insulting than to work hard for someone and not see the monetary benefits. While you are spending most of your time and energy at work, you want to be properly compensated for it. The average American feels as if he or she gets paid less for what they do. If you feel the same way and want to leave your job, communicate this to the hiring manager by saying:
“While at my company, I have learned “X” amount of skills and have developed a substantial amount of knowledge in “X” areas. While I have learned a great deal, I am looking to join a company that can bring more value to my newly developed skill set and yearning to excel in my job."
Your job doesn’t want to promote you so are looking for a company that will
It is the worst to feel stagnant in your career and like you are going no where. Normally when you have increased your skill set and have become better in your area of expertise, you want to be promoted. Yes, you want more money, but you also want more responsibilities and want to be recognized for what you know. If this is your reason for leaving, try telling the hiring manager,
“Although I love the people that I have worked with and my company, I have grown tremendously and I am ready for the next challenge in my career. Instead of being complacent, I am looking for a job that will challenge me and will continue to develop me.”
Your coworkers are messy and you cannot work with them
Petty Betty and Messy Ann are people that you don’t want in your life, but sadly in some way or another they become your coworkers. Working with people that love to gossip and bring drama can really take a toll on your work and energy. Instead of saying that your coworkers annoy you and that you are tired of the drama, try saying this:
“I am looking for a place where my values and work goals are mutual. While I love the mission of my company, I feel that I am in a different place with the team that I work with. As a result, I am looking for a company culture that better suits me.”
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You work a ton of hours and want more time to have fun and hang with friends
With all of the hours that you put in at work, it is hard to turn up on a Tuesday or have a little Sunday Funday loaded with mimosas. You are tired of being overworked and not having a real work and life balance. Being able to spend time with family and friends is very important for your well-being and you understand this. In order to communicate this effectively to the hiring manager, say something like this:
“For me, having work and life balance is very important. In my current position, I am not able to achieve the balance that I desire and I would like to find a position where I can achieve, focus on work, and spend much needed time with my loved ones.”
Your job isn’t teaching you the skills that you want and your are bored at work
I’ve had a job where I literally just scrolled on Facebook and pinned cute outfits and yummy recipes because I was bored at work. When you are working at a company that isn’t developing you, you become bored, and one thing leads to another and you are Snapchatting at work. If this is you, communicate this to the hiring manager by saying:
“While I enjoy working at my company, I am looking to develop as an “X” professional and I think I can get this from your company after reading more about your company. Outside of work, I have done research on how to become a better person in my career field, but I know if I found a company where I could do the work on a daily basis, I would benefit tremendously (and so would the company)."
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If you didn’t notice by now, all of the responses above have one thing in common: positivity is key. No matter what the reason is on why you are leaving your current job, remain positive and demonstrate this in your response and tone.
If you have any additional advice on answering the aforementioned questions, drop a comment below and let us know!
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