Imagine yourself sitting in an interview, giving your best, when the hiring manager throws a simple yet tricky question at you: "Why do you want to leave your current job?" Your mind momentarily blanks out as you realize you hadn't prepared for this particular question. You start nervously fidgeting and uttering hesitant "umm"s and "I don't know"s. In that moment, you can sense your chances slipping away.
Most recruiters love asking this straightforward question because some want to know what you’ll say about your previous organization while others want to understand what’s important to you in a job.
Now, let's explore the best way to handle this question with a smile 😊 or a smirk😏!
How to Structure Your Answer
Start with positive energy🌱
Start your answer with a smile and stick to nothing but positive responses. You can also mention any negative aspects, but be sure to do so in a manner that does not undermine the values of the organization you previously worked for. This demonstrates a trait of your character, showing loyalty and indicating that you would be a valuable asset to the company.
Talk about what you learned 🚀
Share about the skills you developed and the tools you learned in your previous job. Tell them about the challenging situations which you were able to resolve because of your capabilities but also with the help of your team.
Talk about where you are at in your career 🗨️
The new employer wants to know about your potential so give them a bird's eye view of where you are at this point and your future aspirations. This will provide them with a strategic understanding of your professional growth.
Be transparent and vocal 🎤
If something personal needs to be shared like you’re leaving because of your partner’s job or your company is closing down or anything else that is pertinent, talk about it as long as it’s not negative. Try to keep your answer focused and sharp, and try to bring the conversation back to why you are excited about this opportunity.
Why do you want to leave your current job so early?
Of the five W’s, ‘Why’ usually leaves one in a blank space. There can be gazillion reasons but choosing what to say is the crucial part. Let us help you with some examples:
‘I’m looking for career growth opportunities’
Many individuals often reach a point where they feel they have outgrown their current job, resulting in a stagnant career. When you realize that there’s no room for further growth, switching jobs can be challenging but a wise decision. Here’s an example of how to address this situation:
‘I have reached a stage where I believe that I have learned enough and there are no growth opportunities within my team, even though I love working with them. Could you please tell me a bit about the growth opportunities for this role and what the company offers for employee development?
‘I want to pursue a better opportunity’
Sometimes the reason could be as simple as having a better choice, whether it's a more favorable working environment, a competitive compensation package, or aligning with a company whose values resonate with your own. There's no harm in seeking a new opportunity, infact it's always better to look for new opportunities.
Though I’m grateful for my current company and the opportunities it has provided, but this opportunity aligns more with my long-term career goals. I want to explore new horizons and take on fresh challenges by collaborating with cross-functional teams.
‘I decided to continue my studies’
Employers understand the challenges of balancing a full time job with completing a degree. If you have taken a break to pursue an advanced degree, you can talk about your desire to acquire a deeper understanding of the chosen field as it's an investment for your future and will open doors to new opportunities.
I enjoyed my role as X, but I felt that having a degree in it will boost my confidence as I’ll have in-depth knowledge and specialized skills that can enhance my performance in this role.
‘I was laid off’
When it comes to explaining a layoff, many people struggle to find the right words, one should always remember that such decisions are based on the company’s restructuring and should not be seen as a reflection of your worth or professional trajectory. Be honest with the recruiter and never use the word, fired.
Unfortunately, I was one of the 20% of employees who had to leave the organization because of the restructuring. However, since then, I have dedicated myself to personal growth by immersing myself in learning skills that ignite my passion and actively expanding my professional network.
To do and what not to do!
📖 Do you Homework
When you are going for an interview, your homework is to prepare and research about the company. Familiarize yourself with the mission and vision of the company. The research and preparation will come to the rescue during the tough parts, like this question.
🤗Emphasize Positive Factors
Talk about the positive aspects of the company you’re leaving, and tell the interviewer how your manager or team helped you grow professionally.
Pay close attention to the interviewer's instructions and queries. Display interest by nodding, making eye contact, and, if necessary, seeking clarification. You can effectively react when you actively listen, which shows that you are engaged in the discourse.
Express your sincere passion and enthusiasm for the position and the chance to work for the organization. Let your personality shine through and show that you're driven to help the company.
What Not to Do:
👎 Negative remarks concerning superiors or coworkers:
Avoid criticizing others or placing blame on certain people in your statements. Instead, concentrate on developing yourself or looking for new challenges as your reasons for leaving.
🤐 Avoid Derogatory Remarks
Making disparaging remarks about the company could reflect negatively on your professionalism and harm relationships. This includes criticizing the organization's policies or organizational culture. Your motive for looking for new chances should center on your desire for professional advancement or alignment with a different organizational culture.
Although remuneration is a crucial factor, it's generally advisable to avoid bringing up wage or financial issues as the primary reason for leaving. Instead, focus on your desire for professional growth, a better work-life balance, or a more suited work environment.
How to explain your reasons for leaving a job
This is your chance to show off your enthusiasm for the position and talk about the value you can bring to their company.
Example # 1:
One of the reasons behind my decision to seek new opportunities is my innate desire for continuous learning. By transitioning to a different role or organization, I can immerse myself in new projects, collaborate with diverse teams, and acquire valuable knowledge that will help me personally and professionally evolve.
Example # 2:
I want to leave my current job because I am eager to pursue new opportunities that will allow me to continue growing both personally and professionally. I believe in the importance of constantly challenging myself and acquiring new skills. By exploring different roles and industries, I can broaden my knowledge and capabilities, which will ultimately contribute to my long-term success and fulfillment.
Example # 3:
One of the biggest reasons for leaving my current job is that I want to take on more responsibility. In my previous organization, I had the privilege of taking on this role and found it incredibly fulfilling. I discovered that I have a knack for guiding and inspiring others. I’m ready to take on a leadership role, where I can have a small team of my own.
Remember, you should always try to be honest with your reasons, the best way is to jot them down. Focus on the professional and positive aspects rather than going into too much personal information or negative details and direct your conversation toward why you might be a suitable candidate for this job.