If you’ve ever been on a job interview, chances are pretty good that the interviewer has asked about your reason for leaving your last job. It’s a fair question—the interviewer doesn’t want to hire someone who might leave their company for the same reason so soon after being hired.
After all, if you were fired from your last job, or if you quit because of a horrible boss, it might not sound great to an interviewer.
So how do you answer the reason why you left your job in the best way possible?
Why Do Interviews Ask About Your Reason for Leaving a Job?
One of the more common reasons interviewers ask this question is because they want to know if you’re a reliable candidate and that you are not known for causing a ruckus in your company. They want to make sure that you’ll be a valuable candidate.
Employers will also be interested in knowing your career plans, that is if you are an ambitious person and if you are passionate about professional growth and learning new things.
Another reason for asking about why you left a job is because it shows them whether or not there wasn’t enough challenge for your skillset or if there were other problems at the job that made it unenjoyable for you.
Try Not to Speak Negatively
Be honest and professional. If you have something negative to say about your time at that company, try to keep it professional. Don’t get personal or start throwing around insults; this will only make you look bad.
Talk about the positive aspects of your experience there. In addition to avoiding any negativity, try to focus on what you loved about the job and why you left it in the first place: did you have great colleagues? Were there opportunities for growth? Did they offer good benefits? Are there any projects or initiatives that were particularly exciting for you?
Don’t speak negatively about anyone else in management—even if they were horrible bosses! It’s fine if they were not a good fit but don’t take it out on them personally during an interview or mention anything that could come across as being negative (or even just petty), and highly unprofessional.
Try Not to Delve into Personal Details.
Obviously, it is important to let recruiters know about your professional goals and bring in personality during interviews. However, sharing personal information could backfire in many ways.
For example, it is popularly advised to not convey details like your political alignments, religious or sexual orientation, or any other controversial topics, even if that was the reason you left your previous job.
It could bring forth unnecessary bias from recruiters. In this case, it is important to stay professional and focus on the positive aspects of your previous company.
When a potential employer asks you why you left your last job, be honest and keep it strictly professional. Don’t shift blame or make excuses. Instead, show the interviewer that you’ll be a better employee at their company because of what happened at your last job.
For example: “My previous company, while it gave me a lot of new experience and allowed me to learn valuable skills, I found my professional growth staying stagnant after a while. I wanted to explore more opportunities and maximize my potential and zeal to learn, so I figured it would be best for me to move on”
While the fact here is that the previous company was boring, phrasing it like this bumps up the professionality and brings in a touch of genuineness.
There could be a plethora of reasons why you left your previous job, sometimes negative. Whatever may be the case, when interviewers ask why you left your previous job, it is important to stay professional.
Try to recall positive experiences and projects that helped you grow professionally, instead of talking negatively about your old job. It could create more harm than good for your candidacy!