Best Ways to Answer The “Reason For Leaving” Question


Is honesty the best policy? Usually. Of course, some situations call for slight omission. So, what should you say when your interviewer asks why you are leaving your current position?

Let’s not beat around the bush here. What we are trying to tell you is: DO NOT bash your boss. Sure. We all have had a boss who we feel is unfair, rude, or not made for management. But, in these situations, it’s important to remember the old adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” After all, if you are negative enough to sit and bash your boss to complete strangers, what might you say about your interviewers if they hire you? Stay upbeat and refrain from becoming defensive. If you feel it is necessary to explain the situations that led to your resignation, do so in a tactful, upbeat manner being sure to comment only on situations and not on the people involved.

So, what are some appropriate responses to the age old question of why you’re seeking new career opportunities?

Well, relocation always works. But, you should probably actually have plans of relocate and a concrete reason for doing so. Lying is obviously not suggested.

Another acceptable response can be “I’m looking for new growth opportunities.” This can apply to various situations, including, but not limited to, your boss being the devil incarnate. A related response is no room for advancement. If you are stuck in a dead end job and are seeking opportunities to enhance your skills and grow with a company, say so. These reasons illustrate determination and will.

Fear of layoff.The fear of mass layoffs, especially when your employer is experiencing financial instability, is a substantial reason to seek new employment. Most companies understand the threat of mass layoffs and will respect your honesty.

If you are looking to change the scope of your career and feel like your current employer does not offer that opportunity, articulate this in a way that is more about your career goals than the lack of opportunities present at your current employer.

If you’re interviewing for your dream job, tell them that. Interviewers love when you are excited about their company and what added value you can contribute. If you are excited about the opportunity to spread your wings, don’t hesitate to vocalize it. This also detracts from why you’re leaving the previous company by spotlighting the strengths of the interviewing company.

Essentially, the goal is to make your reasons honest while focusing on your desires and skills rather than the pitfalls of your current employer. Remain upbeat and positive, accentuating the reasons your potential interviewer may better suit your goals rather than the way your present employer falls flat.

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