Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?

December 16th, 2013 | Articles, Interviewing | No Comments »

Leaving Your Current Job

During a job interview, you should never lie to a hiring manager yet the unabashed truth may not always play out in your favor. Certain interview questions, if answered too honestly, can negatively color the way you’re perceived. With just a few misplaced words, you can leave a hiring manager disenfranchised and mentally ready to move on to the next candidate.

Which question is one of the main culprits tarnishing job seeker reputations? Think back to when you’ve been asked: Why are you leaving your current job?

In and of itself, it’s not a malicious question. By asking why you are leaving your current job, a hiring manager is trying to identify your motivations as a person and an employee. The question is a good way to get to the heart of who you are.

Eliminate the negative

Candidates tend to slip up when they overshare negative reasons for why they are leaving their current job. The right answer is all about cushioning your response. You wouldn’t dredge up all the horrible things about an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend if asked about him or her on a first date. Disparaging remarks say way more about you than they do about the other person.

Negativity about bad bosses, toxic company cultures, or insipid projects make you out to be the bad guy. Here you are, verbally hacking away at your current company without anyone else around to defend it. You may be completely on the money with every talking point but no employer wants to hear your sob story. It doesn’t take much stretching of the imagination for a hiring manager to picture you talking smack behind his or her back.

Accentuate the positive

So, if you shouldn’t badmouth your current job, what should you do when asked about why are you leaving your current job? Give as many positive reasons as you can.

• Explain that you have been provided great experiences at your current job but are looking for the next big challenge.

• Mention that you are looking for a company culture more aligned with your own beliefs. This response implies that your former employer may be great for some but that a new company can provide you more of what you need. Remember: a little flattery can go a long way.

• Talk about upward mobility without calling your current growth opportunities stagnant. Once again, highlighting the opportunities in this new company can work wonders.

by James Walsh

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