How to answer the question “Why did you leave your last job?”

One of the most popular interview questions is about the reasons for leaving your last job. It is almost always asked if the candidate’s resume includes more than just internships.

The question of dismissal is rather slippery – an outsider does not understand who exactly was to blame: the candidate was lazy or the employer made a gesture. Your answer to a tricky question can both endear and scare a recruiter away from you, so here’s how to answer it.

Why recruiters ask about their previous jobs

At the interview, HR may ask what prompted you to apply for their vacancy, or may immediately ask why you want to leave your current job – the goal of the wording is the same. The recruiter wants to eliminate negative reasons, assess your honesty and ability to think positively.

Also, if the reason for changing jobs is complex: illness, family problems, etc., the recruiter will want to know them on the shore.

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How to answer a question about a job change

Be accurate and honest

No matter how negative the reasons for leaving your last job were, never complain about your employer. A recruiter won’t want to hire a candidate who wastes interview time on complaints, gossip, and negativity. Think about the answer to this question in advance and focus on past positive experiences.

Tell us about the lessons learned

Perhaps at your last job, you overcame a lot of worries and turned like a squirrel in a wheel. It was difficult, but the job gave you something important – experience and knowledge. Tell us about them!

For example, you might mention that in a previous job, you learned how to master stress, make decisions when there is a lack of data, communicate with any problem client, and achieve team success despite different temperaments. This way you can move smoothly from discussing your last job to talking about the potential benefits for the company.

Share your future plans

It is sometimes easier to explain why you want to work for a company while unemployed than for another firm. After all, you have a job, a salary – everything seems to be fine.

Think about how to answer the question, what do you lack in your current job, why do you want to quit. It is worth mentioning that you would like to work on larger projects, gain experience in another area, and try yourself in a different role. But it is imperative to clarify that you are grateful to the current work for the experience gained.

Examples of answers to the question “Why did you leave your last job?”

“I have been working for the current company for almost 3 years, and during this time I have learned a lot. When I first joined them, articles in the corporate blog were published several times a month, and now new materials are published every day, and for partner projects, we have launched a separate website. I am proud of what we have achieved, but I am ready to take on new challenges. Your vacancy is very interesting to me because it will allow me to take responsibility for the entire content development process from scratch. ” – this answer shows the professional growth of the candidate and respect for the company.

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“Unfortunately, the company was forced to lay off more than 100 employees in order to optimize its activities. Even though I was promoted to senior manager last quarter, thanks to my performance, I was one of those laid off. However, I will be happy to use the knowledge I have gained about e-commerce, which I have acquired over the past two years, in your company. ” – a small mention of the promotion will mitigate the fact of being fired rather than voluntarily leaving the company.

“My functionality was designed for at least two employees, we discussed this with the boss and they promised me an assistant, but, unfortunately, the company could not find the resources to expand the staff. It was an amazing experience and now multitasking is my usual mode. ” – a good answer to the replacement “yes, I plowed there for five!” : )

“I outgrew my usual functionality, but there was no room for further growth. For about six months, my management and I thought about possible options for my professional development, but could not come to a compromise. ” – the candidate clarifies that he tried to stay with the company and solve the problem, but could not – this is a great illustration of loyalty.

“I wanted a more creative and less formal approach to work, so I looked for a group of like-minded people and found you.” – the answer is good if you plan to move from corporation to startup, from government to design, etc.

“Unfortunately, an unhealthy atmosphere has developed in the team due to some personnel changes in the company. The tension between colleagues made the job difficult. ” – here it is important not to go into details and correctly stop the discussion if the recruiter wants to find out who had a falling out with whom.

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