One of the interview questions may job seekers dread, but is almost always asked, is “What are your reasons for leaving your current employer?”, or “What are your reasons for leaving your previous employer?” Since in most circumstances the reasons tend to include aspects of the company you didn’t like, or issues with your boss or other people you work with, this can be a difficult question to answer in interviews without coming across as negative, unprofessional and bad mouthing your employers and co-workers. While you don’t want to lie to the potential employer you are interviewing with, you can’t always come out and speak from the heart about how much you hated the upper management at your last job and how miserable you were. When asked about reasons for leaving your current or previous employer, here are some tips:
Tips for Answering Interview Questions About Current or Previous Employers
- Always speak positively, and don’t badmouth your current or previous position, boss, company or co-workers. This will send an immediate red flag to the potential employer.
- Turn the conversation as much as possible to the position and company you are currently interviewing for. Show off the research you have done, and the reasons the job peaked your interest.
- When talking about reasons for leaving your previous employer or current employer, be sure to explain the accomplishments you had with them. Demonstrate how your time there helped you develop the skills you can now use to contribute to your future employer.
- Then turn the conversation towards the future. Speak about your professional goals and how the position you are interviewing for helps you work towards them.
- Try to mention things you like about your current employer or previous employers as well as the position you held with that company. Mention similarities that drew you to the potential employer you are interviewing with. After starting the conversation on a positive note, you can then discuss your reasons for leaving your current employer or previous employer. For example, “One of the things I really like about working for my current employer is that it is a small company, with an offbeat and unique culture. Your company has a similar feel, but unlike my last company the opportunity you are offering will allow me to be front-and-center to the creation of new technology.”
- Don’t discuss lack of pay as a reason for leaving your previous employer or current employer (even if that is the real reason). You want to show that your motivation for wanting the job comes from what you will be doing, not how much you will be paid for it.
Examples of Reasons for Leaving Current Employer or Previous Employer
Here are some examples of acceptable reasons for leaving a job, that aren’t likely to come across as negative and raise red flags:
1) “I am happy with the company I currently work for, but after exploring all the options there, it has become clear there are no more opportunities for growth. I want to avoid becoming stagnant in my career and professional growth.”
2) “This opportunity allows me to shorten my commute significantly, which will give me more time to spend with my children.”
3) “After working at my current job for several years, I am looking to take my career in a different direction. My current employer cannot accommodate this need, but the opportunity you have is exactly in the direction I want.”
4) “I feel I have grown too comfortable in my current position, and desire a position that will challenge me.”
5) “The company I worked at previously went through significant changes in upper management and my last position was dissolved/no longer needed.”
6) “My spouse had to relocate for his/her job, and for that reason I am leaving my current employer. This opportunity at your company is a match for my skills and experience and is close to the location we are moving to.”
7) “I am content at my current employer and wasn’t actively looking for a new job. But when I happened to come across this opportunity it seemed to be a perfect match for my talents and experience and I couldn’t pass it up.”
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.