Interviewers are there to test whether you’re the right pick for the job. They want you to be the right fit so they can stop interviewing folks. You know that. It makes sense. But that doesn’t make their questions any less nerve-wracking or the experience any less awkward.
We can’t be there with you during the interview, but we want to help by spotlighting a few of the most popular interview questions. For even more detailed info, check out our Job Spotlight eBook: Are You Ready for a New Career? It’s full of helpful tips and interview hacks.
Today’s focus is one of the most dreaded interview questions of all: why are you leaving your current company? You can’t really say it’s because you hate your job, your boss is the worst, or your coworkers keep stealing your yogurt.
Instead of being brutally honest, keep thing things optimistic and professional.
- Don’t Lie
It can be tempting to gloss over this question with something like “we just didn’t see things the same way!” But that’s what most applicants are going to say, and it doesn’t tell your interviewer anything about you as a prospective employee.
Instead, tell the professional version of the truth. If you weren’t a big fan of your boss, what was it you didn’t like about them? Maybe their managerial style just wasn’t for you (“my previous boss didn’t give me much freedom to work on my own without oversight, and I’d like to explore a position with more responsibilities”) or they just complained every day (“there was a bit of a team morale issue at my last job, and I want a job at a company where everyone shares a mission and is excited to work.”)
- Avoid Negativity
Your interviewer is asking this question to see what you didn’t like about your last job. If the reason you left that job is something you’ll encounter in this new position, they probably won’t hire you. That’s why it’s so important to keep things light and positive. If you complain about your old boss and get specific about them, or mention coworkers and why they were the worst people on the planet, your interviewer might think you’ll talk about your future boss and coworkers that way.
- Focus on the New Opportunity
Even though your interviewer is asking why you’re leaving your current employer, that doesn’t mean you need to spend a ton of time talking about them. After you’ve briefly summed up why you’re leaving, throw the focus back on the new job. Something like “I left the old company because of XYZ reason, which is why I’m so excited about joining the ABC team!” Show your employer that their company is the one that is right for you because of how it differs from the job you’re leaving. It could be more job responsibilities, a company culture you love, etc.
Answering the “why are you leaving your current company” question can be stressful, but if you’re honest, positive, and focus on the position you’re interviewing for, you’ll craft an answer interviewers will love!
Looking for more interview tips? Check out the Answering the Interview Question eBook. You’ll learn how to answer some of the most difficult interview questions job candidates face, like “tell me about yourself,” “what are your top 3 strengths and weaknesses?” and “where do you see yourself in five years?”