In this article, we will be looking at another interview question most interviewers don’t miss or ignore “why did you leave your last job”.
Aside this question asked in the above stated manner, it can also be frame as:
• Why did you leave your last job?
• Why did you quit your job?
• Why are you looking for a new job?
• Why were you fired from job x?
Often times than not, these are variations of the question you’d be faced with in an interview and since it can often make or mar your chances, it’s advisable that you’ve ready made answers that are safe and proven to have worked.
What if you left your last job under unpleasant circumstances and are not comfortable with sharing the whole truth?
Or maybe you’ve a pretty solid answer but don’t know how to express it.
Not to worry. There are numerous proven ways to answer this common yet complex interview question well without blowing your chances at landing that dream job.
Why are they asking these questions?
Before diving into answering the question “Why did you leave your last job?” It’s paramount to understand why HR professionals ask it and the best place to begin your preparation to answering the question is by understanding what makes it an important question. Most Interviews are always short, which means an experienced HR professional doesn’t waste time on things that doesn’t matter.
There are four major reasons why HR professionals need to understand why and how you left your last job:
- To evaluate your reason for leaving. Professionals change jobs and there is nothing remotely wrong in that. The secret lies in why and how they do it. Did you just wake up one morning and abruptly decide you were done? Was your reason “reasonable” enough? What does it say about your ethics and values? Sure, the HR professional wants to know what happened, but the real opportunity here is in getting in-depth knowledge into who you are as an individual and a professional.
- To establish whether you made the decision to leave or were let go. This is where it gets tricky cause if you were laid off, the HR professional needs to know if the reason was performance or integrity-related. They are also trying to gauge your attitude and mannerisms while at it. Can you take responsibility for your side of what happened, or will you put all the blame on your colleagues and the employer?
- Did you leave on good terms? Thirdly, the HR professional wants to understand your ability to build and keep relationships if any cause that says a lot about your diplomatic intelligence. So, if your former boss is your champion and a reference, your candidacy automatically gets a boost.
- Value work and have a sense of obligation. The HR professional just wants to understand if you value working and your work ethics in general, they want to make sure you’re not only interested in money.
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Now you know the reason they ask the question it’s now time for you to go through our list of proven answers or just prepare your own unique answers but remember to keep it short, be crystal clear on your version of the event and be confident when you talk.
- You wanted to switch to another industry.
- The company you worked for didn’t offer enough professional development opportunities.
- You wanted an increase in pay.
- The job turned out different from its original description.
- The company went out of business.
- You wanted to pursue a new challenge.
- Corporate layoffs left you out of job.
- You decided to move to a different city.
- The job made it difficult for you to maintain a work-life balance.
- You’ve maxed out your promotion possibilities.
- You found a more exciting opportunity.
- Family or personal reasons meant you had to leave a job.
- You felt you haven’t been mentored.
- You were fired or terminated.
- You wanted a more flexible schedule.
- You have been with the organization for some years and wanted to experience a new environment to continue growing.
- You were offered a promotion at another company.
- You left for an opportunity to advance your career.
- You left to work on a product/project you’re very passionate about.
- You were offered a significant pay increase.
- A former boss or colleague recruited you to join their company.
- You were hired for a particular role and over time it evolved and you were no longer given the opportunity to do the work you were interested in.
- You were no longer finding your work fulfilling or enjoying it.
- You reevaluated your career goals and decided a change was needed.
- You went back to school to pursue a degree or further studies.
- You wanted new responsibilities that this role or the company couldn’t offer.
- You didn’t feel the job was using your fullest of abilities or challenging you.
- You took a job with a company that was closer to your home.
There are tips you need to take seriously even as you’re about to answer the question of why you left your last job. Now I’m not asking you to lie, in fact you should never lie during an interview. But, you should do your best to refrain from the following no matter what happens:
- Do not badmouth a former employer, even if they deserve it.
- Do not victimize yourself.
- Do not be vague
- Practice your answers so you don’t hesitate.
- Do not talk about your fights with coworkers.
- Do not make it sound like the money is your only concern.
- Always take responsibility and be upfront.
- Do not hastily bring up things if they’re not asked about.
- Do not sound scattered or impulsive.
Those are the tips you should follow when answering “why did you leave your last job?” in any interview.
Pick one of the curated answers above for why you left your last job, avoid the don’ts covered, and you’re going to impress the HR professional.
Good luck on your interview.