Interviewing

Interview Q&A: Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job?

What they’re really asking: Is there something wrong with you or with your current company?

 

What they are looking for: Whether you have tact and poise to answer thoughtfully, professionally, and without bashing your current company or co-workers.
 
How to prepare for this question: While this can be a very generic question, it can also be an easy question to trip over. Your response will be based on your particular circumstances, and your particular circumstances will dictate how suspicious of a question this may truly be. If you’ve only been at your company for the past 8 months, think about legitimate concerns that the interviewer may have with your longevity at the company.
 
Alternatively, if you’ve been at a company for 11 years, think about what concerns the interviewer may have with your comfort level, trainability, knowledge base, and adaptability. Do intensive research on the company you’re applying for, and find facets that apply to your desire for a new experience and new challenges.
 
What you should say: While I have significantly improved my skill set and have learned a lot from my supervisors at my current company, there are few opportunities for further advancement, and I’ve struggled to find opportunities for growth at this stage in my career. I was excited to see that this position at [Company] would allow me to use my skills but will also provide new challenges in areas I feel I could really contribute and learn.
 
What to say if you were fired: First, check with your former HR department for their policy on releasing termination records to subsequent companies. If a policy is in place that prevents HR from releasing those records, then don’t say a single word about it. Don’t even mention it. Say the same as above. If your HR department does not have such a preventative policy in place, then carefully consider your options. It’s risky to ignore it and not mention it, but not entirely unheard of or impossible.
 
There’s a legitimate option to say you were “let go” (which sounds better than “fired” or “canned”), the reason being your company or department downsized. If you feel that “industry wind” might care your story, choose your story carefully and don’t make jokes about it or blame your boss. Taking it lightly will show your interviewer that you don’t care, and playing the blame game only makes you look bad. Then highlight your positive skills and describe what assets you can bring to the company.