Interview Questions Deconstructed: “Why Are You Leaving Your Job?”

This interview question feels like a tough one – but it’s pretty simple. Everyone has a reason for leaving their jobs so it’s best to be honest but optimistic. Let’s break them down. 

 

You Were Laid Off or Let Go

First and foremost, be honest. 

If you were let go, stay positive and allude to any growth you’ve experienced since leaving the position without going into unnecessary details on why you were terminated. Avoid using the word ‘fired’, and focus on being defensible rather than defensive. Lastly, don’t blame the company or your manager; it never plays well regardless of how true it is. 

If you were laid off, a simple “Unfortunately, I was laid off at my last position” will suffice. 

 

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You Want More Money

This is an incredibly common reason people leave their role. While it’s valid, you’ll likely want to add a bit of polish to this answer. 

Rather than financial reward, talk about what motivates you in a role: hitting targets, pulling a project across the finish line, delivering for your team, etc. Feel free to include compensation as a motivating factor – just don’t make it your only reason. 

 

You Hate Your Manager/Company 

First off, avoid bashing your company or manager. It can make you look like you’re avoiding responsibility, difficult to manage or paint you as a trouble-maker who will give any manager trouble. 

Instead, mention that your leadership team is going in a different direction and you’re excited about the mission/fit of the new position.

 

Other/You Want Growth

This is the sweet spot: an understandable and reasonable answer. Companies want employees who are looking to develop and grow. On the other hand, hiring managers are aware that companies can’t keep employees forever, and eventually, people want to move on to try new things. 

Keep your answer positive. Explain what you’re looking for, what you want to achieve in your new role, and how you’re a perfect fit for the new company/position.

 

Related Articles:

How to Answer: “What Motivates You?”

How did you handle a difficult situation? (Video)

This Week in Career Advice: “Tell Me Why You’re Leaving Your Current Job”

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