[Interview Prep] "Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?"

So you've gone ahead and decided to leave your current job. Maybe you're exhausted with your current position and need to get out, or maybe you just want to take the next step to advance. Whatever the reason, it's not uncommon for the interviewer at your potential new job to question why you're leaving your old job.

So Why ARE you leaving your current job? This question is kind of a setup, because there's a good chance you're leaving a job you don't particularly like. They’re just waiting for you to badmouth your current company or manager so they can mark you off the list of candidates. Instead, be gracious. You may hate your company and are dying for the first chance to get out of there. RESIST the urge to make this about your current job. The interviewer needs to know that we’re running towards a new job opportunity, and not away from a job we’d rather not have.

There are ways to soften the criticism of your current company. “I’m just not a good fit for my current company culture” or “I just didn't see any room for advancement in my current area”... but honestly, my best advice would be to avoid your current job all together. Instead, USE this as an opportunity to really answer the question “How will joining this new company in this new role, allow you to grow and provide even more value than you could where you currently are”

Let’s say you’re a software developer applying to a cutting edge tech company like Myspace. Remember this guy?


An example answer to the question “why do you want to leave your current job?” could be:

"Honestly? I enjoy my current job. The people I work with are great and the job has really given me the opportunity to expand on my development skills. At this point in my journey though I feel that I could be adding even more value if I were given the right responsibilities and opportunities. At Myspace, I think you’re looking for somebody who will not only excel in scripting, but will be able to modernize your code base and improve the overall software development lifecycle, and I know that those are things that I would be able to accomplish. so in order for me to grow professionally, and to be able to add more value to a company, I felt that applying to this senior developer role at Myspace would be the best next step for me.”

Ignoring the fact that we’d be applying to Myspace (what’s that?) we can see in this example that we were able to answer “why are you leaving your current job”, without even really getting into what the current job is. Focus on the future and use this opportunity to highlight what you’re moving towards professionally, and how you think this role that your going for meet’s that qualification. expectation

This question isn't always asked, but if it is, now you’ll be able to dodge that disqualification landmine, sidestepping any criticism of your current company, and using this opportunity to highlight why you applied to this new role in the first place.

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