How To Answer “Why Do You Want To Leave Your Current Job?”

June 23, 2020 Catherine Tacopina

If you’re actively searching for a new job, there are likely a variety of factors that may have led you to search for a new opportunity. It could be something as simple as a desire to relocate or have a better commute, or it could be something more complicated, like having a manager you don’t get along with. Regardless of your situation, you’ll likely be asked  ‘why do you want to leave your current job,’ at least once during the course of your job search. While this can be a tricky question to navigate, knowing how to answer it ahead of time can ultimately help you get the job! 

Here are the do’s and don’ts of how to explain why you’re leaving your current role:

DON’T: Neglect to prepare for this question

Preparing for a job interview can feel overwhelming, and it can be easy to forget to prepare for critical questions because of it! However, the likelihood of being asked why you’re leaving your current employer is high, so it’s important for you to prepare for this question as much as possible. When preparing your answer, be sure to have a concise and clear answer; leaving your answer up for interpretation can make a hiring manager concerned about whether or not you’re being honest with them. 

DO: Talk about your long-term professional goals

When preparing for a question like ‘why do you want to leave your current job,’ you don’t want to focus on the factors that have forced you to search for a new role. Instead, a more effective strategy would be to highlight your long-term professional goals, and how the company can help you achieve them. Employers want to hire candidates who not only have a desire to grow, but who have a desire to move up within their organization. For example, if you are leaving your job because you got passed up for a promotion, one too many times, this would be a more strategic way to start your response: 

“I’ve been with my company for x years, and in that time have learned a lot about [insert field]. At this point, I’m looking to further challenge myself by taking on more responsibilities and having more oversight in a professional role.”

DON’T: Throw your current or past employer under the bus

There can be a variety of factors for why you want to leave your current job, and it’s understandable that you would want to leave a job that makes you unhappy and unproductive. However, regardless of what those negative reasons are, you don’t want one of the first impressions you make to a potential employer a bad one! Not only is it unprofessional to bad mouth your company or manager, but doing so to a potential employer can rightfully make them concerned you’ll eventually do the same to them.

DO: Discuss the value  you can bring to the company

As you interview for a new job opportunity, you never want to solely talk about how the company can benefit you. In addition, you want to talk about how your hiring would be mutually beneficial for you and the company. When asked ‘why do you want to leave your current company,’ be sure to focus on how your strengths and skills will help to benefit the company in the future. Doing so demonstrates to an employer that you’re aware of the company’s goals and, if hired, you would be committed and able to help achieve them.

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