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How to Answer ‘Why do you Want to Leave your Current Role?’

Posted: 17 January 2019

There may be many reasons for you wanting to leave your job, but there are only a few answers that won’t harm your chances of getting hired. Employers want to know why you’re looking for other jobs to try and sniff out any potential risk in hiring you.

You may have been sacked for a mishap at work, been made redundant, or be leaving for personal reasons. Whether the decision to move on is your own, or is out of your hands, these guidelines will help you shape an answer that shows you in a positive light in an interview.

Don’t bad-mouth your employer (even if they deserve it!)

Being critical of your previous employer never makes a good impression on the interviewer – it comes across as unprofessional and casts a negative tone over the interview. Even if you have been poorly treated in your previous role, it’s best not to focus on this. The interviewer wants to see why you’re hireable, not why you’re hard done by!

When a candidate has a track record of job-hopping combined with blaming poor management for them leaving their job, it sends alarm bells ringing to the hiring manager. It suggests that the problem may be with you – not management – and hiring you could be risky if you’re not going to stick around long-term.

Be positive and talk about obstacles that you overcame

A positive attitude goes a long way in showing the interviewer your best side. If you had issues with your boss or colleagues in your previous role, instead of trashing them focus on any challenges that you overcame. 

For example, if you had a disagreement over the best way to tackle a project, put a spin on it that you had to work collaboratively, taking into account varying approaches, all working together to achieve the best possible outcome.

Don’t make it personal

You may not have seen eye-to-eye with your former boss, or may have struggled with difficult colleagues, but taking a ‘poor me’ approach won’t help you get hired. Instead of focusing on your personal feelings, make it all about your professional ambitions – reasons like:

  • Opportunities for progression
  • Better pay or benefits
  • More challenging or rewarding role
  • Wanting a better work environment or atmosphere in the office

Don’t lie about being fired

There’s a difference between being sacked and being ‘let go’ of due to things like redundancy. If you’ve been fired due to a mistake or a performance issue, lying about it isn’t advisable – an employer could find this out in a background check and then you’ll look bad for covering it up.

Be upfront about what went wrong, show what you’ve learnt from the situation and how you’re taking steps to improve and make sure the same thing doesn’t happen in the future.

Having to rehire is costly for employers, so they want to make sure (as far as possible) that you’ll be hardworking, loyal and a good fit for the business. Use these guidelines to answer ‘why do you want to leave your current role’ and you’ll reassure the interviewer that hiring you is a safe bet and a smart move. 

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