Interview question of the week: why are you leaving your current job?

Last week we looked at how to answer: “why do you want to work here?” This week, we’ll look at a related but much trickier question. There are many ways to go wrong on this one, so be prepared for it!

Don’t be a “glass half empty” kind of person. When you’re interviewing, the glass is always “half full!” Photo by Daniel Vogel on Unsplash

This question is pretty much guaranteed at every single job interview you’ll ever have. Back when I was interviewing folks, both for IT jobs and when I was in social work, I was always surprised by how many people didn’t seem prepared for this question.

The main thing to remember when answering this question is to remain positive. Yes, you may be leaving your job because it’s a toxic work environment and your boss is a jerk, but you need to re-frame this into a positive.

To be very clear, I’m not telling you to lie about your reasons – but every situation can be viewed positively and negatively. I’m simply asking you to view it positively.

For example, saying “I’ve learned a lot at my current company and I’m now looking for a place to continue growing my skillset” is a lot more positive way to say “I’ve gotten to the point where I’m doing the same things every day and it’s just boring.”

What if your boss is a jerk? Try something like: “Leadership is taking the company in a different direction than the one I see for myself.” Toxic work environment? “I’m looking for a work environment that’s more collaborative in nature.” See how much nicer that sounds?

Avoid references to money – you wouldn’t want to say: “I’m looking to make more money.” However, you can absolutely say something like: “I’m looking to join an organization that will value the experience I can offer.”

If you’re moving into IT from a different career, this should be an easy one for you to answer positively! “I’ve always wanted to work in IT.” And that answer works if it’s your very first job as well, although the interviewer most likely wouldn’t be asking you this question if that’s the case.

Now consider your own reasons for leaving your current job and consider how you could phrase it positively. If you’re struggling with it, leave me a comment below and I’ll see if I can point you in the right direction.

Now go and get that new job!

With each post, I cover a new topic to help you get your start (or keep progressing) in your IT career. If it’s your first time visiting this blog, start here. And make sure to check out these top interview questions before you start interviewing!

Author: Silicon Wanderer

I'm a merry wanderer on the path to financial independence through IT. I'm doing it, and I want to show you how you can to!

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