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Explaining Why You Left Your Job

When looking for a new role, one common interview question you’re likely to encounter is why you are leaving (or have already left) your last job. Hiring managers ask this question, not to trip you up, but to ensure you’re the right fit for their company so your answer to this question can speak volumes. It may reflect what managerial style suits you best, what type of company culture you thrive in, your aspirations and career goals, etc. Using the tips below will help you craft a thoughtful and positive answer to this question.

Be clear and concise

The first step is to be clear on all the reasons why your last job didn’t work for you. You’ll want to keep your answer professional and not personal. You may be looking for a new job because you recently had a big life event such as a marriage or move, but that isn’t something you necessarily want to answer with initially. Instead, think about what your professional values are, your career goals, ideal work environment, relationships with boss and coworkers, etc., and why your last job didn’t align with what you desired.

Be positive and professional

During the entire interview process, you’ll want to remain positive so try your best to leave negativity at the door. That said, if you left your job because you disliked your manager and felt they undermined you at every turn, that is something you can shed some light on. However, instead of complaining and saying the reason you left your last role is because you and your boss didn’t get along, reframe it to be more along the lines of you’re looking to work somewhere with exemplary leadership with a company you believe in. If you’re able to give an example of how the company that you’re hiring with does this (such as their mission statement, examples of their company culture, etc.) that would be ideal to include in your answer because it will show you’ve done your research.

Keep it brief

Once you’ve got your main points for your answer, put them together into a concise 1-3 sentence statement. Practice your response ahead of time (ideally in front of the mirror) so when you answer during the interview, you’ll feel prepared and confident.